According to a recent study by AXIS, Teen dating is trending down. In past generations, 85% of seniors would go on dates or be in a committed relationship. As of 2015, this number dropped to 56%, and in 2020 the number dropped down to 35%. Some may be surprised by this number, but some people I talked about this with weren't surprised. A friend brought up how many teens may skip over dating for sexual relationships rather than the complicated reality dating can bring. Seniors have a lot to deal with, from having to plan for their futures, to family dynamics, and complicated social lives. Whether they are dating or not may reflect how they are doing socially or the culture they are in. Check on your teens this week to see how they really feel about dating, the answer may be surprising.
David Leonard has released a new single called Every Hour. Leonard formerly sang for the worship group All Sons and Daughters until their break up in 2018. His new single is more of a contemporary Christian song as opposed to a worship song. It will most definitely be playing on Christian radio stations in the near future if it isn't already. The song's lyrics remind us that God is with us every hour, as cliche as it sounds. He's not a God that changes His mind based on our good or bad deeds - He's always with us.
Body Part Balloon Pop (not the most creative name, I know) is a fun game that gets students running around and working together. You can play indoors or out with any size group, although medium-sized (20-50 people) works best. There is not a ton of prep, but you will need a LOT of balloons depending on how many rounds you play. Students will need to split off into pairs for this game with one of them holding a balloon. The pairs will separate into two groups that will stand in circles. One circle will need to be moving clockwise with the other circle around them walking counter-clockwise. A leader will then shout out two body parts, like "shoulder and head" or "back to foot". Students will then have to run to find their partner and pop the balloon between the two body parts called out. The last pair to pop their balloon or if a pair can't pop their balloon are out. You go on to the next round by getting students back into their circles with a new balloon.
So, I finally got around to watching Encanto this week and I absolutely loved it. I've written so many illustrations for this blog that throughout the movie, I kept finding ones that I could tie back to God. A key one that I picked up on was based on the idea that the characters are not their gifts; they are people that have gifts. They didn't have to live up to their reputations of always being perfect, being super strong, or being evil; they just had to learn that their gifts aren't their identity. As Christians, we are sons and daughters of God. We may have gifts like speaking, caregiving, or leadership, but those things shouldn't be our identity. On the flip side, things like our past mistakes, depression, or physical disabilities don't define us either. Our identity comes from God, and He made us just the way that He wanted.
Ephesians 1:5 - He predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will.
This past week, I learned about a cool feature that NASA has. Everyday, they post a picture from space and explain what it is. There are some amazing pictures! As I went through some of them, I was encouraged by just how great our God is. The same God that has placed the stars in the sky and created these galaxies it has taken us thousands of years to be able to see, is the same God who created us. As you go about the next couple of weeks, be encouraged by this scripture from Isaiah, where we are told just how big our God is. He has an entire universe to run and not a single piece of it is out of place, you aren't out of place in His plan either.
Isaiah 40:26 "Lift up your eyes and look to the heavens: Who created all these? he who brings out the starry host one by one and calls forth each of them by name. Because of his great power and mighty strength, not one of them is missing."