Youth Playlists

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.


September Playlist

Welcome

Chad Diegle, Director of Youth Ministries

9/1/21

Introduction

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?

Chad’s Reflections:
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

READ:

Matthew 10:14
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.

Matthew 10:40
Whoever welcomes you welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me.

Matthew 25:43
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.

Luke 15:2
And the Pharisees and the scribes were grumbling and saying, “This fellow welcomes sinners and eats with them.”

Romans 14:1
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!

Exploring Welcome

DO:

  1. Try to use the word “welcome” as an adjective, noun, and verb.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.  
  4. Come up with as many words as you can that are similar to welcome.
    Example: Hospitality    

ASK: 

  1. Why is it important to be welcoming to others?
  2. What am I good at when it comes to welcoming people?
  3. What am I not so good at when it comes to welcoming people?
  4. Why does Jesus say, “Whoever welcomes you welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me.”?  
  5. How does our church welcome others?  What can we do to be better at welcoming others?
  6. How do you think LGBTQ+, minorities, police officers, etc. feel they are welcomed by the church or society?
  7. What can you do to make those who feel like outsiders feel welcomed at school?

WATCH:

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?

PRAY:
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.


May Playlist

Love

Chad Diegle, Director of Youth Ministries

5/1/21

Parent Section

I found this article, and I really enjoyed it…maybe even loved it =).  Please give it a read and think about ways that you and your family might adopt an outward behavior towards loving others!  If the article sounds familiar, that means you likely read it on the Stories of Joy blog that Desert Cross sends out…good job!  Enjoy!

I Love You

Student Section

The Four Loves

You probably already realize the word “love” seems to have different meanings for different situations.  Well, that is completely true!  It really does have different meanings.  Ancient Greeks used different words to describe the different types of love; however, we use one word for their four!  It is no wonder why the word “love” can be confusing!!!  The author, C.S. Lewis, discusses these distinctions in a book he wrote in 1960, The Four Loves.

The Four Loves

  • Storge – empathy bond
  • Philia – friend bond
  • Eros – romantic love
  • Agape – unconditional “God” love

This site explains the details and history.

The Four Loves

Love in the Bible

READ:

1 Corinthians 13:4-7

Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

Romans 12:10

Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor.

Matthew 22:36-40

“Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”

1 John 4:7

Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God.

1 Corinthians 13:13

So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

Colossians 3:14

And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.

John 3:16

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.

1 Corinthians 13:4-8

Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away.

John 15:13

Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.

DO:

  1. Join a meeting this week (High School Night or Jr High Night).
  2. Using the list of Bible verses above and the Greek meanings (Storge, Philia, Eros, Agape), try to label each type of love you see in the above verses.  What type of love had the most examples?
  3. Try to put the list of the four loves in order of importance.  What did you come up with?
  4. Think about all of the people who love you (parents, siblings, extended family, friends, teachers, leaders, first responders, doctors, etc.).  How do you love them back? 
  5. Make a list of all of the ways that you can show people your love for them.  Put the list somewhere in your room and try to put them into action in your life.    

ASK:

  1. What type of love do you most cherish? 
  2. Who has been the single best example of love in your life?
  3. Have you ever loved someone that you barely knew?
  4. What is the easiest way that you show love to others?
  5. Do you feel God’s love for you?  If so, how do you feel God’s love? 
  6. Can people love their enemies?  What would that look like?

WATCH:

This might just be the cutest thing you’ll ever see.  Watch this video of photographs of a bunch of mostly old people being the best examples of love…try not to get a little choked up. 

Our friends at The Bible Project have a great video explaining Agape from the Bible.    Check it out.

This video is a cool look behind the scenes at the friendship and love between our friends in Star Wars. 😉

Star Wars Friendships

PRAY:

God of love, we thank you for your countless examples of the many ways that you love us.  We ask that we might be reminded of your love for us in everything we do.  We thank you for this amazing gift and hope that we might be a model of your love for others.
– Amen


April Playlist

Peace

Chad Diegle, Director of Youth Ministries

4/1/21

Parent Section

Parents, I found this social statement on the ELCA’s website and thought that you might enjoy reading it.  The statement is very exhaustive.  I encourage you to discuss some of your findings in the statement with your teen/s.

ELCA

Student Section

Definitions of Peace

The word PEACE has a few meanings in our language, and I believe that both meanings are worthy of our understanding.  Check out a few of these definitions before we dive into the roles of peace in our lives. 

-Peace: freedom from disturbance; tranquility.

-Peace: a state or period in which there is no war or a war has ended.

-Inner peace: refers to a state of being mentally and spiritually at peace, with enough knowledge and understanding to keep oneself strong in the face of discord or stress. Being “at peace” is considered by many to be healthy and the opposite of being stressed or anxious.

-Peace is a time without any fights or wars. In a larger sense, peace (or peacefulness) can mean a state of harmony, quiet or calm that is not disturbed by anything at all, like a still pond with no ripples. Many people and organizations want peace.

Peace in the Bible

Read:

John 16:33
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

Psalm 4:8
In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, Lord, make me dwell in safety.

Psalm 34:14
Turn from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it.

Acts 10:36
You know the message God sent to the people of Israel, announcing the good news of peace through Jesus Christ, who is Lord of all.

1 Corinthians 14:33
For God is not a God of disorder but of peace—as in all the congregations of the Lord’s people.

2 Corinthians 13:11
Finally, brothers and sisters, rejoice! Strive for full restoration, encourage one another, be of one mind, live in peace. And the God of love and peace will be with you.

Galatians 5:22-23
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.

DO:

  1. Join a meeting this week (High School Night or Jr High Night)
  2. List all of the words that are the opposite of peace.
  3. Come up with a list of your stresses or anxieties.  Spend time thinking about each one and ask yourself what role you can play in bringing peace to the situation.
  4. Ask a friend or family member about one thing that is bringing them stress or anxiety.  Do what you can to lessen their stress or even fix their issue. 
  5. Put your list of stresses and anxieties in a place that you will see often.  Every time you see it, ask God to bring peace to each item. 

ASK:

  1. How do I bring peace to my friends or family?  How do I bring stress to them?
  2. On a scale of 1 to 10 (10 is totally peaceful) pick the level of peace in the world.  In our country. In your school.  In your home.  In your friendships.  In your life.
  3. What action can you take today to bring peace to your life?
  4. Where does peace come from?
  5. Can war bring peace?
  6. Does prayer and meditation help you to feel at peace? 
  7. Can people share peace with others if they are not at peace with themselves?

WATCH:

This is a 3 ½ minute video on Peace put out by our friends at The Bible Project.  It is an excellent look at the meaning and history of peace in the Bible.  Check it out here:

Bible Project

This is the cutest little kid singing about Peace in Christ.  Check it out:

Oh, you need some Star Wars?  Well, I get it.  In this clip, you will see celebration!  Peace has come to the galaxy and ALL types of people (aliens) are together and joyous.  Luke, even when burning Darth Vader’s body, was at peace.  Please disregard the crude visual of the music being played using the helmets of dead storm troopers.  Ewoks didn’t mean to belittle their enemies, their helmets just made a nice celebratory steel drum sound. 😉 

Pray

God of Peace, thank you for offering us this precious gift of peace.  Thank you for the people in my life who model peace and offer it to me.  Help me to be a vessel of peace to those around me and to the world.  When I am not at peace, please help me to find it in you. – Amen


March Playlist

Cross

Chad Diegle, Director of Youth Ministries

3/1/21

Parent Section

Though this article is a bit much for our youth, I invite you to give it a read.  This article is a great reminder of our Lutheran heritage and the power in our unique understanding of the Cross.

Theology of the Cross

Please notice that I have attached a link in this Playlist to a PowerPoint on the Stations of the Cross for our youth.  I invite you to take a look at it with your teen and spend some time, maybe one slide per day, working your way through it together.

Student Section

History of the Cross

This is simply an overview of the cross and its history in our faith.  Take a quick look at the explanation and some of the images.  Wiki won’t dive in like we will, but it’s a start.

History of the Cross

The Cross in the Bible

Each of the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John) have the story of Jesus and his crucifixion.  Spend some time reading the stories and find some of the similarities and differences.  As you read them, think about the fear that not only Jesus must have felt, but also his friends and disciples.  I can’t fathom watching my friend on a cross!

READ:

Matthew 26:47 – 27:55

Matthew

Mark 14:43 – 15:41

Mark

Luke 22:47 – 23:43

Luke

John 18 – 19:37

John

DO:

  1. Join a meeting this week (High School Night or Jr High Night)
  2. Check out this PowerPoint of the Stations of the Cross.  Our Catholic friends developed this years ago, and it serves as an amazing reminder of Jesus’ journey towards the cross.  If you looked at the parent section above, you’ll see that they were invited to read this with you.
    Stations of the Cross
  3. Take 10 pictures of crosses (all kinds of crosses!) this month.  Share them with us next time we are on Zoom together!

ASK:

***Several of the following questions are very difficult and dark. I want to challenge your thinking and understanding of the power of the cross and its meaning for us, but please don’t feel you have to answer any that you would rather skip. 

  1. If you had to be punished with death, what is the LAST way you would want to be executed?  How does your idea compare to being crucified? 
  2. How does Jesus find the strength to face the cross and go through with his execution?
  3. If someone asked you to die for another person in order to save them, could you do it? Why/why not?
  4. Have you ever thought about why Christians still use the cross as a reminder?  What if Jesus died in an electric chair,  by hanging, or by lethal injection?
  5. The cross is a dark reminder of pain and punishment, but how has Jesus made it a sign of hope?
  6. When you see the cross on a Bible, at a church, on a building, as a necklace, as a tattoo, what do you think about?
  7. The cross is everywhere!  How often do you see crosses that aren’t meant to be a symbol of Jesus?  (For example, the compass on a map, windows on a building, streets that cross each other.)
  8. Jesus talks about us needing to “pick up our cross and follow him” (Matthew 16:23-25).  What do you think he means by asking us this?

WATCH:

This is a terrific explanation from our friends at The Bible Project of Jesus’ crucifixion.  For those of you that didn’t actually do the reading that is listed above, here is your cheat sheet  =)

Bible Project

I know that Jesus was scared as he approached this moment in his life.  He trusted God, but fear is human.  Check out what this wise old green dude has to say about fear.

The cross is a symbol of great change for followers of Jesus.  The cross led to lives of his followers being changed by losing their friend and leader, the church changed in that we were given the Holy Spirit to guide us after Jesus left the earth, and individuals to this day experience amazing change in our lives because of the cross that Jesus died on.  Here is a little movie clip that gives an example of a different kind of cross, but one that also symbolizes change for a man.

PRAY:

God, I cannot fathom what it must have been like for you to allow your son to die on a cross.  I am still learning exactly what that means for me.  Help me to understand how that sad moment resulted in a gift of hope for the world and for me.  Thank you for this gift and for the love you have for each of us.  Give me the strength to boldly show this love to others. Amen.


February Playlist

Mercy

Chad Diegle, Director of Youth Ministries

2/1/21

Parent Section

This well written article, by Rev. Peter Marty, is a fantastic lesson on mercy.  I offer it to you parents, as I am not convinced that our teens will read it, but it is very well done.  Give it a look and spend some time this month thinking of ways that we might teach our youth about growing in our commitment to offering mercy.

Mercy–Living Lutheran

Student Section

Defining Mercy

Mercy Defined in the Dictionary
Mercy is compassion or forgiveness shown toward someone whom it is within one’s power to punish or harm.

Abraham Lincoln’s (1865) thoughts on mercy
I have always found that mercy bears richer fruits than strict justice.

Mercy in the Bible

Mercy is found throughout the Bible.  God has led by example in showing the importance of offering mercy.  Check out these verses to better understand its importance.

2 Samuel 24:14
David said to Gad, “I am in deep distress. Let us fall into the hands of the Lord, for his mercy is great; but do not let me fall into human hands.”

Psalm 28:2
Hear my cry for mercy as I call to you for help, as I lift up my hands toward your Most Holy Place.

Isaiah 55:7
Let the wicked forsake their ways and the unrighteous their thoughts. Let them turn to the Lord, and he will have mercy on them, and to our God, for he will freely pardon.

Daniel 9:18
Give ear, our God, and hear; open your eyes and see the desolation of the city that bears your Name. We do not make requests of you because we are righteous, but because of your great mercy.

Zechariah 7:9
“This is what the Lord Almighty said: ‘Administer true justice; show mercy and compassion to one another.

Matthew 5:7
Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.

Romans 9:16
It does not, therefore, depend on human desire or effort, but on God’s mercy.

1 Timothy 1:13
Even though I was once a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent man, I was shown mercy because I acted in ignorance and unbelief.

As it is will many of our topics, mercy is found in dozens of places throughout the Bible.  Here is a link to ALL of them.  Check them out!  Pick your favorite and memorize it.  If you can quote it to me the next time we meet, I’ll send you a gift card. =)

Mercy in the Bible

DO

  1. Join a meeting this week (High School Night or Jr High Night)
  2. Think about a person who you have beef with.  Maybe they teased you, left you out, gossiped about you, etc.  Pray for that person.  Pray that you would have the strength to show them mercy.  Then ACT on it!  Do something kind for them, or reach out and offer forgiveness.  I know this is a big ask, but read the quote from Abraham Lincoln again and trust that God shows us mercy and also asks us to show mercy to others.  You won’t be disappointed.
  3. Watch Star Wars. All of them.

ASK

  1. How would you describe “mercy” to a child?
  2. When was a time that someone showed you mercy?  How did that affect you?
  3. When was a time that you showed someone mercy?  How did that make you feel?
  4. What is one of the best examples of mercy you can think of?  Was it from a movie, real life, a story?  Why do you think that example stayed with you?
  5. Who is someone that needs mercy from you?  How could you offer them that gift?
  6. Why do you think God has made mercy so important?
  7. Why is mercy so difficult to offer?
  8. How is mercy different than compassion?

WATCH

This is a beautiful example of compassion leading to the act of showing mercy.  Watch this historical figure, Harriet Tubman, as she helps to free over 300 slaves.

You better believe that is a Star Wars clip.  This video shows Darth Vader dig really deep into his heart and find some mercy on his son, Luke.  If you haven’t seen the movies, you’re weird, but you should know that Darth has been a really bad dude for a really long time.  Saving Luke is a monumental display of mercy.  Don’t get too caught up on the fact that he chucks the Emperor over that railing…it needed to happen.

READ

This is an account of a war story from World War II.  It is short but extremely powerful.

Mercy–WW II

PRAY

Lord of Mercy, I thank you for showing mercy to me.  Help me to cherish your gift and to offer it to others freely.  Help me to grow in strength, because I know giving mercy is not easy.  Open my eyes to see the moments when I can offer mercy, and the courage to give it.  Amen.


January Playlist

Baptism

Chad Diegle, Director of Youth Ministries

1/1/21

Parent Section

Parents, at some point during this month I invite you to remember your son’s and/or daughter’s baptism.  It might be fun for your child to hear of that day, what church, who was the pastor, what family members attended, how you felt, why it was important for you as a parent, and what your hopes are/were with that act.  I invite you to light their baptismal candle, or any candle, and celebrate that day with your child.  I know some youth might not invite this kind of discussion, but any attempt by you is a great act.  Go for it, they already think we are dorks. =)

Student Section

Lutheran Beliefs

ELCA congregations practice open communion, where any baptized Christian is welcome. Baptism is seen as a gift of God freely given for all, not just to those who have made a decision to accept Christ. Therefore, babies are baptized as soon as possible.

What Lutherans Believe

Baptism in the Bible

Check out a couple of these verses!  Some great stuff on baptism and its connection to Christ.

Matthew 3:13-17

13 Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to be baptized by John. 14 But John tried to deter him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?” 15 Jesus replied, “Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness.” Then John consented. 16 As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him. 17 And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.”

Mark 1:9-11

In those days Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. 10 And when he came up out of the water, immediately he saw the heavens being torn open and the Spirit descending on him like a dove. 11 And a voice came from heaven, “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.”

Luke 3:21-22

21 Now it came to pass, when all the people were baptized, that, Jesus also having been baptized, and praying, the heaven was opened, 22 and the Holy Spirit descended in a bodily form, as a dove, upon him, and a voice came out of heaven, Thou art my beloved Son; in thee I am well pleased.

John 1:29-34

29 The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world. 30 He is the one of whom I said, ‘A man is coming after me who ranks ahead of me because he existed before me.’ 31 I did not know him, but the reason why I came baptizing with water was that he might be made known to Israel.” 32 John testified further, saying, “I saw the Spirit come down like a dove from the sky and remain upon him. 33 I did not know him, but the one who sent me to baptize with water told me, ‘On whomever you see the Spirit come down and remain, he is the one who will baptize with the holy Spirit.’ 34 Now I have seen and testified that he is the Son of God.”

There are tons of other verses where God uses water to clean, wash, renew, quench thirst, rescue, etc.! Check out more here:

Bible Verses about Water

DO:

  1. Join a meeting this week (High School Night or Jr High Night)
  2. Next time you are taking a shower or bath (yes, even if it is your first this week) spend a minute feeling the water wash over you.  Give God a little time and remember that you are thankful for God’s love and acceptance.

ASK:

  1. How old were you when you were baptized?  What church and city were you in? Do you know the date you were baptized?
  2. Why did your parents choose to have you baptized?  Ask them if you don’t know the answer.
  3. When you watch a baptism, what comes to mind?  What do you remember about the service or the words that are spoken? 
  4. List all of the times that you can remember “water” being used by God in the Bible. (i.e., Noah and the flood and Jesus’ baptism).  How many did you come up with?  Now cheat and check online for even more!
  5. Why do you think some churches baptize infants/children and others only baptize adults?
  6. How do you feel knowing that you are a member of God’s family and the church?
  7. Serious question alert – What are your thoughts on if a person dies and hasn’t been baptized?  Do you believe God still considers them a part of his family?  Why/why not? 

WATCH:

This clip is from a movie titled Oh Brother, Where Art Thou.  This scene is simply terrific, and the music is stunning.

Here is another great video from the Bible Project Team.  It does a nice job of covering the baptism of Jesus.

The Bible Project

Yes, even Star Wars has some great water scenes, and if you look for symbolism you’ll find it. Also, I just had to sneak in some Star Wars.

READ:

Luther’s Small Catechism and his teachings on Baptism

Luther’s Small Cathechism

PRAY:

Lord, thank you for claiming me in my baptism.  Help me to trust that your waters have washed my sin away.  Remind me that in my baptism I was claimed by you and your church.  Help me to see water differently from now on.  Your water is life giving, your love is bigger than I can understand, your forgiveness is complete.  Guide me as I journey among your family so that I might share your love with others. Amen.


December Playlist

Joy

Chad Diegle, Director of Youth Ministries

12/1/20

Parent Section

Parents, I would like to challenge you with something this month.  If you would, please do one or both of the following ideas. 1) Once a week, sit in your child’s room and tell them something about them that brings you joy.  This can be ways that they bring you joy, but it doesn’t have to be.  Maybe you just tell them ways that work, family, faith, friends, God, or memories bring joy to your life.  2) Write a letter to your child and tell them the ways that they bring joy to your life. Maybe you give this letter to them on Christmas morning.

Student Section

Joy in the Bible

Check out a couple of these verses!  Some great stuff on joy and its connection to Christ.

Matthew 13:44

“The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field.

Matthew 28:8

So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples.

Luke 1:14

He will be a joy and delight to you, and many will rejoice because of his birth,

2 Corinthians 8:2

In the midst of a very severe trial, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity.

1 Peter 1:8

Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy.

There are tons of other verses! Check out more here.

Joy in the Bible

DO: Join a meeting this week.  Make a list of things that bring you Joy in life.

ASK:

  1. When was the last time you felt Joy?  Where were you? What caused that feeling?
  2. Do you know someone that always seems to be filled with Joy?  Who are they? Why or what causes that in them?
  3. If you lost something/someone that brings Joy in your life, would you still be able to have Joy? 
  4. What is your best description of the difference between happiness and Joy?
  5. What could rob you of Joy in life?
  6. Why do you think Joy is often a word used around Christmas? 

WATCH:

The Bible Project team is at it again, please watch this video for a Biblical perspective of joy.

No, I didn’t cry when I watched this one!  Shut up!  Okay, so I love sports.  More than sports, I love watching humans be great to one another.  I find some of my deepest joy in life comes from seeing the beauty of the human heart in action by serving others.

Star Wars.  Any of them.  That will bring me joy. =)  Also, check out the movie Simon Birch.  It is a beautiful movie with some of life’s joys…and trials.

READ: This article does a really nice job of describing the difference between happiness and joy.

Difference Between Happiness and Joy

If you would like a further dive into the Bible Project description of Joy, please read this.

Bible Project on Joy

*** I feel it is important to recognize that “Joy” might be a tough subject for anyone battling with grief, depression, anxiety, or any number of physical, emotional, or psychological conditions.  Though I know that we have a God that provides joy, it may not always feel like you were included in receiving this gift.  I am including an article that I just read.  Please know that the article is simply written by a human that has struggled with similar trials, and these are some ideas that she found helpful for her.

Joy in the Midst of Depression

PRAY: God of Joy, thank you for creating us to feel the joy of this world.  This earth is stunning, your people are capable of such beauty, your animals are mesmerizing, and the gift of being able to experience it is a gift that I cannot repay.  Your love for me and the joy it brings me does not go unnoticed, so please forgive me when I forget to thank you.  Guide me in my journey of joy, help me to see and understand more of your creation, and connect me to people that shine your joy on this earth.  Amen.


November Playlist

Hope

Chad Diegle, Director of Youth Ministries

11/1/20

Hope vs. Wish

Hope is an optimistic state of mind that is based on an expectation of positive outcomes with respect to events and circumstances in one’s life or the world at large. As a verb, its definitions include: “expect with confidence” and “to cherish a desire with anticipation.

Wikipedia–Hope

DO: Join a meeting this week

ASK: Think about or discuss these questions with your family/friends.

  • If you had to describe the differences between “wish” and “hope” how would you do that?
  • If we hope for something, it also means that we don’t have it yet.  Do you believe that you will actually receive or get the things you hope for?  Why?
  • What are three things that you hope for?
  • What are things that you have hoped for that actually happened?
  • Have you ever put your hope into something that you shouldn’t have? What was it? Why was that a regret?

WATCH: Please watch this shameless Star Wars clip.  Yes, I love Star Wars.  Yes, this clip has something to do with hope.  As I watched the clip, it reminded me that hope is what has fueled many of the world’s wars throughout history.  People have gone to war for the hope of religious freedom, freedom from slavery and oppression, equality and civil rights, and the list goes on.  Some go to war for the opposite reasons, but hope is not their guide.  Power, anger, weaknesses and insecurities are not based in hope, but sadness and greed.  Star Wars has this theme throughout all of the movies, but so does the Bible!  Check it out.

CREATE: Identify a person you know who has provided you with a great example of Hope.  This might be a parent, friend, teacher, coach, or relative.  Think about how you learned something from them about hope.  Once you have that in mind, write them a short thank you letter.  Make sure to thank them for how they inspired you.  Yes…then you should give it to them.

Hope from God

DO: Participate in a meeting.  Tell your brother or sister that you love them.  If you don’t have a brother or sister, tell your parent to give you a sibling…or just tell your parent that you love them.

WATCH: This video about Hope in the Bible is from The Bible Project.

The Bible Project–Hope

READ: Just so you know, the word HOPE is mentioned almost 200 times in the Bible!  Here are a couple verses that you might like.  If you want more, click the link below and simply type in the word Hope.

Bible Gateway–Hope

Romans 5:1-5
1Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we[a] have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we[b] boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we[c] also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.

Romans 8:25 
25 But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.

ASK: Think about or discuss these questions with your family/friends

  • How would a person serving a life sentence in prison still find hope? 
  • Does God still offer hope even when we don’t “feel” it?  Why don’t we feel hope sometimes? 
  • Can we provide hope to other people?  How?
  • What are things that you can do to keep hope?
  • In what ways does having to wait for your hopes to become reality affect you?  Are you impatient?  Do you lose sight of your hopes quickly? 

WATCH: This video is a story of a man sentenced to 35 years in prison for murder.  Finding hope was a struggle, watch to see how he once again found it.

LISTEN: This is a calming and beautiful song.  Check it out.

PRAY: Dear God, thank you for the gift of hope.  I know that you are present in times when I do not feel hope and times when I do.  Help me to not only know that you give me hope, but that I can offer it to others through your love and grace.  Lord, remind me that I can always have hope in you.  Amen


October Playlist

Amazing Grace

Chad Diegle, Director of Youth Ministries

10/1/20

Parent Section

Hey Parents!  This month we will be taking a deeper look at GRACE and the variety of ways we encounter that in our church, home, and world.  Please feel free to check it out, participate along with your student, ask questions, and most importantly, listen to them if they want to discuss things. My hope for this month is that our eyes are opened to the beautiful ways God’s amazing grace is evident in our lives.    Here is a quick little read that I don’t think our teens will appreciate, but maybe you will!  It includes a few tips on bringing Grace into your own life with a few ideas on just how simple it can be.

How to Show Grace to Others

Student Section

PLAYLIST??? What is that??? = The best part of the PLAYLIST is you can choose your own adventure!  You may select the order that you participate in or even choose to skip something altogether.  Have some fun with it and feel free to share your feedback and thoughts with me.  Here are some examples of what you might see…

DO = Something for you to actually participate in.  Most of the time it will be a meeting. Yes, on Zoom for now.

WATCH = Typically a video that you can check out.  Sometimes it will be a clip from a movie or speaker that works with our theme.

ASK = Questions for you to ask yourself or others.  You may want to talk with others or just ponder them alone.  Up to you!

PRAY = A written prayer that you can use, or you might want to just make up your own!

CREATE = This can be a variety of activities that are very open to what or how you might want to express yourself.  It may include writing, drawing, making something, or taking some photos.

Grace–Underserved

John 3:16-17

16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.

LISTEN: “This is Amazing Grace”

DO: Join a meeting this week

ASK: Think about or discuss these questions with your family/friends

  • How would you describe the meaning of grace to a friend?
  • Have you ever deserved punishment but received grace? What happened?
  • What behaviors do you have that make you feel you are not worthy of grace? 

What story, from the Bible, comes to mind when you think about undeserved grace?  Think of one other than Jesus dying on the cross!!! =)

WATCH: This is a really cool short film.  It is a story of a father and son who run a bridge for a train to cross and boats to travel under.  The people on the train are unaware of the brutal decision the dad has to make to keep them safe.  Warning, it is a bit sad.  Click the link below to watch.

  

CREATE: Find a picture online (or draw one!!!) that demonstrates undeserved grace being shown.  Consider sharing it with your family or at our weekly meeting.

Grace–Unmerited

Ephesians 2:8

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God.

DO: Participate in a meeting

READ: “Because I’m Yours” from Finding Freedom through the Intoxicating Joy of Irresistible Grace by Daniel Montgomery and Timothy Paul Jones

I never dreamed that taking a child to Disney World could be so difficult — or that such a trip could teach me so much about God’s outrageous grace.

Our middle daughter had been previously adopted by another family. I [Timothy] am sure this couple had the best of intentions, but they never quite integrated the adopted child into their family of biological children. After a couple of rough years, they dissolved the adoption, and we ended up welcoming an eight-year-old girl into our home.

For one reason or another, whenever our daughter’s previous family vacationed at Disney World, they took their biological children with them, but they left their adopted daughter with a family friend. Usually — at least in the child’s mind — this happened because she did something wrong that precluded her presence on the trip.

And so, by the time we adopted our daughter, she had seen many pictures of Disney World and she had heard about the rides and the characters and the parades. But when it came to passing through the gates of the Magic Kingdom, she had always been the one left on the outside. Once I found out about this history, I made plans to take her to Disney World the next time a speaking engagement took our family to the southeastern United States.

I thought I had mastered the Disney World drill. I knew from previous experiences that the prospect of seeing cast members in freakishly oversized mouse and duck costumes somehow turns children into squirming bundles of emotional instability. What I didn’t expect was that the prospect of visiting this dreamworld would produce a stream of downright devilish behavior in our newest daughter. In the month leading up to our trip to the Magic Kingdom, she stole food when a simple request would have gained her a snack. She lied when it would have been easier to tell the truth. She whispered insults that were carefully crafted to hurt her older sister as deeply as possible — and, as the days on the calendar moved closer to the trip, her mutinies multiplied.

A couple of days before our family headed to Florida, I pulled our daughter into my lap to talk through her latest escapade. “I know what you’re going to do,” she stated flatly. “You’re not going to take me to Disney World, are you?” The thought hadn’t actually crossed my mind, but her downward spiral suddenly started to make some sense. She knew she couldn’t earn her way into the Magic Kingdom — she had tried and failed that test several times before — so she was living in a way that placed her as far as possible from the most magical place on earth.

In retrospect, I’m embarrassed to admit that, in that moment, I was tempted to turn her fear to my own advantage. The easiest response would have been, “If you don’t start behaving better, you’re right, we won’t take you” — but, by God’s grace, I didn’t. Instead, I asked her, “Is this trip something we’re doing as a family?”

She nodded, brown eyes wide and tear-rimmed.

“Are you part of this family?”

She nodded again.

“Then you’re going with us. Sure, there may be some consequences to help you remember what’s right and what’s wrong — but you’re part of our family, and we’re not leaving you behind.”

I’d like to say that her behaviors grew better after that moment. They didn’t. Her choices pretty much spiraled out of control at every hotel and rest stop all the way to Lake Buena Vista. Still, we headed to Disney World on the day we had promised, and it was a typical Disney day. Overpriced tickets, overpriced meals, and lots of lines, mingled with just enough manufactured magic to consider maybe going again someday.

In our hotel room that evening, a very different child emerged. She was exhausted, pensive, and a little weepy at times, but her month-long facade of rebellion had faded. When bedtime rolled around, I prayed with her, held her, and asked, “So how was your first day at Disney World?”

She closed her eyes and snuggled down into her stuffed unicorn. After a few moments, she opened her eyes ever so slightly. “Daddy,” she said, “I finally got to go to Disney World. But it wasn’t because I was good; it’s because I’m yours.”

It wasn’t because I was good; it’s because I’m yours.

That’s the message of outrageous grace.

Outrageous grace isn’t a favor you can achieve by being good; it’s the gift you receive by being God’s. Outrageous grace is God’s goodness that comes looking for you when you have nothing but a middle finger flipped in the face of God to offer in return. It’s a farmer paying a full day’s wages to a crew of deadbeat day laborers with only a single hour punched on their time cards (Matthew 20:1 – 16). It’s a man marrying an abandoned woman and then refusing to forsake his covenant with her when she turns out to be a whore (Ezekiel 16:8 – 63; Hosea 1:1 — 3:5). It’s the insanity of a shepherd who puts ninety-nine sheep at risk to rescue the single lamb that’s too stupid to stay with the flock (Luke 15:1 – 7). It’s the love of a father who hands over his finest rings and robes to a young man who has squandered his inheritance on drunken binges with his fair-weather friends (Luke 15:11 – 32)…It’s one-way love that calls you into the kingdom not because you’ve been good but because God has chosen you and made you his own. And now he is chasing you to the ends of the earth to keep you as his child, and nothing in heaven or hell can ever stop him…

But here’s what’s amazing about God’s outrageous grace: This isn’t merely what God the Father would do; it’s what he did do. God could have chosen to save anyone, everyone, or no one from Adam’s fallen race. But what God did was to choose a multi-hued multitude of “someones,” and — if you are a believer in Jesus Christ — one of those “someones” was you. God in Christ has declared over you, “I could have chosen anyone in the whole world as my child, and I chose you. No matter what you say or do, neither my love nor my choice will ever change.” That’s grace that’s truly amazing (pp. 81-84).

ASK: Think about or discuss these questions with your family/friends

  • Does good behavior mean you earn good things? 
  • How do you experience unmerited grace? 
  • When have you offered grace to someone that maybe didn’t deserve it?
  • How has God’s unmerited grace influenced your life or the life of those around you?

WATCH: This scene is from a movie called Saving Private Ryan. The story is about a group of soldiers trying to find a man (Private Ryan) and remove him from the war. He has three brothers who have already died, unbeknownst to him, and they want to find him and send him home before he too is killed, leaving his mother without any children.  His reaction is a thing of beauty. Click the link below to watch.

PRAY: Lord, help me to realize that no matter what I do, I cannot earn your love and grace.  Remind me today that no amount of good behavior will make you love me any more than you already do.  Your grace is mine and is unmerited, unearned, and undeserved, but you give it to me anyway.  Thank you, Jesus, for this amazing grace.

Grace–Forgiveness

Colossians 3:13

13 Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.

DO: Participate in a meeting

ASK: Think about or discuss these questions with your family/friends

  • What is the most difficult thing that you have had to forgive someone for?  Why did you decide to offer forgiveness?
  • Is there something that could happen to you that you might not be able to forgive a person for?
  • Why is forgiving so difficult?
  • When is a time that you have been offered forgiveness?  How did you respond to that gift?

WATCH: This is a 15 minute TED Talk from a lady who experienced great pain when her family was killed by a friend of her brother.  Her journey towards forgiveness is a really cool one.  Watch as she explains the difficulties and benefits of her experience with offering grace.

CREATE: Think about three people who have offered you forgiveness.  Find them, thank them, and let them know how much that means to you.  Then, think about three people that you can offer forgiveness to, and then do it!  Call, text, tell them face to face why it is important to you that they know they are forgiven.


September Playlist

Justice

Chad Diegle, Director of Youth Ministries

9/1/20

Parent Section

Hey Parents!  You will find a ton of content that is, hopefully, geared towards your child, but you may even enjoy it yourself.  Some of the content is more difficult to understand than other content.  This month we will be taking a deeper look at Justice and the many layers that that word presents.  Please feel free to check it out, participate along with your student, ask questions, and most importantly, listen to them if they want to discuss things.  Personally, I am still discovering where I stand on the complexities of justice, and I am sure that you are as well.  My guess is that if we listen to the open minds of our younger generations, we can be taught much by their open minds and beautiful hearts.  Let them teach you a bit along this journey.

Here is a quick little read that was published last month on the Desert Cross Faith Formation website.  Give it a few minutes if you are curious about ways to implement some justice in our own home.

Justice at Home

Student Section

PLAYLIST??? What is that??? = The best part of the PLAYLIST is you can choose your own adventure!  You may select the order that you participate in or even choose to skip something altogether.  Have some fun with it and feel free to share your feedback and thoughts with me.  Here are some examples of what you might see…

DO = Something for you to actually participate in.  Most of the time it will be a meeting. Yes, on Zoom for now.

WATCH = Typically a video that you can check out.  Sometimes it will be a clip from a movie or speaker that works with our theme.

ASK = Questions for you to ask yourself or others.  You may want to talk with others or just ponder them alone.  Up to you!

PRAY = A written prayer that you can use, or you might want to just make up your own!

CREATE = This can be a variety of activities that are very open to what or how you might want to express yourself.  It may include writing, drawing, making something, or taking some photos.

Justice: Big Picture

Micah 6:8

He has told you, O mortal, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?

DO: Join a meeting this week

ASK: Think about or even discuss these questions with your family/friends

  • How would you explain justice to a child?
  • Is fairness a good synonym for justice?
  • How have you experienced justice/injustice?

WATCH: This video is great, but it does cover some big ideas and uses terms you may not know. Watch it and try to gather what you can. You can always ask questions about terms or ideas that you don’t understand…or just Google it. =)

CREATE: Find a picture online that gives an example of an INJUSTICE (for example: racism, poverty, environmental, gender, religious, etc.). Save the photo and share it with the group next time we meet on Zoom. Think about why that picture stood out to you.

Justice in the Home

Matthew 22:34-40

 34 When the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together, 35 and one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question to test him. 36 “Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?” 37 Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the greatest and first commandment. 39 And a second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.”

DO: Participate in a meeting

ASK: Think about or even discuss these questions with your family/friends

  • Who gets to say something is just or unjust?  How did they get that authority? 
  • How do you experience justice in your family? 
  • Where is there injustice in your home?
  • Where did your family’s ideas on justice come from?

WATCH:

PRAY: Lord, help me to see the many ways that I can create justice in my life.  Show me the ways that I am treating others unfairly and give me the strength to change that about myself.  Inspire me to be a light in the lives of others and a messenger of justice in my home, friend group, school, church, neighborhood, city and world.  Amen.

Justice in Society

Matthew 25:34-40

34 Then the king will say to those at his right hand, ‘Come, you that are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; 35 for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, 36 I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.’ 37 Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry and gave you food, or thirsty and gave you something to drink? 38 And when was it that we saw you a stranger and welcomed you, or naked and gave you clothing? 39 And when was it that we saw you sick or in prison and visited you?’ 40 And the king will answer them, ‘Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.’

Justice, in its broadest sense is the principle that people receive that which they deserve; with the interpretation of what then constitutes “deserving” being impacted upon by numerous fields, with many differing viewpoints and perspectives, including the concepts of moral correctness based on ethics, rationality, law, religion, equity and fairness.

*From Wikipedia

DO: Participate in a meeting

ASK: Think about or even discuss these questions with your family/friends

  • Who have you shown fairness to?  Try to not say friends or family…how does that change your answer?
  • When is it unfair for a person to be homeless or in jail?  What are ways we can show justice to those experiencing homelessness or in prison?

WATCH:

WATCH: Watch the movie Pay It Forward.  It is a fun and powerful movie. Check it out again if you’ve already seen it.

CREATE:  Show fairness to a stranger this week.  Be ready to chat about this moment at our meetings.

Justice and Christianity

Romans 12:15-18

15 Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. 16 Live in harmony with one another; do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly;[a] do not claim to be wiser than you are. 17 Do not repay anyone evil for evil, but take thought for what is noble in the sight of all. 18 If it is possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.

DO: Participate in the meeting

WATCH: Check out this video from a pastor.  He does a fantastic job of explaining justice from a Christian perspective.

CREATE:  Take a photo or write a letter or draw a picture of what JUSTICE means to you.

PRAY: Jesus, you were so passionate about Justice for all humankind.  Help me to live a life that models how you would want me to treat others.  Provide me with the courage to be fair to others, to serve those in need, to fight for equality for all groups of people and guide me to lead others in my service to your people. Amen.



























October Playlist

Serve

Chad Diegle, Director of Youth Ministries

10/1/21

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