Term 4

Hey youth and parents,

We hope you all had great holidays over the term break. How crazy is it that we’re almost at Christmas time! Shops are already getting decorations up, playing Jingle Bells, selling Christmas decorations. And so rather than try to ignore Christmas so early in the term, we thought we’d embrace it at Impact by studying the meaning of Advent in our studies! We’ll look at the 4 themes of love, hope, joy and peace, and think about how we can not just remember but be radically changed by Jesus expectant coming at Christmas.

I guess there are always helpful traditions we have at Christmas as well as some that may be unhelpful. As we prepare to think about Advent at Impact, why not talk as a family about your own Christmas traditions? For the parents, which of your own family traditions did you a) continue on, or b) stop, when you started your family? Why? And for the youth, which traditions do you find helpful or unhelpful that you currently do now? (That may be a more controversial question! Haha!) As a big picture question, which traditions point you to Jesus? Which traditions help you look outside your own family to serving others?

See you on Friday for our first night back, Pizza and games night! We’ll welcome the new grade 5 youth transitioning to grade 6 next year. And also note term 4 program is up:

https://stlukesyouth.wordpress.com/programs/

Cheers!

Chris

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Bad essays

Hey parents of our awesome youth,

After 4.5 years of life in ministry without formal study, I’ve decided to go back to Ridley and take on a new challenge! I’m studying a subject called Gospel Leadership and have written my first essay in ages, and it goes without saying that it’s not great! Though I think these experiences in life are important. We’ll often stuff things up, we won’t do them to a level we’re satisfied with and often for good reasons e.g.: spending time focused on family instead, other working commitments etc. In preaching I often find that if I’ve prepared and preached a ‘perfect’ (or close to) sermon, I’ll have spent so much time preparing it that I’ll have underperformed in parenting or being a husband or pastorally.

I think perfection and success are potentially destructive measures to gauge our effectiveness. Instead, my less-than-perfect essay has helped me reflect on how I’ve spent time with my family, time pastorally, and time working on mission. If I instead measure success in my essay by what I’ve learned about Kingdom-centred prayer, on how it’s shaped me, helped me be more fruitful, helped me grow in godliness, how it’s helped me pray more, love Jesus more, then I guess that would be a good measure of success!

These are things that God grows in us. We take no merit for them. As Paul does in Colossians 1 we can only thank God for all He does through us. And so through the lens of the cross we realise in a sense that we are better than perfect, though imperfect God sees Jesus’ perfection when He looks at us. And so when we stuff up, we hopefully learn and grow from these things. And they are a chance for us to focus back on the cross, to find grace in Him, and keep pressing forward in life in service to Jesus.

What stuff up’s have you learned most from in life? How did they direct you back to the gospel? Let me know how you go chatting with your children about this next week!

Cheers, Chris

Term 3

Hi parents and youth,

Sorry for the delay in posting blogs! It’s been a busy few months as we prepare for the Macrae family to join our community and lead us into the future! Exciting times ahead. I studied for a few years with Glen at Ridley, and he’s a great guy with a real passion for the gospel. So I’m looking forward to working with him from next week onwards!

This term we’ve been getting the youth to lead studies, and contribute more to where the night itself heads. The 6-8 youth have led (with Liz and Jemma) studies on the fruits of the Spirit. And the 9-12 youth have thought through Jesus’ life chronologically, working together to paint a picture of Jesus’ life and ministry.

During the week, can you ask your children how they’re finding leading studies, or even how they’re finding being led by other youth? What are they learning about the fruits of the Spirit and living them out? What are they learning about Jesus’ life and how it impacts their own lives?

Next week is Youth Alive, so we’re looking forward to a big one for the youth next week as we meet lots of other Christian youth and leaders from the Peninsula area!

Cheers, Chris

VCYC

Hi guys,

Thanks to all the youth who came away to VCYC on the weekend. It was a great camp, and I have to say Jemma and I were really proud of you all. The effort you made to encourage kids from other churches was amazing, and you looked after each other really well. Well done!

There were so many encouraging things on the camp. The music was phenomenal, the testimonies were encouraging, the amount of people was at times overwhelming! And then of course, there was exceptional and life-changing teaching from John Dickson.

He told a bizarre story of how he slept for 2 years with an illegal, unregistered rifle under his bed! It was a gift from a country church where he had preached. He didn’t know how to dispose of it, it couldn’t be thrown away in the recycling, and he didn’t know how to explain it to the authorities! Then the government issued a firearm amnesty, where you could hand in your illegal, unregistered firearm to the police with no questions asked. He had 6 months to do it, but thought there had to be some kind of catch to it. And so he waited until the 6th month, where he manned up and… gave it to his wife to hand in to the police. And they took it in, and she walked out, and nothing else happened! It was an amnesty – the word amnesty comes from the greek word for amnesia, to forget. The police forgot not just about how the rifle came into John Dickson’s possession, but they forgot he even owned it – it was an amnesty. Our sins are like this with God. He not only pardons our sins, but forgets they even happened. Our slate is fully clean! John Dickson told many funny or embarrassing stories over the weekend, but he always learned from them. They taught him something about life, and they taught him something about God. I guess this one stuck with me the most.

So a question for the dinner table or a family walk around the block. Think back on your life (parents and youth). Can you think of an embarrassing or funny story where you learned something about yourself, about life, or about God? What did you learn?

See you Friday! Cheers, Chris

Justice

Hi everyone,

This term at youth we’ve been looking at justice. We’ve seen that God has a huge desire to see people cared for and brought into relationship with others and God. We’ve looked at the way Jesus showed justice to all in his life, and how He as the ‘just one’ died for the ‘unjust’ so that we could know God. We live our lives of justice in response to God showing grace, mercy and justice to us. In fact, when we look after the marginalised, the poor, the disadvantaged, and the homeless, it’s like we’re looking after Jesus himself!

It’s been great seeing the passions of the youth in this field. One has been volunteering on the streets of Frankston with Life Gate. Another has been involved with stopping child trafficking, helping us know what’s going on in the world and teaching us the signs of someone who has experienced bullying or abuse.

In what ways does your family ‘do justice’? What are some ways you can support those less fortunate? Why not work something out that you could do as a family to show people Jesus through your actions, words and lives?

We’re looking forward to this weekend. Half our youth will be off at VCYC! The other half will be looked after by Liz and Mel (same time Friday night, same place). Should be great fun. See you all soon!

Cheers, Chris

Community

Hi youths and parents,

Registrations have just opened for the Belgrave Heights “Victorian Christian Youth Convention” (VCYC). We’ve sent out emails to you (if we have your email) to sign your kids up, it’ll be a great camp! Go to the ‘contact us’ tab on this site if you want more details.

I didn’t really go on many camps in high school, maybe a few school camps. But the first one I ‘chose’ to go on was at University, and it changed my life. It was a camp through the Deakin Uni Christian Union called “Summit”. It was the first time I’d met with hundreds of others my age who were there to look out for each other. That kind of peer support was invaluable for me, also meeting other uni students who wanted to know more about Jesus. We had talks on Justification by faith and Martin Luther (such a light topic for a first Christian camp) but it was amazing, and helped me on a path to realising that a) God wasn’t angry with me but actually loved me, and b) nothing I did could earn that love, it was all through what Jesus had already done. Plus it was a camp that introduced me to coffee. It was instant coffee, but I guess you have to start somewhere.

These are some of the things that I hope the youth will get out of VCYC – peer support, meeting stacks of others their age going through the same problems who love Jesus, great teaching, new friends. Maybe not the coffee just yet, from experience at youth group their energy levels are fine. It has the potential to be a life changing event for those that go, in the same way that Summit camp was for me years ago.

As a family over the school holidays, why not talk to your kids over dinner about some of your own formational, life-changing experiences. Whether it was on a camp, through school or church events, with family, whatever really. What were the things that helped you become the person you are today? What are some key things you’ve learned in life that have helped you along?

Have a great term break and Easter, see you all in a few weeks!

Cheers, Chris

The Case For Christ

Hi Youth Group parents,

Hope you’re having a good week! Tonight at Youth Group we’re watching ‘The Case For Christ’ on DVD by Lee Strobel. It’s a great DVD and book as well, a documentary on his search for finding out the truth of who Jesus is. I remember the first time I read his other book ‘A Case For Faith’, where he talks about his journey to faith. He was an Atheist who looked down upon Christians as weak and a little crazy! Anyway, his wife told him one day that she’d become a Christian. Lee couldn’t believe it! He thought his wife was going to become weird and start preaching at him. Instead he found that over the course of the next year, she became a stronger woman. She became more patient, graceful, forgiving, loving, wise. She became other-person centred and sought to care for others in her life more.

Now none of this measured up for Lee. This is not how he saw Christians in history, in the media. And so to work through this dilemma he researched Christianity, in particular who Jesus was, and what He said and did. He interviewed scholars of the Bible, ministers, Apologists, and by the end of his research, he too, like his wife before him, became a Christian! Quite an amazing story. This DVD shows part of his quest for truth that led him to know and love Jesus.

Maybe some time over the weekend, see if your kids can explain this DVD, Lee’s process in coming to know Jesus. Have there been moments in your life where you changed and grew in love, patience, grace, forgiveness etc? Why not tell those stories to your kids. What were the defining moments for you in that change?

See you tonight! Cheers, Chris