What’s a Playlist?
A Playlist is a set of activities exploring a topic. The activities might include reading an article or scripture, listening to a podcast or sermon, watching a video or movie clip. Each month we’ll post three Playlists designed for Children, Youth, and Adults. All of us will explore the same topic, but the Playlists will be designed for each age group. You can work your way through the Playlists at your own pace throughout the month.
Remember you can always share your thoughts in the comment section at the bottom of this page.
Katelyn Williamson, Interim Director of Youth and Family Ministry
John 8:12 “When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
After reading the scripture above it seems pretty easy to “follow” the Lord. But we all know it’s a little harder than that.
Deuteronomy 5:33 “Walk in obedience to all that the Lord your God has commanded you, so that you may live and prosper and prolong your days in the land that you will possess.”
1 The Lord had said to Abram, “Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you.
2 “I will make you into a great nation,
and I will bless you;
I will make your name great,
and you will be a blessing.
3 I will bless those who bless you,
and whoever curses you I will curse;
and all peoples on earth
will be blessed through you.”
4 So Abram went, as the Lord had told him; and Lot went with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he set out from Harran.
God didn’t give Abram (later to be called Abraham) a detailed map or even show him the exact final destination. He basically said, “Abram, leave your comfort zone and go where I will show you.” However, God also added that he would bless Abram and his descendants if Abram obeyed him. Abram didn’t know where he would end up, but he knew and trusted God’s character, so he obeyed anyway. Abram’s obedience happened one step at a time. With each step, Abram heard a little more from God.
We don’t know exactly where God is taking us next,but we are trusting that it will be a good place—a place of blessing. All the while remembering that God is a good God who loves to give good gifts to his children.
Stepping out of comfort zones:
God wants us to continually step out of our comfort zone and trust Him and follow Him into the unknowns. We have to leave room for God to guide us. If God were to come show us step-by-step His exact will for our lives, it wouldn’t require FAITH for us to follow him. Moreover, if I know exactly where I’m going beforehand, the idea probably isn’t from God. It probably came out of my own head and ideals. God likes us to follow Him in Faith and trust—not in knowing. This frees us from getting stuck in our own ideas, which often can take us away from God’s will, because let’s face it, our own ideas can be very flawed as well as limited. God sees everything—past, present and future. He is not limited.
One Step at a Time:
There’s also another reason God doesn’t want us to know too much too soon. If we know too quickly, we might get overwhelmed and give up because it seems too hard. We might know where we’ll end up, but we won’t necessarily know how. And, this not knowing how would cause us to have all kinds of anxious and worried thoughts. Nobody can do their best work under stress. God doesn’t ask us to take a step that is five miles up the road. Each step of this step-by-step approach is made under the daylight of the present moment. Everyone can take one step at a time.
I tend to overanalyze everything, and overanalyzing causes me to worry and even become paralyzed. Taking action erases a lot of these worries because the act of doing something takes on a life of its own. I concentrate on the task at hand, not the results that will come later. Worry about future results usually happens before I ever take an action to complete something. Taking actions regularly is a way of living in the moment and often deletes some of the fears of the future and regrets of the past.
This song is such an accurate representation of how simple and how amazing God’s love is. “Leave all of your troubles, leave all of your sorrow, set down your burdens, come on and follow”. It’s as simple as that. Let go of the negative and trust in the Lord with your whole heart–the best advice a song could give.
Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the joyful, abundant life that is through You. Guide us according to Your will, and help me become a servant whose life is a worthy example to others. Give me courage, Father, to claim the spiritual riches that You have promised, and show me Your plan for my life, today and forever. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Resources for Exploring your Faith
While Desert Cross is in a time of transition in our youth ministry programming, you’ll find a list of resources below. We hope you find these tools helpful as you explore your faith. Stay tuned for the exciting future phase of youth ministry at Desert Cross!
Faith Lens: Faith Lens is a weekly blog from the ELCA, our parent church. Each topic connects the weekly lesson from worship to a current event–something in the news, music, sports, etc. You can sign up to receive the weekly lesson via email. Check it out below.
Bible Project: You’ve seen videos from the Bible Project on our Youth Playlists in the past. Below you’ll find a link to their website. It has lots of videos, a podcast, and Bible studies to explore. If you’re interested in a particular topic or Bible story, use the search bar.
Lutheran Campus Ministry: Are you interested in reading stories from students at our local Lutheran Campus Ministry at ASU? Use the link below to read about faith in the lives of other students.
Student Devos: Maybe you’d like to read a daily devotion written for students. Check out Student Devos using the link below. It’s a great way to start your day!
Chad Diegle, Director of Youth Ministries
1. the place where one lives permanently, especially as a member of a family or household.
The word “home” has a lot of clever little sayings around it . . .
“Home is where the heart is”
“Home isn’t a place, it’s a feeling”
“There is no place like home”
. . . and my favorite “Home is where you’re loved the most and act the worst”
Although I find some truth in these cute little quotes about Home, I am fairly certain that God has an even larger idea as to what Home actually is. Let’s explore some ways we might discover Home to be much more than the walls around us.
Home/House in the Bible
The rain fell, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on rock.
And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not act on them will be like a foolish man who built his house on sand.
And as he sat at dinner in the house, many tax collectors and sinners came and were sitting with him and his disciples
He said to them, “Why were you searching for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?”
In my Father’s house there are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you?
2 Corinthians 5:1-10
1-5 For instance, we know that when these bodies of ours are taken down like tents and folded away, they will be replaced by resurrection bodies in heaven—God-made, not handmade—and we’ll never have to relocate our “tents” again. Sometimes we can hardly wait to move—and so we cry out in frustration. Compared to what’s coming, living conditions around here seem like a stopover in an unfurnished shack, and we’re tired of it! We’ve been given a glimpse of the real thing, our true home, our resurrection bodies! The Spirit of God whets our appetite by giving us a taste of what’s ahead. He puts a little of heaven in our hearts so that we’ll never settle for less.
6-8 That’s why we live with such good cheer. You won’t see us drooping our heads or dragging our feet! Cramped conditions here don’t get us down. They only remind us of the spacious living conditions ahead. It’s what we trust in but don’t yet see that keeps us going. Do you suppose a few ruts in the road or rocks in the path are going to stop us? When the time comes, we’ll be plenty ready to exchange exile for homecoming.
9-10 But neither exile nor homecoming is the main thing. Cheerfully pleasing God is the main thing, and that’s what we aim to do, regardless of our conditions. Sooner or later we’ll all have to face God, regardless of our conditions. We will appear before Christ and take what’s coming to us as a result of our actions, either good or bad.
- Where do you call home? How long did it take you to feel that it is home?
- What are three things you think make your house a home?
- If your house were to be destroyed by fire, what would you want to get out before? Why did you choose those items?
- If your family decided to move states, how long would it take to feel at “home” in your new environment?
- Would you say people feel welcome in your home? Why/Why not?
- In some ways our body is a home for our being. How well do you take care of your body/home?
- People say, “home is where the heart is”–do you agree with that? Why or why not?
- Who in your life seems to have their “home” in order? What does that look like?
- How often do you think of the church as being your home? Why is that?
- Walk around the inside of your house. What five items would offer someone an idea of who your family is.
- Think of a home that you have visited (friend, grandparent, aunt/uncle, etc.) where they made you feel very welcome. Send them a message thanking them and letting them know what it was that made you feel at home there.
- Think about what kind of a home God would want us to offer others. Would people be excited to visit? Would there be food? How would you greet people differently? This next week, write down two ways that you think your home could become more like what God would want for us. Put your ideas in a place for your whole family to see.
- Talk with God. Invite God to dwell with you in your home. Picture God’s presence in each room of your house. Ask God to help you to see new ways to enjoy your home and to help others feel at home with you.
Check out this beautiful song by Philip Philips. I’m not a big music guy, but this song is really good. That is a fact, not an opinion =)
Classic! Check out E.T. and his effort to let us know he wants to return home.
Nothing reminds us of how important our “home” is like soldiers coming home. Notice that they don’t hug the walls, couches, silverware, or their cars.
Jesus, thank you for my home. Thank you for giving me others around me that love and accept me. Thank you for accepting me into your home and treating me like family. Please guide me as I look to make others feel at home near me. Give me the courage to grow my home in order that I can better see how you want us to live. Remind me, when I feel alone, that your home is always open, and give me the strength to dwell with you there. Amen.
Chad Diegle, Director of Youth Ministries
Trust is the glue of life. It’s the most essential ingredient in effective communication. It’s the foundational principle that holds all relationships.
We’re never so vulnerable than when we trust someone – but paradoxically, if we cannot trust, neither can we find love or joy.
A lot has been said about this five-letter word. Trust is a term that applies to all of us and is something that we will work on for our entire lives. We are asked to trust constantly! Think about it for a second. We are asked to trust our parents, teachers, friends, other drivers on the road, our cars, our government, T.V., our food, our doctors, reporters, our grandparents, the chair you’re sitting in right now, our health, everything! One thing that I didn’t list might just be the most difficult of them all…God.
Why is trusting God so difficult? How can we build trust in something that we can’t see, taste, touch, or smell? Why should we trust God in the first place? Where do I start? These are questions that most of us ask ourselves, but we often don’t seek out solid answers to the questions. Let’s spend some time seeking a better understanding of this valuable word, trust.
Trust in the Bible
And those who know your name put their trust in you, for you, O Lord, have not forsaken those who seek you.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own insight. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.
2 Timothy 1:12
and for this reason I suffer as I do. But I am not ashamed, for I know the one in whom I have put my trust, and I am sure that he is able to guard until that day what I have entrusted to him.
And again, “I will put my trust in him.” And again, “Here am I and the children whom God has given me.”
1 Peter 1:21
Through him you have come to trust in God, who raised him from the dead and gave him glory, so that your faith and hope are set on God.
The words trust, trusted, and trustworthy appear 198 times in the Bible. Trust appears to be a recurring theme as it relates to our relationship with others and with God.
- Who do you have the MOST trust in? Why did you name that person?
- What are three main ingredients to building trust?
- How is trusting others important in your life?
- Are you a person that others can trust? Why or why not?
- Who is one person in your life that you need to build trust with? Why?
- Think about a person that has lost your trust, how did they lose it?
- Why is trust so hard to build and so easy to lose?
- On a scale of 1–10 (1 being basically none and 10 being absolute trust) how much do you trust God?
- If trust comes through relationship (giving and receiving), how might you grow in your trust with God? What steps can you take to build your trust?
- Make a list of all of the things that a person needs to build trust in someone. Once you have that list, ask yourself which two or three things you need to work on to offer and receive more or deeper trust. Write the two or three things on a Post-It Note and put it on your bathroom mirror to remind yourself.
- Identify the person who you trust in your life the most. After you have them in mind, reach out to them and thank them for modeling what it takes to be trustworthy! You might write them a note, send them a text, call them, tell them in person, etc.
- Think about three people that you need to build trust with. Once you have them in mind, come up with a plan to begin that journey of growing in trust with them. I would suggest that you be bold! Let them know how and why you lost trust in them, and more importantly, let them know you care enough about them to work on rebuilding that trust with them.
- Talk with God. I know that you are aware of what it takes to build a relationship of trust. You know that time together, sharing details of our lives, sharing fears and joys, sharing laughter and sadness are all major components of building trust. Begin talking with God to start this journey of a trusting relationship. Keep in mind that God’s voice may not often be heard, but God is laughing, crying, celebrating, and present with and for you as you spend time together.
Sometimes we are willing to trust but are misguided on how to do it. Check this little video out.
Trusting our path can be scary and force us to have faith that we will be okay. This scene (Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade) has been a great image for me as I struggle with trust.
Quick video on understanding and building trust in God.
Jesus, thank you for modeling trust in your relationships with your disciples and with me. Thank you for giving us the gift of trust so that we might find greater depth, joy, and love with others and with you. I need some help when it comes to growing my trust with others and most importantly with you. I ask that you guide me in this process. Give me the courage when I doubt. Give me the assurance when I have taken a leap of faith. Provide me with opportunities to repair trust that is lost. And bless me with the strength to trust in you more. Thanks in advance! Amen.
Chad Diegle, Director of Youth Ministries
Serve…service…serving. This might be one of the most important words! It is important, not only in Christianity and other religions, but for all humankind. Stop for a minute and ask yourself these questions:
“Who do I serve?”
“What do I serve?”
If you are anything like me, those answers change sometimes. I serve my family. I serve myself. I serve God . . . sometimes. I serve youth (at church and soccer). I serve my television. I serve my friends. I serve my Jeep Wrangler. I serve strangers . . . sometimes. I will say that the one constant is that I am self-serving way too often. Let’s take some time to look at that amazing, powerful word: serve. The Bible has much to say about it, but so do people today!
Serve in the Bible
For the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many.
If you will only heed his every commandment that I am commanding you today—loving the Lord your God, and serving him with all your heart and with all your soul.
No one can serve two masters; for a slave will either hate the one and love the other, or be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.
For God is not unjust; he will not overlook your work and the love that you showed for his sake in serving the saints, as you still do.
Just as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many.
Jesus answered him, “It is written, ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve only him.’”
For who is greater, the one who is at the table or the one who serves? Is it not the one at the table? But I am among you as one who serves.
But get up and stand on your feet; for I have appeared to you for this purpose, to appoint you to serve and testify to the things in which you have seen me and to those in which I will appear to you.
Okay, I think these versus make the point. If you are curious, the word SERVE/SERVED appears 300 times in the Bible. After reading these verses, it is clear that serving others and serving God is a central theme.
This is an article listing 100 ways to serve others. They are simple, but might spark some ideas that you can do.
- Why do you think SERVE is mentioned so much (over 300 times) in the Bible?
- Think about what our world might look like if every human spent one hour a day serving others. How would our world be different?
- Why does serving others seem difficult?
- What are the benefits of serving people in need?
- What is one thing in my life that I serve that I need to quit serving?
- We all know that we need to serve ourselves (eating right, sleeping, exercising, etc.), but how much is too much? When does it become out of balance?
- How are you currently serving God? What does that look like? Are you serving God the “right amount” in your view?
- How do you treat those who serve you? Think about friends, family, wait staff, teachers, etc.
- Have you ever served someone and had a great feeling about yourself? Is it okay to serve others and feel good about it???
- Make a written list of as many people as possible who have served in your life.
- Identify the person who has served in your life the most. After you have them in mind, reach out to them and thank them for all they have done for you! You might write them a note, send them a text, call them, tell them in person, etc.
- Think about five things or people that you serve in unhealthy ways. Maybe you idolize people that are not great influences. Maybe you serve your cell phone or PlayStation. Now that you have identified them, how can you change or stop serving them?
- Offer yourself, your skills, your time, or your money to a person that could use your service this month. Maybe you have a friend who needs you to listen to them. Maybe your parents could use a night out and you could offer to watch your younger siblings. Maybe you could write thank you notes to your teachers at school or a coach. You get the idea . . . now make it happen!
This video is near to my heart. I watched Anquan Boldin play for the Arizona Cardinals for years. I took my young boys to meet him a couple times at training camp or fan events. His words and sincerity in this video are pretty spot on. Enjoy.
This is a cool video that demonstrates that serving others is not a “religious” idea, but God’s very design for humans. Serving is a universal truth.
Here he is again! Kid President has some great advice for how to serve others.
Jesus, thank you for coming to serve others. Your example of offering your time, skills, listening ears, embrace, and life for others is my reminder of how I was created to live. Please offer me the courage and strength to live a life of service to others. Give me the vision to see the needs in our world and the people around me to encourage and support me on my journey. Thank you for everyone in my life who has served me, and help me to thank them in special ways. Amen.
Chad Diegle, Director of Youth Ministries
Welcome to my home. You are welcome to stay here. I was given a warm welcome. I welcome people asking me tough questions. Welcome can be a noun, verb, or an adjective!!!
Take a moment to think about a person who makes you feel welcomed. It might be a friend, family member, teacher, coach, or someone else altogether. Now ask yourself, how do you welcome others around you?
When I ask myself who makes me feel welcome, I often think of my mom. Not only does she welcome me, but she has an amazing ability to welcome others . . . even strangers. As a kid growing up, my mom would always invite people without families over for Thanksgiving. She also invited a kid from our church, who had a really dysfunctional family, to live with us for a few years, and we eventually became his foster family. Now 30 years later, she still includes him in family events. My mom also welcomes people as they are, which is pretty difficult to do. She doesn’t expect people to change in order for her to continue her kindness. Pretty cool.
When I picture my own ability to be welcoming to others, I am both proud and embarrassed. I am proud that I have an ability to make others feel welcomed here at church. When new students arrive here at church, I make sure to give them a warm greeting, help them to relax, ask them questions, introduce them to others, answer their questions, and make good eye contact. What embarrasses me as I reflect on my welcoming of others is that I sometimes forget to follow up with them about things going on in their lives (birthdays, illnesses, family issues, etc.). I have some work to do when I think about my own ability to welcome others.
Welcome in the Bible
If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, shake off the dust from your feet as you leave that house or town.
Whoever welcomes you welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me.
I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not give me clothing, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.
And the Pharisees and the scribes were grumbling and saying, “This fellow welcomes sinners and eats with them.”
Welcome those who are weak in faith, but not for the purpose of quarreling over opinions.
Apparently, the word “welcome” is a pretty important word in the Bible. It shows up 64 times!
- Try to use the word “welcome” as an adjective, noun, and verb.
- Think of one person in your life who has always been welcoming to you. Now, think of a way that you can thank them for that gift! It might be telling them, or writing a thank you note, or returning the favor to them directly.
- Take the letters W E L C O M E and come up with one word for each letter that is a way to demonstrate welcoming others.
Example: W is for walk. You might walk with them through difficult times.
- Come up with as many words as you can that are similar to welcome.
- Why is it important to be welcoming to others?
- What am I good at when it comes to welcoming people?
- What am I not so good at when it comes to welcoming people?
- Why does Jesus say, “Whoever welcomes you welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me.”?
- How does our church welcome others? What can we do to be better at welcoming others?
- How do you think LGBTQ+, minorities, police officers, etc. feel they are welcomed by the church or society?
- What can you do to make those who feel like outsiders feel welcomed at school?
Yep, this is a Star Wars clip. It demonstrates how poorly we sometimes show “welcoming” to others. Watch until the 2:40 minute mark.
If you haven’t already seen this kid, he’s adorable. Watch this clip and take some notes on his way of showing “welcoming” to people around him.
This is a great couple minutes of good advice.
This is an 8-minute clip discussing the decline of participation in churches across America. How do you think we can combat this trend among churches? What is your role in creating change?
Jesus, thank you for welcoming me. Thank you for sending me so many people in my life who have modeled welcoming for me. Know that I am sorry for not being more welcoming, but also know that I am open to being better at it! Please continue to inspire me, shape me, and guide my life to being a welcoming one for others. Amen.