Nov 262014
 

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Straight up: I was quite disappointed by this book.

Teen Sex by the Book got absolutely bucket-loads of attention last year at pretty much every youth camp, youth conference and youth event. The author, Patricia Weerakoon, even made a trip from Sydney to speak at a special event on the North Coast, a bumper crowd went along to listen.

So why was I not so entranced by all the hoopla? In the book itself Weerakoon rightly left no stone unturned, tackling all the ‘don’t go there’ topics for teens and sex but I feel she really missed the opportunity to bring the gospel to bear on the issues. Of course, the book is littered with scripture references, and Weerakoon consistently brings up a biblical viewpoint, it’s abundantly clear that she wants to give a biblical treatment to the topic not just a scientific one, for instance, right from the get-go, the first chapter is entitled ‘What is sex and what does God think about it’. But the thing is: the message of God’s grace for sinners was very hard to find. Weerakoon does on a few occasions refer to the gospel, for example, on page 27 she clearly explains Christ’s work on the cross, and on page 174, she says ‘no one or nothing is beyond redemption’ loosely relating this truth to 1 Corinthians 6:9-11.  The issue isn’t that she doesn’t believe or mention the gospel, it’s that she doesn’t emphasise the gospel. It’s the emphasis that has a bigger impact than just a few (sometimes vague) words here and there. Do me a favour and read this extended quote by Don Carson on the importance of what we emphasise:

“If I have learned anything in 35 or 40 years of teaching, it is that students don’t learn everything I teach them. What they learn is what I am excited about, the kinds of things I emphasise again and again and again and again. That had better be the gospel.

If the gospel—even when you are orthodox—becomes something which you primarily assume, but what you are excited about is what you are doing in some sort of social reconstruction, you will be teaching the people that you influence that the gospel really isn’t all that important. You won’t be saying that—you won’t even mean that—but that’s what you will be teaching. And then you are only half a generation away from losing the gospel.

Make sure that in your own practice and excitement, what you talk about, what you think about, what you pray over, what you exude confidence over, joy over, what you are enthusiastic about is Jesus, the gospel, the cross. And out of that framework, by all means, let the transformed life flow.” (accessed here)

In a bulky 200+ page book the emphasis is definitely not the gospel applied to sex, rather, it’s is all about doing things God’s way and understanding how it all works.

Weerakoon’s book will probably leave Christian teens much more informed about sex related issues (which is a great thing) but what are the chances of it leading to heart change? Slim chance, I think. In regard to this topic what teens need more than anything is a genuine understanding of God’s grace in the death of Jesus. That’s what brings freedom from sin and guilt and the power for real change. As a youth leader for the past 9 years this has been confirmed to me again and again as many teenagers are weighed down by guilt over (usually hidden) sexual sin, there’s shame surrounding it, and a desire to keep it in the dark. Only a real grasp of the length and breadth of God’s forgiveness is sufficient to bring anything more than short term behavioural modification. We don’t just want to teens to go away after reading a book on sex understanding the issues more and convicted to try harder in this area. We want young people to go away with their hearts transformed, to go away loving Jesus more, trusting him more, delighting in his grace more and seeing how he meets their needs in every way.

This lack of gospel emphasis was particularly heart wrenching for me, because as coming from an evangelical publisher, in Anglican Youthworks, there was an opportunity to do so much more than an informative, worth the wait, behavioural change sort of book. Here was an opportunity to to have an informative gospel saturated book about sex and teens that left the reader wanting to worship Jesus in this area of their life.

This book would have been excellent if Weerakoon had consistently brought the gospel of grace to bear on the tough topics she discussed. Instead it left me feeling angry and frustrated that an opportunity had been missed.

If you’re someone who feels differently (or shock horror: similarly) let us know your opinion below.

 

Nov 232014
 

visionsunday_web
1 Corinthians 9:19-27

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Nov 202014
 

Temperatures are set to soar again this weewater funkend

&

Our vision for SCPC for 2015 and beyond is also set to soar

So we have combined the two for ‘whatever it takes’ water fun, this sunday Nov 23rd

Kids will have all sorts of ‘whatever it takes ‘water tasks to overcome, while hearing the challenge from 1 Cor 9 as Pauls says:

I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some.

It’s sure to be a morning full of fun.

Please ensure kids have :

-  sunscreen on

-  a hat

-  a rash shirt and boardshorts

-  some sort of shoe/thong that can get wet

-  a change of clothes at the completion of the program at 11am

Nov 162014
 

1 John 5:1-21Confident_web

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Nov 092014
 

1 John 3:24-4:21Confident_web

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Nov 012014
 

Last weekendIMG_0449 the blokes and boys enjoyed a weekend with Dan Bigg former Butcher come Bible teacher. But the weekend wasn’t all over, we still needed to hear who won the ‘meat tray’. The winner was the bloke or the boy for that matter, to guess the weight of a young steer, as it went off to market.

Coming in second place was the bloke, no boy, Jed Mc Pherson, but again the boy who came in first place was Hamish Thompson, with his guess of 195 kg with the actual weight being 190.4kg

Congratulations Hamish!

 

 

Oct 312014
 

enjoy-your-prayer-lifeAnother delightful book from Michael Reeves. Super short, only 46 pages! Simple enough to gobble up in just one sitting, but rich enough to chew on for many many sittings.

Reeves starts by defining prayer. For him, following Calvin, prayer is the chief exercise of faith, so we express our belief in God, in his power and love towards us, primarily through the act of praying. Then naturally he goes on to remind the reader of how good and generous and gracious our God is, so that our faith in him grows and with it our prayer. This is the most delicious and tasty section of the book as Reeves explains the intimate relationship we have been brought into through the cross.

He says, ‘Prayer is enjoying that the Father really is our Father. But what exactly does it mean that God is a Father? First it means that he is eternally begetting his Son. Always he is giving life to and lavishing his love on his Son. So, as Father, he is the source of all life, love and blessing. and what does it mean to be the Son? Eternally the Son is characterised by receiving from the Father. Now if that’s the relationship we’ve been brought into: praising the Father as Jesus did, asking the Father for things as Jesus did and depending on the Father as Jesus did are going to be staple parts of our communion with him..’

It’s great stuff, expounding on great truths. The best thing is that since finishing I’ve been praying heaps more, not because Reeves gives some handy tips or strategies, but because my faith in God’s goodness has grown, so I’ve been exercising that faith – and praying!

Oct 262014
 

1 John 2:18-27Confident_web

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Oct 252014
 

Well today we said goodbye to our motel, goodbye to the Scott’s, hopped on a plane and flew over the big blue ocean. It is sad to say goodbye, we’ll miss everyone!

We started reflecting as a team and thinking about getting back into life at home and making the most of the experiences we’ve had.

We’re excited to get home and share with you all!

Lucy    20141024_085852