Spiritual Disciplines

October 20, 2017

"Train yourself in godliness" 1 Timothy 4:7 

Our favorite thing about YouthQuest is to see our students either come to know Christ for the first time, or take the next step in their walk with Him! The reason we spend weekend after weekend, serving and teaching you about the Bible, is because we want you to have an impact on everyone you interact with. Whether it’s during D-Now, a camp, or a Sunday morning service, our hope is that you make the decision to walk closer with Christ. 

But how?

This may be the number one question you have been asking about walking closer with Christ. How do I get to know God more? Who or what can help me in the process of growing closer to Jesus? 

These questions can be answered by partaking in spiritual disciplines. A spiritual discipline is any action or activity that is designed to help us grow closer to God. These are the ways in which we as believers can take our faith deeper. Over the next few weeks, our team will be sharing six different spiritual disciplines that we believe will be useful for you in your walk with Christ. These blogs will not cover all spiritual disciplines, so we encourage you to study the Bible alongside us. The book “Spiritual Disciplines” by Donald Whitney is also a good resource.

As we go through this series, if you have any questions or prayer requests as you practice these disciplines, please let us know by using the special request box on the left of your screen. We hope you enjoy this new series as we dive deeper into our faith.

YouthQuest 2017-2018 

Meet the Writers

October 11, 2017

Our writers welcome you!


Becca Jones

 

Hey guys! I am a sophomore here at Liberty. I love listening to music, making music, watching Netflix, and drinking smoothies. One time I got to fly in an open cockpit airplane while the pilot did flips nose dives over the Chesapeake Bay. I felt invicible, like a super hero who could fly!

 

 

 


Evan Young

Hello everyone! I am a junior here at Liberty. My favorite ice cream flavor is chocolate chip cookie dough. I spend most of my free time reading (mostly philosophy or theology), watching movies, practicing and writing music, and practicing and performing close-up illusions. I’m also a huge fan of naps. Growing up, my aunt and uncle lived across the street. One summer afternoon, their fire alarm was going off and I noticed smoke coming out of their door. I quickly found their spare key and waited for the firemen. They opened the door and entered, first finding a very burnt chicken on the stove and a very scared poodle in a kennel. They didn’t feel comfortable opening the dog’s cage so they asked me to enter and take the dog out. So for the rest of the week, I made sure everyone knew that I saved a dog from a house fire.

 


Heather Galway

Hey! I am a sophomore at Liberty, studying ministry and business. I enjoy listening to music by Hillsong and Ben Rector, getting coffee with friends, and road tripping to places I've never been. One time I was at my grandma’s church helping set up for an event and had to go to the supply closet to get balloons. While I was in there, I found these glasses that you twisted and it made the fake eyebrows and a mustache attached to them wiggle up and down. I looked over at the door and a few of the older ladies from the church were staring at me wondering what this stranger was doing in their supply closet. 

 


 

Justin Heslin

What's up guys! I am a senior at Liberty, studying to be a pastor. During my free time I enjoy skateboarding, playing with my cat Leroy, and hanging out with my friends. I think the greatest moment, or most embarrassing, of my entire sports career was making my first basket in a basketball game at 9 years old. I actually got pulled off the bench, and someone passed me the ball. I couldn't’t believe it! So, I threw that bad boy up at the basket, and SWISH! The crowd was going wild! Just then I realized they were going wild with laughter as I could hear my mom shouting “Wrong basket!"

 


Justice Barker

Hey friends! I am a senior here at Liberty University. I love listening to Ben Rector, Johnnyswim, and Jon Guerra. My favorite memory on YouthQuest was my group of seventeen 8th-grade girls at Osborne Baptist who became my Duggar family for the weekend. We had a chant of "How's the Duggar family doing today?" and they would call me mama Duggar. It was just a fun weekend with lots of energy. Plus, I saw two of my girls give their lives to Christ and so many more make that next step in their walk. 

 

 


 

Grant Ketron

Hey guys! I'm Grant, a junior here at Liberty. I like strawberry ice cream, camping, coffee, and spending time with my friends. My favorite memory on YouthQuest is actually going camping with the Discipleship team where we made up silly songs, make s'mores, and didn't get a wink of sleep, as per usual with the nature of sleeping on the ground. It was great! 

 

 

 

We are so excited for this year with you guys and to kick off the blog! Our team is working hard to ensure we are writing about issues and topics that you want to hear. Check in every week to read new blogs and hear answers to questions you are asking. 

Don't forget about our new Special Request box to the left hand of your screen. If you have a question, prayer request, memory from a weekend, or topic of interest that you want to share with our team submit it there and we will get back to you.

Thank you for allowing us to speak into your life and to speak God's word.

YouthQuest 2017-2018

Get in the Water

April 20, 2017

Get in the Water

"It was the harvest season, and the Jordan was overflowing its banks. But as soon as the feet of the priests who were carrying the Ark touched the water at the river's edge the water above the point began backing up...the riverbed was dry. Then all the people crossed over near the town of Jericho." - Joshua 3:15-16

 

Ever been asked to do what seems clearly impossible? For example, have you ever had your parents or a teacher or a coach give you a task that you thought you couldn’t accomplish? I know I have.

In my senior year of high school, I was elected as the student body president over 1,100 of my peers. That was intimidating I’ll be honest, and as the year started up, it began to amount to a workload that was more than I was able to do. In addition, some very close friends of mine and I were thinking of ways that we could honor our principal, Mr. Walk, who was retiring after 17 years of service to our school. As he was a powerful presence in our lives, we wanted to honor him, and I felt the Lord calling me to go above and beyond. However, the ideas that people brought to me to get done became overwhelming and with college, grades, and life approaching fast, I wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to deliver.

Many of us, like me, are asked to do things sometimes that seem nearly impossible or scary when we think about them.  Praise the Lord, though, that a guy named Joshua in the Bible can empathize with us!

After Moses had died, God said to Joshua, “Moses my servant is dead. Now then, you and all these people, get ready to cross the Jordan River into the land I am about to to give to them – to the Israelites” Joshua 1:2. You can imagine to some degree that Joshua was taken by surprise and there was probably a great deal of fear that came with this command from God.

In the same way, perhaps you were asked to get straight A’s when you knew it would be nearly impossible, or perhaps you were asked to get a job on top of keeping up with school or sports so you could pay for the gas for your car, or perhaps you experienced a breakup or a death occurred and you were asked to move on and get your life back together before you were ready.

Regardless of what it may be, we can agree that sometimes we are asked to do things that we aren’t ready for, aren’t qualified to do, and we can get really scared and worried. However, with the Lord on our side, we can trust that He will bring us through the flood.

We see this in Joshua 3 when Joshua is commanded to lead the people of Israel carrying the ark of the covenant. In verse 8, God says to Joshua “Tell the priests who carry the ark of the covenant: 'When you reach the edge of the Jordan’s waters, go and stand in the river.'”

Now imagine with me for a moment what Joshua was probably experiencing in this moment. He had just been asked to tell the Levite priests to go stand in the middle of the Jordan River, which verse 15 says is “IN THE MIDDLE OF FLOOD SEASON.”  This was essentially suicide for them. Joshua had to be extremely fearful and worried about them getting swept away yet faithfully he tells the Israelites what God has told him to say and the result is found in the end of verse 15 which says “Yet as soon as the priests who carried the ark reached the Jordan and their feet touched the water’s edge, 16 the water from upstream stopped flowing.”

Can you imagine?! I mean, this is like the "Red Sea Parting 2.0"! God showed up and delivered on His promises and it all came from Joshua essentially saying “get in the water.”

And this very same command that God gives to Joshua, I give you. Get in the water. You may feel scared, it may feel like the floodwaters of life are up against you, and you may feel like you’ll get swept away, but where God clearly directs you in your own life, be faithful to follow His direction. When God told Joshua to get in the water, he faithfully gets in.

When I decided to lead the project to honor my principal, the result was astonishing. The Lord totally “stopped the river” and somehow we raised $3,500 dollars that we gave him as a parting gift!

When the Lord calls you to get in water, get in. When it seems like the flood will overwhelm you, when it seems all hope is lost, when the outcome is uncertain – get in the water. Where the Lord leads, the Lord will provide.

 

Take My Life

April 10, 2017

Take My Life 

“Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.” – Romans 12:1

 

One time I did a hymn Bible study, and focused on the hymn “Take My Life and Let It Be.” And before you stop reading because this post is on an old hymn, please hear me out. I had only heard the first line of this hymn before because it’s in a contemporary worship song, but the actual hymn is so rich by itself and is a beautiful prayer to sing to God. Here, read or listen to these lyrics:

Take my life and let it be
Consecrated, Lord, to Thee.
Take my moments and my days,
Let them flow in endless praise.

Take my hands and let them move
At the impulse of Thy love.
Take my feet and let them be
Swift and beautiful for Thee.

Take my voice and let me sing,
Always, only for my King.
Take my lips and let them be
Filled with messages from Thee …

This hymn continues, telling God to take other parts of our lives — such as our intellect and love, and lastly, our whole life - offering it all up as a sacrifice to our Heavenly Father. It’s a song of beautiful, complete surrender to our King, and it’s something that we should be declaring daily.

The hymn says that we are completely and only God’s, and everything that He has blessed us with, we are offering up in surrender to Him. That means that God wants us to surrender our family, friends, relationships, money, material possessions, and brain to glorify Him. Anything that He has so graciously given us, we are to give back to Him. We need to give our everything to God. Our life, moments, days, hands, feet, voice, lips, silver, gold, intellect, will, heart, love, and ourselves — our everything. God wants you, to not only declare, but live out a life that daily surrenders all that you have to Him. 

The awesome thing about hymns like this is how they are backed-up with Scripture. This hymn in particular, is connected to Romans 12:1. The Message, which is an excellent resource although not an actual translation of the Bible, puts it this way:

“So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for Him.”

Isn’t that worded so practically? “Take your everyday, ordinary life and place it before God as an offering.” Your life doesn’t have to look spectacular to give it to God. You don’t have to go into full-time church ministry to completely offer yourself to our Father. He wants you as you are right now. He wants your faults, flaws, and failures. He just wants you to know Him. He doesn’t care if you’re a mess when you come to Him, because who are we kidding? We are all a mess. But He still loves you and me just as much as He loves each and every one of his children.

In the NIV version of Romans 12:1 it says, “Present your bodies as a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God…”

Looking back up in the hymn, that’s exactly what the hymn writer is talking about. God wants to use our body—our hands and feet to physically serve Him, our voice to worship Him, and our lips to tell the good news to others. God will use every part of our bodies to bring glory to Him if we allow Him to.

The second part of the verse says that when we embrace what God does for us, He is pleased. He loves it when we realize how He’s working in our lives. He wants us to realize that He has a great plan for our lives, and all we need to do is embrace Him and His will.

God wants every single part of us to be completely His, and we allow that to happen by saying yes to Him. This looks like doing the right thing when the wrong thing might be easier. It looks like taking time out of your day to spend with Him and serve the people around you. And it looks like giving Him every piece of your heart, all your passions, dreams, and plans, and letting Him guide you down the path He has for you.

Let your prayer simply be:

Father, Take my life and let it be consecrated Lord to Thee. Take myself and I will be ever, only, all for thee. Amen. 

 

Flirting With Sin

March 31, 2017

Flirting With Sin 

"Love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength."  Mark 12:30 

Flirt: experiment with or show a superficial interest in (an idea, activity, or movement) without committing oneself to it seriously

Ultimately, the essence of flirting is when one playfully interacts with something/someone else with no intention of seeking it/them further. In relationships, someone might flirt with you and have no intention of developing a meaningful relationship. In terms of risky behavior, you might be walking a tight rope over a pool of sharks with lasers on their heads. In this case, you're flirting with danger. You have no intention of falling in, but you're putting yourself in a situation that would make it easy for you to fall in.

This entire series has been devoted to highlighting sins in our lives that we tend to diminish and undermine. In addition, this series has been focused on why we should turn away from these sins. Ultimately, Silent sins are dangerous because they lead us away from God. Our motivation for running away from sin is so that we can grow in intimacy with God. When we flirt with sin, we jeopardize our spiritual health and love for God.

Read Mark 12:30. In this verse Jesus illustrates the meaning of life: to love God with the entirety of oneself. Our goal for this blog has been to draw believers into deeper intimacy with God, as a result, this requires a highlighting of sin. When we flirt with sin, we are not loving God with the entirety of ourselves.

Believers can flirt with sin when we embrace actions or mindsets that are not necessarily sinful in themselves, but that can certainly lead to sin. What are some ways that we can flirt with sin? A prominent one is prolonged kissing, otherwise known as "making out." Nowhere in the Bible will you find a verse that states that making out is wrong, Scripture, however, is clear about sexual immorality. Making out can easily lead to sex. When that takes place between two unmarried people, it is sin. Therefore, the acceptance of extended kissing is flirting with sin.

Another example can be seen in what kind of movies, TV shows, and music we watch and listen to. Many types of entertainment are not sinful in themselves, they do, however, provoke and incline us to embrace a sinful lifestyle. For example, the movie Deadpool is not sinful in itself. However, the movie does contain nudity, profanity, and meaningless violence. These have the potential to lead believers into embracing a lifestyle that is not Christlike.  

Ultimately, flirting with sin minimizes the value of God. We subconsciously declare to God, "You are not worthy of all my love and affection." Playing with the idea of rebelling against God dishonors Him.

In exactly two months from writing this blog post, I will be making the commitment and covenant with my fiancée to be married! Imagine many years pass by, and my fiancée and I are in our sixth year of marriage. Let's say that one day on my way home from work, I stop at a gas station. There's a girl working at the counter who is attractive. The first time I see her, I turn away and keep going. However, the next day I make small talk with the girl. As time passes by, what if I developed an inside joke with the girl? What if I got her phone number, and we texted each other? What if I made it my daily routine to stop at the gas station to see this girl?

Was anything that I did in that scenario sinful? Not at all. How do you think my soon-to-be-wife would have felt about my actions, however? Would she feel loved and valued? Not at all. In the same way, when we flirt with sin, we declare to God that He is not valuable to us.

In light of the idea of flirting with sin, think about ways that you flirt with sin. Are you spending too much time alone at night with a significant other? Do you listen to music that promotes a sinful lifestyle? Do you spend most of your time with people that want to pull you into sin?

In what ways do you jeopardize your relationship with God?

Make the decision today to love God with all of you. When it comes to questionable areas, many of us have asked the question, "how far is too far?" Instead, we should be asking, "How can I love God more?"

How can you love God more?

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