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Week 2 of our CONNECT series was a study of Matthew 5:27-30 where Jesus talks about lust. Have you ever wanted  something so bad that it consumed you? That one thing becomes your desire and the one thing on your mind. Lust for someone will consume you. Jesus says that lust for someone is the same as committing adultery in your heart with that individual.

1. Adultery is voluntary sex with someone other than your spouse. (v. 27) Why is adultery wrong? Because it is about being unfaithful to your spouse. It is about lying to others and self-satisfaction. It’s prideful and disrespectful to yourself, spouse, and God. It’s going against the very vows you made before God, spouse, and family to remain with your spouse for the remainder of your life.

2. Jesus says lust is the same as adultery. (v. 28) Last week we read that hate is the same as murder. This week we read that lust is the same as adultery. What is lust exactly? Lust is strong feelings of an intense sexual desire with another person. Is it wrong to think someone is really good looking? No, but it is wrong to think someone is so good looking that you begin to imagine yourself with that person in a sexual situation. This is where lust equals adultery.

3. Remove the temptation to remain pure. (v. 29) There are various steps we can take to remove lust from our lives: evaluate your circle of friends, evaluate your choice of music and movies, set up guidelines for internet use, establish buddy system to keep each other accountable, and think clean thoughts. There are also various steps to remove yourself from being an item of lust for others: cover up your body – use more material, get attention from others for pure things, find satisfaction in what God thanks of you – not others, and don’t make others stumble because of the clothes you wear… or don’t wear! Why do we do these things? We do them to help ourselves and others remain pure.

4. One temptation can lead you to destruction. (v. 30) Lust can lead to impure thoughts. Impure thoughts can lead to irrational decisions, Irrational decisions can lead to unthinkable actions. Unthinkable actions will lead to sin, separation from God, and ultimately your destruction.

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Week 1 of our new series “CONNECT” is underway. In this series we will talk about various parts to how we relate with others. In this first week “anger” was our topic. We discussed how to deal with it and the consequences of it. We all get angry from time to time. Some more than others. But the issue is how do we deal with that anger and what can it bring into our life. we studied Matthew 5:21-26.

1. You will be judged by your anger towards others. (v. 22) Do not act out of anger. It is better to not react at all than react in emotion. Do not speak out of anger. you will often times say things you don’t really mean or that you will regret. Sometimes our words can cut deeper than our actions.

2. Anger brings sin into your life. (v. 22) Anger is a trigger for sin. It triggers irrational decision making that can send us down the wrong path in a hurry. Anger can even push people away including God. You can get so mad that you begin to separate yourself from God and others causing yourself to feel alone and get even more mad.

3. Reconcile before moving on to something else. (v. 24-26) Reconciliation is the restoration of friendly relations. It is when forgiveness is offered and then that forgiveness is accepted. God reconciles us to Himself through Jesus’ actions on the cross. We need to reconcile quickly. Resolving the issue quickly should prevent things from stirring up other emotions and issues. We need to reconcile completely. Resolving this issue completely can keep it from getting reopened in another conflict and causing even more damage.

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Week 4 was the final week of our Best Sex Ever series. This week we discussed the topic of “messing up to making up.”  According to Isaiah 1:18 we are all stained deeply by sin, but we can become as white as wool. This change in identity occurs through Jesus Christ death, burial, and resurrection. This change in our sexual life is moving from “messing up to making up.”

1. Get completely honest with yourself. Do whatever it takes to be healed from your mistake. Learn who you are in Christ. Learn of His forgiveness. You have to be 100% truthful with yourself. According to Psalm 51:1,3, God is so loving and so merciful to remove our sins completely. God can wipe away your bad record and replace it with a new and good record.

2. Change your direction. What direction are you headed in now? Are you going too far that you won’t be able to stop? Is hand holding, or hugging, or kissing leading you to do the next thing? Oral sex or even sexual intercourse? Most of the time our circle of friends is what leads us down the wrong path. If they are doing it then you will feel like you need to. Step back and evaluate who you spend your time with. David prayed Psalm 51:10 after his seal encounter with Bathsheba. If we prayed this prayer every day then our lives would change drastically in how we think about sex.

3. Remind yourself of who you are. Do you know the truth about yourself? Have you ever read the Bible and seen what God actually says about you? You are pure, lovely, chosen, acceptable in His sight, and He loves you with all of your faults. Replace the lies of who you thought you were with the truth that God knows you are. According to 1 Corinthians 6:20 and Colossians 3:12, we have been chosen by God, bought with a price, and are to glorify Him with our bodies.

4. Share your story. According to Psalm 51:12-13, we should try to obey God and then teach others His ways. Who is someone that you can share your story with? Have you messed up but your story might keep someone else from making the same mistake? If your story can change one person’s life then its worth telling. Use your story to proclaim God’s power, not the sin itself.

There are 2 questions to ask yourself when you have become sexually involved…

1. Was it done to me? If you have been sexually assaulted in an act of violence and aggression expressed through force, anger, and/or intimidation in which you were made to engage in sexual activity without consent then you are not at fault. you have not sinned if you were forced in this.

2. Was this something I chose? You chose by your own willful decision to engage in sex then you are at fault in this sin. This means you said yes through your actions or initiated the physical contact. This is sin on your part.

In order to move “from messing up to making up” we need to repent. Repentance is sincere regret or remorse. Scripture tells us to repent and be free. When you repent you are vowing to make every effort to never repeat this sin. God forgives and forgets your sin. you can move on in the grace He shows you.

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Week 3 of our Best Sex Ever series was great look at the present and future thinking of how sex impacts our lives. We began by talking about small picture living vs. big picture living and then used those terms to define 4 life altering dimensions of sex.

Two Ways to Look at Sex…

1. Small Picture: NOW We begin to follow our every urge about sex. We are constantly seeking how and where do I get it from next. We also believe that oral sex is a “now” thing and has no real consequences for our future.

2. Big Picture: FUTURE This type of living is about our future marriage,  spouse, and sex. For example; living in the now is about how I need ice cream today. And future living is about what will eating all of this ice cream do to my body?

Four Life Altering Dimensions…

1. Spiritual – Now Living: WHY SHOULD I CARE ABOUT MY FAITH? We like God and what He has done and will do for us but we want to separate Him from our physical relationships. Psalm 14:1 tells us no one is good and that foolish people are corrupt in their action/ We have to understand that God is our moral authority and our judge so we need to seek out His advice when making decisions about sexuality and how our faith is intertwined with that. Hebrews 4:13 tells us God sees our everything. He knows us from inside to the outside. we are completely exposed to Him and we must eventually give an account for what we have done. God’s love allows us to choose between following Him and turning our back on Him. Romans 1:21-22, 25-27 talks about how the people turned their back on God by worshiping creation and performing sexual immorality. Future Living: HOW CAN I BE SPIRITUAL? The more you draw closer to God, the closer you get to God. It becomes easier to turn from temptation. We need to make our life about intimacy with God and not intimacy with others.

2. Physical – Now Living: HOW FAR IS TOO FAR? Better yet, the question is how far until it’s a sin? God doesn’t have some sort of chart with a list of things are right and a list of things that are wrong. If it is sexual immorality then it is wrong. Why do we always ask, “how far is too far?” Would we take a can of gas and see how close we could get to a fire? No, we would stay away as far as we can. We need to quit seeing how close we can get to sin and instead run the opposite way of it. Future Living: HOW CAN I BE SELF-CONTROLLED? What are the boundaries I need to set? How do I honor God with my life? 1 Thessalonians 4:3-5 discusses how God’s will for you is to stay away from sexual sin. There are 3 definitions of sex: medical – any genital contact, God – stay away from sexual sin, and world – intercourse between two individuals. Oral sex is sex which is contrary to popular belief. It has sex in the title for goodness sakes. Are we more concerned with technically being a virgin or with trying to remain pure? It”s a heart condition that drives our answer to that.

3. Mental – Sex education is about how-to put on a condom and look at some pictures of STD’s to scare you out of having sex. The world doesn’t talk about the mental part of sex. You’ll remember the details of your sexual encounters throughout your life. These memories will unload during your marriage. We need to protect our minds. If we are consumed with pornography then we will always be until repentance and restoration happen. Now Living: SHOULDN’T I FOLLOW MY URGES? No, you shouldn’t. Urges are immediate desires and temptations are struggles that spark contemplation. Future Living: SHOULDN’T I THINK ABOUT WHAT”S GOOD? Yes, you should. Males think about sex every 19 seconds. What do you fill your mind with? We need to replace our sexual lusts for the Word of God. Philippians 4:8 leads us to think about things that are god, right, pure, and admirable.

4. Social – Now Living: HOW CAN I GET SOME? We are trying to fulfill our sexual urges. We think we have to date to fulfill our desires. “Worldly” dating is being with someone who is not your friend with the intent of being physically romantic. “Real” dating is two people of the opposite sex who get together with the intent of knowing one another better. In relationships, buys are physical and girls are emotional. Future Living: HOW CAN I HONOR MY FRIEND? Romans 12:10 tells us to have respect for one another. We need to quit being selfish. We should hang out together. We should date our friends because they want to protect you and want what is best for you too.

Three Actions to Consider…

1. Ask the RIGHT QUESTIONS. What is the best choose for my relationship with God? What is the best choice for my future?

2. Establish some BOUNDARIES. Establish these before you get physical. How can we remain pure while dating?

3. Find some ACCOUNTABILITY. Find a close friend or an adult who will check up o you and who you will be honest with in your conversation. Ask this individual to keep you accountable for your actions.

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Week 2 was equally as interesting as week 1 of our Best Sex Ever series at 6.2.SIX. We studied “God’s Word on Sex” and what that means for us. Our sex saturated culture is trying to drive the minds of teenagers and we need to teach them a proper understanding of what God, the ultimate authority on the subject, says about it.

God’s Word on sex…

1. Sex is not just Good, it’s designed to be great. According to Genesis 2:20,24, two become one flesh when you are married and have sex. Compare this to gluing two different color pieces of construction paper together. Then after some time you try to pull them apart. This leaves remains of one color on the other color paper. The two pieces of paper became one. When they were separated they still had the effects of the other on them. When two people have sex they become one. When they separate they still have the affects of the other person on them physically and emotionally. When two are joined they are not to be separated. We need to give honor to marriage and our future spouse by being sexually moral as a teenager. Sexual immorality is any sex outside of marriage. How do you know when you are ready for sex? When you are married! *Hebrews 13:4

2. Sex is not just an urge, it’s a real temptation. You will not die if don’t have sex. It is not included in any survival kits! Sex outside of arraign is an urge, not a need. An urge is an immediate desire and a temptation is a desire that you struggle with continually and it requires thought and consideration. As a teenager your bodies are developing for sex. When you are rolling around on the couch with your boyfriend or girlfriend that is not the time to say “we shouldn’t do this.” That should’ve been set beforehand when the blood is still in your brain! Satan seeks to attack and devour you by tempting you with sex. (*1 Peter 5:8-9) Temptation begins in the mind. Sex is not just physical, it’s also mental. The brain is amazing – it holds onto memories and emotions that you will never let go of. These will come back to haunt you at some point… maybe on your honeymoon! This is why pornography is so awful – it’s visual. You won’t forget what you have seen. Don’t think that these images aren’t a big deal because they are. Temptation begins in the mind so begin to develop healthy boundaries why your mind is fully functioning. (*James 1:14-15) Temptation never goes away forever. It doesn’t just stop once you get married. Temptation of sex outside of marriage will always be there. It’s not like everyone just gets ugly once you put a ring on your finger! You should set standards before it’s too late. Most relationships get too physical too fast. Honor the standards of each other or end the relationship. Communicate “how far” you will go up front. Making out is a doorway that leads to another doorway, which leads to another, and so on…

3. Sex is not just physical, it’s deeply spiritual. Sex outside of marriage is disobedience to God. Are these actions forgivable? YES. Culture tells you that sex is just a physical action and that it’s no big deal. Culture doesn’t show you the pain betrayal, and consequences that come with it. The Bible says it’s a really big deal. It talks about it a lot. Your most powerful sex organ is your brain. Only you can make your sexual decisions. God created sex for 4 purposes: recreation, procreation, celebration, and glorification. People who have sex before marriage will have “sexual ghosts” that show up in their marriage and haunt them. Many of you will make a life changing decision about sex this week tat will affect your for the rest of your life. If you believe God loves you and wants what is best for you then why would you not listen to Him over anyone else? *Matthew 19:4-6 and 1 Corinthians 6:18-20

 

When belief influences behavior…

1. Believe that self control is possible. It is possible but it is hard to remain sexually use until marriage. You need to retrain your thought process and think about things a little differently. Take some drastic measures in your life. Remove the temptation of pornography completely. Go on double dates. Keep the lights on when you are with your significant other. Stay vertical and not horizontal when you are spending time together. *1 Thessalonians 4:3-5

2. Behave as if God’s plan works. Our beliefs influence our behavior. Live “as if…” Live as if God’s Word is true. Lve as if you are a disciple of Hid. Live as if Jesus is who He says He is. Sexual purity is not easy. Don’t let your sexual urges became the love of your life. Let God be the love of your life. Don’t fight the truth that He has provided you with because it is there to help and protect you. Dream about your future. Dream about what you want for your future marriage, your fixture spouse, and your future family. Live in preparation for those mounts now when it comes to your sexual decisions. *John 8:31-32 and Ephesians 5:1-3

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Week 1 of our new series entitled Best Sex Ever was a fund one! Any time you talk about sex with teenagers it can get quite interesting and pretty funny, at times. We began with a skit portraying an awkward dating situation in which signal between the guy and the girl are mistaken. So funny! Then we dove into our topic of how we are “Created in God’s Image” and why this pertains to sex.

All the ideas and misinformation lead to…

1. Mass Confusion – different people have different opinions

2. Confusing Thinking – the difference between right and wrong is blurred, we think sex = love, and we continue to ask, “how far is too far???”

3. Confusing Actions – we are not confused about the process of sex but about the choices of it

*Proverbs 9:6

 

In the midst of confusion you need to know…

God loves you – He is not against sex, He created it. Although He created it for you to share with one person of the opposite sex, whom you re married to, and will spend the rest of your life with. God made guidelines for sex to protect you and provide you with the best sex ever!

God designed you to be an original masterpiece – Quit trying to be like everyone else. There are 6 billion people on this earth and no one is just like you. He created you just how He intended and you should rejoice in that. You disrespect yourself when you engage in sex because “everyone else is doing it.”

*Romans 1:21

 

During this series, we would love for you to…

1. Realize the power of God’s love. Sexual decisions are made in search for love. God loves you unconditionally. Quit trying to find love from others by what you can do for them. Less than 2% of marriages are between a couple who was sexually active in high school. *Ephesians 1:4

2. Celebrate the uniqueness of your design. Girls and guys are very different… girls are relational & guys are physical, girls are verbal & guys are visual, girls prefer romance & guys prefer action, girls feel their emotion & guys think their emotion, and  girls love chivalry & guys love buddies. *Psalm 139:13-14, 17-18

3. Make a commitment to care and think. Commit to hearing what God’s Word says about sex. Who is guiding your thoughts on sex right now? Culture? A friend? Media? Emotions and feelings? Sexual immorality is sex outside of a God-ordained marriage. We should understand long term consequences of our short term sexual decisions. *1 Corinthians 6:13

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Week 4 of our “Get in the Game” series covered a favorite passage of mine, Matthew 8:23-27 where Jesus calms the storm. It has a lot of spiritual truths in from Jesus authority over creation, to salvation through Jesus, etc. But this week I wanted to discuss the truth about how we, as believers, should “be calm in Jesus.”

And when he got into the boat, his disciples followed him. And behold, there arose a great storm on the sea, so that the boat was being swamped by the waves; but he was asleep. And they went and woke him, saying, “Save us, Lord; we are perishing.” And he said to them, “Why are you afraid, O you of little faith?” Then he rose and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm. And the men marveled, saying, “What sort of man is this, that even winds and sea obey him?”

1. Disciples of Jesus follow Him wherever He goes (verse 23). The disciples follow Jesus both spiritually and physically. We often times will follow other people physically because we want to be included and feel a part of the group. So if they do something stupid, then we follow suit. Then mom says, “why did you do that?” You reply, “because Jim Bob was doing it.” And of course mom replies with, “well, if Jim Bob jumped off a bridge would you do that too?” I would like to think I wouldn’t follow Jim Bob off a bridge but if Jesus said to follow Him off a bridge that I would do so. Following Jesus looks like this: loving God and everyone, glorifying God with our actions and speech, and listening and obeying God’s commands.

2. Jesus doesn’t panic in the storms (verse 24). We panic in the storms. Last week people in Charleston were freaking out because of a “snow-pocalypse” was coming. Schools were even cancelled the day before in preparation for the storm. But if we are following Jesus then we shouldn’t freak out in the storms of life. Our problems are not too scary for Jesus. They are too big for Jesus to handle either. A disciple of Jesus can remain calm in any storm. Jesus has our best interest at heart.

3. Reach even more for Jesus when the storms come (verse 25). Most people forget about jesus when a storm approaches. That is when we need Him most. We should seek after Him even more. We need to spend more time in prayer, more time reading His Word, and more time in worship of him. If a married couple is having a fight one day before church and they decide not to attend church because they are so mad then they have made a great mistake. In your anger or your sadness is when you need to spend even more time with God. Don’t make a mistake of thinking you are too upset to spend time with him because it is the exact opposite.

4. Your faith should outweigh your fears (verse 26-27). Jesus can navigate through any storm. he is the creator and authority over all creation. He can wield it like like a surgeon wields a scalpel. This passage says, “what sort of man is this?” Jesus is the sort of man who is creator God in the flesh who lived a perfect life before dying on the cross for your sins to give you eternal heaven as a possibility. Do you obey Him as the end of verse 27 says? Honestly, we all live lives of little faith. Scripture says with faith the size of a mustard seed we can move mountains. Have you ever moved a mountain? no… me neither. That means my faith isn’t strong enough yet. But my faith has moved me from death to life and given me an eternity in heaven with God. What if we lived life daily with faith even the side of a mustard seed? What if we lived faith even the size of what we had the day we were convicted of our sin and fell in love with Jesus Christ?