Posts Tagged ‘Gospel’


Posted: January 30, 2020 by keystoneyouth in Tate and See Lessons
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Attention Funnel: 10 Best Foods

Series Introduction:

  • Why do you eat a Donut? You eat a donut because it tastes good. The combination of dough, sugar, icing, and other ingredients hits your tongue and activates thousands of taste buds that send signals to your brain saying, “This is fantastic!” I’m guessing you’ve never ate a donut because someone told you that you have to. You eat a donut because you believe it’s going to taste good.
  • Over the next four weeks we’re going to be talking about what is commonly referred to as spiritual disciplines. I’m guessing a lot of you have heard that term before…. and I’m curious what it brings to mind. Perhaps you immediately think of reading your bible and praying. And then maybe you feel guilty because you think, “I don’t do those things enough. I know that I should, but I don’t.” Or maybe you just think of a spiritual checklist that you are supposed to accomplish.
  • Here’s the idea that I want to pop into your head over the next week… I want you to think of spiritual disciplines like eating a donut.
    • In Psalm 34:8 David calls us to “Taste and see that God is good.” That’s where the title of this series comes from.
    • I want you to practice the habits we talk about over the next 4 weeks because I think they are some of the ways God gives us to taste and see that he is good.
    • Christianity is not a checklist to maintain, it’s a relationship to enjoy. And God gives us specific ways that we can pursue enjoyment of Jesus. He gives us means to activate our taste buds and bite into his goodness.
  • Now, the donut metaphor breaks down a little bit, because you might think… “Kyle it’s not hard at all to eat a donut.” But it can be very hard to practice the spiritual disciplines. That’s where the “See” part comes in. I want to give you one more way to think of them.
  • Think of them as a pathway, like a hiking trail.
    • During my time in college, my friends and I would go hiking to a place called the Pinnacle in Hamburg, often to camp out at the top of the mountain. The hike was not an easy one. It was about 3.5 miles of uphill hiking carrying all of our supplies. There were moments where I thought, “Why am I doing this?” Why didn’t I just stay at home on my couch?” But then we would get to the top of the hike, and I would remember why: Because the views were incredible! You can see for miles and miles. And there was nothing like being up there as the sun went down or rose the next morning.
    • We went through the discipline of hiking so that we could take in the amazing views.
  • The same idea is true of the disciplines we’ll talk about. They are not always easy or convenient. Sometimes they are difficult and even frustrating in the moment. But they lead to incredible views. They help us to see God more clearly and enjoy Jesus more fully.
  • I’m going to give you what I’ll label as four pathways. This is not by any means an extensive list. There are all sorts of ways to taste and see that God is good. But these are 4 pathways that I think are really good ways for us to taste and see that God is good.
    • DISCLAIMER: Please know that I am not putting these before you as an expert in these areas, but as someone who is continuing to try to find my way.
  • The framework for this series will be each week we’ll ask “What’s the pathway?” And we’ll answer that by laying out a specific spiritual discipline. Then we’ll ask “What’s the point?” And I’ll try to show from scripture what the purpose of the discipline is. And finally, we’ll ask, “What’s the practice?” Where I’ll try to give you some specific ways to put this discipline into practice.
  • And all while, I want you to keep these two images in mind… tasting a donut, and taking a hike to see some incredible view.


What Makes a Good Church?

Posted: December 11, 2019 by keystoneyouth in Church Matters
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What Makes a Good Church?


  • Why should I care about the church?
  • What’s the point of church?

Attention Funnel: What makes a ________ good?


  • Tonight’s lesson is going to be a little bit different… because I’m actually just going to give you questions you should ask tonight.
  • And tonight’s lesson is going to seem a little odd… because it’s kind of geared towards knowing how to choose a church.
    • And that may seem odd to you because you probably didn’t choose the church you are at right now, and you probably don’t have the option to choose a different church.
  • But I want to ask this question… what makes a good church for several reasons…
    • 1) I want you to find out why you are at Keystone or some other church. (Your assignment is to ask your parents why they chose and have stayed at the church they are at).
    • 2) I want you to evaluate your church… I want you to think, where does my church do well and where could my church improve.
    • 3) One day, you will have the option to choose… you will first have the option to choose, “Will I go to church or not?” and second, “What church should I go to?” And I want to help equip you for that day.

Big Idea: There’s not one perfect church for you, but there are good and bad churches.

  • Like Marriage…
  • There is nowhere in the Bible that gives us a specific checklist for what we should be looking for in a local church… and there’s probably not a perfect list.
  • But I came up with 5 questions to help you think through what makes a good church.
  • These questions are all based out of 1 Timothy. I told you at the start of this series that we are mainly going to be in Ephesians because Ephesians is the book where Paul talks a lot about the church.
    • This is the one exception. But interesting enough, 1 Timothy is a book written to Timothy, a pastor Paul has trained and then sent to Ephesus. He sent him there because the church in Ephesus was in some trouble. There were some leaders there teaching and preaching false things, and advocating for ungodly ways of living. And so Paul sent Timothy to clear up the mess and help Ephesus become a good church again.
  • And so, I think it’s fitting to look to this book to get our 5 questions for evaluating the church.


No Judgment Gospel

Posted: October 30, 2019 by keystoneyouth in Knock-Offs Lessons
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  • This past summer a well touted women’s soccer player named Jaelene Hinkle was not included on the Women’s National Team that won the World Cup. People have speculated over whether that was a decision based on her talent or because she earlier refused to play in a game in which the team was required to wear rainbow jerseys to support Gay Pride month. Now, I don’t know which it was… but a backup goalie for the Women’s Team later put a tweet out that made her personal views clear… “Hinkle, our team is about inclusion. Your religion was never the problem. The problem is your intolerance and you are homophobic. You don’t belong in a sport that aims to unite and bring people together. You would never fit into our pack or what this team stands for.”
  • This provides a good summary of the no-judgment gospel… that to judge someone else means that you are intolerant and, in this case, homophopic.
  • But we want to ask, is that really true? And how does that line up with what the Bible says about judgment… particularly God’s judgment.


Do-Good Gospel

Posted: September 25, 2019 by keystoneyouth in Knock-Offs Lessons
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Attention Funnel: Historical Celebrity Look-A-Likes 


  • We see from the case of the celebrity look-a-likes that sometimes you have people who look almost identical on the surface and yet are completely different.
  • The same is true of do-good gospel and the biblical gospel.
  • On the surface the do-good gospel may look almost identical to the true gospel, but when we look underneath it is completely different.
  • This is one of the most likely gospels that people growing up in the church fall for.
  • If the younger brother in the story of the prodigal son is a poster boy for the you-do-you gospel, then the older brother is the poster boy for the do good gospel.

Passage: Luke 15:25-32

 Belief Number #1 – God just wants us to be good people.

  • The do-good gospel says the main thing that God wants from us is to be good people.
  • If that’s the case, we end coming up with a list of what it means to be good and what it means to be bad. And then we try hard to do the good things and avoid the bad things.
  • What might be some things on our good list? What might be some things on our bad list?
  • Now, God does want us to obey him and keep his commandments. But what is the problem with saying God just wants us to be good people?
    • We can be really good people for a lot of different reasons.
    • We can be good people in an effort to get a reward, out of fear of punishment, because we want to look good, etc.
  • The younger son in this story does all the bad things. It’s clear to us that he is far from the Father.
  • But the older Son in the story does all the good things… and yet we find that he is just as far from the Father.
  • See this story is teaching us, we can be really good people and still be far from God.
  • It’s showing us that it’s not just bad things that can separate us from God, but it’s also the good things we do in an effort to use or control God.
  • Think about it this way… What would make someone a bad friend?
  • A bad friend might be someone who lies to your face, is always making fun of you, takes money from your wallet, and betrays you. But a bad friend could just as easily be someone who is really nice to you, laughs at all your jokes, spends a lot of time with you, but does it all because she wants to hang out at your house and get to know your boyfriend.
    • In the same way although the Older brother is good and avoids sin, he does not care about God. He cares about what he can use God to get.

Bible – God wants us to know and love him.

  • Apply:To the extent that I believe I am a good person apart from Jesus, I will fail to love God. To the extent that I realize how desperately I need Jesus, I will love God and respond to him in obedience.
  • One of the best ways to avoid Jesus, is by trying really hard to be good.
  • Christians are not people who try really hard to be good. Christians are people who realize they are sinners who desperately need Jesus to save them.
  • If we have grown up in church, we need to see that it’s not just our bad behaviors that are sin, but it’s our good behaviors that are done from another motivation then love for God.


The You-Do-You Gospel

Posted: September 25, 2019 by keystoneyouth in Knock-Offs Lessons
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Attention Funnel: Fact or Fake


  • There are things we believe that aren’t true.
    • For the longest time, people believed the earth was at the center of the universe and the sun orbited around us. People believed the earth was flat… and some still do.
    • After I saw the movie It… I was convinced a clown was going to just pop up at random places.
  • And while some of the things we believe that aren’t true may be harmless or entertaining, there are false things we believe that could seriously harm us.
    • If I believe I don’t need sleep and can stay up late every night… it’s going to harm me in some way.
    • If I believe a pool of water is deeper than it really is I can seriously hurt myself in jumping into it.
    • If I believe the Dallas Cowboys are a good football team… I’m going to waste the rest of my life watching a group of losers.
  • The problem is, sometimes we don’t even recognize that what we are believing isn’t true.
    • Perhaps it sounds so good… we are convinced it must be true.
    • Or perhaps it seems like everyone else believes the same thing as us… so it must be true.
    • Or perhaps someone we really trusted taught us something… so we accept it as true.
  • And yet we need to constantly be asking ourselves, “Is this really true, or am I believing something false?
  • I’ve titled this series, “Knock-Offs: The False Gospels We Fall For.”
    • I want to spend the next 5 weeks looking at 5 things we might believe and compare them with the message of what Jesus has done for us, the Christian gospel.
  • The first Knock-Off we are going to look at tonight is what I will call the “You-do-You” gospel.
    • This is a phrase we sometimes throw around jokingly or just to encourage people to be themselves. But this is also a phrase that can communicate a deeper worldview.
  • It’s what some people call expressive individualism… but you probably know it better by its catch phrases. Phrases like:
    • “You do you”
    • “Be True to Yourself”
    • “Follow Your Heart,”
    • “Just do what feels right”
    • “This is my truth”
  • It’s the idea that we need to look inside of ourselves, discover what is there, and then let that out and live accordingly.
    • What are some movies or popular songs you can think of that communicate this message?
    • It pictures us like a lockbox. And if we can just crack the code and let out what’s inside, we would be happier and the world would be a better place.
  • “The “You do you” mentality has become their Savior: if only more people believed in themselves, expressed themselves, and did what they thought was best, then our world would be a better place.” -Clark Forbes
  • Our society generally believes that ‘being true to ourselves’, especially in our sexual lives, is critical to living full and happy lives. Much of this is taken for granted and goes unquestioned” – Jonathan Grant.
  • The question we want to ask and hopefully answer is, “Does being true to yourself and expressing yourself really lead to a better life?”
    • I want to do this by evaluating what I think are some of the commonly held beliefs of the “you-do-you” gospel.
  • And we are going to do that with a story that Jesus told as our background. It’s a story we will look at again next week from a different angle. It’s the story of one Father and two sons. And tonight, we want to mainly focus on the first son.

Read Luke 15:11-24. (more…)

Look at the Mess We’ve Made

Posted: March 19, 2019 by keystoneyouth in Drama Lessons
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Attention Funnel: Best Fight Scenes – Batman vs. Bane, Napoleon Dynamite, The Other Guys

Big Idea for the Series: Conflict is inevitable, but it doesn’t have to be bad.


  • Conflict is inevitable.Term it what you want… disagreements, fights, quarrels, or as it so often gets labeled in High School: Drama.
    • We get annoyed, upset, and angry with each other. We say things we shouldn’t say. We get offended at someone else’s words. A conflict arises and far too often things get worse before they get better.
  • But conflict doesn’t have to be bad.
    • We all have tendencies with conflict… Some of us treat it like day-old cheap Chinese food – Avoid at all costs.
    • Others of us treat conflict like the gym – We love the opportunity to flex our muscles and show off our biceps. We run into conflict to show how powerful we are by fighting until we get what we want.
  • But conflict is a great opportunity. God has purposes in all of our conflict that he wants to accomplish in us.
    • This is why running from conflict can be so horrible.
      • We cut off friendships at the first sign of trouble… with nice phrases that cover over the real reason was because we got into a fight and refused to deal with it.
    • In fact, the best relationships are the ones where conflict happens (perhaps often) and is handled well.
    • We shouldn’t want a relationship that is conflict free… anymore than we would want a car that has been crash tested.
    • A car becomes safer because it has been crash-tested so many times.
    • A relationship becomes sweeter because conflict is faced and handled well.
  • “We often think that if God really cared for us, he would make our relationships easier. In reality, a difficult relationship is a mark of his love and care. We would prefer that God would just change the relationship, but he won’t be content until the relationship changes us too. This how God created relationships to function. While we would like to avoid the mess and enjoy deep and intimate community. God says that it is in the very process of working through the mess that intimacy is found. Which relationships are most meaningful to you? Most likely they are the ones that involved working through difficulty and hardship.” (Lane and Tripp)

Over the next three weeks we are going to treat this issue of drama and conflict by asking and hopefully answering three questions:

  1. What causes conflict?
  2. What does God want to do in our conflicts?
  3. How should we respond to conflict?

Passage: James 4:1-6

 Big Idea: We fight because people get in the way of what we want.



Posted: February 22, 2019 by keystoneyouth in Death Row Lessons
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Attention Funnel: Stupid and Serious Warning Signs

  • When I talk about lust, I wonder if you approach is as you approach the stupid warning signs? Brushing it off… thinking it’s no big deal, thinking the warnings that are put out are just the words of an old-fashioned book and an out-of-touch youth pastor.
  • Or when I talk about lust, do you approach it like you would approach a very serious warning sign? That how we respond to lust (and all sin) is a life or death situation that shouldn’t be written off but should be weighed very carefully. That how we respond has serious consequences.


  • I realize I’m probably talking to 2 or 3 different groups on a night like this.
  • Group #1 – “Lust really isn’t that big of deal… it doesn’t really matter if I look at pornography, have sex with a boyfriend or girlfriend, masturbate, or use other people in my fantasies.”
  • Group #2 – “I know lust is a big deal, and I struggle with it almost every day. But I feel like I’m trapped, I seem to make no progress in fighting it… all I ever feel is more guilt and shame.”
  • Group #3 – “I can’t believe people would struggle with that. I mean if you have sex in high school you’re a slut, if you look at pornography your gross, and I can’t believe other people might struggle with these types of thoughts.”
    • To the first group I want to give a warning with the goal that you start to take the fight against lust seriously.
    • To the second group you already take the fight against lust seriously… you just feel overwhelmed by it. You feel like you are in a street fight in which you are badly outmanned. I want to both give you a comfort and remind you that you are not badly outmanned.
    • To the third group… just because you may not struggle with a certain sin does not mean you should look down on those who do. Rather, you should realize the only thing that keeps you from this is God’s grace, and you should have the humility to realize that you struggle with other sin in your life… and so take what is said tonight and apply it to that sin.
  • Our lesson will be driven by feeling the weight of lust, the tidal force of God’s grace, and the seeing the power we have been given to fight back against lust.

Passage: Matthew 5:27-30; 1 Corinthians 6:9-15

Big Idea: Lust is sexual desire unhinged from God.

  • Sex and Sexual desire is not bad, it is a gift from God. BUT like all of our desires, sex finds its proper place in being submitted to God.
  • A roller coaster is fun if there is something holding you down and strapping you in. A roller coaster is terrifying and deadly if there is no harness keeping you in place.
  • Sex is good if it’s within the confines of God’s will – marriage. It’s deadly and destructive outside the confines of God’s will.
  • Lust is sex that falls outside of God’s will… this includes hook-ups, sex with a girlfriend or boyfriend, adultery, oral sex, making out with and feeling up another person for the sole purpose of sexual arousal, looking at pornography, watching anything on TV that causes you to be sexually aroused, masturbating, and thinking about someone in way that they become the object of a sexual fantasy.

Main Points:

  • Lust will destroy you.
  • Jesus alone saves you.
  • Who you are shapes what you do.


Anatomy of Sin

Posted: January 23, 2019 by keystoneyouth in Death Row Lessons
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Attention Funnel: Who Wins in A Fight?


  • How many of you go hunting? How many of you go bear hunting? How many of you would go grizzly bear hunting?
  • If you have watched the Movie the Revenant you have a picture of how crazy a Grizzly Bear encounter can be. The bear attacks quickly and keeps coming back in an effort to kill Hugh Glass. It won’t give up, won’t run away, won’t back down, until Hugh has finally managed to kill it. (Perhaps show video for Senior High).
  • Imagine yourself in that scenario. There is no going into the fetal position, no convincing the bear to run away. Either the bear dies or you die.
  • This is what happens when you encounter something from the outside that threatens your very life. But what about the thing that resides within all of us that threatens our very life… sin.
  • Over the next seven weeks we are going to be going through a series called Death Row where we look at some of the common sins that still tempt, enslave, and kill us. Why?

Big Idea: Either we kill sin or it kills us.

  • The Christian life involves becoming more like Christ. This is what we refer to as sanctification. And a big part of that process is to fight against the sin that is still present in our lives. (John Owen – “Be Killing Sin or It Will Be Killing You”)
  • This is based on Romans 8:13 – “For if you live according to the flesh (which is the word Paul uses for sinful nature here), you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.”
  • Kill sin… or it will kill you.
  • Goals for this series:
    • 1) I want sin to be exposed in this series. And so, if you listen to this series and are never once convicted of sin in your life… then this series has failed.
    • 2) The other and ultimate goal of this series is also that we would fight against sin in our lives and that we would replace it with something better. And so if you only feel convicted by this series and never respond with action and feel hopeful in the fight against sin, then this series has also failed.
  • My goal tonight is to show you the importance of identifying and fighting against sin by giving you a small anatomy of sin.
  • To do that I want to look into Jeremiah 2
  • But before we do… let’s get a definition of sin so we are all on the same page: Sinning is any feeling or thought or speech or action that disobeys God.
    • Sinning is any time I think, feel, speak, or act in a way that disregards God or thinks that we know better than Him.

Main Points: 

  • Sin kills our happiness.
  • Sin robs us of our freedom.
  • Sin hides from our sight.
  • Jesus gives us the power to kill sin.


The Wrestler

Posted: October 25, 2018 by keystoneyouth in Strange Encounters Lessons
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Attention Funnel: Greatest Fights

  • What would you say some of the greatest fights in history have been? Real or fictional?
  • We have been doing this series called Strange Encounters… where we look at some of the interesting encounters people had with God in the Old Testament.
  • Tonight, we look at an encounter where God shows up and literally has a wrestling match with someone.
    • Read Genesis 32:30 – This is the end of the encounter, but I just want you to see it to know that I’m not making up that Jacob encounters God in this story… because it’s all a little bit weird.
  • I want to look at this encounter bit by bit to see what we can learn about what it means for us to know God and encounter him.

Main Points:

  • We encounter God in our weakness.
  • God wants to change us more than our circumstances.
  • It’s in submission to God that we win. 
  • God becomes weak so that we can encounter him.


Attention Funnel: Pet Peeves – Things that Make You Irrationally Angry

 Screen Shot 2018-09-15 at 7.25.11 PMIntroduction:

  • There are certain passages in the Old Testament that people may point to in order to show a problem with God.
  • They are passages where we encounter God’s anger. On the surface, it might seem like God gets irrationally angry and does horrible things.
  • I want to take a look at a couple of these encounters tonight to see if that’s true, or to see if there’s something else they might be teaching us.

Big Idea: We don’t appreciate God’s grace until we appreciate His anger.

Main Points:

  • God’s anger is aimed at sin.
  • We assume God’s grace is ordinary.
  •  Jesus gets what we deserve, and we get what we don’t deserve.