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Alien Youth Encounter

Five Essentials of the Alien Youth

Alien Youth

"There is today no lack of Bible teachers to set forth correctly the principles of the doctrines of Christ, but too many of these seem satisfied to teach the fundamentals of the faith year after year, strangely unaware that there is in their ministry no manifest Presence, nor anything unusual in their personal lives. They minister constantly to believers who feel within their breasts a longing  which their teacher simply does not satisy." (Tozer, The Pursuit of God)
The prupose of this devotional series is to help promote a radical Christian lifestyle to youth. We think that the Christian youth have heard it all in terms of Bible teaching and fun youth group meetings. We believe these "Five Essentials" are necessary characteristics for a generation that will affect the world with the gospel and impact Christianity at large in a radical way. "Routine" Christianity is shallow at best, and is screaming out for a revoltuion - a restoration to the New Testament Church basics found in the book of Acts. Therefore, God is raising up a generation that will not only be aliens among the world, but, unfortunately, will also be aliens among the church. Just as Joshua and Caleb were two out of twelve spies who came back with a good report, so will the alien youth stand in stark contrasts to status quo Christianity.
It is time for an invasion - for the sons and daughters of God to rise up and make a difference in the short time we have here on earth. It is time for us to be marked by the presence and power of God, and mere words. It is time to embrace our call and destiny, and through His Spirit to be those who turn the world upside down. It is time for the unveiling of the alien youth.

Alien Youth

ESSENTIAL #1: The Birth of a New Nature

"It is you whom I love and desire so that I am ashamed of myself and cast myself aside and choose you instead, and I please neither you nor myself except in you. So, oh Lord, all that I am is laid bare before you." -St. Augustine

Before starting, answer the following questions:
Do you believe it is possible, as a Christian, to not sin? Why or why not?
Why do you sin?

One of the most important things for us to realize as Christians is that we are dead to sin and alive in Christ. How this is portrayed will drastically affect our daily Christian walk. Some of us are defeated before we even try. However, before we explore this further, it is beneficial to examine heart motivation, not simply doctrine. Too many Christians live a passionless, almost lifeless existence, motivated by duty and obligation, and feel burdened by the perfect mark that they feel they must reach. They strive and strive under the heavy weight of their own expectations.

In his Pursuit of God, A.W. Tozer put it like this:
"For it is not mere words that nourish the soul, but God Himself, and unless and until the hearers find God in personal experience they are not the better for having heard the truth. The Bible is not an end in itself, but a means to bring men to an intimate and satisfying knowledge of God, that they may enter into Him, that they may delight in his presence, may taste and know the inner sweetness of the very God Himself in the core and center of their hearts."

Alien youth do not serve God out of obligation; they serve God because they have tasted His life and will not be satisfied with anything less.

Answer the following question:
  Why does living for God sometimes seem like a burden?

Read Matthew 13:44-46:
"The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field. Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it."

We do not live for God because it is an obligation. We live for God because nothing else can compare to the joy of knowing Him. In this passage, Jesus gives us an illustration of what the Kingdom of God is like. First, there was the discovery of the treasure and an awareness of its worth. Secondly note his heart motivation: " his JOY, he went out and sold all he had…" The treasure and the knowledge that he could possess brought him joy. It was not a sacrifice. It was not a burden. It was a joy. Why does it seem like such a burden to so many of God's people? First of all, we do not understand how awesome God is, for He is our treasure. Secondly, we do not realize the miserable state we are in without God's intervention. We are calloused to sin and its effects. We do not understand the justice and the holiness of God. We think we are ok because God's grace will cover us. Yet how can we possibly understand grace without understanding the wrath of God for sin? We are ignorant of our own wretchedness.

"Everyone of us is born in sin. We are born under the wrath of God. We do not know Him, and we are evil by nature. Our greatest need is to be reconciled to God, to have our sins forgiven, to know God as our Father, to be blessed by Him and to start as a child of God" (Lloyd-Jones, Authentic Christianity).

We are desperate, lost, separated, alone, and missing what we were created for. Every once in awhile, we let ourselves become aware of that dull, steady ache of unfulfillment and emptiness. Normally we stay too busy to notice, but in the quiet, rare stillness arises the awareness of our desperation of heart. Whether you have been raised in the church or whether you have given yourself over to every imaginable vice, the desperation remains. All of our hearts are sinful; all of us are separated from God.

Romans 3:10-12: "…There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands, no one who seeks God. All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one."

A key for grasping our first essential is to realize our need for a new nature. We must come to a place of brokenness whereby we realize that there is nothing in us that can please God - nothing in us that can earn salvation.

Read Luke 7:36-47.
This passage tells a beautiful story of a sinful woman anointing Jesus with perfume. Jesus said that he who has been forgiven much loves much. This always puzzled me as a child. I had been raised in the church and never really did all the "bad stuff". I did not think it was fair that someone so "sinful" could love Jesus better than I. I wanted to love much. It was then that God began to reveal to me my own utter sinfulness without Him and His amazing grace on my life. The sinful woman understood her own depravity and sinfulness, and because of this she could love much. If we do not understand where we came from and what we have been saved from, we lack this brokenness and depth of love. Our pride must die.

"That when we enter upon the spiritual life, we should consider and examine to the bottom what we are. And then we should find ourselves worthy of all contempt, and not deserving indeed the name of Christians…"(Brother Lawrence, Practice of the Presence of God).

Within this action, her heart became obvious: "If I could just have you, I would give everything." Our Christianity tends to lack this reckless abandonment. It can be so controlled and passionless, yet it was never intended to be. We see within this passage the willingness to give everything just to obtain it. This is the most important characteristic of the alien youth - to have the willingness and determination to give all one has to find the rule, life and presence of God.

Answer the following questions:
 Is there anything in your life that you have given up in order to know Christ better?
 If so, how did it effect you?
 Is there something in your life that is causing you not to be in an intimate relationship with God?

When we realize our own sinfulness and His life, love, and the fulfillment within Him, we are faced with these decisions: "Is it worth giving everything I have to gain this life? Is it worth surrendering all I am to His control, for Him to use as He sees fit? Is it worth casting myself aside to gain this life?"

Look again at Matthew 13:44-46.
The treasure and the knowledge that he could possess brought joy to the man who purchased the field. Even though it cost him everything he had - the sacrifice of the merchant was nothing compared to possessing the treasure.

Giving up everything allows us to be dead to sin and alive to Christ. He himself is our treasure and His rule in our lives is the fulfillment for which we were created - the hope, the peace, the life, and the love. Do you see Christ as a treasure? Is He real enough to you that you have tasted of His life? Have you experienced His presence and the fulfillment that it brings?

We cannot change our nature with our own strength. All He requires of us is to give up everything to follow Him. If we do, a miracle birth follows - the birth of a new nature that is not prone to sin anymore.

1 John 3:5-6,9: "But you know that he appeared that he might take away our sins. And in him is no sin. No one who lives in him keeps on sinning. No one who continues to sin has either seen him or known him…No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God's seed remains in him; he cannot go on sinning, because he has been born of God."

Before moving on, read your answer to the very first question:
Do you believe it is possible, as a Christian, to not sin?

Our new nature longs to please God. It longs to taste Him and His presence in even greater degrees. Our new nature is no longer sinful. It is dead to sin, and therefore, it is unacceptable to continue sinning. However, the good news does not stop there. Not only has the power of sin been broken in our lives, but we have also been made alive to God.

Romans 6:11: "In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus."

Our new nature is not the end, but it is the means by which we know God. We are made alive to God in Christ so that we can know Him, fellowship with Him, and taste of His very essence. We can enter the presence of God because of our righteous standing in Christ. Eternal life does not begin when we die; it starts now as we daily press into knowing God.

John 17:3: "Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent."

It is He that we were created for, and only in Him that we will find fulfillment of soul. None of us deserve it, but He freely offers it to us. No one is disqualified. Therefore, let us press on to know Him, run with all our might, lay down our lives, and give up everything to find Him. Let us put away compromise and walk victoriously over sin through our new nature and the power of His Spirit. Let us love like those who have been forgiven much, for we will reflect the spirit of the alien youth.

Answer the following questions:
Has the power of sin been broken in my life?
 What are the sin issues in my life?
 What can I do to help me to stop sinning?

Alien Youth

ESSENTIAL #2: A Holy Spirit Lifestyle

"On our part, there must be surrender to the Spirit of God, for His work is to show us the Father and the Son. If we cooperate with Him in loving obedience, God will manifest Himself to us, and that manifestation will be the difference between a nominal Christian life and a life radiant with the light of His face" (Tozer, The Pursuit of God).

Victory over sin is within our grasp. In Essential #1, we talked about how we have been given a new nature that longs to please God, and how we have been made alive to Christ and His presence. Too many Christians stop there and live their lives attempting to be good and to do good. However, we sense that there must be something more to Christianity than simply living a good life. The last question asked was, "What can I do to help me to stop sinning?" Without the help of the Holy Spirit there is no chance for us to live victoriously over sin (Read Romans 8).

John 16:5-7: "Now I am going to him who sent me, yet none of you asks me, 'Where are you going?' Because I have said these things, you are filled with grief. But I tell you the truth: It is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away the Counselor will not come to you…"

Most people would choose to be in the physical presence of Jesus rather than anticipate the presence of the Holy Spirit. This shows our lack of understanding and awareness of the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives.

John the Baptist was the herald sent to prepare the way for Jesus' ministry. Of all the amazing things he could have said to announce his coming, he chose these, "He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire" (Matt 3:11b). The Israelites had seen great leaders rise up from their history and do miraculous things, all because the Spirit came upon them. The idea that God would send this same Spirit to fill ordinary people for more than just a moment or a season was stunning. This was John's introduction of Jesus.

Jesus takes it further, stating that it is BETTER that he goes to the Father. Why? So that He can send the Holy Spirit to us. The Spirit, as he preached, is the one who will lead us into all truth and equip us to be effective witnesses. Therefore, before he ascended to the Father, he asked the disciples to wait in Jerusalem "…for the gift my Father promised, which (you) heard me speak about. For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit" (Acts 1:4b-5). Many people would think that physically walking with and being discipled by Jesus for three years, seeing his death, resurrected body and ascension into heaven would have been equipping enough. Instead, they were to wait for the power of the Holy Spirit.

"But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth" (Acts 1:8). Note the drastic change between the fearful, doubt-filled disciples even after Jesus' resurrection, and the disciples in Acts 2. Especially obvious is Peter, who adamantly denied and deserted Jesus, and who even after the resurrection, still thought that the Kingdom of God was a natural Kingdom! The Holy Spirit came upon him and this simple fisherman spoke with depth, boldness and power. He saw visions, performed miracles, and became one of the foundational leaders of the Christian church. He eventually gave his life (crucified upside down) for the gospel.

When we read about the heroes of our faith, we see lives of passion, purpose, adventure and the miraculous - ordinary lives made extraordinary through the power of the Holy Spirit. Let's take an in depth look at one such hero.

Break up into groups and read Judges 6-7.

The goal of this exercise is to note how the Holy Spirit can transform a life. Keep this in mind as you read the passage together. When you are done reading, answer the following questions:

01. Note when God first met with Gideon, what did He call him?
02. Was he at this time? Why or why not?
03. In 6:34, what did the Spirit cause Gideon to do?
04. In Chapter 7, why did God sift through the men, finally arriving at 300?
05. Approximately how big was the army they were fighting?
06. How was the enemy defeated?
07. Look again at 6:11-15, 27. Was this man a mighty warrior?
08. What caused the miraculous change in him?
09. How, specifically, did the Holy Spirit change his life?
10. Now, relate this to your life.

01. A mighty warrior.
02. No. He hides in a wine press, even after he meets with an angel of the Lord. He breaks down Baal's altar and asherah poles at night so no one will find out.
03. He sounded the trumpet to rally troops for war. Interestingly, the same people who just wanted to kill Gideon now rallied behind him.
04. Judges 7:2: "…in order that Israel may not boast against me that her own strength has saved her."
05. Judges 7:12. The army was as thick as locusts, with camels as numerous as the sands on the seashore.
06. They turned on each other.
07. No.
08. The Holy Spirit came upon him - or literally clothed Himself with Gideon.
09. He gave him courage and boldness, confidence in God, leadership, and miraculous victory.

Gideon, along with all of the people of God, was hiding in caves and clefts, afraid of the Midianites. Gideon, specifically, was threshing wheat in a winepress, hiding out from the enemy. He was afraid of His enemies and defeated already. He had heard about the miracles and power of God but had never seen them. He did not seem to think much of himself. In fact, he had disqualified himself, but God appeared and spoke faith into his disheartened life.

We can be that way as well. We live with a defeated mentality, are overwhelmed at the evil in the world, and do not believe we can do anything to make a difference. Sometimes we think perhaps someone else can - someone like Billy Graham - but there is no way God could use us like that. Thus, we hide in our own caves, clefts and winepresses, reflecting Israel's insecurity: "Who am I that God could use me, and where is this God of wonders?" Although, one person anointed and filled with the Holy Spirit saw the entire situation turned around in a matter of days; He heard of God's wonders but never saw them. And yet he still dared to believe God's word.

God sees you complete in Him, and through His Spirit you can be who He has called you to be. He will give you the courage and boldness to be witnesses in your school and workplace. He will cause you to have favor and give you miraculous victory - victory over sin in your life, victory over your own fears and insecurities, and victory over your sense of unworthiness. All of these things hold you back from becoming all that God has called you to be. It is time to rise up, mighty warriors, and be filled to overflowing with the Spirit of Christ. His Spirit can immediately transform your life! Through His Spirit, the word of God comes alive and feeds your spirit. Through His Spirit, you can love your enemies and see them saved. Through His Spirit, the impossible becomes possible.

"The world was turned upside-down not because of what they did, but because of what God did to them, in them, and by means of them…True Christianity is always the activity of God…Anything controlled by us, whether lifeless or lively, is not Christianity. Christianity is that which controls us, which masters us, which happens to us" (Lloyd-Jones, Authentic Christianity).

Greater things than these will you do…

In Acts, we see a great dimension of the power of God at work in the church. There are definite leaders and standouts in Acts, but what is really striking is that everyone could be filled with the Spirit - and everyone was. In Acts 2 we see the initial outpouring of the Spirit, which we touched on earlier. Throughout the rest of the book, we see the Spirit of Christ filling and refilling the people of God. They were always hungry for more of God and continually sought His presence. Lives were transformed, healings were performed, prophecy and wisdom were given, and the world was turned upside-down.

Answer the following questions:
  Have you ever done or said something that you knew was the power of God, because you had nothing to do with it?
 Have you ever prayed for a miracle and believed that God would do it?
 Do you believe that miracles and the power of God should be evident in your life as a Christian?

Our God is alive today, and he is a supernatural God. The challenge for us is to lift our expectations of God's power to a higher level. Has God changed since Old Testament times? Of course not! God wants to use you in our generation to do mighty and supernatural things. He is the God of the impossible. If you live only in the realm of the possible, you limit God with your own limitations. See your weakness as an opportunity for God's grace and power to move in and through your life.

"On our part, there must be surrender to the Spirit of God, for His work is to show us the Father and the Son. If we cooperate with Him in loving obedience, God will manifest Himself to us, and that manifestation will be the difference between a nominal Christian life and a life radiant with the light of His face" (Tozer, The Pursuit of God).

Stop and take a few minutes to pray for more of God's power to be evident in your life. You may want to pray something like this:

"God, I want more than anything to know you. I pray that you equip me with the powerful presence of the Holy Spirit that I may dwell in righteousness and live in victory. I long to see your name glorified over all the earth. Be glorified in my life, as I learn to walk in the spirit."

Alien Youth

ESSENTIAL #3: Worship

"Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength" (Deuteronomy 6:5).

What words come to mind when you think of worship? Some words might be: passion, zeal, and abandonment. When you are in love with someone, it consumes your thoughts and actions. It encompasses all of who you are - emotions, mind, heart, and soul. In the same way, the essence of worship is simply loving God. He is a person with whom you can have a love relationship. In fact, one of the characteristics of the alien youth is one who is consumed with a passion and a desire to know and love God more each day. His presence is real and alive; once you taste it, you will not be satisfied with anything but Him.

Do you relate to God like you do to one of your best friends, or do you find that your relationship with Him is duty-oriented and cold?
Do you look forward to your time alone with Jesus because He experientially touches your life?

Romans 12:1:
"Therefore, I urge you brothers, in view of God's ___________, to offer your bodies as living _____________, holy and pleasing to God - this is your spiritual act of ___________."

Worship always begins with God. Romans 12:1 puts it this way - in view of God's mercy. He has chosen us and opened our eyes to His truth and love. Worship is our response to His initiative.

When studying this scripture, it helps to get a feel for the historical context in which Paul spoke. When he brought forward this teaching, thoughts of animal sacrifices would have immediately come to mind - more specifically the burnt offering. Therefore, turn to Leviticus 1 to examine this in more detail.

Read Leviticus 1:1-9
How does this passage relate to worship?
Verse 6: Skinned & cut into pieces - totally vulnerable and open - beyond naked.
Verse 8-9: Every part separated, examined, washed.
Verse 9: Consumed by fire, becoming an aroma pleasing to the Lord.

Such is the intense response of the life of a worshipper:

"Every part of me, every thought, every action is laid bare before you, Lord. I'm taking off my skin, cutting myself up into pieces, examining myself bit-by-bit, cleaning each part and offering it to you. All my talents and abilities, all my weaknesses, all the special parts of me and all the parts I don't want anyone else to see - It's all yours Lord. Use my life. Change me."

His response: "I will consume you and cause your life to be a pleasing aroma to me."

Worshippers are thirsty for Him, hungry for His presence, and long for Him. They want Him to consume every part of them until His life is reflected in theirs.

David is a great example of what a worshipper is. He cultivated the life of a worshipper. He fellowshipped with God every day and through this fellowship understood who God was. We see this intimacy and knowledge of God reflected in all of his actions

In this section we will answer the following questions:
 Why did God call David, "a man after His own heart"?
 What made David the greatest worshipper that we read about?

Most of us know that Saul was the first king of Israel, whom David replaced. Let us compare and contrast their lives and reactions to God in order to clarify what a true worshipper is.

Saul was anointed king and had known the power of God in his life (1 Samuel 10:10). Scripture says that he looked the part, "…an impressive young man without equal among the Israelites - a head taller than any of the others" (1 Sam 9:2).

His first major disobedience as king can be found in 1 Samuel 13:7-14. Here Saul waits seven days for Samuel, his troops quaking with fear. Samuel does not arrive soon enough for Saul, so he decides to take things into his own hands. We can be like this as well, taking things into our own hands because of fear and pressure, instead of trusting God with everything. Even if Saul would have lost all of his men, God still could have provided victory (remember Gideon)! Unfortunately for Saul, he disobeyed the command of the Lord, and God gave his kingdom to "a man after his own heart" (1 Sam 13:14).

Now let us move ahead to 1 Samuel 15. In this chapter, Saul was instructed to destroy everything, but instead he kept all the best things. Why? His initial excuse was that he kept the best "in order to sacrifice them to the Lord (our) God at Gilgal" (1 Sam. 15:21). This does not seem so bad. It is easy to mask our sin by burying it under religious practice: "I'm not going to change or repent, but I go to church every Sunday and raise my hands, etc." God's response to this is obvious: "…Does the Lord delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the voice of the Lord? To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams. For rebellion is like the sin of divination, and arrogance like the evil of idolatry…" (1 Sam 15:22-23). However, in verse 24, we see his heart motivation: "…I was afraid of the people and so I gave in to them…"

"Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is kept safe" (Proverbs 29:25).

Part of worshipping God with purity is to understand that no secrets can be kept from Him. He sees and knows everything (omniscience), including your every thought, action, and motivation. You stand completely vulnerable and exposed before Him, even if you do not want to. Saul tried to please the people but still kept the pretense of serving God. The problem here is you cannot be a man-pleaser and a God-pleaser. In your heart you have to make a choice; to be a true worshipper means to choose to be a God-pleaser and to fear Him alone.

Have you ever done something or not done something because you were worried about what others would think or say about you?

One of Saul's biggest problems was his fear of man. We saw it when he was first anointed king; we saw it in 1 Samuel 13, and again in 1 Samuel 15. He wanted to keep up the appearance of doing right while he was also compromised in his heart. His primary motivation was not to please God and obey His every command. He did not trust in the Lord for the victories. He trusted more in what he saw, in his own strength, and in the ability of his people.

The Heart of a Worshipper:
Now, let us take a look at David, who we have already seen in 1 Samuel 13:14 was, "…a man after His (God's) own heart…" Therefore, we know that prior to David coming on the scene, he sought to please God. He worshipped God. He daily cultivated his relationship and love for God. He did not suddenly become amazing for the Lord. He had cultivated this relationship and love for God while tending his father's sheep. He just did his chores, seeking and finding God in all that he did. He did not go to Bible College and suddenly transform into an amazing leader. He served where he was, honoring his father. By doing this he proved his love and fear for the Lord. He did not look for promotion or position; He looked for God.

Do we occasionally make distinctions between "normal" Christians and "ministers?"
Does God want all Christians to know and worship Him, or is it only for the full-time paid ministers?

After Saul's rejection by God as king, Samuel is sent out to anoint another. God sends him to Jesse in Bethlehem to anoint one of his sons. He goes to the family and the first brother he sees looks the part of the king. Samuel thinks that he must be the one but God speaks a very clear message to him. "Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart" (1 Samuel 16:7). Then we see Samuel anointing the youngest son, David. From that day on, the Spirit of the Lord came upon him in power (1 Samuel 16:13).

Side Note: The first thing David did after he was anointed was to play the harp before Saul. As David played, an evil spirit would leave Saul. Everyone knows that there is a strong connection between worship and music. Our goal here is not to touch on the musical side of worship, because the essential quality of worship is heart motivation. However, it is impossible to dismiss the power and eternal qualities of music when used as a vehicle to worship God. In this passage, we note that David was a skilled musician, and also an anointed musician. Skills are not enough to see the presence of God come and change lives. We need the anointing of the Holy Spirit. That should always be the goal and end of all of our musical endeavors.

Now let us read a story that most of us are familiar with. Break up into groups and read 1 Samuel 17. Answer the following questions:

01. How tall was Goliath?
02. What was the challenge to Israel?
03. Who should have gone to fight? Why?
04. What was Saul's reaction to this challenge? Why?
05. How long had this challenge been going on?
06. What was the army of Israel doing in verse 20? Do you think this is ironic considering everyone was too afraid to actually fight? (Verse 24).
07. When David heard Goliath's challenge, what was his reaction?
08. How was this different than Saul's reaction?
09. Many times, when serving the purposes of God, opposition comes from the most unlikely of sources. Where did David's initial opposition and discouragement come from? Should our confidence in God be swayed, even from those closest to us?
10. Was he afraid?
11. What was the outcome of the battle?
12. Do you have any "Goliath's" in your life (areas where fear holds you back from being all that God has called you to be)? How can this be changed in your life?

01. He was over nine feet tall.
02. One on one combat determined the victory - Goliath versus one Israelite challenger.
03. Saul. He was the king appointed by God who promised victory over enemies
04. He was dismayed and terrified. Again, Saul was looking at the outward appearances (his own physical strength and ability) and not trusting the God of all power.
05. Forty days - every morning and evening.
06. The army was going to battle positions, shouting the war cry!
07. Philistine was a disgrace. They were uncircumcised (not of the covenant people of God), defying the armies of the living God. He did not see him as an undefeatable enemy; he saw him as one who stood in the way of God's purposes for His people. He knew God would take care of him.
08. Saul looked at the size of the man; David looked at the greatness of God.
09. His oldest brother, Eliab, who had seen him anointed by God. Our confidence in God should never be swayed, even when those closest to us question our motives and actions.
10. No. He had killed a lion and a bear, but his confidence was not in his experiences, it was in God, who delivered him.
11. David killed Goliath with a sling and a stone. He then cut off his head.

The Act of a Worshipper:
Worship involves outward acts and expressions. They should not be negated because the heart motivation may be wrong. However, the outward action should be an inward expression, which longs to submit to God. The Bible lays out clear guidelines for outward expressions of worship. Let us look at one example.

In 2 Samuel 6:12-23, the ark of the Lord has been returned to Israel. In the Old Testament, the ark was the sign of the tangible presence and dwelling of God with man. As it is returned to Israel, David worshipped, dancing before the Lord with all of his might. He stripped himself of His kingly robes - of that which distinguished him and brought him honor among men - and worshipped the Lord in humility. Once again, we see a strange reaction to David by those closest to him. His own wife despised him in her heart and made fun of him to his face. She misunderstood him and questioned his motives, just as his brother had before he fought Goliath. Again, David is not shaken and responds: "…I will celebrate before the Lord. I will become even more undignified than this, and I will be humiliated in my own eyes…" (2 Samuel 6:21b-22a).

It is amazing to know that we can actually enter the presence of God every day, and that the presence of God is with us and inhabits us every day. The mark of the people of God should be the presence of God, and this relationship is cultivated greatly through our worship times. We do not have to carry around the ark of God anymore because the tangible presence of God is now in us and with us. We can enter the very presence of God boldly and without shame. The place where the priest could enter only once a year is open for all of us, all of the time.

"God wills that we should push on into His presence and live our whole life there" (Tozer, The Pursuit of God).

We do not understand what we have or where our victory lies, because if we did, we would press on through our laziness and complacency into the very presence of the living God where we can be molded and changed into His likeness and image. Don't you want your life to be so inhabited with His presence that it overflows into all of the lives around you? Moses, like David, knew that the victory and blessing did not lie within his grasp. Instead he prayed, "…If your Presence does not go with us, do not send us up from here. How will anyone know that you are pleased with me and with your people unless you go with us? What else will distinguish me and your people from all the other people on the face of the earth?" (Exodus 33:15-16).

Read 2 Samuel 6:23. It is interesting to note what happens to David's wife. This is a definite warning for us to be wary of making judgments on how people worship. We want our walks with God to be fruitful.

In conclusion, the essence of worship is a life completely laid down before the Lord. It is not simply about the outward actions, although with the right heart motivation, they are vitally important. However, the foundation of our motivation must be the fear of the Lord and a trust solely in Him. This is what David understood and cultivated daily. In contrast, Saul's biggest motivation was the fear of man and a trust solely in his own strength. We must begin and continue to press in to the presence of God, where we find fulfillment and the power to change. The vehicle to His presence is our worship; so let us continually offer ourselves before Him holding nothing back. Let us learn to lavish our love upon Him, and press in until we taste His greatness.

"The world is perishing for lack of the knowledge of God and the Church is famishing for want of His presence. The instant cure of most of our religious ills would be to enter the Presence in spiritual experience, to become suddenly aware that we are in God and God in us" (Tozer, Pursuit of God).

Pray that God draws you deeper into His presence. Pray he reveals Himself more to you. Be determined to find Him, for those who seek Him will find Him.

Alien Youth

ESSENTIAL #4: Transforming Your Mind

Colossians 3:16: "Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God."

Why do you believe what you believe - about God, about family, about friends, about life, about love, about yourself? There are things you have chosen to believe - conclusions you have come to because you've been affected in some way.

What are some of your biggest influences?
Do you find it easy to change the way you think?

Culture is a huge influence on our thinking whether we like it or not. For example, what are your views on dating? If someone told you they were not going to date until he was ready to get married, what would you think? If you think it is weird, why? If you think it is cool, why? What are you basing your opinions on?

Korey Cooper relates a life experience:
"My conviction throughout junior high and high school was not to date. I felt like Paul clearly stated that it is better to be single. When you are single, your interests are undivided. I wanted to live "…in a right way in undivided devotion to the Lord" (1 Cor. 7:35). I felt sure that at some point I would be married, but I wanted to make the most of the time I was single. I knew that when the time was right, I would meet my husband and he and I would both be ready for the next phase of our lives together. I was also certain that we would be more effective together rather than if we were apart. I will say that many of my friends thought I was strange. Now that all the desires of my heart have been fulfilled in my husband and in my marriage, they do not think I am so strange anymore. I am not saying this is for everyone. However, I am saying that you need to know why you believe the things you do and develop your own convictions based on the word of God."

Family and friends also have a huge influence on the way you think. Maybe your family does not trust people. They have taught you to always look out for yourself and never give because you will be taken advantage of. This kind of thinking is so engrained in you it seems normal. What does the word of God say about this? How should you be according to the Biblical standard?

Religion/tradition may also influence your thinking. What do you think about dancing in church? What about dressing gothic? What about tattoos or piercings? Again, what are your opinions based on?

Experience is another thing that can affect your thinking. Maybe someone in the church has really hurt you. Maybe he has tried to shove his beliefs down your throat and it has turned you off to everything related to what he teaches. Many people completely throw out messages of truth after being part of a bad experience. It is important to remember that no matter how negative an experience you have with a peer or church leader, the truth is always found in the scripture, and you can always go there when in doubt.

These and other influences are the glasses through which you view things, tainting the way you see everything and everyone. After lining up your beliefs with the word of God, the ultimate question is this: "How do I justify what I believe?"

God wants you to see with His eyes and perspective. This is scary because we are so used to what we know and understand. However, reality is sometimes much different than how we perceive it. Our perspective must be eternal and based on truth. Lies rob us of our fullness in God and of how awesome He is. Sometimes we are influenced by so many lies for so long that we begin to believe them - at least in part. That is why it is so important to know the Word.

2 Samuel 22:31a: "As for God, his way is perfect; the word of the Lord is flawless..."

Over the past few weeks, we have been discussing God's initiative for our lives. He is the one who pursues us, blesses us with His presence, and changes us into His image. His Spirit equips us and gives us everything we need to live victoriously over sin. This "Essential" will deal more with our responsibility and action. Just as a natural army continually trains, so must we as the alien race. The reason why great spiritual men and women have an amazing impact on the world and the church at large, is because they have developed strong spiritual habits

Natural discipline has obvious effects. If one were to work out and eat well, it would be reflected in his health. However, in our culture, we all want the easy way out. We want to sit, do nothing, have no discipline, eat everything we want, and still lose weight. We have developed weight loss pills, metabolism boosters, etc. - anything besides actually changing our lifestyles. We can be the same way with our spiritual lives. We all want to grow in God, but many times we are not willing to do what it takes to make that happen. We are easily satisfied with someone spoon-feeding us from the Word once a week, feeding off of his relationship with God instead of really developing our own.

1 Corinthians 3:1-2: "Brothers, I could not address you as spiritual but as worldly -mere infants in Christ. I gave you milk, not solid food, for you were not yet ready for it. Indeed, you are still not ready."

Hebrews 5:12-14: "In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God's word all over again. You need milk, not solid food! Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil."

It is time for us, as the alien youth, to put our faith into action and discipline our life with the Lord. It is time for us to grow up in our faith and train ourselves to be godly, for anyone who draws near to God can know Him intimately.

Romans 12:2: "…Do not _____________ any longer to the _____________ of this world, but be ___________________ by the renewing of your __________."

In the last lesson, we studied the verse just prior to this one, which alluded to the burnt offering and worship. This verse continues, showing also that part of our worship is renewing our minds. If we fail to do this, we fail to worship God in truth and merely worship our own ideas of what God is like. This can easily be a modern form of idolatry - worshipping a god whom we have created versus the true God of the Bible. This verse makes it very clear that as we take action and renew our minds, our lives are transformed. I have heard many people pray for God to renew their minds. However, it is an action we take, and not just something that just happens to us.

The way you think is a major part of your makeup. It affects your emotions, actions, heart, and soul. With so many things determining the very essence of what you are, don't you want to be sure that your life is grounded in the word of truth? There is absolute truth, and it can be found and defined in the Bible. Much of the spiritual warfare against you is a battle for truth in your mind.

What practical things can you do to renew your mind?

Psalm 119:9-11: "How can a young man keep his way pure? By living according to your word. I seek you with all my heart; do not let me stray from your commands. I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you."


Exercise #1 - Bible Study

One of the most obvious training tools is to study the Bible. The word of God will build up your spirit. It will strengthen your faith and cause you to dream beyond the possible. It also contains the reality we should be living in, and within it, contains the key for the fulfillment of all of your life adventures.

Sometimes, when you read the Bible, it comes alive. Sometimes it can seem tedious and dry. Just keep in mind that even in these times, it is fruitful for your spirit, soul, and mind. When an athlete goes into training, some days are exhilarating. Some days are routine workouts. However, this discipline every day is the difference between an average athlete and a champion. We do not always feel like our study is fruitful or life changing, but we must persevere. Everyday we become a little more like Jesus. Everyday we become that much stronger. Everyday we are transformed if we allow God to speak to us through His word. Feed your spirit this good spiritual food.

Korey relates: "As a child, I was told that I could actually fellowship with God - that God was interested in a relationship with me and could use me even at such a young age; that excited me. I used to wake up in the middle of the night just to read the Bible and spend time with Him. I wanted to be like all the great men and women I read about. I sought to know and understand the truths that I read about, and if I found my life did not measure up to these truths, I pressed in to God until they became reality for me. To this day, I still function this way - feeding myself the truths of the word of God and making these truths the reality for my life."

Don't let yourself be ruled by your emotions, cultural norms, religious tradition, or anything else that can stand up against the truths of the word of God.

"On dark days when the only song we feel like singing is a dirge, we can pray, 'Let the music of thy promises be on my tongue' (Ps. 119:172). This is no tear-jerking ballad of how I'm feeling. The promises of God will lift me right out of sad sentimentality and put music in my mouth if I will think steadily on them. Here's one to sing: 'Unfailing love enfolds him who trusts in the Lord' (Ps. 32:10). Do you feel nothing of the kind? When did the validity of the Eternal Word rest on the mood of one of His poor children? Let the promise be the song you sing. He will hear it and make it true for you" (Elizabeth Elliot, The Music of His Promises).

Suggested exercises for your own study:
Get with a few friends and do the following:

01. Memorize scripture - It may seem like something you used to do in children's church but it is amazingly fruitful. In past experiences helping with youth, we used to memorize whole chapters of the Bible together. I know many young people who have memorized whole books of the Bible. It is a great work out for your mind, soul, and spirit.

02. Go through a book of the Bible together and meet to discuss it. (If you are unable to get together, discuss via email). Skillet is currently studying the book of Acts together, and it has really sharpened all of us.

03. Meditate on the Word. Don't just breeze through it to finish the reading to say that you read it. Think about it and ask questions. Dig deep into it. God will reveal new things to you every time you read. You can then discuss these revelations with each other.

Psalm 119:105: "Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path."

Exercise #2 - Intimate Fellowship & Prayer

Jesus had the most intimate relationship with the Father that we have ever seen. One thing Jesus did to maintain this intimacy was to wake up early in the morning and sneak away to spend time with Him. We should learn from His example and develop this discipline: intimacy with God, learning to hear His voice more clearly, learning to pray effectively, and learning how to love Him better. It is good to simply spend time in His presence, with no other agenda but to be with Him. Too many times we can be quick to tell him what we want and then go away, never waiting for Him to speak to us. What if you only asked your friend for things you wanted and talked about yourself? You would never let him speak; you would never fellowship. What kind of a relationship would that be? That doesn't sound too attractive, does it? We can be this way in our relationship with God. We are always talking and asking instead of fellowshipping and sharing life together.

Many people wonder what to do when they are trying to have a relationship with God. We recommend reading the Psalms, then begin to write your own. Within this book, we see the author pouring out his heart to God. Sometimes his focus begins with himself and his own circumstances. Sometimes they begin and end with praise. Sometimes they are questioning, but they always end with hope. You will find as you begin to walk in closer fellowship with God that even in the direst of circumstances, there is always hope because God himself is hope. In this way, learn to pour your heart out to the Lord, with your focus always on Him. With this focus you will always find hope, no matter what comes your way.

The most famous prayer in the Bible is Jesus': "the Lord's prayer." This prayer started off with, "Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name." This persuades us to begin our prayers by praising God. One is never in a better relationship with God than when he is worshipping Him. This can be a cure for not knowing what to say to God. It also is a cure for constantly asking God for things instead of enjoying His presence.

At the risk of seeming methodical or legalistic, we would like to give some examples of how to speak praises to God, realizing that there are many people who don't know what to say. Here are some easy examples:

"God you are awesome! You are wonderful in every way and I love you."
"I worship you with all of my heart, and you are my one true passion."
"Thank you God for saving me from hell and from my sin. I worship and exalt you."
"There is no one righteous but you, and there is no one good but you. You are perfect and your mercy lasts forever!"

For the last year, Skillet has enforced the "Mandatory 20". This is time specifically set aside to simply fellowship with God - not bible study, but just time to be with the Lord. We do this every morning before we see each other, regardless if we are leaving at 3 a.m. or 12 p.m. We have found this discipline to be very fruitful and invite you to join us.

Ephesians 6:18: "And pray in the Spirit on all occasions, with all kinds of prayers and requests…"

There are many other disciplines that we can develop to help us become more like Jesus and to help us renew our minds. These were just two that we believe to be the best starting place. As you learn to discipline yourself, the most important thing to remember is that the ultimate goal is to know God better and to be more like Him. He is the desired end and reward.

Alien Youth

ESSENTIAL #5: Implementing the Alien Lifestyle

This is the "where do we go from here?" section. There are many Christians who have the passion and drive for a while, but then they get burned out. Most Christians know that church is important, but there are so many different ideas of what church is, that many Christians never seem to be satisfied. Some may ask: "Besides going to church, what else can I do?"

The Church:
What is church?
What is it about church that you think turns people off?

As radical Christians, we have to be ready and honest to ask the hard questions: "What do people not like about church?" "Why does it matter what we wear for church?" "Why are we constantly talking about money?"

If you have had thoughts such as these, then you are human like the rest of us! Honestly, we believe the church has a long way to go to before it becomes all that God wants it to be. In a lot of ways, we think that the church today bears little similarity to the church in the book of Acts. However, God has a plan to change the world through His believers, so we must not become church-haters. One of the most depressing things we see in the world today is Christians who do not believe in going to church or being a part of Christian fellowship. Inevitably, they become strange and ineffective for the gospel.

Church is not a program. The life of the church is not just shaving, dressing up nice, sitting for two hours on a Sunday morning, and sleeping through a sermon. Teaching and preaching are beneficial and necessary for the Christian life, but church cannot stop there! Church is living life with believers, encouraging one another in faith, praying together, and having strong relationships that are based on eternal things. Part of church life is to be taught, exhorted, challenged, disciplined, and even rebuked by your godly leaders.

Is there anyone in your life that is not afraid to tell you when you're wrong? If so, when was the last time that happened?
How did you respond?

There is no lack of great teaching in the church today. When we want someone's life to change, why do we assume he needs to hear a different preacher? When we are not satisfied with our lives, why do we say, "My pastor just isn't challenging me anymore"? It is because we sometimes think that all church is about is preaching.

"Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people…"(Acts 2:46-47a).

Church is about living life all week long with Christian fellowship and godly relationships.

For most people, going to church is not enough to stay strong in their faith. This is a result of a lack of discipleship. There are many different ideas of what this actually is, so let us look at Jesus. There has never been more wonderment about a person than Jesus. He had the power to heal and the authority to forgive. He could have had a "church of 10,000" but he chose to spend most of His time with twelve men. He loved them, rebuked them (Mark 8:33), and served them (John 13:12-17).

What is discipleship?
We define it as producing Christ-likeness in someone else. The obvious qualification to disciple someone is to be Christ-like. Sometimes this can be accomplished in small groups. Sometimes, however, a more radical step needs to be taken. We encourage young Christians to find an older, more mature Christian. Show them your zeal to learn about God! Accountability comes into focus here, because the leader identifies the areas where the student is not following the word of God.

We see this with Paul and Timothy when Paul said, "…as a son with his father he has served with me in the work of the gospel" (Philippians 2:22). We know that Paul took Timothy with him on his missions and seemed to dearly love him. Discipleship is so effective because it is based on personal relationships. Many people all over the world go to church every week but they have never had someone talk to them about their relationship with God. I am not against big churches with thousands of people; many of these churches are taking steps to be more involved in personal lives. This is encouraging because it is vital, in our leadership, to be directly involved in reproducing Christ in lives.

Is there someone that you respect as a radical Christian that you could ask to teach you about God?
How would this type of relationship be beneficial for you?
Do you have any friends that you are held accountable to?

As serious Christians we have the desire to please God in everything we do. We want to feel like we make a difference in the world. When we want to be great leaders for God, we are usually advised to go to Bible College! This can be beneficial for some, but it is not the qualification we see in the Word for leadership in the Kingdom. All of us can learn from Jesus how to be great in the Kingdom of God.

Have you ever been nervous to talk to your pastor? If so, why?

We have this idea that pastors and ministers are superhuman. However, they are servants just as we are. True leadership happens through serving. You will never be great in the kingdom of God unless you have served the people of God. Jesus said, "…(I) did not come to be served but to serve…"(Matthew 20:28). Again we see the Savior of the world serving the disciples by washing their feet (John 13).

Read Acts 6:1-5
Why was Stephen chosen to serve?

Read Acts 6:8-10
Stephen was not paid by the church, nor was he an apostle or prophet. He was not one of the most distinguished or recognized Christians, but he was noticed to be faithful and full of the Spirit. Stephen was so mighty for God that his radical attitude created controversy among his peers. Ultimately he became the first Christian martyr.

If you want to become great in God's eyes then you must become nothing in your own eyes. Instead of wanting to be recognized for your gifting and leadership, begin to serve the church by cleaning up, or taking out trash. Being a servant can become even more practical while you are living at home! Serve your parents by obeying and showing your zeal for God by your godly attitude. This may seem trite or "not spiritual enough," but God teaches us that when we are faithful in the small things, He will reward us and give us more to be faithful for.

How can I serve my parents? My church? My friends?

Now that we have discussed church-life, discipleship, and becoming a leader through serving, what is it all for? As a Christian, it is easy to lose sight of the big picture. We need to ask God for vision.

What is vision?
Vision is the dream that you can see in your mind's eye. It is not hope or wanting; it is the goal for which your very life is purposed. Having vision is a necessity for having peace. Without it there is always something nagging your mind saying, "Is this everything that life is about?" Unfortunately most people's vision only has to do with themselves.

Read Acts 2:44-45

Why were Christians selling their possessions?
You would have to be deeply committed to something to go so far as selling your house. The New Testament church had the conviction that nothing else mattered besides being a Christian. Everything they did was geared toward taking over the world for Christ. This is also the reason that so many Christians have died for their faith. This is also part of the reason why the apostles rejoiced, since they had been counted worthy for being beaten for Christ (Acts 5:41). Having vision for the kingdom is about more than just your life and your happiness. In fact, if your suffering and martyrdom would bring glory to God, then it would be worth your life to die for the vision.

The Bible says that without vision the people perish (Proverbs 29:18, KJV). Without vision, you will become everything that you hate about modern Christianity - Christians who study the Word and read books to learn more about the knowledge and mysteries of God, but never consider giving fifty cents to a beggar on the street. It is easy to become cynical and mad towards the church in America because we lack vision. Wouldn't you love to see our nation change? Wouldn't you love to see Jesus glorified in every nation on earth? We are on a mission to spread the hope of Christ to all people, not only to speak the truth with our mouths, but to also see Christ's kingdom come to earth. Everything that you do has to fit in with your mission. How will this happen? We cannot despise the church, but instead we must work together to win our cities for Christ! How do we do that? We must win our schools for Christ! How? We must be a light in the darkness to our friends and our enemies alike. The alien youth do not care if people hate them. The alien youth are not shaken when tragedy comes in their lives. The alien youth do not care about the things that the world cares about. The alien youth are not preoccupied with the love of money or material things. They are not concerned with popularity. The alien youth are not man pleasers. The alien youth are ready to do whatever it takes to take over the world for Christ!

In response to the end of the study, we have some suggestions to help you implement the alien lifestyle:

01. Start discipleship relationships immediately! We suggest an after school meeting once or twice a week. One-on-one meetings (guy to guy, girl to girl) are best. The reasoning for this is that this is not just for teaching but also for discussing personal issues, such as lust and ruling sexual thoughts, etc…
02. Begin to serve your parents and command your attitude to be Christ-like (Make your bed, clean your room, wash the dishes, etc.).
03. Start accountability partners with your friends. (These should not be co-ed partners. You are asking for trouble, believe us!)
04. Ask God for vision for your school and church. What can I do to make a difference?
05. Start evangelism teams of two or more to spread the good news with love and humility.


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