Here at Antioch we value our students. Our desire is that they would have a safe environment to hang out with other youth their age. Our mission is three-fold: 1. Challenge our students in their relationship with Christ. 2. Challenge our students in their relationship with other believers. 3. Challenge our students in their relationship with everyone else they meet.
In a world that is bidding constantly for our time and attention, we at Antioch are excited about the different opportunities that our students have to spend time with one another and to grow in their knowledge of God.
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Have you ever looked at a crowd of people and wondered where you fit? For many of us, this feeling is especially noticeable at Christmastime. In the busyness of family plans and crowded malls, we find ourselves wondering if we even matter. In this way, not much has changed since the first Christmas.
TEN- Thirty-five hundred years ago Moses came down from Mt. Sinai with a short list of rules that has shaped the values of people and nations for centuries. We know them as the Ten Commandments, but do we really know them? Many people believe that the rules are a condition for a relationship with God, things we must do to get in His good graces. But just the opposite is true. The relationship came before the rules. And the commandments were meant to not only reveal God’s heart, but to keep His people free.
Alive- Words are powerful. They can make your day or ruin it Words can make friends or create enemies. On a global level, words can start a revolution or bring peace. Now, think about how much more powerful God’s words are. Simply by speaking He caused the world to be created along with everything in it— mountains, oceans, thunderstorms, planets, the sun. His words caused nations to rise and fall, and people who were dead to come back to life. God’s words are the most powerful force in our entire world, but if we’re honest…most of us don’t think of them that way. We hear “God’s Word” or “the Bible” and think about an old dusty book, something complicated, outdated, or even boring. But what if it was never meant to be that way? What if we’re missing out by seeing it as simply a history book or something to study? As we take a closer look at God’s Word, we may be surprised at what we find. God is inviting us to hold, read, and experience the same Word that created everything we see. It’s more than a book. It’s better than a story. It’s alive.
BUILD- What is the biggest challenge you’ve ever faced? Maybe it’s a basketball game against your archrival. Maybe it’s passing your math class. Maybe it’s just trying to get up and go to school on time. Whatever it is, you’re probably familiar with the little knot that forms in your stomach. The nerves. The feeling of being completely overwhelmed. The Bible tells the story of a guy named Nehemiah who was all too familiar with that feeling. In fact, it isn’t just one story—there’s a whole book in the Bible named after him. Growing up in service to a king in Babylon and then Persia, Nehemiah probably didn’t think his life would make much of a story. But when he learns that his family’s homeland is in ruins, something changes in Nehemiah. He decides to do something about it—to go there. To build.
Unlikely- If you haven’t noticed by now, we’re going to clue you in on something big about God- He doesn’t exactly operate like most of us. What we mean is, He chooses the most unlikely people to work through. He shows up in the most unlikely places. And then He asks us to respond in ways that are unlikely and go against our normal response. And what it all boils down to is this- you and I are unlikely people God uses in unlikely places to respond in unlikely ways.
Villain- Villains are everywhere. Darth Vader, Loki, Scar, that guy with no nose from Harry Potter! Every good movie has a villain that just seems to make things challenging for the hero. There are also villains in the bible that are out to get us and make living for Christ challenging.
Hooked- When it comes to junk food, nearly everyone has a weak spot. Maybe for you, it’s the perfect salty bag of chips. Whatever it is, we all have something that taps into our weak spot, our cravings. When it’s around us, we just can’t seem to help ourselves. And it’s more than just junk food, right? That “gotta-have-it-right-now” temptation can pop up in a lot of different areas. Gossip. Movies. Spending money. Sex… Temptation is everywhere. But what are we supposed to do about it? Most of us know that giving in never makes our lives better, so what is it about the things that tempt us that makes us feel so powerless to say no? Thankfully, Scripture has a lot to say when it comes to temptation. And while there’s no promise that it will ever go away, we can find the courage to resist it, replace it, and avoid getting hooked.
Judgement Call- When was the last time you had to make a tough call? Was it when deciding what to eat for lunch? To drink Coke or Pepsi? Go to the gym or skip it? The truth is, we make judgment calls all day long, from what we watch on TV or who we hang out with to more complicated decisions like whether to attend a party or stick with a tough friendship. And, in every decision, we’re forced to ask the question, “Which option is better?” The problem is, our natural tendency to judge leaks into places it shouldn’t—like our relationships. We start thinking of people as options and deciding which ones are better or worse. Many of us are even tempted to make those judgments about ourselves. Unfortunately, most of the time, we make decisions about people without all the facts. We don’t know someone’s whole story, their whole situation, or their whole potential. We miss the big picture. Maybe that’s why, in the Bible, God makes it super clear: Judgment is His call. Not ours.
Christmas (Behind the Scenes)- Have you ever looked at a crowd of people and wondered where you fit? For many of us, this feeling is especially noticeable at Christmastime. In the busyness of family plans and crowded malls, we find ourselves wondering if we even matter. In this way, not much has changed since the first Christmas.
Shadowland- Have you ever turned on the news only to wish you hadn’t? Or answered a phone call only to wish you could un-hear the news on the other end? Whether it’s a global disaster, a school shooting, our parents’ divorce, or the death of a friend, there’s nothing fun about learning of a tragedy. It can make us feel like we are walking through a shadowland – where nothing seems quite right and there are more questions than answers. What do we say? What do we do? What happens next? And, how long will it take? At some point, we will all face a shadowland, but that doesn’t mean we have to stay there. There is a way through to the other side of tragedy, to healing. But getting there means we have to trust the One who is leading us.
Game On- In any kind of competition or event, the winning is almost always connected to the amount of preparation. The practice and the skill building may not seem necessary in the moment, but when it’s Game On, those skills are what take us all the way. Daniel was a young Jewish boy who encountered his “Game On” moment over and over. Ultimately it was the preparation of his faith skills that helped him through the most difficult of moments.
Catching Fire- When you were a little kid, did you ever try to light something on fire using a magnifying glass? Did you love sitting around a campfire? It seems there’s something in all of us that is fascinated by the power of fire. But along with that power comes a lot of responsibility. Depending on how it is used, fire has the power to make our lives better or to destroy everything we care about. But flames aren’t the only things with that kind of power. The Bible teaches that our words, our comments, and our conversations, can have a lot in common with fire. We’ve all seen how words used recklessly can quickly get out of control and leave everything a charred mess. But imagine what would be possible if we began using the power in our words for something good and beautiful instead? What if instead of using our words to destroy, we used them to build something amazing?
Obsessed- What are you obsessed with right now? Is it your favorite television show? A certain fashion trend? A band? A sport you play? We use the word obsessed a lot. Anything we really enjoy can become our obsession-of-the-moment. And dating definitely falls into that category. For some of us, we’re obsessed with a certain guy or girl we’d like to go out with. Or, we’re obsessed with the person we are currently dating—wanting to spend every minute with them. Or for a huge number of us, we don’t have a crush, but we are obsessed with the idea of dating—we wish we had someone to text with all day and night. No matter what your current relationship status, chances are you spend a lot of time thinking about, talking about, and dreaming about dating. And believe it or not, the Bible has a lot to say about it as well. In this series, we’re going to look at three key passages from Scripture that give us some clues how to enjoy the crazy world of dating without losing our minds.
Grow Up- Do you ever wish you could just grow up? Maybe you yearn for the day you will get your driver’s licenses. Or graduate from high school. Or go away to college. We don’t really want to be kids anymore. We want to be seen as adults. We want to feel like we’ve moved on, grown up. We all know how that happens physically, but what about spiritually? How do we know we’re growing in your faith? How do we know that you’re moving forward in that area of our lives? The good news is that God is just as passionate about growing our faith as we are. And there are five ways He will use to do that—some involving things that we probably already know, and other ways that we may have never thought about before.
Change- Do you every wonder if your life would be better with just a little more money? Of course you have! Maybe you want to buy more clothes, more music, or maybe you want to go to a concert with your friends. Wanting money is a no-brainer. But is that all there is to it? Is our only role with money to spend what we have and want more when it’s gone? As students, it’s easy to feel powerless when it comes to cash. Someone else pays the bills. Someone else makes the decisions. But what if I told you that you have more power than you realize? You have the power to help your family, change your habits, and even impact others in a big way. The truth is, money matters. Right here. Right now. And when you choose to change the way you think about it, God can do some big things in you and even bigger things through you.
Alter Ego- Everyone loves a superhero. Superman. Spiderman. Iron man. They swoop in and fight the bad guys, save the day, and somehow make their spandex suit look cool all at the same time. What would you do if you met one of these guys on the street? Pose for a selfie? Ask for an autograph? Probably none of the above. Chances are you wouldn’t you wouldn’t recognize Superman or Spiderman on the street. Why? Because almost all superheroes have another side, their mild, unassuming, simply-not-as-awesome alter ego. Sure the public persona is amazing. But in their real, every-day life identity is rarely as impressive. In that way, we all have something in common with superheroes. There’s a public side of us. A super-identity that most of the world gets to see. We’re funny. We have friends. We’re confident. But deep in our hearts, we know there’s an alter ego—a less than super side that we’d rather hide away. As we take a closer look at three personality traits that often bury themselves in our alter egos, we find that God has something to say about each one that can free us from living a double-life.
Picture Perfect- Does it ever feel like there are families who are more “perfect” than yours? They dress better. Have a nicer house, Never seem to have a disagreement of any kind. But when we see these families, we’re not seeing a full picture; we’re simply seeing a snapshot. If we actually lived in that family and dealt with each person on a daily basis, we would probably realized that the perfect family is, well, a myth.
Status- Dating relationships can get complicated. In “Status,” we’ll focus on a group of high school students as they navigate through their dating lives. In this series, high school age students will learn who to date, how to date, and how far is too far.
Upside Down- When we’re talking about our lives, most of us wouldn’t think in terms of “kingdoms.” But the reality is that each one of us has one. We have some area of our lives where we rule and reign. Your kingdom may be as vast as your school, or it may be as small as your bedroom or your cell phone. There’s a place in your life where you are in complete control and really don’t care what anyone thinks or wants. A place where you exert your will. And if you are a follower of Christ, this is a problem because it competes with His Kingdom- and there’s only room for one!
Who are the “invisibles” in your life? Who has been overlooked, pushed aside or held back in your community? I am certain that at some point every single one of us, as well as every student in our youth groups has, at one time or another, felt abandoned and unimportant. We didn’t make the team, or make the highest grade. We feel like we don’t matter. We feel….invisible. But Jesus offers grace to everyone.
Being branded is a reality. We can’t escape it. Based on any number of things, people will brand us with something—positive or negative. In a series of letters, the apostle Paul urged the churches he served to guard their brand-their identity-by choosing to “agree with one another whole heartedly” and extend the love and acceptance that they had experienced to others. What Paul knew was that by being known for these things we develop a positive brand and gain influence in the world around us.
“I just can’t let it go.” “They don’t deserve to be forgiven.” “It hurts too much to move on.” Maybe you’ve heard your students say something like this in the midst of pain, frustration and anger towards someone who has hurt them—or maybe you’ve said or thought something similar yourself. Choosing to forgive someone
who has hurt us is never easy. So why does it matter so much that we do it? How do we know when we should do it? And how do we know we have actually healed from the pain an offense has caused? How do we simply let it go?
Life is a constant battle between competing attention-grabbers and to-do lists. We often feel like the things we have to get done keep us from actually taking the time out to spend meaningful time with God, let alone ask Him how we can actually take the time to serve Him and those around us.
Not everyone has it together when it comes to knowing what God wants for their lives. But, sometimes it certainly feels like everyone else does—and we are the only ones who don’t. And that can make us feel uncertain about our relationship with God and where our life is going. But what if we started believing that everyone gets to play in the game of God’s plan? When it comes to those not-so-easy life decisions, what if things weren’t as complicated as we once believed? What if there is more freedom and less restriction when it comes to navigating the story God is telling in us and through us? God’s purpose for us just might not be the complicated labyrinth we once thought it was.
We all love miracles and we love it when they happen to us. But for Jesus, every miracle that He ever did—was about more than just the display of power. It was a sign pointing towards something bigger. Because every miracle, whether big or small, is a clue leading us towards God and His work in our lives. Anything that draws our attention back to God is a miracle.
Have you ever had a moment that made you stop and think, “Wow, this changes everything”? Maybe it was finding out you didn’t make the team or that your parents were splitting. Maybe it was finding out you’re good at something or bad at something you didn’t expect. In these moments our lives change direction quickly. The funny thing is nearly everyone who met Jesus had one of those moments. They came in with a plan, a direction, an identity. And as soon as they spent any time with Jesus, those ideas were turned upside down. And, as we look at four of these stories, we find that an encounter with Jesus has the power to flip our lives as well.
Movements are everywhere. “To write love on her arms”, “Tom’s Shoes”, “Livestrong”, “Habitat for Humanity”, and the “End-It Movement”—all of those and hundreds more were created during our lifetime. In fact, one of the traits that this generation is known for is being the most cause-driven, the most movement focused in history. So which movements do we join? How do we start? And how do we move and serve in a way that really matters? Even if we aren’t sure what we think about Jesus, we can learn something from Him about serving the community around us. By His example we learn to MOVE on behalf of others and KEEP MOVING to have a lasting impact.
Christmas. It’s the most wonderful time of the year. It’s hard to argue with the awesomeness of the season. We get a break from school—and if that doesn’t make you feel closer to God, I don’t know what will. We spend time with friends. Everything is decorated nicely, and just seeing the presents under the tree makes you feel like a giddy little kid. God doesn’t just ask for our generosity. He demonstrates His. The Christmas story represents God extending His generosity towards us.
If Only- What’s your “if only”? Every one of us has one, two or a hundred different scenarios in which we would do or say something differently. That e-mail we wish we wouldn’t have sent. That relationship that we should have avoided- or never began. We all have things we would do differently if given the chance. So if life inevitably brings “if only” moments, how do we handle the regrets that haunt us? How can we keep the mistakes we made yesterday from messing up today and tomorrow?
The Good Fight- This series exposes the truth about family life: All families fight. We just fight about and for different things, and we fight in different ways. Some families are very vocal; others quietly stuff their frustrations inside. But regardless of how families fight, every family decides what they are going to fight over. Fighting about rules and issues will always drive us apart, but there is another way. What if we began to fight for relationship? What if our sole objective was to know each other and to honor each other?
Babel- Many of us are in a series relationship- with technology. We love it. We need it. It’s a big part of our lives. But some of us could care less. We’re just not that into it. We don’t need to text someone every minute. Some of us don’t even have a Facebook page…GASP. But whether we are totally committed to it, or could easily see our lives without it, we can’t escape the reality that technology exists in our lives. And that’s not always a bad thing. Because technology isn’t evil. But what we do with it, how we use it, says a lot about our relationship with it.
Pause- What’s on your “to do” list today? A big test? Practice after school? What about breathing? Have you scheduled time to just stop and breathe? What if you took the time to pause and really enjoy the moment you are in? Instead of thinking about whatever is next, decide to pause and see where God is taking you.
Rhythm- In the beginning, God created a song, a rhythm. Humanity existed in harmony with God, with ourselves, and with each other. But then mankind settled for another song and the rhythm started falling apart. Yet even then, God didn’t walk away, and because of that, we have a way to restore the rhythm with Him, with ourselves, and with others.
Thin Green Line- There’s a thin green line between our hearts and our money, and one of the ways that it is visible is when it comes to giving. When we give money, whether it’s to a person in need, an organization or a local church, we become a part of another story. That coin, that dollar, becomes a part of something bigger and connects our hearts to God’s in a way that moves beyond something that benefits us or something we should do. It becomes something we get to do to understand the character of God.
Ignite- When you understand that leadership happens anytime you influence the thinking, behavior or development of another person, you will quickly grasp the fact that you are a leader. Suddenly, your purpose for life becomes clearer and your vision for changing their world gains perspective. Your focus will turn toward God as the source of serving in love, and you will have a greater impact in your home, school, church, community, and the world.
Status Quo- Many times in life we are told just to go with the flow! And we can agree that going with the flow is sometimes much easier than going against is. In this series we will look at some people in the bible who went against the Status Quo and stood up for that they believed!
Garbage In Garbage Out- We have heard the saying “Garbage In Garbage Out”, but what does it mean? The bible is very clear that what we allow to come in to our lives either by what we see or hear will eventually come out. From movies to tv to music, and even to the friends we hang with, the garbage that we allow to come in to our lives will steer us down a path of destruction. Join us as we explore this idea and what the bible says is the fix to it!
Bad Hair Day- Have you ever had one of those days, weeks, months or even year where everything seemed to go wrong? What are you supposed to do? We will take a look at the bible to find what it says about when things go wrong and how we should handle those situations in our lives.
Write. Rewrite.- Whether you’re a thrill-seeker or someone who minimizes risks, we all long for a great story. A great romance. A great adventure. A great mystery. And it could be that the reason we yearn for something so big, is because God made us that way. Believe it or not, a big story is unfolding around us, a story God is telling that started long before us and will continue to unfold long after we are gone. The things that draw us, that captivate us, that pull us in are the things that make God’s story great. The question is, are we a part of that story?
Fake ID- It’s an age-old problem—one that begins to plague us around the time adolescence hits and, if we aren’t careful, follows us around the rest of our lives. It is the question of who we are—what makes up our identity, what defines us, what makes us, us. What if we took a good, long, hard look at some of the foundational questions during the years that shape us more than any others? Who am I? Where do I belong? What is my purpose? We are going to begin to scratch the surface of identity tackling the difficult to ask—and even more difficult to answer—questions that ultimately end up defining who we are.
Doubt?- So what do you do when a doubt is too big? How do you handle a doubt that you just can’t seem to move past? You look back. You draw on the things you do know, the things that God has shown you. The things you have learned about Him in the past, both through information and experience. And you hang on to those things you do know, even when you’re left with questions about the things you don’t.
Guardrails- Guardrails are part of our every day experience. Whether we are walking, biking, or driving there are guardrails all around us to protect us from those off-limit areas- areas where we could drop off the edge or crash into something. But where are the guardrails in our actual, everyday lives? We have to establish those personal guardrails ourselves so that we can back up and stay on the safe side of a potentially dangerous situation.
Collide- Ask anyone who’s ever run into a sliding glass door that was closed, or went for the same baseball as a teammate, or experienced a fender bender at a stoplight—a collision changes things. Whether it’s a bump on the head or a cracked bumper, something is not the same as it was before. The same thing happens when we collide with God or His truth or even other people. We’re changed. But unless we put ourselves in a position to collide, everything will stay the same. So are you ready to change, are you ready to collide?
Dollar Menu – What makes the Dollar Menu So Great!?!? Well there are many things that make it great… none of which apply to the Christian Life. Join us as we learn to appreciate the Dollar Menu while learning to appreciate our Relationship with God even more.
Wisdom For Dummies – We go through life sometimes making the worst decisions. Why is that? We will spend a few weeks talking about what the bible has to say about wisdom and how we are supposed to get it and hold on to it.
Masquerade- So many times we hide behind some type of mask. We become someone we are not either to make our parents or friends happy, or maybe even to avoid getting in trouble. Join us as we take a few weeks and talk about the masks that we wear.
_______ Saves- Very few of us have Idols made out of wood or gold sitting in our rooms that we pray to every night. However, we all have a tendency to make almost anything into an IDOL. Something that steals our heart away from God. Join us as we talk about how to identify the IDOLs in our life.
Bad Student- Being a godly student can be tough especially when you are surrounded by old friends and habits. We will spend a few weeks discussing what the bible has to say about your years as a student and answer the question… “Is it even possible to be a godly student?”
God’s- Have you ever sat back and thought about all the stuff that you have? Your friends, your family, the food that makes it onto the table every day, your cool new phone, and even your car. Many of these things we all have and we think that we own it. However it is God who owns it all and he lets us use it. We will talk about the idea of Stewardship and how God expects us to use the things He gives us for HIS glory.
Jonah- Jonah is not just a story about a big fish who swallows someone. It is an incredible story of a man who tries to run away from God’s plan. Just like Jonah we at times run away or avoid what God has in store for us. But just like in the story, God ALWAYS has a way of drawing us back to where he wants us to be!
Walkie-Talkie- When I was a kid I loved Walkie Talkies! The only thing that I didn’t like about them was when you were trying to talk and the person on the other end was trying to do the same thing. Neither one of you would hear what the other was trying to say. In our schools, homes, and with our friends we sometimes experience the same communication problems. Join us as we look at what the bible has to say about how we communicate and use our words.
Friend Request- we have all types of relationships in our lives. Good relationships and bad relationships. Relationships with the opposite sex and relationships with our parents. Sometimes relationships can be tough. As Christians we have the model of Christ to show us what a real relationship looks like and how we are to conduct ourselves in any of our relationships.
Blur- Jesus in Matthew 5 takes the opportunity to take some teachings that they have “heard it was said,” and put them into focus. These teachings were once Blurred and out of focus because they had allowed their ideas to get in the way of scripture.
Generic Christianity- Unfortunately we have all grown up having the option to get the generic of a particular brand. Honey toasted O’s instead of Cheerio’s or Mountain Lion instead of Mountain Dew. As much as the Generic wants to…it can never be the original. In the same way we have given way to a Generic Christianity that has much of the same looks and sounds of real Christianity but it lacks REAL Relationship with Jesus Christ.
THE DARK SIDE- no no…we are not talking about Darth Vader. However, we will be talking about how there is a DARK SIDE that exist inside all of us. It is this DARK SIDE that will lead us down some very Dark paths and make us do some things that we normally wouldn’t even think of doing.
Tis’ The Season- Have you ever wondered what the Christmas season is all about? Presents? Food? Fat guys with beards? Well we are going to take a few weeks and talk about what the Christmas season is all about.
On Wednesday nights we spend time hanging out and then after recapping our lesson we break into small groups where we dig deeper into God’s word.
www.pluggedin.com– Plugged In is a Focus on the Family publication designed to shine a light on the world of popular entertainment while giving families the essential tools they need to understand, navigate and impact the culture in which they live.
www.cpyu.org Helping parents, youth workers, educators, pastors and others understand and reach today’s youth culture.