BRING OUT THE HERO LURKING INSIDE YOUR TEEN The Bible is filled with unlikely heroes. A young shepherd boy and a ragtag bunch of disciples are just some of the people God used to fulfill his plans. God doesn’t have a strict set of requirements or an age limit for service. Instead, he uses young people in mighty ways to minister and serve. Twins Alex and Brett Harris are two young heroes who set out to spark an adolescent “rebelution.” At age 18, they wrote Do Hard Things (Multnomah Books), which challenges teenagers to fulfill their potential and defy the world’s low expectations of them. Although the world views teenagers as irresponsible and adolescence as a vacation, “God calls us to be exemplary,” Alex says, adding that adolescence is really a “launching pad for life.” The Harris brothers challenge teens to intentionally do five kinds of things: Things that are outside your comfort zone. Things that go beyond what is expected or required. Things that are too big to accomplish alone. Things that don’t earn an immediate payoff. Things that challenge the cultural norm. How can you encourage your teenagers to become heroes for God?
Tips “Not all superheroes have abs of steel. Here are insights into real-life heroes:
Strength comes from recognizing God, the source of strength. Heroes shouldn’t rely on themselves; only God is omnipotent, or all-powerful (see Isaiah 50:2). Strength comes from weakness. This seeming contradiction shows that when you recognize that you need help, you become willing to rely on God’s strength (see 2 Corinthians 12:10). Hard times build strength. God uses troubles and challenges to test and grow our faith (see James 1:2-4). During tough times, we learn to trust God with our weakest moments so that other people can see his strength. Real-life heroes recognize that they’re significant enough to be part of God’s plan. God doesn’t need our help, but he does use us. He created each of us with value, and that means we’re equipped to fit perfectly into what he wants to accomplish here on earth (see Jeremiah 29:11).
Statistics Every week, nearly six in every 10 teenagers is engaged in some kind of group spiritual activity. But the percentage of teenagers who are inclined to have conversations with non-Christians about their faith decreased from 63% to 45% between 1997 and 2009. (barna.org) In a survey of nearly 20,000 Christian teenagers, kids listed their top need as help with building a positive relationship with God. Number six on the list was needing help with how to share faith with friends and others. (Group Magazine)
Going Deeper During summer, theaters are filled with action flicks and heroes—two things that attract teenage fans. Use the blockbustermovie season to convey messages about heroism: Watch a new flick together and turn the post-movie conversation toward spiritual things. Write the screenplay or storyboard of your life. Answer these questions: If your life story were turned into a movie, what would be the key scenes? Who are the main characters? What role does/has/is God playing in your movie? What hero-like qualities do you have? What qualities do you need? What is the next scene after the one you’re currently in? How does the story end? Plan a movie night. Let teenagers invite friends over for a movie “theme” night. For example, rent Soul Surfer (due out on DVD in August) and hold a beach-themed get-
together. Afterward, talk about how Bethany Hamilton faced her fears, showed heroism, and trusted in God’s plan for her life. Stay young at heart. If your kids are animation fans, enjoy a matinee show together. After watching Kung Fu Panda 2, for example, discuss the spiritual battles Christians wage, the difference between fighting offensively or defensively, and how the armor of God protects us (see Ephesians 6:10-18). Enjoy some “oldies.” Dig up copies of classics such as The Ten Commandments, Ben-Hur, and Chariots of Fire. Then share thoughts about the heroes and deeds each film portrays.
Discussion Questions How might your definition of a hero differ from your teenager’s definition? How does it differ from God’s definition? What “hard things” have you done? Have you shared the experiences with your kids?
Who has been a hero in your life, and how? In what ways can you be a hero for God, your family, and other people?
Resource The next generation stands on the brink of a "rebelution." With over 35 million hits to their website TheRebelution.com, Alex and Brett Harris are leading the charge in a growing movement of Christian young people who are rebelling against the low expectations of their culture by choosing to "do hard things" for the glory of God. Written by teens for teens, Do Hard Things is packed with humorous personal anecdotes, practical examples, and stories of reallife rebelutionaries in action. This rallying cry from the heart of revolution already in progress challenges the next generation to lay claim to a brighter future, starting today. For a free copy of this book, talk with Mario Arindaeng at 630.361.2436 or David Wood at 630.391.3572.
Transformers: Dark of the Moon Review Read the rest of this and other reviews at www.pluggedin.com. ©Focus on the Family 2011 Plot: We've been lied to. Everything we've been told about the Space Race of the 1960s was a cover-up. When Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin landed at Tranquility Base, their assignment wasn't just to gather a few moon rocks or to take "one giant step for mankind." It was to hustle over to the dark side … … where they found a massive alien vessel. A ship, we learn 40 years later, that had shuttled the fleeing Autobot leader Sentinel Prime away from Cybertron's civil war between the noble Autobots and the wicked Decepticons. A ship carrying prototype technology that could have given the Autobots the edge against their archenemies in the war they soon lost. A ship whose contents—including the barely alive Sentinel Prime—could still hold the key to the next inevitable battle between these good and evil shapeshifting robots. But lurking Decepticons are already onto the secret (at the expense of self-serving humans foolish enough to do business with them). And the Autobots, who've been working for the American military, quickly realize what's at stake as well. And the race is on. In the eye of that brewing storm, of course, is plucky Sam Witwicky. Underappreciated by virtually everyone for twice saving humanity, Sam's got more mundane things on his mind these days. Specifically, landing his first post-college job and trying to please his curvy new live-in girlfriend, Carly. She's far better employed, it turns out. And her boss, Dylan, is a car-flaunting, big-shot accountant who ogles her even as jealous, insecure Sam flinches. But when Sam learns through a crazed colleague that the Decepticons have returned and are determined to decimate Earth, his existence suddenly becomes a whole lot more purposeful. Once again he steps up to responsibility of saving his damsel-in-distress girlfriend … and saving the planet from the Decepticons for a third time. At stake is nothing less than the survival of human life on earth as we know it. And when the Decepticons' full-metal maelstrom final breaks around Sam, Carly and the Autobots, the city of Chicago will bear the brutal brunt of its fiery, mechanized fury. Conclusion: The massive worldwide success of the Transformers franchise, despite the critical drubbing of the two previous installments, has apparently given director Michael Bay license to do whatever he wants. Because of that, Transformers: Dark of the Moon clocks in at a staggeringly indulgent 154 minutes—that's 2 hours and 34 minutes for those keeping score at home. The last hour delivers a nonstop apocalyptic conflagration so unremittingly intense that my CGInumbed mind struggled to process the chaotic carnage onscreen. And I'm not the only one who felt that way. Bill Goodykoontz, of the Arizona Republic, wrote, "As if realizing he's spent all this money on such spectacular effects, Bay pulls out all the stops in the last act in an orgy of cacophony, pitting shrieking, grinding metal against metal in one incoherent battle after another. By the time it's over you'll be beaten down, pummeled into submission." Just as Plugged In reviewer Paul Asay mused after viewing Revenge of the Fallen in 2009, it dawned on me as I sat through this installment's unceasing explosions (not to mention Bay's shameless objectification of Carly, played plastically by newcomer and former Victoria's Secret model Rosie Huntington-Whiteley) that this is what Hollywood believes people want to watch. And given the billion-and-a-half dollar box office tally of the first two films, this probably won't be the last Transformers film to assault our senses and sensibilities. As Goodykoontz concluded, "Bay's hammering technique works, in a commercial sense. Executive producer Steven Spielberg is the richer for it." Unfortunately, audiences won't be. This review is not intended to endorse this film, but rather to help parents make informed decisions.
Calendar of Events
Sun 26 AC Cause/Squared Gathering 6-8:30pm
Wed 29 SG Refuge/Aliens Meeting 6:30-9pm
3 AC Cause/Squared Gathering 6-8:30pm
6 SG Refuge/Aliens Meeting 6:30-9pm
10 Capture the Flag at IC Campus 2-4pm | Meet at SG at 1pm for ride 17
AC Student Ministry meets on Mondays starting July 11. 11 AC Cause/Squared Gathering 6-8:30pm
Thurs 30 Six Flags Outing Jr & Sr HighNo IC Gathering 7 IC Cause/Squared The Loft: 5-7pm Gathering: 7-9pm
Junior High Mission Trip with Wayside Cross 12
13 SG Refuge/Aliens Meeting 6:30-9pm
14 IC Cause/Squared The Loft: 5-7pm Gathering: 7-9pm
18 AC Cause/Squared Gathering 6-8:30pm
20 SG Refuge/Aliens Meeting 6:30-9pm
21 IC Cause/Squared The Loft: 5-7pm Gathering: 7-9pm
25 AC Cause/Squared Gathering 6-8:30pm
27 SG Refuge/Aliens Meeting 6:30-9pm
28 IC Cause/Squared The Loft: 5-7pm Gathering: 7-9pm
Senior High Detroit Mission Trip
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Upcoming Events August August September 7 September 15 September 19 October 28-30 November 12 November 16 November 19 December 3
Aliens and Refuge Wednesday Nights are Off-Site Sugar Grove Aliens and Refuge meet at various students’ homes. No Cause or Squared for Aurora and Indian Creek during August Sugar Grove Campus Back 2 School Bash | Jr & Sr High at separate locations | $5 Indian Creek Campus Back 2 School Bash Aurora Campus Back 2 School Bash Fall Camp | Senior High and Junior High | $120 ($99 early bird) Kendall County Food Pantry Service Project | Pack Thanksgiving Meals Ad Vivum – Moody Bible Institute Drama team | Junior High & Senior High Senior High Turkey Hunt | 5:30 – 10:30 PM | $5 | Meets at SG Campus Pack Teen Christmas Bags | $10 per teen bag donation
Visit villagebible.org/students for details on these events and our ministry.