Reality Check for the Most Important Relationship of Your Life!

New Year Prayer Guide

1. Adoration: Praising God for who He is

Read & Reflect:
Once you were dead because of your disobedience and your many sins. You used to live in sin, just like the rest of the world, obeying the devil—the commander of the powers in the unseen world. He is the spirit at work in the hearts of those who refuse to obey God. But God is so rich in mercy, and he loved us so much, that even though we were dead because of our sins, he gave us life when he raised Christ from the dead. (It is only by God’s grace that you have been saved!) God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. (Ephesians 2:1, 2, 4, 5, 8 NLT)

God is our refuge and strength, always ready to help in times of trouble. (Psalms 46:1 NLT)

Pray that God would give you a greater understanding of His Word.
Pray for God to place a desire in your heart to know Him and be known by Him
Pray that you may better realize how much God loves you and what He has done for you.

2. Confession: Releasing to God your sins
Read & Reflect:

If we claim we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and not living in the truth. But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness. If we claim we have not sinned, we are calling God a liar and showing that his word has no place in our hearts. (1 John 1:8-10 NLT)

People who conceal their sins will not prosper, but if they confess and turn from them, they will receive mercy. (Proverbs 28:13 NLT)

Talk to God about the sins you have knowingly committed this weekend.
Talk to God about any sins you find yourself repeating.
Talk to God about any relationships that have been broken because of sin… (Gossip, lies, unforgiveness)

3. Thanksgiving: Thank God for all He has done.
Reflect on these verses:

Since we are receiving a Kingdom that is unshakable, let us be thankful and please God by worshiping him with holy fear and awe. (Hebrews 12:28 NLT)

And now, just as you accepted Christ Jesus as your Lord, you must continue to follow him. Let your roots grow down into him, and let your lives be built on him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness. (Colossians 2:6, 7 NLT)

List 10 blessings in your life, pray and thank God for them.
Pray that Jesus would help you to have a more thankful heart in 2014 than 2013.
Pray and Thank God for His Son and life we have because of His Life, Death & Resurrection.

4. Supplication: Asking, making requests to God

Read & Reflect:
Take delight in the Lord , and he will give you your heart’s desires. (Psalms 37:4 NLT)

Give your burdens to the Lord , and he will take care of you. He will not permit the godly to slip and fall. (Psalms 55:22 NLT)

So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most. (Hebrews 4:16 NLT)

Pray for boldness to have great conversations with God this year, talking to Him like a best friend.
Pray for any requests you may have.
Pray for Jesus give you hope for the new year and a glimpse of how He wants to grow in you and move through you!

Write a Letter To God:
Hide the Letter and find it in July. (We gather the letters and mail them out in July)

Step #1: Write about your current relationship with God. Think about God as a friend, Would you say you are close friends or distant? Write about why you think that.

Step #2: Write about the relationship with God you want to have. Are there areas you need to grow in? Are there areas of your life you have not fully surrendered to Him? Write about how you want the relationship to be at the end of 2014.

Step #3: Write out a few easy action steps that will help you move in the direction of where you want your relationship with God to be. Write out an action plan.

*If you are brave, write out on a separate sheet of paper & share your action plan with a trusted friend and pray for them throughout this year!


What my 3 yr. Old got RIGHT and I got WRONG… A Lesson in Perspective

Wednesdays are Daddy days.
These days are days where I spend the day with my children while my wife is at work.

Today the kids and I started the morning by running to our yard outside our apartment.
We went to Tim Hortons for our Daddy Date #164 🙂
Then we went to the park in the village.
It was a beautiful day. Blue skies, no wind and the greenest spring grass!

As we were leaving Joel grabbed a dandelion off the ground.
It was beat up and nasty. It had been stepped on and was just rotting on the play ground stones.
Despite how beat up this dandelion was it was still unmistakeable with the yellow tint, a dandelion.
I told Joel “Put that down, it’s garbage.”
He obeyed and put it down…

Almost 10 seconds later as we are moving closer to the car, Joel picked a new dandelion.
This time I acknowledged his new dandelion but again I told him to put it down.
I did this because dandelions in my mind have always been weeds…
Weeds are not beautiful, they are weeds…

As we were driving back to our house Joel looked out his window and with MUCH excitement yelled out to me… DAD! DANDELIONS!!!!
He was pumped!!!

As excited as he was I told him the view I have always taken towards dandelions…
“Joel, dandelions are not beautiful they are Weeds…”

As soon as those words came out of my mouth I realized I was so WRONG…
Dandelions are beautiful, yes they might be weeds and they might cause allergies, but the flower is beautiful… Who am I to tell him that a weed can’t be beautiful… God created it to be beautiful!!!

This epiphany floored me in my view of flowers but also as a student pastor about what God is doing in the lives our students.
I believe often(not always), we (adults) look as students and we say that they are not important like weeds, they are annoying like allegories, or the worst perspective, we look at broken hurting students and we say they are garbage… Worthless weeds… Worthless teens…

We do this because because we forgot what it’s like to be a kid, to see GODS BEAUTY in PEOPLE and THE WORLD…

I read this today and I believe it fits well with my unexpected epiphany this morning:

Matthew 9:9-13
9 As Jesus was walking along, he saw a man named Matthew sitting at his tax collector’s booth. “Follow me and be my disciple,” Jesus said to him. So Matthew got up and followed him.

10 Later, Matthew invited Jesus and his disciples to his home as dinner guests, along with many tax collectors and other disreputable sinners. 11 But when the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with such scum?”

12 When Jesus heard this, he said, “Healthy people don’t need a doctor—sick people do.” 13 Then he added, “Now go and learn the meaning of this Scripture: ‘I want you to show mercy, not offer sacrifices.’ For I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners.”

How do you view the dandelions?
They are more than weeds… There is beauty there in that flower
How do you view students?
They are much more than annoying and worthless… There is MUCH beauty and creativity and passion to honor and Follow Jesus…

We will throw IT away…

Grace and I have started telling Joel (3) that if he doesn’t pick up his toys he will lose them…

We have already taken about two boxes of toys away over the past month…

SOOO… We want to know…

Has this been tried? Does it work?                                                                                        Do you give the toys back or actually throw them away or donate them….

What have you tried to teach your kids to listen and obey?                                           Please share your insights!!!

He Made It To Three… Must Be Doing SOMETHING Right….

Saturday, February 16th my beautiful wife and best friend Grace celebrated the life of our now three year old Joel… This glorious day got me thinking… What are three of the most important things I have taught him over his short little life thus far… Whelp, here goes:

#1. My Daddy and Mommy Love Me:

This is a phrase that I have him repeat back to me when he has been punished, when we are playing trucks or just whenever I feel necessary…I do this BECAUSE: I don’t want Joel EVER to think even for ONE MOMENT that he is not loved… For better or worse one day Joel is going to hear that GOD is like a LOVING FATHER…When Joel hears this, I want him to be able to have a visual of what that looks like. I believe it is my job to make this illustration be the best it can be. This doesn’t mean that I allow him to do whatever he wants, no Love is correcting when he needs to be corrected and celebrating when he does what is asked. I can only imagine how his little life will impact the world because he no matter what happens “My Daddy and Mommy Love Me”….

#2. Daddy Date Time:

This is something we do, once a week I am very intentional with this. We go every week to Tim Horton’s (Because that’s where Fathers take their kids when they love them). We eat donuts and we make plans for what we will do next. He looks forward to those times and so do I!!! Here is what I hope to teach him through this activity…. We must be intentional in spending time with those we love the most… When He grows up, Joel will know (Because every week we take a picture) that his father made time every week to show him that he was VERY IMPORTANT.

#3. Apologizing Brings Freedom:

Lately, Joel will do something like, push his sister or blatantly disobey instructions. When he realizes what he has done he will often begin to pout and go into his room and sit on his bed. He doesn’t necessarily cry but he does have a look on his face that says the sky is falling. I have been trying to teach him that rather than running to his room after he has made a mistake, rather than moping around and pouting in his room, he needs to apologize for what he has done. I am trying to coach him that its not the moping and the pouting that will change the feelings of regret and shame, the healing begins with a simple apology. I am trying to coach Joel to realize that the sooner he apologizes the sooner he is free from guilt and shame. If he learns this now, nothing will ever stand in his way he will be a humble and confident man. There is nothing more humbling than saying “I am Sorry” there is nothing more freeing that a heart felt apology!

Well there you have it… Three for Three…. There are many more things I have hopefully taught him but these are the BIG THREE that came to mind when I wrote this and they are also the most consistent.

Do you have things you are intentional about teaching your children?

Lies… (Exposing the truth from the relationship lies of our culture) #Part 2

Hey Parents!

I realize this topic of sex and purity is a delicate one and for that reason I have created this post to help you understand what I am sharing, in hopes that together we can partner together to protect our kids from the incredible temptations that are presented to them every day. – Pastor Tom

2nd LIE… “It’s Just Sex”

TRUTH: Purity is a Gift and Purity is to be protected

Things People Never say…

“Its just cancer”
“Its just a billion dollars”
“Its just a scratch on my new car”
“Its just my first child… I have two more”
“Its just a flesh wound” *Ok that one I have heard before 🙂

People don’t say those things because: Each of those examples carries with it incredible VALUE. We protect things with VALUE. Which is the same for our purity, we protect it because it is VALUABLE.

Exposing the Lie: Its not just sex because sex is emotionally connected to your heart and your HEART IS VALUABLE (Proverbs 4:23)

Our purity is our gift from God designed for the person we will stand at the alter and join lives with in Marriage. (Genesis 2:24)  What type of heart do you want to present to your future spouse? We must get on the offensive and protect ourselves from all of the sexual temptations that exist in our culture.

God’s View Of Purity: God wants the best for us in every area and sexual purity is no exception. His plans are better than our own plans.

1 Timothy 4:12

Don’t let anyone think less of you because you are young. Be an example to all believers in what you say, in the way you live, in your love, your faith, and your purity. 

Psalms 119:9 

How can a young person stay pure? By obeying your word.

1 Thessalonians 4:3-5 

God’s will is for you to be holy, so stay away from all sexual sin.  Then each of you will control his own body and live in holiness and honor—  not in lustful passion like the pagans who do not know God and his ways.

For the message I will be preaching from 2 Samuel 11 (Most likely summarizing it) and will look at Davids sin with Bathsheba and how we can learn to be proactive in Protecting our Purity because it is VALUABLE.


How To Be Proactive In Protecting Yourself From Sexual Temptation: 

1. Talk It Out.

*** Communicate with your parents about sexual questions, If you cant talk with your parents choose a TRUSTED adult. Another middle school student and the internet should NOT be your sounding board for this HUGE questions***

2. Go To Bed.

***Most sexual temptations begin with staying up late when your tired and your defenses are low, Go to bed and if you cant sleep read a PAPER book***

3. Say No NOW.

***Most sexual temptations don’t just jump out at you, it works in layers where if you don’t resist the temptation the temptation only grows and before you know it, you have crossed a line you never intended to cross(Porn & Relationally)****


Living life like God loves YOU: YOU WONT FALL INTO THESE LIES: 

YOU will know what REAL LOVE IS

YOU will know your GOD GIVEN VALUE


God has given us our sexual purity as a gift and we are to protect it. When we are married we will present our gift of purity. We want to present them with our gift in its original beauty.  This is possibly by choosing resist sexual temptation and refusing to be in anyway sexually active.


Parents I hope this will help you think about how to prepare your sons and daughters for dating. If you want to sit in while we are having this talk you are invited!
The dates are February 12th & 17th.
If you would like to talk with me about how to set up relational & purity boundaries I would be more than willing to sit down with you and help you. Also, our next Equipping Weekend here at the Wesleyan Church of Hamburg (March 22-23rd) We will be hosting a seminar about Helping Your Middle Schooler to Make Wise Choices. Be on the look out for more information about that!

Lies… (Exposing the truth from the relationship lies of our culture) #Part 1

Hey Parents!

Thank you for stopping by and checking out what is being taught to your children! I hope this helps you as well as your students to defeat these lies… – Pastor Tom

1st Lie: “I Love You” – said from one middle schooler to another inside a “dating relationship”

Truth: Two Loves you can BANK ON… The Love of the God of The Bible and Love of Family … “In middle school I don’t understand love enough yet to say I Love You to another middle schooler.” What they are offering is an IMITATION of what they perceive real love to me… BUT… REAL Love is SELFLESS and often like children, all students care about in Middle School, is themselves

Understand this: Parents who set up for their children structure for dating and have open communication about parental standards, will significantly decrease the chance of their son or daughter being hurt emotionally, physically and spiritually. Our kids need parents to set up boundaries and they need us to be unmoving in our authority.

Gods Word Defining Love:

1 Corinthians 13:4-8 (NLT)

4 Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud 5 or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. 6 It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. 7 Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.


1 John 3:16a (NLT) 

We know what real love is because Jesus gave up his life for us. 

John 3:16 (NLT)

“For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.

The I LOVE YOU test: This is a good standard for filtering out true love in relationship at any age.

* Are You Patient? (Are you trying to rush the relationship… if SO, Your not IN LOVE)
* Are you Kind? (Girls, if are not treated like a princes in a disney movie, you are not in LOVE)
* Are you Jealous? (If you are Jealous all the time because they have friends, you are not in LOVE)
* Are You Always Right? (If you control the relationship needing to be right all the time, YOUR NOT in LOVE)

A Challenge for the Boys: 

BEFORE you tell a girl you love her:

1. Tell her Dad You Love Him & You Love His Daughter.

(If you cant because you don’t know Him or because you are sacred… Your NOT ready to say “I LOVE YOU”)

2. Ask Him if He would allow you to tell her you love his daughter.

(He Loves her more than you do and has spent the hard time picking her up when she has fallen down, If he thinks you will hurt his daughter he will tell you that you are NOT ready to say “I LOVE YOU”)

3. Respect Your parents and her parents decision.

(Going behind your parents back is never safe, BUT this one is like playing with fire, if you can’t OR won’t respect what her dad says and live under the guidelines your parents have set, you are NOT ready to say “I LOVE YOU”)


I LOVE YOU is a powerful statement and should be handled with GREAT CARE… We do not want to be tricked into believing we have the Real thing in a middle school relationship when what we really have is a cheap imitation.

Parents I hope this will help you think about how to prepare your sons and daughters for dating. There are two things you as a parent can bank on from me as their youth pastor:

1. I will always point students back to what you the parent says about dating. And 2. I will always teach that middle school relationships do not last and should not be pursued because they will always cause more drama and pain than if they had just remained friends.

If you would like to talk with me about how to set up relational boundaries I would be more than willing to sit down with you and help you. Also, our next Equipping Weekend here at the Wesleyan Church of Hamburg (March 22-23rd) We will be hosting a seminar about Helping Your Middle Schooler to Make Wise Choices. Be on the look out for more information about that!