Wednesday, May 14, 2008


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Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Rebelution Conference-Final Session

Last Session-Collaboration, Alex, Brett and Gregg Harris

Alex started out the last session with three simple things we should be.

  • Not Just Alone-He told us how one horse can pull 2,500 pounds, but two horses could pull a grand total of 12,500 pounds together! We need to work with other people and our efforts will be magnified. "Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work. If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up. Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone? Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken." "As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another."
  • Not Just With Peers-Just young people doing things together can be disastrous without some mature adult influence. "He who walks with the wise grows wise, but a companion of fools suffers harm."
  • Not Just With People-Companions can be movies, books, websites or magazines. Alex said that in 1998 the average person spent 9.5 hours a day consuming media. That is far more time than we usually spend with human companions. Media is very effective in shaping the culture because most people don't think of them as companions. We need to realize how it influences us and evaluate whether it is positive or not.
Mr. Gregg Harris then came out and said a couple things to the parents. He suggested that families "protect" their evening time as family time and do some family devotional things such as reading the Bible, singing worship songs and praying. He strongly encouraged the families to work together and not be so individualistic. Also, as much as parents need teens to be on their team, teens need parents to have a team for them to be on.

Then Brett took over, giving us list of practical things that we should do.
  1. Have a Hero: He said that a hero is a human shaped target, someone whose character you want to emulate. It is important, though, to have heroes in different areas of life (e.g. spiritual hero, scholastic hero.) We need people to look at that inspire us to be godly.
  2. Make Friends With Dead People: No, this doesn't mean to go hang out at the graveyard. It means to read great books by deceased authors, who lived in different times and cultures and will have different insights into life.
  3. Take Advantage Of The Movement: http://www.therebelution.com/about/
  4. Find The Secret Rebelutionaries: There are sure to be some people that have some qualities of a Rebelutionary that have never heard of the Rebelution. You just have to recruit them!
  5. Walk With The Wise To Become Wise: Brett encouraged us here, to ask a godly older person what they wish they had known and done when they were our age.
  6. Make God Your Ultimate Companion: We cannot feel victimized by the lack of a good family life or a supportive church if we don't have them, because God is always there for us.
All three guys closed out by giving us some final application. We need to throw off weight that's holding us back, stuff in our lives that isn't necessarily sin, but isn't helping us. "You already have a life, but is it the life you want? Are you willing to change something to give you the life you want?" Alex asked. "It may surprise you, but you need to change something in order to change." They gave a 30 Day Challenge to us all. The idea is that you give up something for thirty days, such as watching TV, IMing or some other activity and then add something better to your schedule such as reading inspiring books, or studying the Bible. I'd encourage you to do try it!

Monday, May 12, 2008

Rebelution Conference Notes--Part 2

Session 2-Do Hard Things, Brett Harris

Brett opened the second session with a hilarious story, telling that when he was around eight years old, he was terrified to take a shower. But of course, he's over that now. He even enjoys showers. Which brings up an interesting observation. Some things that were once terrifying to us are now part of our daily routine.

He then presented a theory: teen challenges are no worse than earlier challenges, such as riding a bike and learning to tie our shoes. He exemplified this idea by saying that teenagers have a greater capacity for doing hard things than young children do. He compared a Dixie cup with a gallon jug. They can both be half full, but even though the gallon may contain more water, they both are filled to half capacity.

Adults have never excused little kids from using the toilet or getting dressed, but the older teens get, the more they are limited, he explained. As we teens grow up, the more we limit ourselves by our tastes and label ourselves with expressions like, "I'm just not a math person," or "I'm just not very social," excusing ourselves to not be diligent in studying or unfriendly. He presented the depressing truth that our culture only expects teens to survive and not thrive. We aren't even expected to contribute to society until we're at least in our 20's. He says that we need to ask ourselves, "have we really reached our limitations?" Also, he said the ifPreCalc was required for higschool graduation, most of us would figure it out. That's sadly true. So often we only do what is absolutely necessary and neglect other important things.

Brett said we need to avoid being like Moses, who didn't want to lead Israel. He didn't try to fulfill the expectations that God had for him, so part of his job ended up being given away to his brother.

Continuing on, he told us that we need to glorify God and that He is not when we only limit ourselves to easy things. "We shouldn't be afraid of hard things just because they're hard," he nearly yelled at us. Easy things don't test our faith in God.

Everything in life takes tremendous effort by someone.

He closed out the talk with a list of what doing hard things looks like in our lives.

  1. Fighting Sin In Our Lives: Sinning is always far too easy, and it really doesn't produce anything. If we directed all our "hard things energy" into this one area, it would be the greatest.
  2. Battling Discouragement And Complacency: God has designed us to grow stronger as we're challenged. In that sense, we have an advantage if things don't come to us naturally because we get a better "workout" and we will come through our tough times as a stronger person. God doesn't call us to be the best around, but to be the best we can be. In the same way that we cannot get discouraged, we can't ever think we've made it. There is always growing to be done.
  3. Doing More Than Is Required: When you fail, it is because you haven't worked out enough, not that you have some negative traits. Going beyond what is required and expected of you will prepare you for the big tests you'll later face.
  4. Getting Over Fear of Failure: G.K. Chesterton said: "If a thing is worth doing, it is worth doing badly." Failure is really not wasted if we rely on God more because of it. We also get stronger even we fail, as long as we try hard.
  5. Doing Hard Things Looks Different For Each Person: Everyone has different strengths and weaknesses, so what may be hard for one person may not be for another. There are also very different roles for males and females.
  6. Hard Things Are Often Little Things: Sometimes it's easier to study hard and ace a test than being nice to your siblings all day is. It's a matter of importance, not magnitude. We must remember not to overlook the little things.
  7. Doing Hard Things Is The Best Life.


Rebelution Conference Notes--Part 1

Here I am, posting for the first time on this amazing blog! I hope you enjoy it. These are my notes from the Rebelution conference last fall, expanded a little.
Session 1-The Myth of Adolescence, Alex Harris

Alex started out by telling three stories about young men from different centuries: George, Dave and Drew. At age 17 George had the commission of surveying the entire Culpepper county in Virginia, a three year project. He had to survive very harsh conditions in the winter and unsettled wilderness during this time.

Dave, when he was only 12 years old, was put in command of his own ship. At one point he was in change of capturing an enemy ship and bringing its captain back to the US.

By the time Drew was 17 he was the sole provider for his family after his father’s death.

These three boys grew up to be George Washington, David Farragut and Andrew Carnegie.

Alex pointed out that although these are extraordinary feats for our time, these were not very extraordinary actions for their time. But do we know any teens these days that could do such things? Which leads to another interesting thing he said: the first use of the word “teenager” was in Reader’s Digest in 1941. What were people ages 13-19 before then? He continued to explain that until the last two generations, there were only two groups of people, children and adults. Childhood was spent preparing for adulthood and as soon as a young person was physically grown, they were ready to be an adult. At the beginning of the nineteen hundreds only 10% of people over age fourteen attended highschool, but labor and compulsory education laws soon changed that.

Alex then quoted 1 Corinthians 13, “When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I understood like a child and I thought like a child, but when I became a man, I put away childish things.” He then said “Paul didn’t say, ‘When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I understood like a child and I thought like a child. But then I looked like a man and sounded like a man (Alex did a very funny deep voice), but I still acted like a child.’” Then jumping high into the air he made a very comical childish grin. Just as a side note, the Harris twins are very funny and the audience laughed several times during each of their talks. This illustration seems funny at first, but it is a frighteningly accurate depiction of the ideas of our culture.

Somewhere during this talk (I think I got everything out of order because I had nothing to take notes with for the first talk), Alex told the story of how people in Africa keep their elephants from wandering off with only a thin rope tied to a stake in the ground. This may not seem strong enough to keep the mighty elephant from braking free, but the bonds in its mind are. These shackles were first formed when the elephant was just a baby. The masters would chain the young animal to a thick tree and for the first weeks or months the creature would strain against it, but inevitably giving up. After that, the chains weren’t needed. The elephant tried and gives up forever, the restraints in its mind fully in place.

He then said that we teens are often like that with the culture. We have these expectations from the culture, low expectations, that are only thin rope, but we think are holding us back. Leaping across the stage, Alex encourages us to break free and encourages us to be all that we can be, expecting more out of ourselves than just making our bed and doing a daily chore, as one study suggests is appropriate for a teen. We can be better than the culture expects us to be and we can be better than we expect ourselves to be. That’s what the Rebelution is all about: rebelling against low expectations.

Sunday, May 11, 2008


Once again it has been way to long since last posting on The Change! I see in the previous post I was planning on writing something. I once again became too busy with other things to get to it!

Hopefully things will change now! For I have an announcement! The Change now has a new author. I addition to what I have to write (little as it will most likely be), new author, Katrina (author of Jesus FreaKatrina), will be writing for The Change!

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