Posts Tagged ‘Joy’


Posted: January 30, 2020 by keystoneyouth in Tate and See Lessons
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 Attention Funnel: Which is Better?

  • Give students several options to choose between two things.
    • Big Mac or Chicken Sandwich from Chick-Fil-A
    • Mountain Dew vs. Cherry Pepsi
    • Large Hershey’s Chocolate Bar vs. Reeses
    • 5 Dollars Cash vs. $10 Itunes Gift Card
    • Olaf Coffee Mug vs. Candy
    • Swedish Fish vs. Sour Patch Kids
    • Fruit Snacks vs. Honeybuns


  • You were leaving something good on the table, because you were getting something better.
  • Tonight, we are going to talk about fasting, and essentially that’s what fasting is.

Pathway: Fasting is giving up a good thing for a period of time in pursuit of something better.


High Hopes

Posted: April 16, 2019 by keystoneyouth in Stand Firm Lessons
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Attention Funnel: In Early May 2017, four men attempted to do something that seems almost impossible (Show Video). They set their hopes on running 26.2 miles in 2 Hours or less… which means running 26.2 miles in 4:34 pace. They went through hours of training, testing, and preparation all because they hoped they would break the 2-hour marathon barrier.

 Big Idea: What you hope for shapes how you live.

  • Tonight, as we look back into 1 Peter 1, we are going to see that what we hope for, or what we place our hope in has a big impact on whether or not we live courageously in this world.
  • Everyone hopes for something in this world. In reality we all probably hope for many things, some small and some big.
  • I hope that I get to sleep in tomorrow. I hope that I get to enjoy my vacation to Florida in a couple weeks. I hope I don’t screw up my brother-in-law’s wedding next week and actually end up marrying Micah to the bride. I hope GQ one day recognizes my modeling potential. I hope I one day have a daughter. I hope Oliver likes to read and run and I hope I get to see him married with kids of his own one day (To Matt and Kim’s daughter of course). I hope Bri and I live to be 90 years old together. I hope I’m a youth pastor until I’m 90 years oldJ
    • There are lots of things that we hope for, both consciously and unconsciously. And everyone hopes for something in this life.
  • So, the question I set out to answer this week as I was looking at 1 Peter 1 – a chapter that so clearly talks about hope – is what sets Christian hope apart from all other hope? Or in other words, what is unique about Christian hope?

 Main Points:

  • Christian hope is otherworldly.
  • Christian hope causes us to have joy… even as our hopes in this world get crushed.
  • Christian hope gives us courage to live differently.


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.


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  • We start a new series tonight called Letters to Myself. Here is the simple idea behind this series: I asked several youth workers, if you could go back to your middle/high school version of you, what would you say to yourself?
  • Work out more? Don’t ask Mary out on that date? Eat more Sourpatch kids?
  • No, I told them to share something that they wished they would have known or believed as a teenager. Something that they think would have changed how they live.
  • And so, I’m up first.

Attention Funnel:What is something that makes you happy? What is something you get excited about? I found something last week that made my day. Someone had the brilliant idea:

  • Show pictures of dogs about to catch a treat.

Big Idea: God wants you to be happy.

  • This is a truth that comes up again and again throughout the bible. From the times where God commands joy in the NT to the Psalms where people sign about the joy God gives them. (Psalm 16:11)
  • When I say that statement, “God wants you to be happy.” I wonder what you think. Do you brush it off because you’ve heard it before? Do you think that sounds too good to be true? Or do you think that sounds too self-centered? I probably would lean towards the last one.
  • But here is the deal… God knows the only thing or person that will make you truly deeply and forever happy is himself.

Main Points:

  • Only God can make you truly, deeply, and forever happy.
  • We can be content with what we have.
  • Knowing and obeying God leads to greater happiness.
  • Jesus gave up his life to make you happy.


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Attention Funnel: Food-Eating Contests


  • Often in this life we take good things and we end up misusing them.
  • We hope to get more out of them then what they really offer.
  • Rather than accepting the good things for what they are, we take them and try to make them what gives us life, purpose, meaning, and satisfaction.
    • Rather than accepting Hot Dogs as a thing to be enjoyed, people take them and try to eat as many as they can in order to win a prize,
  • One of the ways we do this as humans is that we take pleasure and make it the end all of life.
  • Solomon is going to test this way of life out for us… he’s going to put pleasure to the test, to see if it can give him the meaning and satisfaction in life that he craves for.
  • And spoiler alert, He is going to find that it comes up empty.

Big Idea: Pleasure is a good gift from God.

 Passage: Ecclesiastes 2:1-11; 2:24-26

 Main Points:

  • Pleasure is not the problem
  • Pleasure unhinged from God is the problem.
  • Enjoy pleasure as a gift from God.


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.


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Attention Funnel: Social Media Anxiety/ Anxious Cat Memes 


  • All of us experience anxiety in this life.
  • Perhaps it is overthinking something we said.
  • Perhaps it is being afraid of being left out or made fun of.
  • Perhaps it is a worry about the future… either tomorrow or 5 years from now.
  • Anxiety can come and go… or it can stay.
  • Anxiety can be a mild disturbance, or it can be a debilitating pain.
  • I have experienced anxiety in being unable to fall asleep at night because my mind is so consumed by the future.
  • I have experienced anxiety in putting together a lesson and wondering whether it will completely miss the mark.
  • In wondering whether a mild pain in my lower body is the beginning of a kidney stone (MY WORST FEAR apart from snakesJ)
  • I have experienced anxiety for very dumb reasons and for more serious reasons.
  • As has everyone else in this room I’m sure.
  • I want to look at some things that Paul has to say about anxiety and how to combat it as a Christian.
  • But before we do I also simply want to recognize that sometimes anxiety is a much deeper issue. It may be caused by chemicals in our body that we don’t understand. It may be caused by past experiences that have scarred us and return again and again to haunt us.
  • I want to say two things to you if you find yourself in that type of anxiety now or in the future…
    • First of all, it’s okay. Don’t feel like you are damaged goods. Don’t feel like you have to hide and act as if everything is fine on the outside. It is okay to go through deep anxiety and or depression. We see some of the greatest characters in the Bible go through deep anxiety and depression – Elijah, David, and even Jesus himself as he prepared to take on the cross and God’s anger in our place.
    • Second of all, I want to encourage you to open up and look for help. No one is going to help you if they don’t know that anything is wrong. And there is nothing wrong or shameful about struggling with anxiety or pursuing counseling in this area. Your first and perhaps greatest step in battling against these things is to share what’s going on and begin to seek help.
  • Tonight, I want to look at some of the things that Paul has to say about anxiety and worry… and about it’s opposite contentment and joy… as we cover the final chapter in Paul’s letter to the Philippians.

Setting the Stage:

  • Let’s remember the circumstances that Paul and the Philippians are in.
  • Paul is not all inclusive beach resort with free drinks and food at the snap of his fingers, reading the newest bestseller, while the sun darkens his six-pack of abs.
    • Paul is in prison, awaiting the trial that will determine whether he lives or dies.
  • The Philippians are not a church sitting alongside the ocean where everyone has beautiful beach house and six-figure salary jobs.
    • They are starting to be harassed and persecuted for their faith… and the future doesn’t look much better. Things are only getting worse for Christians in the Roman Empire
    • They are also not very well off. We read in 2 Corinthians that many of the churches in Macedonia (of which the Philippians belonged too) were in extreme poverty and yet remained generous.
  • Paul and the Philippians are not in anyone’s ideal circumstances… and yet this is where we find Paul’s words originated and directed too as he writes on anxiety and contentment.

Big Idea: We do battle against anxiety by looking to a loving God who is in control.

Main Points:

  • Fight anxiety with joy.
  • Fight anxiety with prayer.
  • Learn to be content in any and every circumstance.


EXILE Lesson #4: Happiness

Posted: November 12, 2015 by keystoneyouth in EXILE Lessons
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  • Everyone wants to be happy
  • One of the greatest feelings on this earth is the feeling of happiness.
  • There’s not much better than happiness?
  • Think about the best day you had in the past couple weeks… I would guess it was a good day because you were happy most of the day.
    • Your hair was done just right.
    • Everybody was laughing at your jokes.
    • You got back that Math Test that you thought you did terrible on only to find out that you got a 97 on it!
    • That girl who you secretly have a crush on smiled at you… TWICE!
    • You hit a buzzer beater in overtime at your basketball game… and guess who was watching… that girl you have a crush on… guess who just got a 3rd smile… you did.
    • Your parents tell you your allowed to stay out an hour past curfew because you killed it on your math test.
    • Then your driving home and your song comes on… your belting out Bad Blood as you pull into the driveway.
    • You walk inside and open the Freezer only to find DOUBLE DUNKER Ice Cream
    • #Blessed #Bestdayever #nofilter #3smilesinoneday
  • Maybe you’ve had a day like that recently.
  • But here’s the problem… usually for every great day we have like that… there’s also the reverse… a terrible, horrible, no good day. Where everything that can go wrong does go wrong… #shedidntevennoticemetoday
  • See in this world happiness often revolves around our circumstances… when things go well we’re happy and when things go bad we’re unhappy.
  • Which presents a problem for exiles… if happiness is rooted in circumstances… then exiles better prepare for a life of a lot of unhappiness.
  • Why?? Because circumstances for exiles are rarely ideal.
  • This morning, I want to show you that happiness, or joy as I’ll refer to it from here on out, does not need to be rooted in circumstances.
  • And I’ll argue that exiles actually have a joy that can’t be broken.

 Big Idea: Exiles have a joy that cannot be broken.

 Passage: 1 Peter 1:1-12: 4:12-16

 Main Points:

  • Christian joy is rooted in a future reward.
  • Christian joy is Christ-centered.
  • Christian joy is confounding.


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Time, Talents, and 20’s: Lesson #1 Time: Forever Young

  • Transition activities:
    • “Race the Tube” Video
    • “Minute to Win-it”
  • Introduction to series: In this series we are going to take a look at three of the common gifts that God gives to all of us. He gives these gifts in different forms and measures, but we have all been given these gifts. We are going to look at how these gifts point us to God and how they only find their proper place as we understand that knowing God is the supreme gift. To do this, we must see the greatness of Jesus Christ in relation to these three gifts. Each weak we will look at a gift – how we enjoy that gift without letting it replace God – and how Jesus is great in relation to this gift.
  • First of all, we are going to look at time. There are many directions we could’ve went with this message but I want to specifically look at the time we have been given as Youth. I still consider myself in this category (although after waking up in soreness for two days following the Dodgeball Tournament, perhaps I should remove myself from this category). I want to look specifically at a passage that talks about our years as youth and gives us some wisdom as to how they are best spent and why they are a gift.


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Greatest Hits—The Best of Keystone Youth Ministry

Week # 3

4.614 & 4.16.14


Purpose:  Replay the essentials of Keystone Youth Ministry.


Week 2:  Satisfying Glory–

  • Purpose:  Restore the Gospel to the Center of our Lives.
  • Main Points:

o   Sin is subtle and complex.

o   Everyone worships something.

o   Christians treasure Jesus above all things.

  • Hope:  God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in him.