Trick or Treat Block Parties!

The mission of The Heights Church is to take personal risks to bring the Gospel to every relationship.  This has been something that has been swelling at The Heights for a while now.  It’s not to say that our church family never takes risks, but we are becoming more aware of the need within our community around us and beyond.  As we grow in our understanding of the Gospel, we feel more of an urgency to take the most life-changing message of hope to broken people that we interact with every day, week, month, year (see Mission Measures).  We become more aware of our calling to live on mission 24/7.  It’s our natural response to the Gospel as Christ followers.

Taking risks this way can look different based on your personal context and not necessarily completely revolving around our events or building at 201 W Renner Rd.  Your neighborhood is one way that our mission can be expressed.  Trick or Treat Block Parties can be an opportunity to engage people where you are.

This year on Halloween, we are asking families to host Block Parties in their neighborhoods.  If you are interested in hosting, click here for more information.  For students in grades 7-12 that are not already serving with their parents, we have locations available for students to meet.

Bitar House
524 Buffalo Bend Ct
Murphy, TX 75094
7th Grade

Johnson House
2608 Edgeview Ct
Richardson, TX 75082
8th Grade (6:00pm-8:00pm)

Figueroa House
1309 Brundidge Dr
Wylie, TX 75098
Grades 9-12

Kruse House
312 Shady Hill Dr
Richardson, TX 75080
Grades 9-12

Harris House
2015 Flat Creek Dr
Richardson, TX 75080
Grades 9-12

Alvey House
613 Royal Glen Dr
Murphy, TX 75094
Grades 9-12

Students will be encouraged to be more intentional by gathering together, cooking out for the neighborhood, playing rec games in the front yard with kids, providing the good candy and helping their host homes establish relationships with other families.

Date: Saturday, October 31, 5:00p-7:00p Time Frame

Contact Bo Behenna for more information.  You can also find this information at heights students.org/engage.

Bo Behenna
Assoc. Student Minister
bbehenna@theheights.org

Let Your Kingdom Come in Honduras.

This is a blog post from one of the days during our last Heights Students trip to Honduras during Spring Break of 2015. Keep reading below to hear firsthand how the Lord used our time in Honduras to transform students by the power of the gospel at work in them and through them.

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The sun has set on another day in Honduras and our hearts are overflowing with the glimpses of the Kingdom that we’ve seen while we’ve been here. This morning started off a little fishy as we got to see how the tilapia at Promise Home is processed. Some of us even got to participate in this process! What a fin-tastic way to start the day! From there we led VBS at a local school, then we ate lunch and had a little bit of down time to rest at the church. For the afternoon we split into two teams–one that stayed and painted at the Promise Home Orphanage and another that went and installed pilas (outdoor sinks) at two homes in the mountains.

Tonight we ate a delicious dinner and had a rich debriefing discussion, digging into what is the Kingdom of God, how is God advancing His Kingdom here and what it’s like for us to live as citizens in His Kingdom in our daily lives. Tonight was a huge lightbulb moment across the board as the Lord revealed Himself and His Kingdom to us in a fresh way. Discussions have been going on in some form or fashion for the past three hours as all of us continue to unpack what the Father is showing us. I am in awe of what the Lord is doing in these students and leaders and my own life. Here’s a word from four students about their time here so far-

Today was probably the most joy-filled day of the week I experienced. I literally woke up and instantly felt the joy of the Lord, and I knew it was going to be a great day. I knew it was going to be different, because I usually don’t wake up early in an enthusiastic mood! Also before even starting the day, my roommate Kate and I prayed and it made all the difference. Getting to work with the children with my team of friends was probably the most memorable experience. In that time, things didn’t necessarily go as planned, but flexibility was something that we weren’t afraid of because God is more than capable of working under any circumstances. And I think the coolest part for me was seeing no one freak out that things changed, but seeing everyone with a smile and just going along with things, even though they weren’t apart of the plan. In our walk with Christ, not everything goes as we may plan it. We come across some bumps, sometimes even mountains. But, we should take those obstacles with joy (James 1) and know that God has faith in us and ultimately, He has our back. And no where in life are things going to be always in our full control, and that’s okay because…. LIFE.. But, in those times God is the peace in the midst of the storm, you just have to be still and know He is in control.

-Tino Charuma, sophomore at North Garland High School

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Today my group and I two laid pilas. Seeing how grateful this family was for us to give them a sink with water from a river full of dirty water was so eye-opening. When we finished the first one, the grown man that lives there was crying. It was very humbling to see how happy they are. Yesterday morning my group acted out the story of Noah for VBS at a school. The kids were asked why they think our group is in Honduras and a little girl said, “to see how happy we are.” For someone who has struggled with depression since I was in elementary school, hearing this brought tears to my eyes. They are the most joyful people I have ever met and it is so contagious.

“And JESUS said to them, for men this is impossible but with God all things are possible.” Matthew 19:26

-Hannah McKnight, senior

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Before we came to Honduras, I had been praying before for God to change people’s lives while I was here. I prayed it, but in my head I didn’t actually think that God was going to do that. Yesterday we were visiting people in a village near Promise Home and I got to meet this really old, lonely, lady. She spoke no English so one of the bi-lingual Honduras ladies translated. The translator asked Mollie to read a verse and she prayed for the Lord to lead her to a verse and He led her to Proverbs 2:6-10. The translator read Proverbs 2:6-10 to her. The lady instantly started smiling and laughing and proceeded to say she wanted to accept Christ. I was able to pray over her and lead her through it. After this experience, I was so convicted by how I underestimate God’s power to draw people to Himself.

Graham Varnell, sophomore at the Plano Academy

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The Lord has shown me and challenged me so much this week. I have learned that I am selfish and blessed beyond measures. Our society lives on a schedule. We often forget how much we have, and forget to look at the blessings the Lord has given us. We take so much for granted, even the smallest things like cars to go to church. Some people walk up to 50 minutes just to go to church here. Often I find that our relationships with Christ are staged, but here in Honduras their relationships with the Lord are so genuine. They worship like I have never seen people worship. Life is truly so much more than how many followers we have on social media or what brand of clothes we wear. The people here have nothing and they are more polite and grateful than any other person I have ever met. Most of the time their only hope is Jesus. I often find my hope in earthly desires. My perspective on life is so different than when I left the US. I cannot wait to see how the Lord is going to continually move in the people in Honduras and how he is going to use what I have learned this week when I go back.

-Kallie Galvan, freshman at Shelton High School

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The Lord is active and moving (I keep saying this, but it’s the only way I know how to describe the work of God that is happening here!) and we are truly giddy over what He’s doing. Join me in praying over our last full day tomorrow. We get to do some more painting and lay some more pilas. We are excited and expectant for God to continue making His Kingdom manifest to us and through us. Thank you all for sharing in this journey with us!

Battling Entitlement.

As I sit here contemplating how the culture has shifted among teenagers, I keep thinking of a word that is commonly passed around, “entitlement.” Sure, teenagers are notoriously self-consumed but teenagers with the mentality of feeling entitled, to me, is far more prevalent than even 3-4 years ago. Some who know me may say well that’s because you teach high school students in Highland Park. But, really, I see it in our youth group and examples of teens globally throughout social media and the news.

Sure, there are those students who have a huge heart to serve and genuinely have that passion. But, for the most part, teenagers are looking for every opportunity to make any gains on their college resume or recognition and then move on. It is not about serving or giving, it is “what’s in it for me?”

The other thought that comes to mind is the laziness to use one’s mind and think. And maybe, this is where entitlement starts to seep in because students do not want to take the time to think through a problem or solution. Teenagers (and most humans, honestly) want instant gratification. So, taking the time to logically think through a problem is often frustrating and boring to them. If they are not being entertained in the moment, then it is often meaningless to them.

Teaching leadership, I have seen a level of weakness in the area of responsibility, which goes back to entitlement. Students are so often bailed out by their parents. Just the other day, a student of mine realized she had a quiz the next period. She asked to go to the restroom. 3 minutes a later, a note from the office shows up excusing her from class for a doctor’s appointment. She obviously called a parent and got permission to leave so she could be excused from her quiz. These kinds of things happen all the time and sadly, so much of this entitlement and unwillingness to take responsibility is caused by parents enabling their children.

As a parent myself, my first instinct is to go in, swoop up, and rescue my son. But, the better of me knows that if he “scuffs his knee” or loses or fails, he will be a stronger man through learning in those circumstances. He will have stronger character, integrity, and determination. When I was growing up, we made fun of the kid who ran to mommy to bail them out of trouble. Now, kids and parents know all the tricks to get around the rules just so their student can stay ahead, stay out of trouble, and not be held accountable for their actions.

As I am typing, I am listening to the song, “Overwhelmed”, and the lyrics definitely put this all in perspective.

I see the work of Your Hands
Galaxies spin in a Heavenly dance oh God
All that You are is so overwhelming

I hear the sound of Your Voice
All at once it’s a gentle and thundering noise oh God
All that You are is so overwhelming

I delight myself in You
Captivated by Your beauty
I’m overwhelmed, I’m overwhelmed by You.

-“Overwhelmed” by Big Daddy Weave

If we take the time to elevate God in our lives, finding delight in God, truly being overwhelmed by God’s love and mercy, how could we ever be so consumed with ourselves? When I read Scripture, I can’t help but be convicted of this even more deeply.

“Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you.” Romans 12:3

“Whoever exalts himself shall be humbled; and whoever humbles himself shall be exalted.” Matthew 23:12

In light of this, I am challenging us, as adult leaders and parents, to wrestle through some hard questions. Grab a piece of paper and a second to sit down and really think through these questions for you and the students that the Lord has placed in your life.

  • How do we model a selfless life for our youth?
  • Realistically, what does a non-entitled teenager look like and how did he/she get “trained” in such a way?
  • What messages are we sending our children that they must compete at the highest level and do any and everything to get to that point?
  • How can we teach our children success in the eyes of God, not this world?
  • How do we help them balance life in such a way that the focus is off of them – meaning their extracurricular accomplishments, their popularity, building a massive college resume, etc. – and more about what he/she can do to serve and honor God?

This post was written by John Hinton. John is a teacher at Highland Park High School and an active disciple-maker in The Heights Student Ministry. He loves spending time with his wonderful wife Marian and son Drew.