Second to last week in our One Month to Live series, and we talked about having an eternal focus!  Often in our culture, we’re told to be a doctor for the money, big house, nice cars, and social status.  We want to have the North Faces and the nice jeans so people know we’re important!  At ECHO, we asked the big question of, “Can we be a doctor, can we have a North Face, can we do any of that and still follow Christ?”  The conclusion?  Of course.  It’s about your priorities and your perspective. We have to shift our focus from the internal to the eternal.

Here was our main text:

Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal.  For where your treasure is, your heart will be also.  Matthew 6:19-21

Here are the three things we discussed, a key thought, and some passages we used to go along with it!


  • Materialism defined as a preoccupation with or emphasis on material objects, comforts, and considerations, with a disinterest in or rejection of spiritual, intellectual, or cultural values.
  • Luke 12:16-21
  • “You can’t take it with you”


  • A shift in priorities, reversing materialism.
  • Matthew 13:44
  • You can’t both EMBRACE materialism and RELEASE your grasp on the stuff of your life.
  • Want to be a doctor?  Great.  What if you were told you’d only get paid 60% of what a school teacher was paid?  Would your response remain, “I believe this is what I’m gifted at, it’s what I’m passionate about, and it’s what God’s called me to”? or would you respond, “…maybe it’s not for me after all.”


  • It’s about how we set our priorities.
  • Philippians 3:4-8
  • You can focus on “churchy” stuff, and still be wrong.
  • 1 John 2:17

Final thought: Our life isn’t about what we have, but about Who has us. 



We continued our ONE MONTH TO LIVE series last night in ECHO.  We had a guest speaker, Scott Fitzgerald, come and talk about what we do with our doubts.  He used the story of John the Baptizer (a little homage to my professor Dr. Duvall) to illustrate how we should react and respond when we are confronted with doubts about our faith.  If anyone in the world should have been doubt free, it should have been John.  His role was to announce the identity and coming of Christ to the world.  Yet he still doubted.  If he doubted, is it okay that we do, and what do we do with it?

Here’s a list Scott used last night on 5 things to do, and below, you’ll find the video of his talk.  Huge thanks to Scott.  I’m inspired by his love for Scripture and his honor for and knowledge of God’s word.

5 Keys to Persevering and Finishing Well in the midst of uncertainty

1.    Confession:  Like John, bring doubt to Jesus Mt. 11.2-3; Confess sin of hopelessness; Confess Jesus as God and that He knows far better than we do about what He is doing.
2.    Trust:  We must move forward into uncertainty for God is certain.  Proverbs 3.5-6 “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding.  In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.”
3.    Dependence:  Lean Into Truth; John 14.6 “I am the way, the truth, and the life; no man comes to the Father except through me.”  Jesus is truth.
4.    Faith:  Faith is a firm foundation despite our doubts, for Christ Himself is our righteousness:  Hebrews 11.36-40; 1 Peter 6.-9; Philippians 3.7-11
5.    Resurrection:  We do not fight for victory; we fight from it.  We toil and do not understand now, but the resurrection that is coming is far better.

Shock and Awe

I don’t want to draw any conclusions or parallels that aren’t there, I just had a thought after watching bits and pieces of the Grammy’s last night.

It seems that performers are doing anything they can to gain attention.  Wearing meat suits, coming in eggs, bringing a sceptor, staging an exorcism, having a double singing part of your song only to have everything black out and you’re on a platform looking like you’re wearing a smurf weave, riding onto a football field with a mess of Roman soldiers escorting you, getting everyone in choir robes, flipping the bird, who knows what.

Twitter blew up with how creepy, strange, unnecessary, and untalented Nicki Minaj’s performance of Roman Holiday was, and after watching it online today, I have to agree.

Compare that to Adele.  Adele stood in place on stage, sporting a black dress, and sang beautifully.  The entire audience rose to their feet in applause.

By the end of the night, what was the final score last I checked?
Nicki Minaj + Katy Perry + Madonna + Lady Gaga + MIA – 0 Grammy’s.
Adele – 6 Grammys.  

I’m not saying Nicki Minaj, Katy Perry, Madonna, Lady Gaga, and MIA aren’t talented, or at least marketable.  I’m just saying that I found it interesting that the performer who did NOT try and create some buzz of chaos about her was the artist who walked away, entire audience in hand.

How does this apply to student ministry?

Again, I don’t want to draw any parallels that aren’t  there, but I can’t help but think that sometimes we try and do all the high-buzz events, when the pure gospel will attract enough of a following.  I think there’s a place for doing something eye-catching to an extent (even though I would rather wear a flank-steak dress in public than do a lock-in), but where is the focus?  Are we trying to employ shock and awe, or are we trying to lead people to the truth of the Gospel?

SHWC 2012 : Sunday Morning Session

It’s our final session!  Don’t forget, be sure to arrange some time eating out or a good meal to download and debrief with your student.  Hopefully these videos have given you a little peak into the direction of the weekend!  See you soon!

SHWC 2012 : Saturday Night Session

Next video goes up tomorrow morning! Thank you so much for joining with us in praying for Winterchill!

SHWC 2012 : Saturday Morning Session

Next video?  Glad you asked!  Check back after dinner tonight!

SHWC 2012 : Friday Night Session

Check back in the morning for the next update!

SHWC 2012 : Please Pray for Us

Check back later this evening for another update!

SHWC Names You Need to Know

SHWC starts today!  Here are a few names you need to be familiar with as the week goes on.  Be sure to check back right here Friday afternoon, Friday night, Saturday morning, Saturday night, and Sunday morning to get video updates so you know how to be praying for our FSM group at Winterchill!  Be sure to click everyone’s picture to find out more about them!


Ed Newton

Dave Hassell

Tim Caldwell

Yours Truly

…You Don’t Know The Answer?

Students ask lots of questions.  I’ve had college aged students not know who Israel is, and I’ve had sixth graders ask about “Apostolic Dispensationalism.”  If you’re involved in ministry at any level, you’ll get easy questions (“What’s Israel?”) and you’ll get off the wall questions (“Do you believe in apostolic dispensationalism?”).

The good news is that you’re a small group leader because you love the Lord and you love students, not because you’re expected to be a walking Bible Commentary.  Here are three things to do WHEN a student asks a question and you don’t know the answer!

1. Affirm them.  Make sure they know that asking questions is a good thing.  As leaders, the last thing we want to do is to make our students feel like questions are bad.  Often times, students are afraid to ask questions becaue they’re afraid of looking stupid, afraid questions are bad, and don’t know what to do about their doubts or curiosities.  I would hate to be the reason a student stops asking questions.

2. Be honest.  If they ask a question and you don’t know what to say, the last thing we want to do is to make up an answer, or give it a good guess.  Let them know you’re in the same boat they are.

3. Tell them you’ll try and get them an answer by next meeting.  And do.  Don’t make empty promises or flippant commitments.  If you tell them you will find out, make sure you remember.  Even if you know the students may forget within the next fifteen minutes, make a note to find the answer.

Here’s an example of how I would respond as a small group leader in my ministry if a student asked a question and I wasn’t sure how to respond:

You know what, that’s an awesome question.  I think it’s great that you asked.  Too often, Christians are afraid to ask questions because we don’t want people looking down on us, but you know what?  A lot of the time, it’s a question that other people are curious about as well.  Here’s the deal though…I don’t know the answer.  I could tell you the answer was “Green”, but that doesn’t even make sense.  Instead of just making something up, I tell you what, let’s find out the answer.  I’ll talk to Austin and see what he says, and he and I will figure it out.  That way, I’m not just making stuff up and giving you bad info.  So, great question, I’m going to write it down to ask.  And sometime this week, shoot me a text and remind me to follow up on it, deal?  Good job, thanks again for asking, that’s what this group is all about.  If we don’t ask questions, it makes growing really hard!

This post is part of an ongoing “What if…” series, addressing youth ministry questions typically within the context of small groups.