S.L.A.M.
Students Living a Message

Jul
09

Contents
1. Something for Your Heart
2. Surf Report
3. Forgettable Fact
4. Potent Quotables
5. Parting Shot

=================================
1. SOMETHING FOR YOUR HEART

One of the greatest and trippiest stories in the Bible is in the Old Testament book of Hosea (say ho-ZAYuh). God wanted to paint a picture for his people, the Hebrew people (and eventually, for us). So—get ready, here it comes—he told Hosea to marry a prostitute!

God was a creating a living metaphor of his love for us. (Have you learned about metaphors in school—when you use one thing to describe another thing?) In this story, Hosea represents God; the prostitute…well, that’s us. That’s because we’re all so hot-and-cold in our commitments to God. Right after camp, we’re totally pumped about God. But a few months later, we don’t give God a passing thought unless we’re in the car on the way to church.

But here’s the wild, surprising truth. God didn’t have Hosea marry a prostitute so God could show us what unfaithful maggots we are. It’s so much better than that!

Hosea married Gomer. (Really, that was her name. But remember, you’re Gomer! Ha! Okay, back to the story…) For a while Gomer was faithful to Hosea. But then she left him and went back to her prostituting ways, had a couple more kids (by different men), and started living with some other guy. Hosea assumed the marriage was over.

But then God came to Hosea and said (you can see this in Hosea 3:1-3):
“Go, show your love to your wife again, though she is loved by another and is an adulteress. Love her as the LORD loves the Israelites, though they turn to other gods and love the sacred raisin cakes. “So I bought her for fifteen shekels of silver and about a homer and a lethek of barley. Then I told her, “You are to live with me many days; you must not be a prostitute or be intimate with any man, and I will live with you.”

Sacred raisin cakes? A homer of barley? Don’t sweat it—here’s the summary: Hosea found his wife and bought her (like, he had to pay the pimp she worked for) so she could come back and be his wife again.

Does this story sound familiar to anyone? When we totally stray from God and love other things more than him, God buys us back with Jesus’ death and resurrection to show us how much he loves us. See, God’s love for you isn’t connected to you being “good”or “bad”or anything in between. God loves you just because God loves you.

(Taken from “My Faith”by Kurt Johnston and Mark Oestreicher, c 2006, Zondervan/Youth Specialties. Used by permission.)

2. SURF REPORT

~ The World’s Ugliest Dogs

~ Bartleby.com—Great Books Online—http://www.bartleby.com/

3. FORGETTABLE FACT

In most advertisements, including newspapers, the time displayed on a watch is 10:10.

4. POTENT QUOTABLES

“If God’s love is for anybody anywhere, it’s for everybody everywhere.”– Edward lawlor

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.”– 1 Corinthians 13:4-8

5. PARTING SHOT

What happens if you get half scared to death twice?

copyright 2007 :: Youth Specialties

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Jul
02

Contents
1. Something for Your Heart
2. Surf Report
3. Forgettable Fact
4. Potent Quotables
5. Parting Shot
=================================

1. SOMETHING FOR YOUR HEART

Jesus was a simple guy. He had just a few close friends, lived on very little money, and owned only one piece of clothing when he died—which, by the way, was the only personal possession of his that the Bible mentions. How does that compare with life in our material culture?
In the United States we rent storage units to hold all the stuff we don’t use, but don’t want to get rid of. And all the while, our culture tells us we need more and more. So we spend most of our lives trying to get stuff that really isn’t all that meaningful.

All of our stuff—and our perceived lack of stuff—causes stress on the soul. Our stuff also serves to distract us from being who God calls us to be. Look around your room. Take a peek at your calendar. Consider your plans for the future. How much of it involves simplifying your life and how much involves complicating it? God desires us to be diligent and to work hard, but he also wants our souls to be uncluttered. His way of living is much less hurried and hectic.

Jesus said, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:28-30).

2. SURF REPORT

~ Planet Wisdom— http://www.planetwisdom.com

~ Fourth of July Celebrations Database— http://www.american.edu/heintze/fourth.htm

~ Lady Liberty Fireworks—click and create online fireworks—http://www.fireworkspop.com/liberty.htm

3. FORGETTABLE FACT

The Statue of Liberty’s fingernail is 13″x10″ and her waist is 35′ thick.

4. POTENT QUOTABLES

“When I saw others straining toward God, I did not understand it, for though I may have had him less than they did, there was no one blocking the way between him and me, and I could reach his heart easily. It is up to him, after all, to have us, our part consists of almost solely in letting him grasp us.”— Rainer Maria Rilke

There are two kinds of people: those who say to God, “Thy will be done,” and those to whom God says, “All right, then, have it your way.”—- C.S. Lewis

5. PARTING SHOT

When cheese gets its picture taken, what does it say?

copyright 2007 :: Youth Specialties

Jun
25

Contents
1. Something for Your Heart
2. Surf Report
3. Forgettable Fact
4. Potent Quotables
5. Parting Shot
=================================

1. SOMETHING FOR YOUR HEART

Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he fell into the hands of robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead.

A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side.

But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him. The next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’

“Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?”

The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.”
Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.” Luke 10:30-37.

Though the details of this story are rooted in first-century life in the Middle East, the principle transcends time periods. We Christians need to ask ourselves, “Who are the ‘young travelers’ of today? Who are the ‘priests’? Who are the ‘Levites’? And most important, who are the Samaritans’?”

Everyone travels this long dusty road called life, none of us knowing when evil or misfortune will jump out from behind a rock to batter us into a ditch. Depending on the circumstances, the ditch may be a physical problem, a financial crisis, an emotional breakdown, a spiritual funk, or whatever epic battle life may orchestrate.

The ditch is a real place where people lie, longing for someone to notice and help them. In the teenage years the ditch may take the form of depression, an identity crisis, or a traumatic relationship with a mother or a father. In the adult years it may take the form of homelessness, prostitution, addiction, or homosexuality. Whatever the case, such issues can keep unsuspecting travelers down for a long time.

Obviously, a lot of people are lying in ditches, waiting for someone to help. The question is, which passerby will you be when you see someone in a ditch?

2. SURF REPORT

~ Help the Homeless —http://www.helpthehomelessdc.org

~ World Vision —http://worldvision.org

3. FORGETTABLE FACT

People spend about two weeks of their lives at traffic lights

4. POTENT QUOTABLES

“It is the duty of every Christian to be Christ to his neighbor.” —- Martin Luther

“To love means loving the unlovable. To forgive means pardoning the unpardonable. Faith means believing the unbelievable. Hope means hoping when everything seems hopeless.” —- G. K. Chesterton

5. PARTING SHOT

Editing is a rewording activity.

copyright 2007 :: Youth Specialties

Jun
18

Contents
1. Something for Your Heart
2. Surf Report
3. Forgettable Fact
4. Potent Quotables
5. Parting Shot
=================================

1. SOMETHING FOR YOUR HEART

Topic: When you don’t think there’s enough provision (money)

“…for I have learned how to get along happily whether I have much or little. I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether itis with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. For I can do everything with the help of Christ who gives me the strength I need.” (Philippians 4:11-13, NLT, see also Matthew 6:24-34; Luke 12:15-21; 1 Timothy 6:6-10)

What Might Jesus Say to You?
How much money do you need to be happy? Most people tell me it’s just a little more than they have right now. The world you live in is filled with pressure to buy, buy, buy! Advertisers try to keep you feeling dissatisfied with what you have and hungry to purchase more of the stuff they push at you. So you continue buying to keep up with what everyone else has. It’s a clever trap. The more you get, the less satisfied you are with what you own.

I’m sure you want a job if you don’t have one already. You want power and independence so you don’t have to feel like you’re begging money from your parents. But you can get so wrapped up in earning and spending money that you forget about me. Your work hours may leave you so tired that you can’t find time to spend with me–to worship, read my Word, or pray anything beyond quick cries for help.

Break out of the money trap. Put Me first. Find your happiness and fulfillment in relationships, not possessions.

People have always been worried about money and stuff. Don’t be like the people who ignore God. They take pride in superficial things. But your heavenly Father already knows perfectly well what you need, and He will give it to you as you give Him first place in your life. Don’t be anxious about tomorrow. I will take care of you.

Your fulfillment,
Jesus

“No one can serve two masters…You cannot serve both God and Money.” (Matthew 6:24)

2. SURF REPORT

~ 3Story—http://www.3story.org

~ Evan Almighty Games and Features—http://www.EvanAlmighty.com

3. FORGETTABLE FACT

Dolphins sleep with one eye open

4. POTENT QUOTABLES

“You cannot do a kindness too soon, for you never know how soon it will be too late.” —- Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Tenderness and kindness are not signs of weakness and despair but manifestations of strength and resolution.” —- Kahil Gibran

5. PARTING SHOT

It’s not an optical illusion… It just looks like one.

copyright 2007 :: Youth Specialties

Jun
04

SLAM NEWSLETTER
Contents
1. Something for Your Heart
2. Surf Report
3. Forgettable Fact
4. Potent Quotables
5. Parting Shot
=================================

1. SOMETHING FOR YOUR HEART

In the nineteenth century, the little village of Clapham in England was home to a group of friends who tackled the tough issues of their day. Their opponents called them the “Clapham Sect”—and the name stuck. Many of these friends were ministers or politicians, and one was a playwright. Each person had different strengths and skills, which made for a pretty powerful community.

Clapham was beautiful and peaceful—the kind of place you might go to get away from the craziness of life. But things weren’t always tranquil in Clapham. As a matter of fact, when certain issues came up, things could get very tense! Members of the sect often discussed the key political ideas of the day. When they disagreed with one another, they debated. But when they agreed, they went out and fought for change together.

One issue they agreed on was the abolition of the slave trade. Members of the sect often met together in the home of William Wilberforce or Henry Thornton—two of their leaders—to discuss the issue. As a young man, Wilberforce decided his faith would impact what he did with his life.

Fighting slavery became one of his main goals.
These friends also shared something else in common: They were all evangelical Christians. Their faith was what motivated them to change things. They weren’t satisfied when they knew others were suffering if they thought they had the power to help. They accomplished many things together: sending out missionaries, establishing what we now call Sunday schools, and other efforts to improve society. But they are most known for the abolition of the slave trade.

They also worked to develop and support a colony of freed slaves living in Sierra Leone, Africa. The people of Clapham didn’t just involve themselves in problems in their immediate neighborhood; they were willing to help people they’d never met, or people who were very different from them. They were like one family, combining their diverse strengths and unified passion to go after what seemed like impossible projects—attacking difficult ills of society with the tenacity of a fleet of battleships.

That’s often how things get done—a group of friends with different talents and a common goal, working together to accomplish something none of them could do alone.

Spend some time thinking and journalling about these questions:
* Is your circle of friends filled mostly with people a lot like you? Why?
* Think about someone you’ve met recently who is very different from you. Why might that person be interesting to get to know? What could you learn from that person?
* Do you seek out conversations about important issues that impact you or the world, or do you avoid such discussions? How about discussing your faith and how things are going between you and God?
* Have you ever tackled something with a community of people? How was the task made easier by working together? Were there ways that working together made it harder? How?
* Is it possible to have different groups of friends for different purposes in your life? Explain what that looks like.
**
Taken from “Be the Change” by Zach Hunter, copyright 2006, Youth Specialties/Zondervan. Used by permission.

2. SURF REPORT

~ Zach Hunter Resources
Check out some of Zach’s video interviews, and read articles about him at the Youth Specialties Web site. http://www.youthspecialties.com/zachhunter

~ The Justice Mission Web Site http://216.128.18.195/JusticeMission

3. FORGETTABLE FACT

Humans are the only animals that chew gum

4. POTENT QUOTABLES

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world, indeed it’s the only thing that ever has.” – Margaret Mead

“Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work: If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up!” Ecclesiastes 4:9-10, TNIV

5. PARTING SHOT

There are 3 kinds of people: those who can count & those who can’t.

copyright 2007 :: Youth Specialties

May
29

Christian School Kid, 11, Bags Critter Bigger Than “Hogzilla”

Jamison Stone, who just finished the sixth grade at Christian Heritage Academy in Pickensville, Alabama, was hunting with his dad earlier this month when he spotted a giant hog–all 1,051 pounds and nine feet, four inches of it. Stone, with his dad and guides close behind, chased the monster hog for three hours, shooting it nine times with a .50 caliber pistol. They needed a backhoe to cart the critter out of the woods to weigh and process it; Stone’s dad expects to land 500 to 700 pounds of sausage from the kill. Besides breakfast for the rest of his life, young Jamison was offered a small part in the indie flick, The Legend of Hogzilla, in honor of the slightly smaller creature killed in Georgia three years ago. (Tofu, anyone?)
(CHECK OUT THE WHOLE HOG OF A STORY – AP, May 26)

May
29

Contents
1. Something for Your Heart
2. Surf Report
3. Forgettable Fact
4. Potent Quotables
5. Parting Shot
=================================

1. SOMETHING FOR YOUR HEART

“There will always be poor people in the land. Therefore I command you to be openhanded toward your brothers and toward the poor and needy in your land.” -Deuteronomy 15:11

If there’s one thing you need to know about God, it’s that he has a soft spot in his heart for the underdog…the needy…those who’re often overlooked in our society.

What’s more, God has a special place in his heart for people who side with the underdog…people who reach out to the needy…people who refuse to overlook the less fortunate.
We’re not talking about simply having a social conscience or feeling sorry for people in need.

Take another look at the verse for this entry. Notice the word openhanded? That’s for people who argue that it’s enough just to care about or pray for people in need. You see, being openhanded requires personal interaction. It involves reaching out, offering something of value–whether it’s money, clothing, food, or time. It’s making a real difference in a person’s life.

The good news is that anyone can do it. You don’t have to be rich. You don’t have to be outgoing. You don’t have to live in a big city with homeless people or in a poor country. You can obey God’s command to be openhanded to the needy regardless of your situation. Whether you realize it or not, you have something to give.

If you made up your mind to get involved in the life of someone in need, what could you do? Could you change the life of a younger kid (maybe even a sibling) in need of a mentor? Could you be an answer to prayer for a mentally challenged or wheelchair-bound student at your school? Could you supply enough money to buy a month’s worth of food and medicine for an AIDS orphan in Africa?

The possibilities are endless! Look around, take the plunge, and find out how cool it is to help others.

For the scoop on God’s commands concerning the needy, turn to Deuteronomy 15:1-11.

2. SURF REPORT

~ Memorial Day- Calendar, history, prayers, e-cards, speeches, essays, and more
http://www.usmemorialday.org/

~ Memorial Day Word Search Game-An online word search game in honor of Memorial Day
http://www.planetozkids.com/ozzoom/wordgames/memorial-day-word-search.htm

3. FORGETTABLE FACT

A hedgehog’s heart beats 190 times a minute on average and drops to only 20 beats per minute during hibernation.

4. POTENT QUOTABLES

“We who are left how shall we look again
Happily on the sun or feel the rain
Without remembering how they who went
Ungrudgingly and spent
Their lives for us loved, too, the sun and rain?”
– Wilfred Wilson Gibson

“A hero is someone who has given his or her life to something bigger than oneself.”
– Joseph Campbell

5. PARTING SHOT

Never insult an alligator until after you have crossed the river.

copyright 2007 :: Youth Specialties

May
21

Contents
1. Something for Your Heart
2. Surf Report
3. (Un)Forgettable Fact
4. Potent Quotables
5. Parting Shot
=================================

1. SOMETHING FOR YOUR HEART

Then I heard the voice of the LORD saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” And I said, “Here am I. Send me!” —Isaiah 6:8

Here’s a situation that may seem familiar to you: In class, your teacher asks a question about something you forgot to study. Then she starts looking around the room for someone to answer it. You slink down in your seat, trying to make yourself invisible–praying that she won’t pick you. Ever had an experience like that?

Unfortunately, many believers react the same way when it comes time to serve God. When they see a need or a service opportunity, they do everything they can to make themselves invisible, hoping that God will pick someone else to get involved.
And that’s a mistake.

You see, Christian service isn’t just about helping others. It’s about pleasing God and drawing closer to Him. The best way to strengthen your bond with your heavenly Father is through obedient acts of service. If you decline the opportunities He gives you to serve Him, you’re the one who will lose in the long run.

The good news is that God gives second chances. Right now, He may be looking for someone to explain forgiveness to a student at school who’s struggling with guilt. He may be looking for someone to start a winter coat collection for the homeless people in your community. He may be looking for someone to share His love by hanging out with the guy at church who no one can stand.

Will you be that person? Will you step up to the plate like Isaiah did and say, “Here am I–send me”? Don’t let excuses like busyness or inexperience stand in your way. Few people have enough free time to get involved in service projects. People who are serious about service make time. And most people who volunteer for service work have no idea what they’re doing. However, they learn very quickly that when God calls someone, he also equips that person. He will not let a small matter such as lack of experience stand in the way of His work being done.
So what are you waiting for? It’s time to volunteer! Read more on Isaiah’s assignment from God in Isaiah 6:1-13.
*********

2. SURF REPORT

~ Volunteer Match-Where volunteering begins—http://www.volunteermatch.org/

~ The Amazing Change-A campaign to carry on Wilberforce’s vision of mercy and justice—http://www.amazingchange.com/

3. (UN)FORGETTABLE FACT

27 million people are in modern-day slavery across the world

4. POTENT QUOTABLES

“When the story of these times gets written, we want it to say that we did all we could, and it was more than anyone could have imagined.”
—- Bono

“Do all the good you can, by all the means you can, in all the ways you can, in all the places you can, at all the times you can, to all the people you can, as long as you ever can.”—- John Wesley

“Many people don’t have the freedoms you and I do. They don’t own their time, money, food, or water–they don’t even own themselves! These people can’t come and go as they please. They are slaves. I’m not just talking about sweatshop labor here, I’m talking about slavery that is every bit as sick and ugly as it was in our country two hundred years ago. Some people might say that it’s not their business just because these slaves are an ocean away, or have a different skin color. But we had better make it our business because: ‘What if it were you?'”—- Zach Hunter

5. PARTING SHOT

Character is what you are. Reputation is what people think you are.

copyright 2007 :: Youth Specialties

May
14

Contents
1. Something for Your Heart
2. Surf Report
3. Forgettable Fact
4. Potent Quotables
5. Parting Shot
=================================

1. SOMETHING FOR YOUR HEART

Banners of Identity…
Banner: God’s love culminated in Jesus’ life.

Many people believe in an aloof God, one who created the universe and then left it to its own devices. They believe that he’s still out there somewhere but that he has little interest or involvement in our everyday lives.

If that were the case–if God really were an aloof, distant deity–there would be no reason for this writing. If the Creator didn’t care about other people, there would be no reason for us to care about them, either. There would be no reason to think about anyone but ourselves.

However, we believe in God Jehovah–the One who sent his Son to die on the cross–so we have an actual model of God’s love. A living, breathing model who walked the earth 2,000 years ago.
Regarding that model, Jesus, the apostle Paul wrote, “He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation” (Colossians 1:15). If Jesus is the image of the invisible God, it makes sense to survey his actions here on earth to discover God’s will for us on this planet. And if Jesus is the image of God the Father, then we can be imitators of God by imitating Jesus. Got that?

Jesus said, “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father’s commands and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:9-13).

Jesus loves those who follow him. But he didn’t limit his love to those who served in his ministry. Jesus showed genuine compassion to all people. He healed a man with leprosy (Matthew 8:2-4). He cast demons out of possessed people (Luke 9:38-43). He raised folks from the dead (Luke 7:11-17).

Jesus helped people inside his circle of friends and outside his sphere of influence. He modeled what it means to see beyond the needs of self, to look into the hearts of others. He recognized people’s needs and dealt with them in ways that made those people feel loved and cared for. Keep in mind, too, that Jesus performed miracles for sinners. He didn’t require people to be holy to receive his help.

When Jesus was asked what the greatest commandment in all of Scripture is, he replied, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments” (Matthew 22:37-40).

If those are the two most important instructions in Scripture, Christians need to evaluate every decision, every action, and every thought in light of those commands. If I am supposed to love God with everything inside me, then all my actions need to be filtered through that commandment. And if I’m supposed to love my neighbor as myself, I need to figure out who my neighbor is.

2. SURF REPORT

~ Stay Teen: A National campaign to prevent teen pregnancy http://www.stayteen.org/default.htm

~ Youth Theological Initiative: The Summer Academy is a month-long residential program for juniors and seniors in high school to explore the complex questions about religion http://www.candler.emory.edu/YTI/

3. FORGETTABLE FACT

Apples are more efficient than caffeine in keeping people awake in the morning.

4. POTENT QUOTABLES

“I picked up a man from the street, and he was eaten up alive from worms. Nobody could stand him, and he was smelling so badly. I went to him to clean him, and he asked, ‘Why do you do this?’ I said, ‘Because I love you.'” – Mother Teresa

“Grace is the free, undeserved goodness and favor of God to mankind.” – Matthew Henry

5. PARTING SHOT

If you eat a live frog in the morning, nothing worse will happen to either of you for the rest of the day.

copyright 2007 :: Youth Specialties

May
03

The following is a poem written by John Orgel, a high school student who was inspired after hearing God speak to him after a rainstorm. The point is to always be listening because God is always speaking!

Torrent Aftermath

As the air vibrates with Your voice commanding
Where every drop should be landing,
You make Yourself clear.

As the trees sway in fear
Of the storm that is near,
You are heard.

As the torrents soak the ground,
Giving birth to new life,
You whisper into my ear
“I am here.”

As the birds pop their heads out slowly
Letting their plumage be shown,
Your presence is known.

For not in the storm do You speak,
You wait till the silence hit a peak.