Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Time and Talents

December is here and culture has turned its attention to the Christmas Season. It's kind of ironic how that is symbolized by a day we call "Black Friday", a day when people get up early in the morning to get great deals on Holiday gifts. I read a story on Sunday night to the kids about an employee at a Wal-mart in New York was trampled to death by shoppers seeking to get a head start on those "great deals". Somehow I doubt that the people who did the trampling were so eager because they were just so excited about "giving" that perfect gift.

So when did Christmas become about spending instead of giving?

Some of the greatest gifts i have ever been given or that i have given are simply the sharing of time and talents.

At Christmas we were given the greatest gift of all, Jesus, who not only gave his life as a gift for us, but also gave us an example of how to live our lives and give to others. If you look at His life, he never showered anyone with extravagant presents, but he did give his presence. He talked to people, spent time with them, ate meals with them, met them where they were at etc....

On Sunday night we talked about giving our times and talents as a gift to others. kids were challenged to spend less this Christmas and give more of their time and talents. God has put each and every one of us in different situations and given us different talents and abilities. He has done this so we can use these gifts to give to the people around us just as Jesus did.

Over the next few weeks we are going to schedule some events where our kids will have the time to share their time and abilities with people in our community. I also hope that this would inspire them to be more aware of the opportunities God puts in front of them in their individual lives. Please encourage your kids to be a part of this and pray that God would continue to create a truly giving spirit within them.


Tuesday, November 25, 2008

The End of the Spear

Sunday night at Ikon we watched the Movie "The End of the Spear". This movie is a true story about 5 missionaries who gave their lives to reach the Waodani tribe in Ecuador in the 1950's. these men were willing to give the ultimate sacrifice because they believed spreading the Gospel of Jesus was worth the risk. what they gave ended up having a huge impact on the Waodani people and changed their way of life.

Right now in Ikon we are in the middle of a series on giving. Stories like this show how a a true faith in God can lead us to a desire to give to others no matter what the risk. I pray that God continues to open the hearts of our teenagers and that they would be willing to give whatever God asks of them to help others and bring people to Christ.

Have a great Thanksgiving!


Thursday, November 20, 2008

NEXT Parent Connection for November 19

Hey Parents,
Last night was our last Wednesday night meeting until after the holidays. It has been a great fall semester. We have the lock-in coming up this Friday and the Christmas dance on Dec 12. More info on the dance will be up on the website soon. It will be for all 6-8 graders from the church and/or school. If you have any questions please let me know. Here is the final parent connection for 2008:

Grapple Question:
Why Can’t We Just Get Along

Kids Learn:
They Need to Forgive Others

Dig Into the Bible:
Matthew 6:9-13; 18:21-35

When junior highers are hurt or wronged by someone, they find it hard to not hold grudges, seek revenge, or foster resentment. When resentment and anger stew, they eat at the hearts of our kids, who become cold and hostile. Forgiveness is a healing process not only for relationships between people, but also for the person who’s been fostering resentment. This week discuss a time when you had a hard time forgiving someone. Then talk about how forgiving that person was more for you than for that person. Share with your junior highers how your resentment and anger hurt you more than they hurt the person you were angry with and that Jesus wants all of us to be free from the pain caused by the anger we have against others.

Have a great Thanksgiving!


Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Ikon November 16

On Sunday we began a series on Giving. we talked about giving as a response to what God has given us through the sacrifice of his son Jesus. The next few weeks we will be talking about how to give of your time, treasures, and talents. Small groups will also be planning service projects to do as a group. please pray that God will move their hearts and inspire our Youth to serve.


Thursday, November 13, 2008

Next Parent Connection for November 12

Grapple Question:
Why Do I Get the Blame?

Kids Learn:
They Are Responsible for Themselves

Dig Into the Bible:
Exodus 32:1-6, 19-26; Micah 7:9

It’s very easy for junior highers to point fingers at other people and blame them for how certain things turn out in their lives. "It’s not my fault; my parents raised me this way. I got a bad grade because my teacher didn’t teach that part correctly." It’s even easier when kids hear their parents blaming other people instead of taking some responsibility for their actions. This week try to be especially aware of what you’re saying around your kids and who you’re blaming.

Also, the Middle School Youth lock-in is coming up on November 21-22, 8:00PM-8:00AM. Kids can sign up at the Youth Center or at TLS up until Wednesday, November 19. The cost is $5 per person (bring cash the night of the lock-in. those who paid for the corn maze, which got rained out, last month won’t need to pay) I could use some parent help during the night to ensure that it is as fun and safe as possible for your kids. Please let me know if you would be willing to come in during the night for a couple of hours to help out.

Have a great weekend!


Friday, November 7, 2008

NEXT Parent Connection for November 5

Grapple Question:
Why Should I Butt In?

Kids Learn:
They Are Responsible for Others

Dig Into the Bible:
Genesis 3:1-13

We’ve been taught to keep our opinions to ourselves, to mind our own business. Friends may get angry when you stick your nose where it doesn’t belong. This week remind your kids how important it is to care about the choices our friends make. Share with them a story of a time you didn’t step in for a friend and what happened in that situation. Assure your kids that our friends’ lives are worth risking making them angry.

Have a great weekend!


Monday, November 3, 2008

Ikon November 2

Last night we finished up our "Devotion Promotion" series. We had a low turnout last night due to the congregational meeting at the North Campus, but the kids who were there seemed to really be in to what we were doing. It was really cool this last month to see the youth get more comfortable reading and talking about scripture. I hope this series is a springboard for them to help them in their own devotional lives.

Ikon will be off next Sunday. Please pray for us as we travel to Indy for the District Youth Gathering.

God's Blessings!


Thursday, October 30, 2008

NEXT Parent connection

Here is last night's topic and suggestions for this week:

Grapple Question:
Can’t You Just Leave Me Alone?

Kids Learn:
They Can’t Do It Alone

Dig Into the Bible:
Matthew 26:36-46

Junior highers want to be accepted, but sometimes they just want to be left alone. When kids need help, they typically won’t ask for it. Everyone, including Jesus, needs someone around for support, encouragement, or to just be present. Even Jesus needed support and encouragement as he went through his final days on earth. This week is a tough one. If you try anything, your kids might just push you away. However, if you don’t, they may feel abandoned. Schedule one hour this week to spend some one-on-one time with your junior higher. Be sure to make it clear that you are there if he or she needs anything.

Have a great weekend!


Monday, October 27, 2008

Ikon October 26

Hey Parents,
Last night we continued our "Devotion Promotion" series. as you can probably guess the topic has been devotion. rather than just talking about it at Ikon we have actually been spending most of our time in small groups doing a devotional exercise called Lectio Divina. here is an explanation:

This ancient method helps us move from simply reading the Bible to absorbing it and letting it affect us. As one author said, “This is a book that reads us even as we read it.”

In order to do that, we will take these simple steps.

Open and Clear
Together keep a brief silence. Make sure your body is in a relaxed position. Light a candle. Use a picture, crucifix, or icon to focus your attention. Imagine your heart opening like a flower to the warmth of the sun. Above all, clear your mind of the distractions inside and around you. Get ready to listen.

Read and Observe
The passage is read and the group observes a brief period of silence for reflection.
All participants are then invited to mark in their Bibles and then share briefly a word or phrase from the reading which caught their attention or which speaks to them in some way at this time in their lives.

Read and Think
The passage is then read a second time, slowly and deliberately. Again, a brief period of silent reflection follows. All participants are invited to tell about how the word or phrase they spoke of has had an impact on them, how it relates to their lives, or a question it raises. This is the time for discussion and sharing.

Three rules govern this time of sharing:
1) Sharing of insights by all participants is encouraged.
2) Debating points of interpretation is discouraged.
3) Respecting the offerings of each individual is important.

Read and Pray
The passage is read a third time, and a brief silence is again kept for reflection.
All participants are invited to speak a prayer which grows out of their reflection of the words or phrases they chose. The prayers should be simple and heart-felt.

Go and Live.
Having experienced an encounter with God’s Word, we now leave enriched, energized and prepared to live in a new way. Carry the words and experience with you.

We have given a daily reading assignment from the book of Ephesians and each week each group selects one of the previous weeks readings for their Lectio. The kids have really done well with this. a lot of great reflection and discussion has come from it.

Make sure to pray for your kids as they continue to try to grow in their relationship with Christ through their personal devotion.

Have a great week!



Thursday, October 23, 2008

Next Wednesday October 22 Parent Connection

Grapple Question:
Is God a Wimp?

Kids Learn:
They Get a Do Over With Jesus

Dig Into the Bible:
Genesis 2:8-17; 3:1-6; Romans 5:18

"Sin and evil are rampant in the world, and it doesn’t appear that God is doing anything about it. In fact, if God is so great, why didn’t he just create humans without the capacity to sin?" Junior highers need to know that God loves us and wants us to love him in return. True love requires true freedom to choose. If God controlled our hearts, we could never freely offer them to him. This week, help kids tackle these questions. Explain to your kids how your desire for their love is similar to God’s desire for our love and how that can’t be forced or controlled.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Next Parent Connection

Grapple Question:
Can I Do Anything I Want?

Kids Learn:
They Want to Honor Jesus

Dig Into the Bible:
John 8:1-11; Romans 6:15-18

"If being good doesn’t get you into heaven, they why be good?" This question may be the next logical step your kids take. Most junior highers have figured out the American way. "If you want to succeed, you must put forth a solid effort; nothing is free. Doing good works takes effort, and if you’ve already received the fruits of your labor, then there’s no need for further labor." For those who follow Jesus, faith is evident in good works. This week try extra hard to be an example to your kids. Remind them that doing good works won’t get them into heaven; however, when they do good things for others, people will see that the Holy Spirit lives inside their hearts.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Corn Maze

So the weather was looking pretty iffy on the way up to the corn maze yesterday, but by the time we got there the rain had stopped and it never returned. We pretty much had the place to ourselves. i guess the threat of bad weather kept others away. everyone had a great time hanging out by the fire and exploring the maze.

Next week week at 24t7 we will be starting a new series on devotion. Beth Minier will be leading the night as Pastor Mielke and i will be in Sacramento for the National Youth Workers convention. We will be gone from Thursday to Monday. Please keep Beth in your prayers as she prepares for this Sunday. Also pray that Pastor Mielke and i will be inspired and encouraged at this convention and for safe travels.

Have a great week!


Thursday, October 2, 2008

Next Wednesday October 1

Hey Next parents,
Here is your weekly grapple connection:

Grapple Question:
What if I Really Mess Up?

Kids Learn:
Jesus Died for Them

Dig Into the Bible:
2 Samuel 12:7-14; John 21:15-19

Everyone sins. It’s a fact of life. Sometimes, though, junior highers think they’ve really done it—so much so that they come to the conclusion that even God couldn’t forgive them for this doozy. This week guide your kids into understanding that God will forgive them for anything they do. Share a time in your life when you really messed up, and talk about how you are assured that God has forgiven you. Help kids realize that Jesus died for the sins of everyone, no matter how severe they might think the sins are.

Have a great weekend!


Thursday, September 25, 2008

Weekly Grapple Connection

Hey Middle School parents,
Here is some info about what we talked about last night at Next. hope you find it useful.

September 24, 2008

Grapple Question:
Isn't God Just Mean and Cruel?

Kids Learn:
God Knows What’s Best for Them

Dig Into the Bible:

Life isn't always fair, and when things go bad for junior highers, the pain they experience is amplified. It’s during these trying times that your kids need you more than anything. Whether they accept you or push you away, ultimately your kids will appreciate the fact that you love and care for them. This week let your kids know that you are always there for them, and leave it at that. Telling them that God knows what’s best for them probably won’t help much; just love them and walk alongside them as they discover God’s plan for their lives. Be a sounding board whenever possible. Listen, listen, and listen, before you offer ideas or solutions.

Last week's Ikon

Hey parents,
Pastor Mielke and I were gone last weekend whitewater rafting so Trevor headed up Ikon in our absence. Here is a short summary of last week:

the night focused on how our breath is God given and how we should always be aware of God's presence in our life in all we do - even when we are breathing. this was reinforced in the Nooma video we watched, "Breath".

this week our topic will be "undignified" we will look at Ephesians 5:18-20 and talk about what it means to be filled with the spirit.

Have a great weekend.


Monday, September 15, 2008

Worship Week 2

Hey Ikon Parents,
last night our topic was "pieces" . We looked at Matthew 21:42, 44

42 Jesus said to them, “Have you never read in the Scriptures:
“‘The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; this was the Lord's doing,and it is marvelous in our eyes’?
44 . . . the one who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces; and when it falls on anyone, it will crush him.”

We talked about what it means to be broken before God. To truly be able to worship God we need to be broken before him. As it says in Psalm 51:7:

The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit;a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.

We discussed the following questions in small group:

Who is the “stone?” What will the stone do?

Is there a difference between be “broken to pieces” and being “crushed?” Why or why not?

What are some ways we become broken – spiritually, emotionally, physically?

Why is it so hard to let yourself be broken? List ways people resist it.

We ended the night by reflecting on ways each one of us need to be broken and/or put back together by God.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Face Plant

Last night at ikon we began a 4 work series about worship. the first topic was Face Plant. We talked about the difference between humility and humiliation. We read Psalm 46:10a "Be still and Know I am God and talked about why it is so difficult to calm down and be in God's presence. The following questions were discussed in small group:

Is it hard to be still before God? Why or why not?

What distracts you? What helps you concentrate?

How do you react to the words: “Know that I am God.”

After we came back together as a large group kids were encouraged to lay face down on the floor and just spend some time before God. it was cool to see everyone take it seriously. we hope that last night was a good beginning to becoming better worshipers of God.

Have a great week!


Thursday, September 4, 2008


Hey Middle School parents. Next is underway on Wednesday nights and we have been having a great time. Last night our topic was trusting God. We talked about how to trust God with our lives even when it's not easy to do. kids were challenged to start a prayer journal at home to keep track of their prayer requests and how God answers those prayers.

This year we are using the "Grapple" curriculum. there is an online part of this where kids can communicate with each other and the leaders, vote on in class games, play games and more. I sent home a parental consent form for usage of this sight. please fill it out and get it back to me if you want your child to be able to participate in this.

Have a great weekend!


Monday, August 25, 2008

Ikon Luau

A great time was had by all at the Ikon Luau last night. it was warm enough earlier in the evening for swimming, and cool enough for a fire latter on. Kids had fun playing volleyball, ladderball, and beanbags too.
There will be no ikon Labor Day weekend. I hope you have a great Holiday with your friends and family. Ikon as well as the parents study will resume September 7. Have a great couple weeks!


Monday, August 18, 2008

Ikon Kick Off

It was awesome to see so many of you come out last night for the Ikon Kick-off. I am excited about this year and am so grateful to be able to serve you and your kids. make sure to check this blog weekly for updates and info on Ikon topics. Next week is the Ikon Luau at my house. I hope your kids can make it out. let me know if you need directions.


A message from Pastor Mielke:
What a great night last night to start off the year of IKON. I so appreciated your support, interest, and input. Those of you who could not make it - there is going to be a parent's class offered during IKON this year. It begins September 7th and is led by Sue Emmack. Contact Peter, Sue or myself to find out more. I look forward to a great year of partnering with you as parents and helping our teens boldly live their faith.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Ikon Finale

last night marked the end of another year of youth ministry programs at Trinity. It was great to look back on this past year, play a lot of music and say goodbye to our seniors. It has truly been a great year at Trinity. it has been a pretty eventful year as well with the opening of the new YMC. we are truly blessed at Trinity. I am thankful for all the amazing things God is doing through our young people. i am so thankful for all the leaders we have that have given so much of themselves for our kids and these programs. i am also thankful for all the support and encouragement from you as parents. thanks for helping to make this such a great year and please continue to keep us in your prayers as we prepare for the fall.

In Christ,

Monday, May 12, 2008

Ikon's Big Give

last night at 24t7 small groups each completed a special Mother's day service project they had been planning for the last 3 weeks. we had groups who delivered flowers, cleaned up the park, visited single mothers, and visited the maternity ward and cancer patients at the hospital. it was so cool to see all these kids so excited about helping others. i am really proud of the way they embodied Jesus to the people in our community. these projects came from their own ideas and planning, not just what the leaders told them to do. they really reflected our theme verse of 1 Tim 4:12

Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity.

God continues to do great things through our kids. keep up your great work as parents.


Monday, April 28, 2008

love and faith

Last night at 24t7 we continued our series on 1 Timothy 4:12 with a discussion on Faith and Love. We watched a Nooma video called "Bullhorn" The theme of this video is "How we Love others is how we love God". Rob Bell uses an example of a guy with a bullhorn trying to scare people in to loving God. he talks about how this and other things has led to a negative perception of Christians by the public. He suggests that we should love people by striving to live a life that reflects who Christ is and the example he set for us. Christians are also challenged to do something to change the negative perception. it can be really easy to point the fingers at people like the bullhorn guy, but in reality that makes us no better than him. We need to strive to love everyone as Christ did so that people see our faith and love through the way we live our lives.

We focused on this idea of loving God by loving others in our small groups. Each small group also continued to plan for Ikon's Big Give on May 11. They came up with some really cool ways to embody Jesus to others in our community. I am so proud of the young people that are part of Ikon. i can really see God working in their lives.

Your partner in His service,

Monday, April 21, 2008

Welcome 8th graders to Ikon

Hey parents,

We welcomed 8th graders to Ikon for the first time last night. it was great to have so many new faces join us. we brought back our "wake up" video series as part of the 8th grade initiation. Clay W and Robert F were our first victims. Check out the video on the website.

We began a series called 4:12. it is based on 1 Timothy 4:12 which says "Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity." for the next three weeks we will be talking about what it means for a teenager to set an example in speech, conduct, faith, love, and purity.

Last night's topic was speech and conduct.

The teens were challenged to represent Christ in their daily lives through their "walking and talking" Small groups also began planning for "Ikon's big give" On May 11, small groups will put their faith in to action, doing different projects doing 24t7. at the end groups will be judged on who did the best job of giving and the winning team will win a prize.

The point of this series is to take what we experience at 24t7 every Sunday night and share it with those around us. That is really what being an Ikon of Christ is all about.

Have a great week,

Monday, April 14, 2008

Comatose Tour

What an awesome concert last night at the Elco. A group of 21 Youth and adults went to see Skillet, Thousand Foot Krutch, and Decipher Down on the Comatose Tour. These three bands really put on a great and loud show. i hope we can do more concerts in the future. I'd like to see our kids exposed to this type of music more. Its awesome to be able to rock out with out having negative messages put in to your head.
On another note, I really underestimated how long the concert would go. i thought we would be back around 9 but we ended up not getting back until 20 after 10. i apologize to any one who was worried or upset.

Have a great week!


Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Stunt Junkies the finale

We concluded our Stunt Junkies series last Sunday with looking at the parable of the prodigal son. We had some great worship to begin the night followed by, in my humble opinion, one of the best videos that has ever been shown at 24t7 :)

Our talk this week was given by Scott McMeekan. Scott shared the story of his life. He talked about some of the struggles he had in his life, how he had strayed from God, and ultimately how God worked in his life and restored his faith. It was really a great testimony to how God can work in our lives.

The stunt of the prodigal son story and Scott's story is "Coming Back Home". Sometimes we feel that we have strayed so far from God that he could never take us back. It takes a lot of risk to admit we are wrong and come back to God. these stories are just an awesome reminder of God's grace and forgiveness. No matter what we have done in life or how far we have strayed from home God will always be there to welcome us back and the reward for coming home to him is well worth the risk involved to get there.

Have a great week.


Monday, March 17, 2008

Ikon 24t7 March 16

This really is the most holy week for us as believers. Of course Easter is next Sunday, but without focusing on the events of the days leading up to it, we are not really seeing the whole picture. If we don't observe Holy Thursday and Good Friday, how can we see the true Joy of what Easter Sunday brings? To me, without Thursday and Friday, Easter just seems like a happier, spring time version of Halloween. But Easter is more than just dressing up and eating candy. It's about the suffering and death of Jesus Christ for our sins and the unspeakable joy and hope that his Resurrection brings.
So, Last night we had a special devotional night at 24t7 to begin Holy Week. We focused on Matthew 27, taking a look at the events that led directly up to the death and Burial of Jesus. The small group leaders each read a section of the chapter and then presented a devotional thought on it. the band played in between readings/reflections. We spent a little time in small groups talking about what Holy Week means to us and then returned to the large group where we ended the night by watching a clip from The Passion and singing "Sea of Faces" . It was definitely a change of pace from our usual night, but i think appropriate for the occasion.

I hope that this week you and your family take time to observe and celebrate the suffering and pain Jesus went through for us and are able to appreciate the true Joy that Easter brings.

Peter L-B

Monday, March 10, 2008

stunt junkies week 4

Last night was another good one at ikon. Our band was finally back together again after i had been a vacation a couple weeks ago and Trevor was gone to Rome last week. We had some great singing and worship even though Trevor was loosing his voice.

Our topic for last night was "living with pain. I gave a message and then we broke up in to our small groups to discuss the topic. Here's a summary a what was talked about:

Ever since Adam and Eve ate from that tree human beings have been living in pain. This pain comes from the sin that we are now all born with which comes along with a separation from God and a longing in our souls to return to him. Sounds pretty heavy right?

Well that was our topic for last night. We live in world that tells us we need to be happy all the time and if we are not, there must be something wrong with us. So we try to make ourselves happy with things, relationships, addictions, prescription drugs etc.. these things may do the trick for a while but after a while they leave us empty again and looking for more. The reality is we can't be happy all the time and it's OK. We have suffering in our lives, but it is how we deal with that suffering that makes us who we are. Romans 5:1-5 says:

Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.

The stunt here is trusting God to help us deal with the pain and suffering in our lives knowing that our future holds the promise of something much better. Jesus is right there with us every step of the way and he has experienced all the pain and suffering that we have. Through this we are able to find true joy for our lives not just the temporary happiness that the world tells us we need.

This topic brought out some great group conversations and i think everyone left last night with a sense of the joy and hope Christ has to offer us.

I hope your week is filled with joy and hope as well.

Monday, March 3, 2008

stunt junkies week 3

well, I'm back from vacation. It was great to be able to spend some time relaxing with my wife before the arrival of our second child. Being in warm weather was defiantly a plus too :)
So i got right back in to things with Ikon last night. This week Trevor was gone so we had some members of the NC worship team come and help take his place. we also had our own little version of American Idol with some of our leaders singing and playing instruments. Trevor would not have been impressed :)

Anyway, on to the theme of the evening. We talked about forgiving others. We started out by viewing a Nooma video called "Luggage" In this video Rob Bell discusses forgiveness and the danger of holding on to things and not forgiving. In small groups we discussed what can happen to people if we don't forgive them, and what can happen to us if we don't forgive others. this really sparked some great conversation about the dangers of bitterness, revenge, rage, anger, and enabling people to continue their destructive behavior.
We closed the night by looking at how Jesus was able to forgive those who were torturing and killing him while he was hanging on the cross(Luke 23:32-36). We left everyone with the question "who do you need to forgive?"

Forgiveness in it's truest form is probably one of the hardest things for a person to do. it goes against everything our human nature tells us. If someone wrongs us we want them to pay for what they have done. Jesus teaches us that we need to forgive others even if they don't deserve it. after all that is what he did for us. what we wanted everyone to see last night is that while forgiveness comes with a lot of risk and pain, the reward of it for the forgiver and the forgivee is totally worth it. Have a great week.

Peter L-B

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Stunt Junkies - Part 2

It was hard - with Peter basking in the sun in Dominican Republic - but we carried on without him. I attempted to fill his shoes and play his guitar. While all were initially impressed with my rendition of "Smoke on the Water," we then went into the first song. Trevor kicked me off the stage after the first few measures. He is such a musical snob and doesn't know rockin' creativity when he hears it.
Anyway, into more serious matters, our 2nd night of "Stunt Junkies" dealt with the topic, Forgiving Yourself. Most of us know in our heads that Jesus forgives us, but letting that settle into our hearts is another matter. We compared the stories of Peter's denial and Judas' betrayal of Jesus and pondered how they dealt with their grave sins. Judas, we know, kills himself. Peter, weeps bitterly. We are never told in the Bible how Peter resolved this, only that Jesus forgave and restored him (John 21). Which is how we forgive ourselves - not looking to ourselves to be convinced, but listening to Jesus and taking the risk - doing the stunt - of believing what he says about us is true.
The night also touched on the very sensitive topic of suicide. We encouraged any who needed to talk to do so or even if they have a friend who would show suicidal thoughts or tendancies that they need to talk to trusted adult for help in the situation.
Finally, Ty - one of our leaders - gave an awesome personal testimony to the forgiveness of Jesus in his life, and how he came to accept it. I am so grateful for Ty and all the leaders who do such a great job of ministering to our kids.
Forever your partner in loving our teens,
Pr. Mielke

Tuesday, February 19, 2008


This past Sunday night was a great night for Ikon. We had our biggest turn out of the year. I was glad to see so many people bring friends to experience 24t7 before the lock-in. We started a new series called stunt junkies. Over the next few weeks we will be talking about the risks of following Jesus. The inspiration for this series came from the Discovery Channel show by the same name. So of course, we have some classic ikon videos to go along with it. (check out this week's on the youth website) This past week we looked at the calling of Paul, Nathaniel, Matthew, and Peter James and John to be disciples. We discussed what they had to leave behind to follow Jesus; we then related these stories to what we must leave behind to follow Jesus today.

The lock-in was a good time too. We had basketball, rock band, Wii, group dances and more. Besides me and Janice only a few stayed awake the whole night though. It was definitely one of the best lock-ins we have had in the last 5 years.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Saving Sex Week 3

last night was a very intense night at 24t7. The night was titled "Wreckage" and we discussed dealilng with and preventing sexual abuse. The statistics on sexual abuse in our country are shocking :

Every two minutes, somewhere in America, someone is sexually assaulted.
Rape is forced sexual intercourse, including vaginal, anal or oral penetration. Penetration may be by a body part or an object.
Sexual assault
Sexual assault is unwanted sexual contact that stops short of rape or attempted rape. This includes sexual touching and fondling. (But, be aware: Some states use this term interchangeably with rape.)
In 2006, there were 272,350 victims of rape, attempted rape or sexual

One in six American women are victims of sexual assault, and one in 33 men.
One out of every six American women have been the victims of anattempted or completed rape in their lifetime. A total of 17.7 million women have been victims of these crimes.

About three percent of American men — a total of 2.78 million men — have experienced an attempted or completed rape in their lifetime
In 1995, 32,130 males age 12 and older were victims of rape, attempted rape or sexual assault.

>Studies indicate that dating violence affects at least 1 in 10 teen couples
>Over 50% of high school boys and 42% of high school girls believe that there are times when it is "acceptable for a male to hold a female down and physically force her to engage in intercourse."

A former member of Ikon who is now in college came in and shared her story of being sexually abused. She talked about how it affected her, how she thought of herself, and her relationships. She also shared how she was able to deal with it with the help of God and the people in her life.
The most amazing part of the story was that now, 5 years, latter she was able to forgive the people that did this to her. She was willing to share her story because she wants to help other people who have been or will be affected by this. She wanted them to know that they are not alone, they are not worthless, and that God has the power to restore our brokenness.

As i said, this story was very powerful and sparked a lot of emotion in many of the kids there.

After this, guys and girls split up in to separate groups to discuss what they had heard. in the end, both gender groups prepared statements to share with the other group. the girls expressed their desire to be respected and protected by guys. The guys wanted the girls to know that they will strive to be Godly men and asked them not to accept any guy who is anything less than their "Knight in Shining Armor". they made a pledge to respect, protect, and stand up for girls and to hold each other accountable. Every guy that was there signed this sheet of promises that were made. we are going to have it enlarged and posted in the YMC. I can't express enough how proud of both the guys and the girls for the statements and promises they made.
The night ended with the singing of "From the inside out" and our normal sending song of "Tell the World"
Though this was a tough and emotional night, we wanted to make sure everyone left last night knowing that no matter what you have been through in life that there is hope in Jesus Christ. It is our prayer that this night brought heeling to some, awareness to others, and hope to everyone.

If you have any questions or concerns please feel free to contact me or any other of the Ikon leaders.

In Christ,
Peter L-B

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Saving Sex

Hey Ikon parents,
I just thought i would update you on what we have been talking about at Ikon this past . If you are curious about what we are trying to accomplish with this series check out Pastor Mielke's message on the parent section of the Youth Web Site. This past Sunday we talked about Porn. we discussed how it affects our sexuality, our relationship with God, and our relationships with other people. Girls and guys also split up in to separate groups to discuss the impact porn has on guys and girls. Here are some of the statistics we discussed:

Size of the Industry
$57.0 billion world-wide - $12.0 billion US

The pornography industry is larger than the revenues of the top technology companies combined: Microsoft, Google, Amazon, eBay, Yahoo!, Apple, Netflix and EarthLink
Porn revenue is larger than all combined revenues of all professional football, baseball, and basketball franchises.
US porn revenue exceeds the combined revenues of ABC, CBS, & NBC (6.2 billion).
Internet Pornography Sales
$4.9 billion

Pornographic websites
4.2 million (12% of total websites)

Pornographic pages
Porn Pages

United States

Pornography Time Statistics
Every second - $3,075.64 is being spent on pornography
Every second - 28,258 Internet users are viewing pornography
Every 39 minutes: a new pornographic video is being created in the United States

Children's Exposure to Pornography

Average age of first Internet exposure to pornography
11 years old

Largest Consumer of Internet Pornography
12-17 age group

15-17 year olds having multiple hardcore exposures

8-16 year olds having viewed porn online
90% (most while doing homework)

Breakdown of male/female visitors to porn sites
72% male - 28% female

* August 7,2006: 50% of all Christian men and 20% of all Christian women are addicted to pornography. 60% of the women who answered the survey admitted to having significant struggles with lust; 40% admitted to being involved in sexual sin in the past year; and 20% of the church-going female participants struggle with looking at pornography on an ongoing basis.

· 38 percent of adults believe it is ‘morally acceptable’ to look at pictures of nudity or explicit sexual behaviorMorality Continues to Decay. Barna Research Group, 3 November, 2003. * 59 percent of adults believe it is ‘morally acceptable’ to have sexual thoughts or fantasiesMorality Continues to Decay. Barna Research Group, 3 November, 2003.* 38 percent of adults believe there is nothing wrong with pornography useMorality Continues to Decay. Barna Research Group, 3 November, 2003. * 42 percent of surveyed adults indicated that their partner’s use of pornography made them feel insecure.Marriage Related Research, Mark A. Yarhouse, Psy.D. Christian Counseling Today, 2004 Vol. 12 No. 1. * 41 percent of surveyed adults admitted they felt less attractive due to their partner’s pornography use.Marriage Related Research, Mark A. Yarhouse, Psy.D. Christian Counseling Today, 2004 Vol. 12 No. 1.

As you can see, pornography is a huge problem in our society and it greatly affects young people. It destroys the gift of sexuality and can really mess up our relationships and how we view members of the opposite sex. We hope that this night encouraged your teens to question what society sees as "OK" and to realize that God has called us all to something much better. As always, let me know if you have any questions.

God's Peace,

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Good to be Back!

Hey Next parents!
Last night marked the beginning of our second semester of Wednesday Nights! It was great to be back after a long and enjoyable Christmas Break. Our series for the next 4 weeks is entitled "Risky Business" This series will take a look at some lesser-known risk takers from the Bible and examine the risks and rewards they faced. Last night we looked at Acts 4 and the risks Peter and John took by sharing Jesus. We discussed the risks involved with being a Christian and sharing your faith but how the reward is very much worth it. In small groups the youth were challenged to find practical ways to share Jesus with others in their life. Please e-mail me with any questions you may have. Have a great Week!