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Research shows that 80-85% of people who become Christians do so by the age of 18.  Another statistic says 80% of our youth are leaving the church by the time they enter college. Ugh.  Like me (Patty), these stats may leave you feeling quite discouraged or down right depressed. So what do we do? Research and experience point to three things that can influence our youth and help them to grow their faith in Jesus.

  • Having faith based traditions in the home (praying together, serving together, etc.)
  • Sending your child to church camp or retreats
  • The father attends church

For the past 25 years, my 6 siblings and I, along with all of our spouses and children, have created our own Fourth-of-July tradition at an area resort.  With 25-30 of us, it’s an incredible night of “multi-generational-Kumbaya-just-can’t-miss-it” worship, pizza, slushies, and fireworks!  At one point in the evening, we divide into groups of three to pray together, young and old alike.  The stories that have unfolded during this intimate time of prayer have been amazing.

As I’ve had the pleasure to watch my kids and their 12 cousins grow in their faith and become sold out for Christ, I can’t help but wonder... how?  What is the formula that keeps them in church and following God?  I believe it’s through tons of prayer and through experiences where they are truly encountering Christ and His love through the accountability and “God stories” of their brothers and sisters (or cousins) in Christ. Life is not made of hours, weeks, months or years, but of moments. Seize those moments with your kids! Joining us this week, we are excited to welcome back Ann Dunagan.  Ann is the author of The Mission-Minded Child, and has much to share with us about pointing our children and youth to Jesus. Also joining us is Anne Milam, a girlfriend from Bloom.  It’s going to be a great show! Pass it on,

Theodore Roosevelt famously said, “Far and away the best prize that life has to offer is the chance to work hard at work worth doing.” It’s easy to look at our culture and see that we want things to be given to us or at least do the minimum amount of effort to achieve things. So often when Lisa and I pray, we ask God to help us accomplish certain goals, but please help it to be done effortlessly. You see, I’d rather work easily at work worth doing. I don’t like to struggle with things . . . I want “Girlfriendit” to reach every listener, I want the strip clubs to be vacant, I want my parenting to be controlled and my marriage to be conflict-free! Oh yeah, and I want cool abs, toned arms, yadda, yadda, yadda. I’m in my Christian bubble, desiring a fantastic Godly result, but I don’t want to wind down the path of failed attempts that precede it. Superhero status without the trek! Deep down, we know the race that God has set forth might not be accomplished effortlessly; therefore, we need to surround ourselves with superheroes for hope and encouragement. We all need an advocate that shouts, “You’ve Got This!” So today, show up; do the simple acts and the hard tasks. Spend it in a way that would make Jesus smile. This is Life and it is the greatest victory worth celebrating! Don't you realize that in a race everyone runs, but only one person gets the prize? So run to win! 1 Cor. 9:24 Trying to Fly!
I (Lisa) love the Christmas cartoon, A Charlie Brown Christmas.  Four   generations of my family have enjoyed it now. There is a scene in the show where Lucy sets up her Psychiatric Help Booth and Charlie, in a state of depression, pays a visit, seeking wise counseling. After shaking her money jar and enjoying the sound of cold hard cash, Lucy begins by asking Charlie a series of questions, trying to help him identify a fear that could be a cause of his depression. Finally, after several inquisitions, she asks, “Do you think you have pantophobia?”  “What’s pantaphobia?”, asks Charlie. “The fear of everything,” Lucy replies. “THAT’S IT!” screams Charlie, knocking Lucy off her seat. Most of us do not struggle with pantophobia, but if we are honest, we all struggle with some form of fear or anxiety. It can usually be traced back to a certain scenario or circumstance that had a huge impact. Even if it doesn’t necessarily control or affect us every day, it could still be an issue that stops us from moving forward in an area of our life. The National Institute of Mental Health cites that 40 million adults suffer from some form of anxiety. Fear doesn’t have to define or control us and we do not need to suffer in isolation. We are excited for our dialogue this week on Girlfriendit Radio with our two special guests, Susie Davis and Amber Ancarrow. Author Susie Davis found herself stuck in a decades-long relationship with fear and anxiety after experiencing a profound tragedy when she was in the 8th grade. That day changed everything for Susie “I didn’t realize it then, but that was the beginning of my breakup with God. I don’t think I ever stopped loving him, but I definitely stopped trusting him,” says Susie.   She is the author of the recent book, Unafraid: Trusting God in an Unsafe World. Amber Ancarrow from the ministry of Bloom/Stadia lives and serves her community in Baltimore, which recently experienced racial tension and riots. Fear is not defining them or the community, and Amber will talk with us about what they are doing to love their city and promote unity. This will be a show about hope and restoration!

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