Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat…Oh My!

Media is an ever-present thing in our society. It is also ever-developing and changing. My friends and I were just reminiscing over the way that we’ve seen media develop right before our eyes as we’ve grown up. During this conversation we–

  • We marveled over our brain’s ability to memorize our friends numbers so we could call them from our landline (and wrap ourselves up in the phone cord as we talked).
  • We vividly remembered when our families got their first computers and the first time we ever got “online”, even though we had no clue what that meant at the time.
  • We laughed at the fact that we only had one game (snake, of course) to play on our brick-like phones in high school.

And now look how far we’ve come. Case in point? I just put down my smartphone so I could type this blog on my laptop to post for you to read it via social media on your smartphone or computer. Mind=blown.

But you might be over here like, “Yeah, yeah. Media is everywhere. So what’s the big deal?”

Media left unchecked can quickly turn into a beast that none of us is equipped to slay. Since we did not grow up in a generation where media was literally at our fingertips every minute of the day, it is hard to know how to parent and relate to our kids who are growing up in this media-saturated generation.

A parent of one of our students emailed us the link to this blog today and we found this infographic so interesting and eye-opening that we wanted to share it with you as you seek to parent and disciple your child well in the midst of all the media. Take a look at how media consumption has changed over the past 20 years.

Teen Media Infographic

What things stand out to you from this infographic? Comment below and let us know.

If you are at a loss when it comes to parenting and media, know you’re not alone. Reach out to us. We would love to get you some resources and walk alongside you as you seek to honor the Lord by discipling your kids and teaching them that Jesus is better, even than their latest selfie on Instagram.


This post was written by Mollie Tyler, Associate Student Minister. 

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XA 2016 #4: Only the Beginning.

  

 Chi Alpha 2016 has come to a close. Most people involved have gotten their much anticipated post-Chi Alpha nap. I definitely have and I am over here still in awe of what the Lord has done. And I want to share it with you!!

Let me catch you up on the rest of the goodness of yesterday–

After our time in large group session yesterday morning, host home groups scattered across the church to unpack their second lesson and eat some pizza. Then we all gathered together in the Atrium of the church to take a big group photo. Once the pics were snapped, we split up to partake in the afternoon activities.

Junior High students got to experience fun and games of Chi Alpha 2016 Recreation. Each team had a color and got to make up a cheer. Spirits were high and competition was higher. It was a great time of group bonding and continued deepening of relationships.

  
 Meanwhile, High Schoolers were scattered out around the city to serve. Half of the groups got to go and love on some Heights Women that are widows. They helped them out around their homes, doing tasks that the women wouldn’t have been able to do themselves. They also got to spend time with these women, hearing their stories and simply loving on them. It was a sweet time of ministry and encouragement of the saints.

    
The other half went to La Mirada, an apartment complex that The Heights partners with on a weekly basis. At La Mirada we hosted Kids Fest, a gospel-centered festival for kids and families around the apartment complex. Our students got to bring to life the story of Jesus, lead the kids in games and paint their faces. They also got to meet families and love on them. There were about 15 volunteers from Heights in Spanish who came and served food and built relationships with parents who attended. It was really cool to get to partner with them in this!

    
Around 90 kids from La Mirada came to the festival and got to hear the gospel! And a mother and her daughter responded in faith!!! Praise the Lord for using us to paint clear pictures of who He is and for drawing two new people into His forever family!

Once our afternoon activities concluded, we had some debrief time and then free time. Everyone came back to the church for dinner and got to watch two of the group leaders go on a “date” that they had won during our morning session. It was pretty hilarious!

Our last big group session of Chi Alpha began after dinner. The two main questions we explored were 1) “Who are you?” 2) “Where are you going?”. Dave spoke from Acts 19:8-20. This is the story of the Seven Sons of Seeva. Dave pointed out three types of people seen in this story: 1) People like Paul, who are hearers and doers of the Word 2) People like those filled with demons, who leave everyone they meet beaten and bruised 3) People like the Seven Sons of Seeva, who imitate following Jesus just to get the power and success that they want rather than God Himself.

Dave brought out some cereals and sodas onto the stage. He compared living like the Seven Sons of Seeva to buying knock off Dr. Pepper or Rice Krispies. You want all the taste with half the cost. But you can tell that it’s not the real thing by the taste in leaves in your mouth. Too often in Christianity, we imitate having a relationship with Jesus. We want the benefits of it, but don’t want it to cost us anything. We want to use Jesus to get what we want, but we don’t want to know Him. Then Dave asked the question, “Who is dissatisfied with the after taste of a generic imitation of a relationship with Christ? Who wants to be discipled in the real thing?”

Dave challenged us to think honestly about which of these people we most identify with right now. He challenged us to respond to how the Spirit was leading, whether that be seeking reconciliation in a relationship, surrendering places of our heart to God that we never have before, throwing down the imitation game and choosing the real thing, or whatever else the Lord moved us to do.

And then we sat in the presence of the Lord while Unhindered played over us. The Spirit moved and stirred in souls. I keep trying to think of adjectives to explain it but GOOD is the only one that keeps coming to mind. We closed out the session by responding in song to all that God is and who He makes us to be. Then groups headed home for the evening to continue unpacking the challenges by Dave Rhodes and what the Lord stirred up in them.

This morning we joined together to celebrate the weekend. As Bo, our student pastor, took the stage to wrap up the weekend and challenge us before we scattered, he sensed the Spirit calling him to give opportunity for people to respond to the gospel for the first time, stepping out of the imitation game and into the real thing of following Christ. And the Spirit obviously knew what He was doing in prompting Bo to do that because 32 students rose to their feet, with the rest of the group cheering them on and celebrating what God was doing before our eyes.

Guys, the gospel changes things. We cannot experience the gospel and stay the same. And we have seen this first-hand this weekend. But it doesn’t stop here with Chi Alpha. This is only the beginning. As Dave challenged the whole congregation this morning, the greatest risk we can take is not taking any risks.

“The greatest threat to the Kingdom of God is not that we try and fail, but that we just simply do nothing. Normal following God looks risky, but it’s not as risky as not taking any risks at all.”-Dave Rhodes

Let us dare to fail boldly because God is so divested in His investment that He will use even our failures to bring Him glory.

“God’s heart for a nation always runs through the heart of a person. He’s saying come and join me. Come and play. I know you’ve got fears and insecurities. But come and join me in the midst of them.”-Dave Rhodes

Join me in praying for all of us to choose to trust in God’s character, not letting fear and insecurities reign, but choosing to enter into the great quest that God is inviting us into. Let’s praise God for what He has done in every heart involved in Chi Alpha 2016. Ask Him to seal up what He’s done and move us to be a people who hear the voice of God and act on it immediately.

Thank you for your prayers and support of Chi Alpha 2016. That’s a wrap, folks!


This post was written by Mollie Tyler, Associate Student Minister. 

 

XA 2016: Saturday, Saturday!

Is it really already Saturday afternoon? Chi Alpha weekend seems to be flying by. Our students have had a filled day after some fun time at the host home Friday night. They started Saturday morning with eagerness and maybe a little less sleep than normal! The Spirit is rich among our students and is grabbing hearts and turning lives- we are so thankful! We have had students pray aloud for the first time, students realizing they are called to ministry, students sharing their hearts and lives about their days with their small group leaders. It’s exciting how God is working. Keep the prayers coming!

IMG_4481

For our first worship service this morning we heard from some of our seniors who shared their heart for personal evangelism. It was awesome to hear their honest conversation. Some of my favorite statements from them:

“If I’ve tasted and seen that should compel me to tell others.” Maddie Wonders

We talk about things we love so we should value the gospel and telling others about that. – Dylan Tye

“Lord, break our hearts for those who don’t know Jesus”- Amanda McBrayer

It is not only awesome to have mindsets of taking the gospel to those who do not know- but to model that in front of our students adds a whole new level of excitement.

 

Dave started this morning by challenging our students to live their lives without walls. Dave brought along his daughter Emma, a 7th grader, to talk about the Rhodes family mission statement, which says, “Show and tell people about Jesus in every part of their lives.” Emma said she wants to be a leader this year in her school and not follow whatever the latest trend, but instead to be willing to step into the things God. Dave said that, “Inside every believer is the entire movement for Jesus.”

Dave spoke from Mark 1 whenever Jesus healed the leper. The wonderful thing about Jesus is that He saw the world through a different lens.

 

Radical reality of the kingdom of God

  • Jesus was filled with compassion to the man with leprosy
  • Jesus touched the man! In a world that was not willing to
  • Extraordinary thing breaks into the ordinary thing

 

We as Christ followers need to see our reality differently so that we

  • See what Jesus sees.
  • Do what Jesus does.
  • Feel what Jesus feels.

 

He reminded the students that No one is unredeemable. Jesus modeled the life that nothing is beyond grace and mercy of God instead Jesus looked through everything through the life of Hope.

Dave dared us to see circumstances through the lens of the goodness of God not through our own lens.

 

Jesus doesn’t just see the leper, he touches the leper!

 

We dare to live with the hands of faith as Christ followers. In a broken world, we look at things and respond first. The brokenness and devastation does not cause us to back away but we act as first responders and move into the world as those who live with hope. God is a missional God who is in the world. Through his people, the kingdom of God comes here and now! The church does not exist behind the walls, but dares to risk and to move with God.

Dave then totally affirmed and reemphasized the church mission statement “To take personal risks to bring the gospel to every relationship.”

 

The phenomenal can happen in you and through you because we are filled with the Spirit. We can be filled with what he defined as comPASSION- a heart breaks for the broken.

Dave said, “I don’t want you to work for God but leave this place and work with God.”

Questions to think on-

  • What part of God’s is running through your life?
  • How does this truth change you?

XA2016: FriYAY!


What’s the worst part about Chi Alpha? Coming on Thursday night and having a blast then having to go home. Not only go home, but also go to school all the next day. The anticipation for the rest of the weekend is so real.
So needless to say, when 6:30 PM came last night, students were incredibly excited to get back here and jump into the rest of Chi Alpha.

Our staff felt the same way too! All of the college group leaders arrived yesterday afternoon and got some training to prepare them to lead our students. This is a great bunch of leaders, with the majority of them being past Heights Students. We are grateful for the legacy of students who grew up here and have chosen to come back to invest into students. Discipleship is really cool. Expectant to see how God uses the leaders that He’s raised up to shepherd the groups of students this weekend.

Last night we dove into our first session with Unhindered and Dave Rhodes. We are so excited to have them leading us this weekend in song and teaching. The theme of this weekend is Relentless. Last night we were focusing on what it looks like to be Relentless in our praise.

Dave spoke from Judges 6, talking about the life and calling of Gideon. In Judges 6 we see devastation and destruction in Israel because of their sin, the people of Israel crying out to God, and God answering their prayers by choosing Gideon to be their vehicle of deliverance. This passage is really a game-changing passage. Dave talked about some game-changer moments for him in his life. He said, “On the heels of our greatest breakdowns, God can meet us and bring breakthrough.” God meets us in our brokenness. He uses our brokenness to show us who He really is. These moments are game-changers.

He challenged our thoughts of what it means to be Relentless. A lot of times we think about what we can do for God. But, like Dave said, before we have ever been relentless for God, He has been relentlessly pursuing us.

“God is the great hound of heave that sniffs out our hiding spots.”-Francis Thompson

Like Gideon,

  • God sees us
  • God seeks us
  • God names us
  • God calls us

Like Gideon, even in the midst of devastation and brokenness, God is seeing us and seeking us. He dreams of what we are supposed to be. He give us identity and purpose.

As we finished up last night, Dave told us a story about him and his daughter going on a fun day together. She really wanted to go to putt-putt and kept asking to make sure it would be open when they went. He kept promising her it would. But when they got there, it was closed. She was devastated and confused by her dad not keeping his promises at 1:15pm. But then Dave found another place for them to putt-putt and then they got ice cream and had a fantastic day together. By 4:00pm, his daughter was laughing and had a blast. She told her mom, “I have the greatest Daddy!”

At 1:15pm, she was broken and questioning her daddy’s love for her and ability to keep his promises. At 4:00pm, she was confident in her daddy’s character and love for her.

Is it 1:15pm for you? 4:00pm is coming. Jesus is God’s proof that He is keeping His promises towards us. He is seeking us out and finds us in our hiding spots, calling us deeper into Himself and setting us free. He gives us identity and purpose.

The Spirit was heavy last night, speaking clearly through Dave. God has already done so much. We are beginning the morning with expectant hearts for how God is going to move today! Join us on our Livestream here this morning! Continue praying for God to move in power this weekend!


 

This post was written by Mollie Tyler, Associate Student Minister.

XA16 #1: Let the Games Begin


After many months of preparation and prayer, CHI ALPHA 2016 HAS BEGUN!!!! We kicked off XA 2016 last night at The Heights. Everyone got all checked in and found out their host homes. Then they got to hang out with their host home, feasting on cinnamon rolls and taking part in some friendly competition with their groups.

After check-in we all headed down to the student ministry area of the church lovingly called the Brick. Once in the Brick, each grade worth of students competed to put together a puzzle of their Heights Students staff captain. The ninth grade class was speediest to put together a picture of Thomas Seith’s face. Thomas’s consequence? A food-firing line. Think food fight in a cafeteria except Thomas was the only one getting food thrown at him. Here’s the end result.

Then we moved into a game called “Risk It.” We’re going to be talking a lot about taking risks this weekend, and the last game played was very risky indeed. Students doned karate outfits and danced to win their spot in the game.

Jansen Wonders won as the high school representative and Kate Johnson won for Junior High. Jansen and Kate then had four risks to take to win money. These risks included kissing a pig named Hamlet, painting with puréed spam and other such delicacies, and eating some insect trail mix. The last risk got a little fishy. Jansen chose to take it, while Kate opted out. He got a Bayou Bath. Aka got in a trough with crawfish, baby octopi, a Korean squid and a lobster! He took it like a champ and came out the actual champ of the Risk It game. Here’s his reaction to some of our aquatic critters.

We ended the night with Bo Behenna, our student pastor, casting vision for the weekend. The verse that is driving our time this weekend is, “For we cannot help speaking about what we have seen & heard” Acts 4:20. When I read this verse these questions pop into my mind–What does it look like to pursue Christ at all costs?! How do we do this? Why do we do this? What’s keeping us from doing this? And this weekend we are going to be diving deeper into these questions and Scriptures.

This whole week as we’ve been planning and preparing for Chi Alpha, God has been ever present. He’s been working perfectly in every single situation. He’s provided. His Spirit has led us. And after seeing His provision and presence this week, I know without a shadow of a doubt that He is relentlessly pursuing every single heart and soul that is apart of Chi Alpha 2016. He is going to do great things that we cannot explain with any other word but Jesus. And that’s exactly what I’m praying for!! Join us in praying for God to get done what He wants done in every single heart and life this weekend, all for His glory!!

Follow along the Chi Alpha journey by searching #XA16 on Instagram and Twitter. You can also LiveStream our sessions here. We are SO EXCITED!


This post was written by Mollie Tyler, Associate Student Minister.