Teens

The Only Way to Slay? With the Bible

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Everyday I am bombarded with messages of what to buy, how to dress, and where to go. In high school we see friends wearing clothes with brand names, shoes made by famous athletes, and even carrying designer bags.

These are just reminders of how our environment influences us. With subtle (and not so subtle) images and messages on television, Facebook posts from friends, tweets from celebrities we follow on Twitter, and Snapchat posts it’s easy to think people have a great life. However, most of what we see on social media doesn’t always translate in the real world. We all spend time filtering the image we want the world to see, sharing with our online friends the best part of our lives and not always the challenges.

Each day we make the decision to read specific posts, watch certain videos and pick which of our friend’s posts we’ll like.

Recently I realized just how much these images were influencing my decisions. After all, I wanted to make sure I was wearing the trendiest outfit and that I had tried the latest gadget. I wanted to make sure that I was not an outsider.

I started wondering what I truly needed verses what I wanted. I even thought of what I really needed verses what the world was telling me I needed. The new iPhone? What about those Hoover boards? I can’t forget the new “Just Don” Air Jordans!

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. Romans 12:2

I thought of a recent term that was being used by my friends and celebrities. Used in Beyonce’s new song “Formation” during the Super Bowl 50, the term “slay” had overnight become a positive term.

“I slay. You slay. We slay.” I would respond over texts and social media posts when I liked something that was posted. But were we really slaying?

“We’re killing it!” I would later explain to the older generation when asked about the term “slay”.

I admit, language changes from one generation to the other. Problem is none of us were really killing it or trying to kill anything for that matter. We were simply conforming to a trend that had started with a music video. Much like the items I found myself buying and friends saving up for, we had been told that “slay” was now the “it word”. It’s as though we had gone out and bought a word, and ladies jumped at the idea of getting into “formation”.

I thought of how I had never adopted a verse from the Bible. How being a Christian didn’t seem to be popular among my friends. How much like them, I too had conformed based on societies views.

Everyday I try to remind myself of one verse to guide me throughout the day. I tell myself that if I am to conform it is to be a new person, to let go of the “old man” and fully embrace the Holy Spirit in my life. Yes, I slay- usually during trials and tribulations. The only way I do it is by letting God fight my battles, by being in constant “prayer mode” as my friends like to put it.

We Want to Know:

Have you had problems conforming to this world?

How do you handle the pressures of buying new items as a teenager?

leslyicdigitalThe Only Way to Slay? With the Bible
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Crazy Love

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The first time you fell in love everything in your life seemed to change. You acted crazy and were unstoppable. Isn’t that just how our lives ought to change, if we truly fall in love with the Lord? This experience is life-transforming.

Total surrender to God brings you total contentment – in this life and the one to come. Crazy Love is not about working harder, but recognizing who God is, discovering how “crazy” His love for us is, in addition to falling in love with Him. For the reason that you’re head over heels in love with Him, everything in your life changes.

Being wildly in love with God makes us realize that life is all about Him – not about us in any way. Having the God-experience is the greatest thing any human being can have on this earth and ultimately in heaven. Do you go about life with the verity that possibly today you will go to meet your Maker? If we live with God’s single-most goal for us – Himself- then we’ll be prepared when that time comes.

The parable of The Farmer Scattering Seed is not foreign to many churchgoers, yet most have fallen in the dangerous trap of assuming that “I am good soil”. However, if truth be told, we have thorns that stifle any seed that is in us. We have no idols, we say. But how crazy in love with God can you be when the pursuit of money, pleasure of sin, wild love for some sport, busyness of activities and other commitments are heaped right on top of this relationship?

All or nothing; no partials and no leftovers – this is the relationship God wants from us. This may be uncomfortable but where is it written that He has called us to be comfortable? As difficult as it may appear, He wants us to trust Him with complete abandon. God wants us to put our trust solely in Him, so much so that our lives cease to look anything like that of unbelievers. God wants us to trust Him because He is true regardless of our situations or their outcome.

When we are crazy in love with God, we will be more concerned about the Kingdom. We will be doing things to make His name, rather than our own, be known. Actions like helping the poor and giving will stem out of this love for God. Devote to live every day as if it is your last before you come face to face with Jesus.

leslyicdigitalCrazy Love
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Does Your Tongue Need Healing?

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Does Your Tongue Need Healing? by Derek Prince is one of the books for this month and from people’s reactions, I could tell that Heb. 4:12 is about to have a new and personal meaning in many lives!

For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to the dividing of the soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.

We may look all neat and polished but when the word of God hits us we cannot deny it’s power. So you don’t curse and honestly you think you’re very polite. This book will help you understand that that’s not all there is in this race. It is about death or life. What you feed on settles in your heart and it will, at some point be expressed. The tongue will easily do this for you. Have you ever had one of those ‘oops moments’? That awkward moment when you say (out loud) what you really think (in the presence of a number of people). Yes! Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks and you cannot speak without your tongue.

I am so eager to find out what my problem is and the steps to take toward my healing. Won’t you join me? Sign up for the Read To Grow (R2G) program at the BCC NEXT Resource Center and let us take the next step in Christ.

leslyicdigitalDoes Your Tongue Need Healing?
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The Explicit Gospel

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November is here already! We have been challenged to read 2 books a month and I have just picked up this book The Explicit Gospel by Matt Chandler and already I can tell it’s going to be an unforgettable experience. A call to true Christianity, to know the gospel explicitly!

Listen to this: Christ has set us free from the law of sin and death. My sin in the past: forgiven. My current struggles: Covered. My future failures: paid in full by the marvelous, infinite, matchless grace found in the atoning work of the cross of Jesus Christ.

If you haven’t signed one out yet please do so. This is a must get!

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Not A Fan of Jesus Christ!

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I have a question for you.

WHAT IS YOUR NEXT STEP IN CHRIST?

My NEXT step is to look at myself in the mirror of God’s Word and see what is truly in my heart as God sees it. With that, I dare make this bold statement in writing: I am not a fan of Jesus!

Let me explain: It is possible to look great on the outside and be rotten on the inside. Those that live their lives as fans of Jesus haven’t quite realized that Jesus is interested in the heart. Many claim to love Christ but in reality they have a false version of Him. A version of their own creation – different from the Christ of the scriptures.

The Read To Grow (R2G) program at your Resource Center has a new addition: NOT A FAN by Kyle Idleman. Since you want to grow spiritually, we encourage you to stop by on Sunday, check this book out, read it and increase your understanding. This book will help you know if you’re a follower of Christ or merely a fan of His.

leslyicdigitalNot A Fan of Jesus Christ!
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Tither’s Blessing

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Hi BCC,
I trust that you are well and enjoying the journey God is taking us. Financial freedom is one of the blessings for the Believer. As God continues to unfold this truth to us and we continue to do our part, I want to speak the blessing of God into your life. As a tither, you have the key to unlock your financial freedom. You are blessed!

On the authority of God’s infallible word – I proclaim over you as a tithing Christian – the blessings of our faithful and loving heavenly Father. As a tither you are not limited to the ups and downs of the economy of this world system.

The scriptures declare that we are the seed of Abraham and that the blessings of Abraham upon us set us apart and make us to prosper in all situations, favorable and unfavorable.

The heavens are open over this church and over this congregation, therefore I speak this blessing.

• I call forth jobs for the unemployed – meaningful jobs with good pay and benefits.

• Things that have been held up in the courts such as your inheritance, godly settlements and other legal matters, be settled in Jesus Name so you may have what is rightfully yours without and further delay.

• Those who earn your living as entrepreneurs or those who work in sales and commissions, I speak God’s favor to be upon you so that deals and opportunities to excel, come your way.

• I call forth raises and bonuses to those who need them.

• I speak that you find money unexpectedly and that unexpected checks come in the mail right out of nowhere as a gift from heaven just for you.

• I speak the word “INCREASE” over to you – I speak abundance to overtake you – such abundance that you miraculously come out of debt so that the stress of those debts will release your minds and God’s peace will return to you quickly.

• I now release God’s angels to go forth and minister for you and yours – this is your covenant blessing.

Now that you have given may your heart be filled with worship and faith.
I BLESS YOU IN JESUS NAME. Amen

leslyicdigitalTither’s Blessing
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Some Wrong & Right Mentalities of Giving in the House of God

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I have a question for you. Might you be one of those people who wonder why you keep giving yet you don’t receive the blessings that are said to be associated with giving? I will attempt to help you answer that question by addressing 2 major wrong mentalities of giving in the House of God.
1. Meeting needs
We all chip in to meet a need or pay bills in the church house. This is blasphemy! God is the El Shaddai. He owns all. He is all sufficient.
2. Duty
Giving as a sense of duty. When we give we shouldn’t be just going through the motions. We are encouraged to give generously and willingly; not reluctantly or under compulsion.

And now, brothers and sisters, we want you to know about the grace that God has given the Macedonian churches. 2 In the midst of a very severe trial, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity. 3 For I testify that they gave as much as they were able, and even beyond their ability. Entirely on their own, 4 they urgently pleaded with us for the privilege of sharing in this service to the Lord’s people. 5 And they exceeded our expectations: They gave themselves first of all to the Lord, and then by the will of God also to us. 6 So we urged Titus, just as he had earlier made a beginning, to bring also to completion this act of grace on your part. 7 But since you excel in everything—in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in complete earnestness and in the love we have kindled in you—see that you also excel in this grace of giving. – 2 Corinthians 8:1-7

7 Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. – 2 Corinthians 9:7

According to Psalm 24:1 The earth is the LORD’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it. Shouldn’t we be glad then that we have been given this privilege of handling everything and then giving back just a portion of all?
Remember Achan? Achan was an Israelite who fought the battle of Jericho with Joshua. In Joshua chapter 6, God had commanded the Israelites, upon conquering Jericho, to destroy the entire city because of its great sin. Only Rahab the prostitute and her household were spared because she had hidden the Israelite spies.
17 The city and all that is in it are to be devoted to the LORD. Only Rahab the prostitute and all who are with her in her house shall be spared, because she hid the spies we sent. – Joshua 6:17

Any time the Israelites fought and conquered the first city they were instructed to burn everything to the ground. This is the principle of tithing which is shown throughout scripture. The other cities were theirs to take. Therefore the Israelites had specific instructions not to take any spoils from Jericho; everything in the city of Jericho was “accursed” or “devoted to destruction.” God warned that anyone taking spoils from Jericho would “make the camp of Israel liable to destruction and bring trouble on it”

18 But keep away from the devoted things, so that you will not bring about your own destruction by taking any of them. Otherwise you will make the camp of Israel liable to destruction and bring trouble on it. 19 All the silver and gold and the articles of bronze and iron are sacred to the LORD and must go into his treasury.” – Joshua 6:18-19

Achan did not heed to the Lord’s instruction. He stole a beautiful robe and some gold and silver ( that was for the Lord’s treasury) and hid these things in his tent. Achan did not only disobey God but he did steal from Him as well! The precious metals were to be added to the treasury of the Lord, and, in stealing them, Achan robbed God directly. This was a sin against the Lord defiling Achan as well as other members of the community. Achan’s sin caused God’s blessing upon Israel to be withheld in their subsequent battle against the city of Ai and about thirty-six innocent men died because of Achan’s sin. (Ref. Joshua 7:4-5). We fool ourselves if we think that our sin affects only us. Disobedience brings ruin even upon the innocent. Sin’s effects go beyond the initial sinner. You can read the ramifications and how this was dealt with in Joshua chapter 7.

Right Reasons To Tithe
1. The Word of God teaches us to tithe therefore we tithe in obedience to it.
Leviticus 27:30
Matthew 23:23
Malachi 3:10
2. God owns everything therefore we give back a portion of it as proof of His ownership
3. It is an expression of thanks and the devourer/ waster is rebuked
4. We tithe so that we can leave a blessed legacy for our children
5. We tithe so as to honor God and keep the blessings of God flowing into our lives
6. We tithe so that there is a continuous availability of resources to minister to souls and bring them into the kingdom. This way God can trace is back to our giving.

God bless you as you obey His Word.

leslyicdigitalSome Wrong & Right Mentalities of Giving in the House of God
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Integrity: Building Character

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Having personal integrity can seem tough to do in today’s culture. News headlines are filled with stories about noteworthy people who have failed to maintain personal integrity. We see people in the public eye saying one thing but doing something else. But our teenagers don’t have to make choices that lead them down the wrong path; they can make a commitment to pursue, develop, and maintain personal integrity.

While some people in our world excuse certain forms of lying and dishonesty, God expects something different. God teaches us in Scripture that as Christians, our lives can be defined by integrity. In the Bible, Daniel offers a clear example of what God can do with an honest, faithful, consistent life. We are called to reflect God to a world that experiences spiritual separation, so we can live as God would. People need to know that they can believe you. If your integrity is compromised, others may not be willing to trust you.

A person of integrity is an honest and trustworthy person. Such a person works hard. They understand that God wants us to do our best in all that we do.

3 points to remember as we build our character:
1. Hard work is rewarded: When a Christ-follower earns a reputation as a trusted and a faithful student, team member or employee – that’s a great testimony. In whatever you do, see it as a way to honor God, then your leader will see your commitment, and it will be easier to reward your effort.
2. Hard work may cause jealousy: When we work hard because of your faith, not everyone will like it but doing what we know is right-despite any criticism that we may receive is the godly thing to do.
3. Hard work builds integrity: When we do what is right, even when it is tough, we will find favor with God. We can follow Jesus’ example when it comes to making tough decisions. Jesus didn’t choose to do the easy thing or give into the temptation to slack off. He lived above reproach, just as Daniel did hundreds of years earlier.

Scripture Reading
Daniel 6:1-5
Matthew 5:13-16

Question:
One of the few things that you have control of in this life is your personal integrity. How are you living this out daily?

leslyicdigitalIntegrity: Building Character
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Going Hard After God

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The Lord said to Moses and Aaron in Egypt, 2 “This month is to be for you the first month, the first month of your year. – Exodus 12:1-2NIV

The New Year is here! It is always important to note the beginning because God will always give instructions which must be followed to make that period significant.

God is keen when a new year begins because He has given you a reset button to start afresh.

7 Then they are to take some of the blood and put it on the sides and tops of the doorframes of the houses where they eat the lambs. – Exodus 12:7NIV

Do you have the blood of the Lamb? Begin the year with redemption on your mind. Renew your covenant with God. Reconnect to God.  crossing over into the new year is re-dedication time. It is a time to ask for forgiveness.

Although we ask for forgiveness, many of us do not forgive ourselves. we dwell on some former things which should be left alone. forget the things of the past and move forward. Leave the things of the past!

Although you have accomplished many things in the past, do not dwell there.

“This is a day you are to commemorate; for the generations to come you shall celebrate it as a festival to the Lord—a lasting ordinance. – 

Exodus 12:14NIV

Celebrate this new year with new hopes and a lot of faith in the heart. I declare to you that 2014 will be a different year!

God has spoken concerning 2014 and I bring you His command:

2014 is the year a command has been issued to Go Hard After God and He will manifest in ways that we have not known before!
Pursue after God everywhere and things will pursue after you!
As you pursue after God, doors will open to you of their own accord!
Use the gifts and talents that God has given you to serve Him and you will see favor like never before!
You are blessed and highly favored in 2014 as you Go Hard After God!

leslyicdigitalGoing Hard After God
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To Ignore, Friend or Unfriend?

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We are in an era where social media is very common. I believe many of us have at least one Facebook account. Have you ever received one of those friend requests…you may or may not know the person but you engage in a little mind debate: To friend, or not to friend? Some people have hundreds to thousands of friends. Seriously, it’s a lie – there’s no way you can have all those “friends”.

Any way, numbers multiply joy and there is benefit in having friends, companions and acquaintances. It is God’s will that people have different levels of access into your life.

Who are my friends?

Definition: A person attached to another by feelings of affection or personal regard.

Although Jesus was called a friend of sinners, (Luke 5:30) not all people had the same level of access to Him. Some were closer than others (Proverbs 18:24). When Jesus was going into the mountains to pray, He called Peter, James and John out of the 12, to go with Him. When we prove ourselves trustworthy, we increase in levels of friendship with Jesus.

Jesus taught that we love everyone including our enemies (Matthew 5:44).

Important to understand is this: Friends can influence your life. Take some time to read 2 Chronicles 18:1-16 and you will discover the following:

►Friends can bring you to battles that are not yours.

►Friends can influence you to disregard the Lord.

►Friends can use/misuse you.

►Friends can put your life in danger.

To ignore, friend or unfriend? That is the question.
12 Kinds of friends to avoid

Avoid people who:

1. …walk in idleness (2 Thessalonians 3:6)

2. …take a reproach against their neighbor. (Psalm 15:3)

3. …stir controversies (Titus 3:9-11)

4. …love arguments (2 Timothy 2:23)

5. …are immoral (1 Corinthians 5:11)

6. …are hot-tempered (Proverbs 22:24)

7. …entice to sin (Proverbs 1:10, Psalm 1:1)

8. …are fools (Proverbs 14:7)

9. …are drunkards and gluttons (Proverbs 23:20)

10. …are mockers (Psalm 1:1)

11. …are gossips (Proverbs 11:13)

12. …are violent (Proverbs 16:29)

Friends you need:

►Those who love at all times; when you are well and when you are sick (Proverbs 17:17, Mark 2:1-4)

►Those who are wise (Proverbs 13:20)

►Those who will tell you the truth even at risk of losing your friendship (Proverbs 27:5-6)

►those who are true friend – like Jesus (John 15:13)

To answer the question of, To friend, or not to friend, you will need to do three things:

1. Evaluate your friends

2. Take some to the outer court

3. Bring some into the inner court

Some people have so many friends such that they have no friend. Do not be like them!

leslyicdigitalTo Ignore, Friend or Unfriend?
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