Preparatory thoughts:

The focus of teaching and application @hwcyouth High School is centered around the Sermon on the Mount and Jesus’ emphasis on repenting for the kingdom of heaven is near (Matthew 4:17).

  • How do I help teenagers to understand what Jesus means when he talks about the “kingdom of heaven”?
  • How do I delineate between human kingdoms/economies/governments/systems and God’s kingdom?
  • What are some questions that can get at our human systems which will illuminate its values and aims?
  • What if I told the story (genesis) of this miraculously saved Jewish boy who turns into someone John the Baptist baptizes, is tempted in the wilderness, begins to preach (kingdom of God), calls disciples (talmideen), heals sick people?
  • What if the sermon on the mount (Matt. 5-7) isn’t a long, boring sermon, but a collection of Jesus’ teaching on the kingdom of God?

Set the stage. Repent and believe, an alternative way to live… the way God intended. Dallas Willard comments on Jesus’ sermon: “This Jesus’ answer to the question: ‘What is the good life?'”

What kind of illustration can we start with to share this alternative way to live in God’s kingdom from the heavens in a concrete way? How to illustrate “repent and believe” as letting go of my personal way of living (repentance) and picking up (believing) Jesus’ way of life?

Language (Ephesians 4:29).


Show this video on the power of the tongue found at: Sermon Spice.

Ask these questions one at a time and write responses on the whiteboard:

  1. How do people use words to hurt other people?
  2. How do people use words to help other people?

Overview of Teaching @hwcyouth High School (2016-2017)

This year at Youth group we are going to delve into the real:

  • anger
  • perfection
  • judgment
  • sex
  • lust
  • heaven
  • hell
  • promises
  • revenge
  • loving the people you hate
  • trying to impress people
  • forgiveness
  • what do you really value? what’s most important to you?
  • who is your master?
  • the golden rule
  • turning the other cheek
  • generosity
  • praying
  • fasting
  • does God know you?
  • the Bible, what does it really mean?

This place, this time, and this group of people has the potential to be amazing!

Here are 9 reasons to be @hwcyouth High School:


Here are 7 reasons not to be @hwcyouth High School:



As I said earlier we are going to delve into the real. We are going to honestly look at our natural, human world and its values and we are going to honestly look at and try to figure out the supernatural, divine world and its values and how they might intersect.

{create two columns on the whiteboard: one column labled “Earth: Natural, Human World” and the second column labled: “Heaven: Supernatural, Divine World”}

If you were to guess, what would be the values (or what’s important) to each of these worlds?

Let’s create an initial list. Take time to allow the students to answer. Our list ended up like this:


Natural, Human World

It’s interesting because on this list all we have to do is think about ourselves and other humans and we can be pretty accurate.

If someone comes up and punches me, what am I probably going to do back? Yeah… natural response!

Supernatural, Divine World

On this side, we can only imagine, or have experienced it, or it needs to have been revealed to us. Ha! That’s where the Bible comes in!!

Similar scenario to the one above: someone punching you. What is the “heaven” response? Turn the other cheek. Why would you do that?! You would be considered weak and stupid if you did that!

Let’s start at the beginning…

If you believe the Bible, how did the natural, human world get here? God. And it was made to be amazing. It was the perfect mix of natural and supernatural, human and divine. There was no line between the columns. But humans messed it up: sin. Instead of wiping us out and starting over, God decided to work to redeem/fix his broken, self-centered creation. God decided to create a special group of people that would be set apart from the rest of the world to show what God was really like (heaven). This special group of people, Israel, had one fatal flaw: sin (self-centeredness). No matter how hard God tried, their sinfulness (natural, human world stuff) ruled their hearts. So God decided to send a special representative from heaven as a human (incarnation) to earth to display/model a life that looks like God designed humans to look like all along. In order to take care of that fatal flaw (sin), this special representative paid the ultimate sacrifice and let his creation (humans) kill him. Because he was perfect, his sacrifice paid the penalty for humanity’s rebellion: sin. By following in this special representative’s death and coming back to life (resurrection), we can actually live the kind of life God intended for humans when he first designed us.

If that’s true, then the best way to live life in this natural, human world is to follow in the special representative’s shoes. It doesn’t mean we physically die, but it means to die to what we want in the natural, human world. This is called repentance. Repent of our own human way of doing things and believe in this special representative of God’s way.


  • surrender
  • give
  • lose your life
  • 180-degrees


  • faith
  • receive
  • find your life
  • trust

Next week we will continue to flesh this out, but let’s take a look at a practical example of the natural, human world (earth) and the supernatural, divine world (heaven), and what repent and believe looks like. Are you ready?


There’s no easy way to start this so here goes:

Let’s make a list of the cuss words. Let’s use letters to start this off. Please don’t say them. We’ll all know what they are.


Tell the story of learning to cuss in grade 6 and propagating it all throughout high school and into the workplace.

Read Ephesians 4:29


Now that doesn’t sound like fun! That’s so restricting!! Church is all about rules!!!

Why would the kingdom of heaven, Jesus, be asking his people to “not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouth” (Eph. 4:29)?

Watch this video (caution: preview and discern appropriateness prior to watching with students):

{consult this post, What Makes Language Bad?, for more processing of this video and its contents}

Three categories of “bad” language

  1. Condemning, judgmental, ungodly words
  2. Sexually graphic, sexually explicit
  3. Impolite to say in any given culture

There is a difference between vocabulary and intention. Paul Tripp:


Natural, Human World

Just words. Can say whatever you want. Self-centered.

Supernatural, Divine World

Not just words. Purpose of words is to build others up. Others-centered.

Let’s get real concrete with this application and synthesize it with repent and believe:





01 Week Teaching 9-7-16 // 66.8mb, mp3