1. It Feels Like God's Not There, So Why Pray?
Why It's Hard To Pray & What To Do About It
Phillip Maxwell | Pastor to Youth | Fort Worth Presbyterian Church | Fort Worth, TX
Do you find it hard to pray? Almost everyone does. I mean what do you say? Are you supposed to hear something? Why does it feel so weird to be alone, disconnected from your phone, alone with God? Everyone struggles to pray, and a lot of us feel bad about it. So what should we do?
Some say that prayer is simply practicing the presence of God. So, why’s it so hard? Because most of the time it feels like God isn’t there, like you’re talking to empty air. In this elective, we’ll look at the obstacles to living a praying life and how prayer is a lot easier than we’ve been making it.
Phillip has been the youth pastor at Fort Worth Presbyterian Church for 2 years. He has worked in college ministry (RUF) and youth ministry since his time at Southern Methodist University in Dallas where he had a deep experience of God. He’s married to Christina and together they have two children, Jack (3) and Eloise (2). He loves blues and motown music, eating fish tacos and watching SMU Mustangs basketball.
2. Who Is This Guy?
Ryan Dougan | Student Ministry Coordinator | Christ the King | Houston, TX
What was Jesus really like? How did he interact and talk with people? Do you think he was a fun guy to be around? We’ll look at some stories that can give us insight for these questions.
Ryan Dougan currently resides in the 3rd largest but number 1 greatest city in the United States, Houston, TX. He, his wife Micaela and his new baby girl Everett love spending their time trying out all of the delicious food that Houston has to offer. Ryan's been a part of the youth staff at Christ the King Presbyterian Church for over 4 years. During that time he has solidified himself as the (self-proclaimed) spike ball/board game champion of the Houston Metro area!
3. Life After Life After Death
Joe Deegan | Music Resources Coordinator | RYM | Houston, TX
No, that’s not a typo; it’s the actual title of the class. For years human beings have pondered the question, “Is there life after death?” Christians have said yes but have sometimes oversimplified it by saying, “Believers go to heaven; non-believers go to hell. End of story.” Is that really the end of the story? Could it be that the Bible teaches us there’s more? Could it be that there is a life after life after death? The answer is yes! The resurrection wasn’t just a really cool miracle that Jesus performed on himself. It was actually the beginning of a revolution. It was the deep magic, as C.S. Lewis said, that would cause death itself to start working in reverse. It is the promise of a hope that we hold fast to—a hope that one day Jesus will come back and bring heaven with him, down to earth, where we will live in the light of his glory and in the wake of his resurrection forever and ever. If this is true, then oh man, do we have a lot to look forward to! And I’m sure you have a lot of questions. I do too…so let’s talk about it.
Joe grew up in the small town of Tuscumbia, AL near the banks of the Tennessee River. He started playing guitar when he was 15 on a cheap, old fender he borrowed from a friend. A year later, he started banging around the old piano that sat in his living room. He fell in love with both and quickly discovered he had more of an interest in music than he realized. Joe found ways to play for churches and gatherings and friends throughout high school and college until he moved to Houston, TX to work as a youth pastor at Christ the King Presbyterian Church. He has since found a home in Houston with his wife Leah and his three kids Ellie, Sam, and Will and joins the RYM staff as the Music Resources Coordinator. Joe wrote and recorded his debut album in March of 2015 called "The Risen King," an eleven song project that tells the story of the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ. Joe's second album "Cover and Title Page" is now available too.
4. "I Get By with a Little Help from My Friends"
Friendship: Why You Need Them & How to Make Them
Christina Maxwell | Fort Worth, TX
One of the greatest joys in this world is deep and meaningful friendship. Songs, movies, books and TV shows have all been written about how wonderful it is to be loved by a friend. Having been created in the image of the Triune God, each of us longs for friendship and community. But if you’ve had any real friendships you know it can be very hard to be a friend. People can be messy, stubborn, and challenging, and that can make friendships difficult and confusing.
In this elective class, we are going to examine friendship as we try to answer several questions together. Why do we need friendships? Why is it so hard to make and maintain good friendships? What does it mean to be a friend? How do we become a good friend? How do we befriend people who are different than us? How does social media bring unique challenges to friendships in this digital moment? What is the difference between being someone’s follower or fan and being a friend? How do we deal with bullies and judgment? How do we create genuine connections in a superficial age? We will look to scripture together to find some practical answers for how God might have as live together as we walk through life!
Christina lives in Fort Worth, TX with her husband Phillip and their children, Jack (3) and Eloise (2). After college at SMU (Pony up!) Christina worked for RUF Campus Ministry for several years before attending Redeemer Seminary and then moving to Fort Worth. She loves to volunteer and spend time with the middle school girls at her church. She also LOVES watching TV, cooking, fashion and being active!
5. The BODY of Believers
A Theology of the Body & Exercise
John Perritt | Director of Resources | RYM | Ridgeland, MS
We live in a world that is focused on the human body. In fact, it’s impossible to make it through one day without seeing some image of a human body. Whether it’s on Instagram, the magazines we see in the checkout line, or the body we see in the mirror – we are flooded with varying images of body types. But it doesn’t stop there. We are also being taught by these images. The world is often telling us our bodies should look a certain way. For the Christian, we need to know that the Bible is not silent on this issue. We also need to know that there may be some ways we agree with the world. That said, there are ways we need to challenge the world’s view of the body. What is the body? How are Christians supposed to view their bodies? How do believers take care of their bodies? Should we be concerned with our physical appearance? This is a class that will assist students in a theology of the body and how we should care for the body God has given to us.
John Perritt (MDiv RTS ’09 & DMin SBTS ’16) served in youth ministry at Pear Orchard Presbyterian Church for over 12 years. Prior to that, he served in youth ministry at First Presbyterian Church in Hattiesburg, MS. He published Your Days Are Numbered (2016) & What Would Judas Do? (2017). He has also published articles with The Gospel Coalition and Desiring God. He and his wife, Ashleigh, have five children and live in Ridgeland, MS.
6. What is the Song of Your Life?
Josh Keller | Associate Pastor, Young Adults | All Saints Presbyterian Church | Austin, TX
If you've ever tried to read the Bible, then you know how confusing, difficult, and strange it can be. Sometimes we get reading and then just drop it. Sometimes we feel guilty if we don't read it. Sometimes we don't even know where our Bible is. So why should we read the Bible? What difference does it make in our life? How do we even understand it? This week we will be talking about why the Bible matters so much and how we find ourselves in its Story, in its Song, and in its Picture.
Hi! I'm Josh. I've got these kids (Elliotte, Oliver, Addie) and they are pretty awesome. Probably even more awesome than you, but not quite as awesome as my wife (Erin). I was once a youth pastor, but then I was abducted by aliens and spent 2 years on an alien space ship in a different time dimension. I came back as a young adults pastor. I don't know what any of that means, but the aliens sure were nice. They played ping pong with me every day and gave me smoothies - that's how I got really good at soccer. Anyway, can't wait to watch USA in the World Cup with you guys...
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