August 28th - PCA vs. ACA Football @ Faulkner - 7pm

September 3rd - P,B & J (Prayer, Bible study, & Jesus) 6-8pm, bring your own dinner

September 13th - Lads to Leaders Kick-off & Calendar Reveal Luncheon

September 13th - Area Wide Devo @ Prattville(Leave UCC @ 4pm)

September 16th - Deadline to turn in $50 for High School Retreat

Source: favorites://UYM Youthline
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AuthorPaul Spurlin

Well that crazy feeling happened again. The first time I had this feeling it was January 7, 2008 at 5:04 pm. On June 26, 2014 at 7:58 am it happened again.  Those were the two most proud moments of my adult life. Now I love my wife, Stephanie. She is my best friend. But those two moments when I saw our two kids for the first time was tough to describe. The pride and love that I felt for them was and still is insurmountable. But then I think about the love of God for all of His Children in 1 John 3:1, "See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him." 

The parable of the prodigal son, found in Luke 15, shows God's unconditional love for His children. A man's younger son asked his father for his financial portion that would be left for him. Then he left home with that money never to return. About the time that his money was gone, a great famine swept over the land, and he began to starve. He knew that even his Fathers servants got to eat. So he decided, "I will go to my father and say, 'Father, I have sinned against both heaven and you, and am no longer worthy of being called your son. Please take me on as a servant." The father saw His Son approaching from a distance. He ran to his son, embraced him and kissed him. It seems as though the Father was waiting for His Sons return. 

Even as the son was making his confession, the father interrupted to instruct the servants to kill the fatted calf and prepare for a celebration. His son was lost and now is found. God demonstrated His love for us before we were Christians, through the sacrifice of the death of Jesus. God continues to love his children who leave Him. He eagerly awaits his return to the Christian family and fellowship. Even when you are disobedient, he continues to love you, waiting for you to respond to His love and forgiveness. Stephanie & I now have two kids, Laney & Tyler. I couldn't imagine ever losing them. But remember God loses some of His children everyday to unfaithfulness. How awesome is it to know that He is waiting to forgive and receive them when they return Home!

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AuthorPaul Spurlin

When I was younger, a wise and older preacher would often say, "It doesn't matter what I think, What does the Bible say?" That's what life comes to. Not what my opinion may or may not be. And just because my friends think one way or the other doesn't mean it's right or wrong. And of course I'm sure you have heard this one..."Well my dad, my granddad, & my great granddad always saw it that way so that's bound to be the truth. Right? 

Well, just because others agree with me, that does not make it right. And just because I have had ancestors who thought a certain way does not make it right. What makes a statement right is if it agrees or harmonizes with the Bible. In the first of this two part series we covered nine different topics that were more basic and fundamental. This series digs a little deeper in Scripture. 

Remember what the true answer is in this matter. If we in the Church worships or conducts ourselves in a certain way, it is because the Bible teaches it to be that way. With God it's like playing the game Simon Says. You don't move, jump, or anything until Simon says. We must treat God and following His Word in the same manner. Whatever the Bible says, we must do. So, "What does the Bible say about...

 Does the New Testament really teach that Jesus is “God”?  If so, where in the New Testament is this taught?  

The Father and the Son, Jesus are one. John 10:30, Jesus said that I and the Father are one. They were there together from the beginning in Genesis 1:1, In the Beginning God created the Heavens and the earth. The New Testament qualifies that fact in John 1:1-5 - In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. And in verse 14, And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.

We find some hard facts according to Scripture of Jesus and God being one by looking at John 14:1-11, let not your heart be troubled, you believe in God, believe also in me. In my Fathers house are many mansions if it were not so I would have told you, I go to prepare a place for you. Then as you look down at verse 6 Jesus is answering the question from Thomas, when He said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life, NO ONE COMES TO THE FATHER EXCEPT THROUGH ME! So Jesus is basically telling us that there is no getting to God without going through the door which is Jesus.

And of course how about the two references we find in Revelation that refers to Jesus and God as the beginning and the end of all things. Revelation 1:8, “I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.” And also found in chapter 22:13-16, the passage starts with the, I'm the alpha and the omega, then verse 16 starts with the words "I am Jesus, the bright and morning star." Well if the Bible says it, it must be right because after all it is GODS WORD!

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AuthorPaul Spurlin

        Back when the telegraph was the fastest method of long-distance communication, a young man applied for a job as a Morse Code operator. Answering an ad in the newspaper, he went to the office address that was listed. When he arrived, he entered a large, busy office filled with loud noise, including the sound of the telegraph in the background. A sign on the receptionist  s counter instructed job applicants to fill out a form and wait until they were summoned to enter the inner office. The young man filled out his form and sat down with the seven other applicants in the waiting area. After a few minutes, the young man stood up, crossed the room to the door of the inner office, and walked right in. Naturally the other applicants perked up, wondering what was going on. They muttered among themselves that they hadn  t heard any summons yet. They assumed that the young man who went into the office made a mistake and would be disqualified.

Within a few minutes, however, the employer escorted the young man out of the office and said to the other applicants, Gentlemen, thank you very much for coming, but the job has just been filled. ” The other applicants were a little upset, and one spoke up saying,  Wait a minute, I don  t understand. He was the last to come in, and we never even got a chance to be interviewed. Yet he got the job. That  s not fair! ” The employer said,  I  m sorry, but all the time you  ve been sitting here, the telegraph has been ticking out the following message in Morse Code:  If you understand this message, then come right in. The job is yours. ’ None of you heard it or understood it. This young man did. The job is his. ” Im sure that you have heard that illustration before, but it really tells a neat lesson. 

           You see we live in a world that is full of fast paced, loud, and noisy atmosphere like that office. We need to be tuned in to to doing the work of our Father in Heaven. Do you hear His voice through the pages that He inspired? Are you listening to God as He speaks to us through the Scriptures. "This is my Son, in Whom I am well pleased, Hear Him!" (Matthew 17:5). Are you Listening?

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AuthorPaul Spurlin

Need More than One Day

While it is wonderful that we set aside one day to especially honor mothers, let us reflect for a moment on all of the things mothers do for us.  First of all, they bring us into the world that is certainly not easy.  Then they spend the next two decades preparing meals, solving problems, kissing boo-boos, helping us learn everything from how to brush our teeth to how to navigate the difficulties of the real world.”  They spend the rest of their lives fretting and worrying about us.  They care for us in a way that is beyond words.  They sacrifice for us in ways beyond words.  Their influence is so powerful that it stays with us always.  I propose that one day is not enough.  One day is nice, but it is not enough. So while we take this day to especially honor mothers, let us think of it as a planning day.  How can we honor our mothers, grandmothers, mother-in-laws, and aunts each and every day?  How can we recognize their special contributions to our lives every day?  Let us take a moment to jot down five ways we can truly honor mothers, from our own mothers to the young mothers in your congregation, to the mothers who might be missing their grown up kids, to mothers who may have passed away. Now, let us make a commitment to honor these women every day of the year because one day is not enough!

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Just the other day I was told that there is nothing as strong as the love of a mother. I once heard a story about a third grade class that studied a lesson on a six letter word that starts with the letter "M" that picks up things. The teacher asked one little boy in the back of the room what the answer was? He replied, "Mother." We all know that mothers do much more than that. I just wanted to say thank you to all of our Mothers. 

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AuthorPaul Spurlin

 

"Developing Great Youth Programs"

I'm usually the first person to say, "Don't let programs drive you." Let's face it, programs within any youth ministry help to compartmentalize the activities in which  we participate. There are a lot of great programs out there to help grow and develop our youth groups. But there are some things that we need to keep in mind during the creation process. 

First of all, what works for one group of young people may not work for another. We are dealing with different personalities. However, one thing that is often common among young people is always wanting to get together. It does not matter what age they are, they just like being together. 

Secondly, when developing a program ask this question, "Are we providing our teenagers something that they can't get somewhere else?" We need to give them reasons to come back for more. For example, any program needs to remain current and fresh. Spiritual and social areas should be covered in all programs. Try and create accountability and leadership roles among those who you want to attract. Make sure that this is something that you would want to do. If you don't like it or tire easily then your teens will as well. And above all, if something's not working, don't feel bad about making adjustments or just changing it all together. 

There are a plethora of programs that a youth group can conduct to help grow spiritually and socially. Obviously some can work better for summer and others for the school months. The following are some examples of what I have seen that works really well.  

The first kind of program a youth minister would want to start is an extra Bible study or Q & A activity. Please understand that nothing should take the place of regular Bible class. That is a special time where the teens should know that we mean business. But during the week, pick a day for some extra Bible study. Maybe do a weekly or monthly or even bimonthly Q & A. The important thing is to be consistent. 

Another type of program that is beneficial would be "Fun"  activities or " Unique opportunities." For example, a few years ago we set it up to where we had a huge lock-in at a local double A Baseball stadium. We watched the regularly scheduled game. Then afterward, we had a devotional in the outfield.  After that we watched the movie "Space Jam" with Michael Jordan. It's pretty easy to be able to conduct activities and programs at certain locations throughout your community, as long as your known and involved in thar particular area.

A third kind of program that young people really seem to gravitate to is the "Youth Conference." Fifteen to twenty years ago the Saturday youth rally was a big hit .  In  some places they are still very successful and needed. But these days our young people want more. Our young people today want to be challenged but at the same time they want to meet other Christians. However, these programs can't be put together and conducted by just one person. You have to put together a group of people who all have the same goals to help put together the most successful program possible.

When putting together programs it is important to follow a good pattern for success. The church at Thessalonica seemed to really have it all together according to first Thessalonians chapter five.  They were a prepared people who were ready for the Lords coming. They were a unified group of people. They comforted and encouraged one another. They were a peaceful people, living in harmony among even with persecution around every corner. They were a just and fair church. If any of them made mistakes or bad choices they would be confronted. They wanted to fix the problems right away. They respected the elders of that church. They honored them and spoke highly of those who had to make the tough choices. They always seemed to strive for what was a good result. They were always setting their sights to please God in all things. 

Over the past 15 years I have had the opportunity to start retreats , camps, and youth rallies that are still alive and growing today that have really made a big impact in the lives of young people, and maybe some adults as well. Two of those are the Southern Evangelism Conference (SEConline.info) and Exposure Youth Camp   (exposureyouthcamp.net). 

They both are ran by a seven man Board of Directors and are led by an overseeing Eldership. They also require us using a good number of preachers and youth ministers to teach our classes. This also helps in having a good core group of teenagers that we know will attend each year. 

They are similar, but they are also very different. Where SEC is held on the campus at Faulkner University, in Montgomery, Alabama on the first weekend of August, EYC is held in the Marriott Marquis in Atlanta, Georgia every December 27-30. SEC gives its attendees the college experience to stay on campus, EYC allows its attendees the opportunity to mix and meet kids from all over the southeast. EYC is a theme specific activity, where SEC is developed to help your teens to be better prepared for a life of evangelism. 

The bottom line is, that there is something out there for everyone. And if you plan to start a big program, make sure to surround yourself with great people who love God and His Church. And if you just simply want to start a program for your own youth group make sure that it's relevant, consistent, and spiritually uplifting. May God richly Bless you and your ministry. 

 

Paul Spurlin

Youth Minister, University Church of Christ in Montgomery, Alabama

www.IamPaul.info

www.AdventuresInMinistry.com

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AuthorPaul Spurlin

212 Degree Lifestyle

What ever compells us to do more than what is expected of us? For that matter, what compells us just to do the right thing no matter what? In the business world we are compelled by all the perks that may be offered for a job well done.  In school we make good grades so that we will have better opportunities later in life. But what about in our spiritual life? What compells us to attend every service, give as we have prospered, study the Bible, and serve God more than ever before? We need to establish a "212 Degree Lifestyle." At 211 degrees, water is hot. But at 212 degrees the water meets the boiling point. And with boiling water comes steam. And steam can power a locomotive, aircraft carrier, power plants and much more. It’s that one extra degree, just one, that makes all the difference. And, so many times, it’s that one extra degree of effort in business, school, and yes even in our spiritual life, that separates the good from the great. The Lord does not have time for those who are indifferent. Just look at how He reacted towards the angel of the church at Laodicea. "So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth" (Revelation 3:16). Now please don't misunderstand me. I am not saying that good is not good enough. But remember, "And if anyone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles" (Matthew 5:41).

What I am saying is that GOD compells us to do more than we are doing today! What ever we are doing, we...can...do...more! God sent His Son to this earth to die for the sins of all man kind. That is what God has done for you and for me. And all He is asking in return is for us to follow His Son Jesus to a life of obedience and righteousness. In Matthews account of the crusifixion we are told that, "As they went out, they found a man of Cyrene, Simon by name. They compelled this man to carry his cross" (Matthew 27:32). What compells you today? The beauty of 212 degrees is not only its simplicity, but also its many applications. You can apply the concept to 212 service, 212 attitude, 212 leadership, 212 kindness, 212 commitment, 212 focus, 212 perseverance...the list goes on. Once you’ve heard this simple, easy way to live your life, it’ll be hard to forget! But the one part of life we must never forget about is the spiritual. Henry Ford once said, "If you think you can do something, then you can. But if you think you can't, then you won't." You see Jesus asks us to follow him every day. "And he said to all, "If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me" (Luke 9:23). I would hate to know that in that last day at judgement I was one degree away from faithfulness. This lifestyle compells us to always do more.

Paul Spurlin

Source: iampaul.info
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AuthorPaul Spurlin

 

The following are six digital boundaries to protect our children online

1. Keep computers, tablets and game consoles in an open space.
2. Set appropriate limits for daily screen time.
3. Children must not sign up for anything unless they get permission.
4. Charge mobile devices in an open location overnight.
5. When family time is on, all media is off.
6. Randomly check your child’s texts and emails. 

(Found this info, thought it would be helpful) 

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AuthorPaul Spurlin

 

How Do You Know My Name?

I've always loved the little story about the boy who's trying to

learn the Lord's Prayer, and one night as he knelt by his bed, these

words came out:

Our Father, who are in heaven 

How do you know my name?

Such individualized affection will always remain a mystery to us mortals, and at the same time, let us never forget we're made in the image of that extraordinary love. And doing what Jesus did in loving each one he ever met as if there were none other in all the world is at least an ideal toward which we can reach even if it always remains utterly beyond our complete grasp. God knows our name, but the real question is, do you share HIS name with others?

 

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AuthorPaul Spurlin

Saint Patricks Day Identity Crisis

March 17, 2014

Who is Saint Patrick?

Every March 17th we gear up for a day of wearing green for fear of getting pinched if we don't. So why do we wear green? Who is this Saint Patrick that gets his own day anyway? Well I hate to bust your bubble but Patrick was not recognized by the Roman Catholic Church as a saint, and he wasn't even Irish! Patrick was British. A hundred years from now what will people be saying about you? Will they get it right? Or do you think history will distort the truth of your life and the things that you had set out to accomplish. 

Lets face it as time fades away, sometimes history fades the truth of what really happened way back in the year 2014! Philippians 3:13,14 tells us to forget about what's behind us, Press on towards the Goal of being with Christ one day!  remember that we live faithfully here today so that we can live eternally in Heaven when this life is over. But we need to be true to ourselves. Not to get bogged down by things of this world, because this is such a temporary existence. 

What do you want to be remembered for? What qualities of your life do you want people to recall after we're gone from this world? Do you want them to remember you as you are today? Or do you think that they will have to start making up things to keep us relivent? Make your mark and be the best Mom or Dad, son or daughter, or the best friend to others that you can be. What ever your doing good, do more. Now you and I probably wouldn't agree with Patricks Theology. But recognize that Saint Patrick went back to school for 15 years before going back into the the mission field in Ireland. We have to put in the effort in order to conquer the day and make our Mark or our Master. #All4Him

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AuthorPaul Spurlin