Posts Tagged ‘Identity’

The Self-Esteem Gospel

Posted: October 30, 2019 by keystoneyouth in Knock-Offs Lessons
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 Attention Funnel: What’s More Valuable


  • We have been looking at different knock-offs of the gospel over the past 5 weeks. They are messages we consciously or unconsciously believe that shape how we live.And we’ve been trying to show how the true gospel is both different and better.
  • Tonight we finish up this series with the Self-Esteem Gospel.
  • Now, to make sure we are all on the same page, what do we mean by self-esteem?
  • Self-esteem is confidence in one’s own worth or abilities. It’s feeling good about yourself and not easily having that feeling taken from you.
    • “To fall in love with yourself is the first secret to happiness.”
      – Robert Morley
  • The self esteem gospel sounds good on the surface because it focuses on getting us to feel better about ourselves… but it misses some really important things about the gospel.

Big Idea: The gospel forces us to get our eyes off ourselves. (more…)

Look Up

Posted: April 16, 2019 by keystoneyouth in Stand Firm Lessons
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Attention Funnel: Things that take courage – Guy getting hit by a truck, Body suit flying, Free solo rock climbing


  • We live in a time where it is becoming increasingly difficult and unpopular to be a Christian.
    • If you believe the Bible and specifically what it says about Jesus, Hell, Salvation, Sexuality, and Sin, you are more and more likely to be seen as ignorant or backwards at best and as hateful and a bigot at worst.
    • Christians and what they believe are being pushed more and more towards the margins of society.
  • Now, before we start sounding alarms, running around screaming, or complaining about how bad things are… let me say several things.
    • First of all, we don’t have it that bad… Western Christians, especially Lancaster Christians, are still very privileged.
    • Secondly, we don’t need to look at the past like the good ole days… they weren’t.
    • Thirdly, this is nothing new. The Bible (Specifically the NT) is full of letters written to people who were living in situations where it was difficult to be a Christian. They were written to people who desperately needed courage in order to stand firm in what they believed and live out those beliefs well.
  • One Such letter is First Peter.
    • He wrote to some churches in Modern Day Turkey to encourage them in their faith and remind them to stand firm, even as they were pushed to the margins, made fun of, misunderstood, and even hated.
    • He wrote to them because he knew that holding to Christian beliefs and living as a Christian was going to take more and more courage in the years ahead.
  • Not the type of courage that looks within, but the type of courage that looks up.

 Big Idea: Courage is found in looking up to God.

 Passage: 1 Peter 1:1-2

 Main Points:

  • Christians are outsiders.
  • Christians are chosen.
  • Christians have an anchor.


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.


Women Remade

Posted: April 17, 2018 by keystoneyouth in God's Greatest Invention
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 God's Greates Invention Graphic


  • Refresh: Over the past month we have been doing a series on gender – what it means to be a man or woman.
  • Two weeks ago, we started talking about women – What did we say about women? –Women encourage, nurture, and provide strength.
  • As we did with men, I want to talk about hurdles that women face.
  • Perhaps one of the biggest struggles/hurdles that women face is that they are told that they are only as good as their physical appearance.
  • Tonight, I want to look at this hurdle, show some of the issues it causes, talk about how God remakes women.

Big Idea: Find your value in what God says about you.

Passage: Mark 5:24-34; James 4:1-2; 2 Corinthians 5:17

 Main Points:

  • Sin leaves women covered in shame.
  • Comparison and perfectionism become ways of dealing with shame.
  • Only Jesus deals permanently with our shame.


Life 2.0

Posted: January 13, 2018 by keystoneyouth in Ecclesiastes Lessons
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Series Attention Funnel: Name That Famous Historical Figure

 Series Introduction:

  • Prepare to Die and Learn to Live… seems like a weird title for a series right.
  • We live by avoiding death at all costs. We don’t want to think about it. We push it out of our minds.
  • But Ecclesiastes is a bit of a weird book, so perhaps a weird title fits.
  • One person compares this book to a crazed man downtown. “He smells like he hasn’t bathed and looks like it too and as we pass by he won’t stop glaring at us and beckoning to us that our lives are built on illusions, and that we are all going to die. So, most of us choose to get our lunch at a different shop on a less dreary corner of town.”
  • I’ve already compared him to the friend that ruins everything.
    • “You look really beautiful today. But someday you’re going to grow old, saggy, and eventually be planted in the ground. So, have a nice day.”
  • But Ecclesiastes is not an eternal pessimist who only points out the bad in life to draw us down to his level.
  • Rather he simply wants to keep us from rooting our hope, meaning, and satisfaction in something in this world, when death will in fact take it all away from us.
  • He wants to prepare us for the day that we die… and in so doing, teach us to live well here and now.

 Lesson Attention Funnel: Name a Movie Sequel That Came Out in this Past Year

  • What do we know to be the case about sequels? They are almost always worse than the original.
  • So why do we go in flocks and droves to see sequels?
  • Because we secretly hope that they will be better. We hope that the second, third, fourth, or twentieth movie in a series is going to deliver better entertainment then the first one.
  • You thought SpiderMan 1 was good, just wait until SpiderMan 6! You liked Star Wars 7, just wait until Star Wars 8! You liked the Avengers… Well then you are definitely going to like Avengers vs. Smurphs! Can’t wait!
  • Life in this world is a little bit like this. We spend our whole lives chasing after something more, chasing after a better life.
  • I’m going to call that concept Life 2.0. We are convinced that this better, more improved, more fulfilling life is right around the corner… when I get to high school, when I get to college, when I get a job, when I get my license, when I find true love, when I have a family, when I have lots of money.
  • And yet just like the sequel to a movie, the future life we are chasing never quite delivers. We’re convinced there has to be more, but everywhere we look in this life that more eludes us.

 Passage: Ecclesiastes 1:1-11

 Big Idea: Life in this world leaves us longing for something more.

 Main Points:

  • We long for a life that is permanent.
  • We long for a life of complete satisfaction.
  • We long for a life of lasting significance.
  • Hope: Jesus broke into the world to give us life.


Stressed Out

Posted: October 13, 2016 by keystoneyouth in Peace In The Storm Lessons
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  • I would love to give a survey right now and ask you all to rank how stressed you feel… on a scale of one to ten.
  • Research would say that a majority of you would write down a 5.8 out of ten. Which might seem okay, until you realized that’s the highest average of any age group.
  • A survey taken by the American Psychological Association found that as of 2013 teenagers were the most stressed-out group in the United States…
  • 55 percent teens said they experience Moderate Stress (somewhere between a 4 and 7). 27 percent of teens said they experience extreme stress (8-10) during the school year, and only 18 percent said they experience low stress (1-3).
  • You may be skeptical of statistics, like me… but there is some other evidence that teens are really stressed out.
  • One of the most common answers I’ve heard from teens to the question, “How are you doing?” is “I’m stressed” or “I’m Busy.”
  • And one of the most popular songs from 2015 was a song called Stressed Out – By Twenty-One Pilots.
  • The Song didn’t just become popular because Twenty-One Pilots were trending… it’s because people can identify with it
  • The whole point of the song is that life is overwhelming and Tyler and Josh are stressed out.
  • Phrases like… “Now I’m insecure and I care what you think,” “Wish we could turn back time to the good old days,” “Out of student loans and tree-house homes we would all take the latter”
  • People can identify with that! We’re stressed out and we wish we could go back to a life that was much more simple
  • Tonight I want to look at a short story out of the book of Luke in order to tackle this topic of stress – The Story of Mary and Martha
  • I want to show you some of the ways we often cause ourselves undo stress, along with some ways of dealing with stress, and ending with the one thing that is most important for us to do.

Big Idea: Stress often arises from our priorities and performance.

 Maint Points:

  • There are many good things for us to spend our time on.
  • There are good and bad ways of dealing with stress.
  • A performance-based identity multiplies stress.
  • There is one thing we must do.

Passage: Luke 10:38-42  (more…)

Mixed Messages #3: Beauty

Posted: February 5, 2016 by keystoneyouth in Mixed Messages
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Attention Funnel: Video of girl telling people they are beautiful.


  • I want to say first of all, this lesson is probably more geared towards girls.
  • But I do want to say that I think we are still effected by the things in this lesson guys. There is still a pressure to have a certain body type and look a certain way, we just don’t experience nearly the same pressure that the girls do.
  • Guys – I want you to think about how you view and treat the girls around you. Who are you more likely to give your attention to? Who are you more likely too make feel special? I want you to think about as men, does our way of treating women line up with how God treats them (and us).
  • Girls – I want you to be freed from feeling like you have to measure up to a certain ideal of beauty in order to be valued and loved. I want you to be able to more and more stop comparing yourself to other people. And I want you to pursue a beauty that is not just marked by skin and body.

 Mixed Message: You will be loved if you are beautiful.

 Big Idea: You are loved therefore you are beautiful.

 Passage: Song of Solomon 1:2-15; Ephesians 5:25-27

Main Points:
The ideal of our culture is impossible to measure up to.
The culture says if you measure up you will be loved.
God says that because you are loved you are beautiful.


Social Identity

Posted: December 10, 2015 by keystoneyouth in Social Creatures
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Social Creatures


Attention Funnel: Best Instagram Posts Video/ Girl who left Instagram Video


  • Whenever we talk about identity we should be drawn back to a specific question… “Who am I?”
  • Am I athletic? Am I smart? Am I musically talented? Am I funny? Am I an extrovert and outgoing? Am I an introvert and more reserved? Am I attractive? Am I interesting? Am I courageous? Am I successful? Where do I fit in? Who am I?
  • Social media can be a place we go to in order to answer these questions.
  • Social media can be a place where we present an identity (true or false) in order to gain value and acceptance.
    • True or false does not just mean a true or false statement… it also means taking 30 pictures until you find just the right one to post up. It means editing for a half an hour before posting. It means rewriting your caption and hashtag 10 times before finally hitting post. This is false because this isn’t how real life works… and you would never want people to know how much effort you put into a post because that would make you seem pitiful rather than like worthy.
  • I put something out there (true or false) and wait to see how many likes, favorites, comments, etc pile up and I base my worth wholely or more likely partially in that.
  • Rather than looking to social media to build an identity and assess our value, we should look to God and what he says about our identity in Christ.

 Big Idea: We find our value in what God says about us instead of what others say about us on social media.

 Passage: Romans 3:21-28

Main Points:

  • We boast to secure an identity.
  • We use an identity to find value.
  • God gives us an unchanging identity in Christ.


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Time, Talents, and 20’s Lesson #2 – Talents:

  • Introduction: Jimmy Kimmel Christmas Gifts youtube video and Steven Wiltshire youtube video.
  • Most of us probably don’t have the same skill of Stephen Wiltshire, but that doesn’t mean that God has overlooked us and given us terrible gifts as the parents did in the first video.
  • Define talent: A special natural ability or aptitude.
  • Big Idea: God calls us to be faithful to him as we discover and use the natural abilities that he has given to us.
  • Explain Passage: This passage is a parable that Jesus spoke concerning the resources God has entrusted to us and how we are called to use those resources during our time here on earth as we await his returns. Talents in this passage is not speaking of our natural abilities but rather of a financial weight that was used in Jesus’ era. It is a large sum of money. I believe it signifies the resources that God entrusts to us. So while this broadly covers all the things God has given to us, I want to look at the specific applications it has for the natural abilities that God has given us.
  • Read Matthew 25:14-30
  • The parable is made up of 3 scenes
  • Scene One explains that the master entrusts three servants with a certain amount of his money as he leaves to go away on a long journey. He gives five talents to one servant, two talents to another servant, and one talent to a third servant. We are not told why this is the case.
  • Scene Two explains what each of the servants did with what was given to them. The first and the second go to work with what they’ve been given and double the amount. The third servant sticks out because he instead goes and digs and hole and puts the money in the ground.
  • Scene Three explains the masters return and his response to what each servant has done with what was given. The first and second servants are praised for their faithfulness, and rewarded with more responsibility and “entering in to the joy of the master.” The third servant comes to God explaining that because of his view of the master he simply buried his money in the ground until the master returned.


Finished Work in Progress

Opening Question: Have you ever gotten really excited about doing something and before you even tried to do it you gave up?

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Explain that Christians are “a finished work in progress.” We are brought from death to life by God leading us to place our faith in Christ. We live everyday confident that we are accepted and loved by God through faith in Christ. But we all live with the knowledge that in our current state we are far from perfect. God calls us to progressively become more like Christ. We do not become more like Christ by simply setting up a to-do list and a to-don’t list. We live in a growing knowledge that as people who have been raised with Christ, we have a new nature and a new citizenship.

Sometimes I’m afraid we fail in changing before we even start, because we have the wrong ideas about what change looks like.

  • We sometimes think its nearly impossible for us to change so why even try… or
  • We sometimes think all we have to do is stop certain behaviors, but we fail to see where the desires behind those behaviors pop up in other areas… or
  • We think we’re simply called to say no – to put to death all that is bad in us… or
  • We think we are all alone in are pursuit of change

Purpose: The change God calls us too is a not a burden, but rather is a joyful pursuit. As we look to Christ and who we are in Christ we progressively become more like him.

Main Point: God has given us a new nature in Christ, and we have a part in taking hold of that nature here and now.