THE OVERVIEW: May

May is for finishing strong in school and taking personal risks in relationships.

As the school year is coming to a close, our heart is for students to understand the value in taking risks for the Gospel in all of their relationships before students scatter to various summer activities.  Ask your son or daughter this month who they can share the Gospel with before June 3.  Follow-up with them.  Equip them.  Know that we are here to support.

We also believe that there is a value of excellence in anything we do as Christ Followers.  Because our God is excellent, He desires to be excellent through His kids.  We are going to challenge students to study hard and finish strong while reminding them that their identity does not stem from their grades.  This can be a tricky subject to understand.  That’s why we want your students here this month

JUNIOR HIGH

May 12016 Camp Registration Day, 9:00a-12:30p, The Atrium (Save $100)

May 4: Switch: Picnic, 7:00p-8:30p, The Brick

May 82016 Camp Registration Day, 9:00a-12:30p, The Atrium (Save $100)

May 15:  Engage Global Sunday, 9:15a-12:00p, The Heights Church

May 15: Heights Students Spring Cookout, 5:30p-7:00p, Volleyball Court

June 1:  2016 Camp Price Increases to $449/student.

June 1:  Poolside Bible Study, (More Information Forthcoming)

SWITCH:  The Switch Picnic will mark the closing of another amazing school year.  Join us as we eat FREE food and challenge students to finish strong in their studies.   ALSO, please allow your middle school student to bring a friend to our Heights Student wide cookout on May 15.  It is our annual celebration for grades 7-12 as we look to an engaging summer.

Bible Fellowship:  Junior High BF will continue to gather every Sunday morning at 9:15am or 10:50am in The Brick.

 

HIGH SCHOOL

 

May 12016 Camp Registration Day, 9:00a-12:30p, The Atrium (Save $100)

 

May 1:  Church Huddle, 5:30p-7:00p, The Brick

May 1:  Murphy Huddle, 5:30p-7:00p, Fudge Home

May 4:  Richardson Huddle, 7:00p-8:30p, Harris Home

May 82016 Camp Registration Day, 9:00a-12:30p, The Atrium (Save $100)

May 8:  Church Huddle, 5:30p-7:00p, The Brick

May 8:  Murphy Huddle, 5:30p-7:00p, Fudge Home

May 15:  Engage Global Sunday, 9:15a-12:00p, The Heights Church

May 15: Heights Students Spring Cookout, 5:30p-7:00p, Volleyball Court

May 22:  Senior Sunday, The Heights Church

June 1:  2016 Camp Price Increases to $449/student.

June 1:  Poolside Bible Study, (More Information Forthcoming)

 

HUDDLES:  Please find each Huddle location’s address on our iPhone app found in the AppStore (search “THSM”) or at http://www.heightsstudents.org/high-school.  Please note that students are not encouraged to come to every Huddle throughout the week.  Our desire is for high school students to find one meeting time to invest.

Bible Fellowship:  High School BF will continue to gather every Sunday morning at 9:15am in The Brick.

 

ADDITIONAL COMMUNICATION

You can stay better connected with The Heights Student Ministry through 4 other helpful resources.

  1. APP:  Download our iPhone app.  CLICK HERE
  2. SOCIAL:  Follow us through social media.  InstagramTwitterFacebook
  3. WEB:  Visit heightsstudents.org.  To view the calendar, CLICK HERE
  4. BLOG:  Stay resourced as parents of teenagers.  Read our Blog!  CLICK HERE 

 

Bo Behenna
Student Minister
The Heights Student Ministry
heightsstudents.org || @heightsstudents

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Parenting From Grace, Not For It.

Today is our second post in a series of hearing the hearts of some of our lay leaders. Mallory is the wife of Bo, our lead student minister. She is the newish mommy to twin boys, Brooks and Griffin, and is serving as the director of our 10th graders this year. Take it away, Mallory!


IMG_9561As a first-time mom of seven-month old twin boys, I realize I am just about the least qualified person to write anything about parenting, second only to people without children. I have no clue how to actually parent a child; we are still operating in survival mode! But over these past seven short, yet also incredibly long months, God has graciously brought me to a whole new level of understanding and love for His Gospel as He teaches me about Himself through these babies.

Probably the most impactful lesson I’ve learned so far is that I cannot control my children. Now, I know that sounds like common sense—of course you can’t control them, they are individuals with thoughts and opinions and feelings all their own. But what makes sense in theory somehow breaks down in practice as you find yourself believing that your right actions as a parent will produce right behaviors in your child.

Take for instance our struggle with getting our kids to sleep through the night. Since I was on bed rest for 13 weeks, I had plenty of time to read up on these little humans who were about to invade our quiet, carefree lives. Even though I probably wouldn’t have admitted it out loud, I think I considered myself an expert. I mean, I had read BabyWise, what more could I need? So imagine my frustration when, 5 or 6 weeks in, I was still getting up 5-7 times a night to feed them.

One night in particular, we could not get Griffin to fall asleep no matter what we tried. After about 4 hours of trying, I began to cry out to the Lord in my frustration: “Why God?! Why won’t he sleep? I’ve done everything right today. I’ve followed the ‘feed, wake, sleep’ schedule. I’ve put him to bed drowsy but awake. I’ve kept the lights on so he won’t flip nights and days again. Why won’t he sleep?!” And the Lord showed me in that moment that I cannot control my kids in any situation, even from something this small to the thing I want most for them: salvation.

See, Bowen and I can do everything “right” as parents: teach the Gospel to our kids, demonstrate it by living it out in front of them, surround them with people who are Christ-followers, etc. But even if we do all of those things perfectly, we cannot save them. Only God can. That is initially a scary thought for me because I love being in control. But God doesn’t need my help running things! He alone is in control, and He alone knows what my children need. All I need to do is daily surrender to His sovereignty and continue to pray for my children. The rest is in His hands.

Becoming a parent has also taught me more about the unconditional love of the Father. I think I understood the concept before having kids, but now I see it in a whole new light. These kids can be screaming nonstop in my face and yet I still love them so much I don’t even care. They could cover me in poop and throw up and I may be grossed out, but will still think they are the sweetest, most beautiful children in the world. Yet at the same time, I also see my inability to truly unconditionally love them. It’s easy to feel this strong love for my child when he takes his bedtime bottle without a struggle and goes straight to sleep, then stays asleep for 6-8, even 10 straight hours. Yet there are other nights where he screams nonstop, refuses to take his bottle, spits out all the milk I just worked so hard to feed him, and then wakes up 3-5 times at night again. As I sit and stare at that screaming face that just won’t take this bottle, love is not the first emotion I would tell you I’m feeling. Frustration, yes. Desperation, yes. Anger, absolutely. But love, no way!

And in those moments, I am reminded of my humanity. Although I love my children, I can never love them as fully as the Lord does, nor can I truly love them as He intended me to. Though I am redeemed, I am still living on this side of Heaven where everything is broken and I still struggle with sin, even in my parenting. Especially in my parenting. I think God brings us to marriage and to become parents to show us a whole new level of our own depravity, which sounds cruel at first. But, without realizing how truly depraved we are, we cannot realize the awesome and scandalous gift that is His grace. And without the grace and love of the Father, I am rendered completely incapable of loving my child.  So praise God for His infinite grace that truly knows no end!

I know this is only the beginning of a lifelong journey of learning through parenting. Some of you are seasoned parents while others are brand new like us. Wherever you are in this process, be encouraged that God’s grace abounds for us. We will mess up and we will fail our kids, but He won’t. Ever. Rest in His sovereignty and surrender to His control over both you and your child. He will not fail.


Thanks so much for sharing with us, Mallory!

My Child Is Wandering…What Do I Do?!

Here in Heights Students we have over 70 lay leaders who are passionate about making disciples among our 7th-12th graders. They are from all walks of life–single, married, businessmen, engineers, accountants, parents to littles, parents of students, etc! Needless to say, Godly wisdom abounds in this group of devoted leaders. We have asked many of them to share their hearts with you on specifics parts of their story of God’s faithfulness to them. Today you get to hear from a couple that leads in our 11th grade class, Cody and Georgia Kruse.


“Did you know your son is telling the kids at the middle school that he doesn’t believe in God?”  Not your typical after-church conversation starter and no, we had no idea. We remember well the day that we faced this very conversation.  To his credit, our youngest son, Clint, was honest with us when we asked him about it and confirmed that he no longer believed in God.  Our hearts were broken!

Children are a wonderful gift from God.  Psalm 127:3-5 tells us that children are a reward from God, and that blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them!  Many of us, like Hannah in 1 Samuel 1:27-28, have prayed to be blessed with our children, and have dedicated them to the Lord.  3 John 4 says, “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.”  But what happens when you discover that your child is walking apart from the Lord, or that he/she wants nothing to do with God?

It can be difficult not to take it personally when your child rejects something you hold so dear.  It is important to remember that every relationship with God is ultimately a personal relationship and one that the child can not inherit but has to one day own.  We learned a lot during this time about trusting God with our child. Looking back at this time, we did three things:

  1. Pray!  We immediately took our hurt, devastation, and sorrow to God.  We know that He created Clint in His image, and that He loves him more than we do!  We prayed boldly, asking God to speak loudly into Clint’s life, and to draw him back to Him.  We prayed for Clint out loud so that he would hear us petitioning on his behalf.  We prayed God’s word over Clint.  A couple of verses that we prayed are Isaiah 30:21 and Psalm 25:4-5.  Put your child’s name in the verses God leads you to, and pray!  Pray without ceasing!
  2. Seek Community!  Don’t go through this alone.  We quickly invited the student minister and a staffer over to enlist their help and also just so they could be aware and prepared for whatever might come.  You will be surprised to discover that many people you know are going through the exact same thing.  Reach out to your student ministers, Bible Fellowship teachers, friends and family.  Ask them to join you in prayer.  We were amazed to hear the stories of others who had gone through similar situations.  Their stories of God’s faithfulness were a true encouragement to us.
  3. Trust in our Sovereign God!  He is not surprised by what you are going through. The trials that we experience are not in vain.  Romans 5: 3-4 tells us that we can rejoice in our sufferings because suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. Romans 8:28 says, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Philippians 1:6 says, “being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”  Trust God as He carries you through the trial, and believe that He is growing you, changing you, and working everything for His good and His glory!

We certainly can see how God provided for us through this trial.  In hindsight, we see the blessing of it happening when it did while we along with our faith community still had a great opportunity to speak into Clint’s life.  Along the way, we learned to pray boldly and expectantly. We were blessed with godly men and women who poured into Clint, and shared their faith in God with him.  We learned to trust our child in the hands of our Sovereign Father, and not to take matters into our own hands. We have seen how God has used this experience in Clint’s life as well. He has been able to share his story with others here and in England. His faith has certainly been strengthened, and he boldly speaks about what God has done in his life. We look forward to seeing how God will use him as he goes to college next year. God is always good, and we know that we can trust Him to continue the good work he has begun in us and in our child.

God speaks to us in many ways.  During this trial, God used the song, Your Great Name to speak to us, to comfort us, and to encourage us.  Listen to this song, and call on the Great Name of Jesus!


If you would like to talk to Cody or Georgia more specifically about this, they would love to meet with you and pray with you. Comment below or email mtyler@theheights.org.

 

 

We Gave Up Social Media For One Week & Lived To Tell About It (PART 2)

Last week we posted about the social media blackout challenge that we posed in the student ministry during Holy Week. In this post we shared some stories of students and leaders reflecting on what they learned through this blackout. We got a few more stories in and wanted to share them with you today.


During the social media blackout, I definitely struggled by feeling like I was missing out. It was crazy how, in the end, it was almost freeing to not worry about stuff that was going on online. Without the distractions, I spent more time on my devotionals & one devotional stuck with me. I was reading Psalms 36-37. This passage brought me reassurance because it is a reminder that God has a plan & He will protect us & provide for us. That truth has stuck with me. How super cool it is to see a tangible reminder of how we can delight in the Lord & the immensity of His love! -Natalie Russell, sophomore at Williams High School

The truth of how much time I waste was painfully and embarrassingly revealed to me this past week as I participated in the social media blackout with the Heights Students. I never knew how much time I really devoted to social media, but it was a large amount, much larger than I would have estimated or wanted to admit. I realized one of the main purposes it serves for me is a time-filler because the majority of the times I would go to look at it was when I was bored. Whenever I have an idle minute, I go to get on my phone to pass the time and keep me company. I also like to see what all my friends are up to, which is harmless enough, but it so easily and subconsciously turns into comparison: am I dressing my kids cute enough, am I being adventurous enough, are my husband and I going on fun enough dates, etc. Social media becomes the yardstick to which I am measuring myself, which is dangerous because, when your standard for comparison is an outlet to highlight the beautiful and perfect while hiding the mundane and disappointing, there is no way you can ever measure up.

The Lord showed me this week that I am created and saved to live for so much more than just a time-filler. He has created me and saved me for a specific purpose (Ephesians 2:10). And He has promised that He will make my name great to the praise of His glory (Genesis 12:2), which frees me from looking to social media to magnify self. As Neil McClendon said in a recent sermon, “How much could you disconnect from the insufficiency of social media if you believed God is committed to making your name great?” I have all the approval I could ever want or need because of the person and work of Jesus Christ. Because of Him, now God looks on me with eternal favor and love. So why do I look to social media to feel approved or validated? Oh God, give me the discipline, strength, and focus to avoid the temptation of idolatry in the form of man’s praise and allow me to look only to You for my identity and worth. -Mallory Behenna, leader in the student ministry

Amen to that!!! Let’s join in that prayer today, asking the Lord to give us discipline, strength and focus to keep our eyes and hearts fixed on Him, rather than any fleeting idol. Our identity and fulfillment are perfected and completed in Christ alone.

What in your life are you trying to find identity and fulfillment in today? How are you fighting against that?


Mollie Tyler
Associate Student Ministry, Girls Ministry