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Current SERIES:  ALL ACCESS
AN EASTER SERIES ON LIFE WITH JESUS

Series Summary:
Have you ever been to a concert? Maybe you had tickets for great seats. Maybe you were in the nosebleeds. Either way, you probably noticed that everyone had the same goal in mind, to get as close as possible. There’s just something about being near the band or near the artist that makes a great concert even more fun. But there’s a limit, right? No matter how good your tickets are, you can only get so close. There’s a velvet rope you can’t cross, a hall you can’t walk down, or a security guard you can’t stroll right past because those areas are reserved for certain people . . . special people— people with an all-access pass. Maybe you’ve felt the same way when it comes to God. Sure, you come to church and sing songs or listen, but there’s a limit to how close you can get. It’s almost like there’s a velvet rope around certain parts of our faith that tells us those parts are restricted to special people, to church-staff people, or to super-spiritual people. But what if that’s never what God intended? In this series we’ll explore what the Resurrection of Jesus really meant—for real people like us. And, we’ll discover that, because of Easter, we have an all-access pass to Him and to the life He has for us. 


THINK ABOUT THIS

Written by Autumn Ward

By Carey Nieuwhof

You may have a toddler right now who won’t leave your side. You know the kind. The kid who’s glued to your leg, velcroed to your arm, who keeps wanting you to read the same story again, and again, and again. It’s driving you nuts some days, isn’t it?

It’s hard to believe, but one day, they’re going to withdraw. Ask any parent who has middle schoolers. Or teenagers. It happens . . . they withdraw. And you know what happens to most parents? Most parents have no idea what to do. So they do this: When their kids withdraw, they withdraw.

Why wouldn’t you? I mean it kind of works like that in life, doesn’t it? When someone doesn’t want to be your friend anymore, you eventually give up and withdraw—which only makes sense. You can’t be friends with someone who doesn’t want to be your friend. Except that in this case, they’re you’re family. The dynamic isn’t as straightforward. So what do you do?

As a father of 2 sons, now 19 and 23,I can give you a few pointers. Now, I’m not an expert by any stretch of the imagination. I’ve just been confused by it long enough and have enough scars to write a few hundred words on the subject.

Basically, if you’ve got a kid who thinks Minecraft is far more interesting than Mom, or a son who doesn’t want to watch movies with you but seems to want to watch anything and everything with their friends, what do you do?

1. Get Over Your Hurt 
Just admit it: It kind of hurts a little. You pour your heart into your kids, get up at 5 a.m. to take them to practice, do homework with them on nights when your brain should have had a rest hours ago, fund everything, and suddenly they find you . . . uninteresting.

As much as that kind of stinks, you’re the parent. Get over it. Your job isn’t to be their friend, it’s to be their parent.

2. Be Around
When my oldest started high school, he told me, “Hey dad . . . why can’t you just be like other dads and simply hang around more?” It was weird for me to hear that, because I was home a lot. But he was right. I was always busy. Being a driven person who loves what he does, I was always working on a new project or writing something new.

The penny dropped. So basically I just needed to hang around and do nothing, or at least not be preoccupied? I didn’t know if I had a category for that. But I tried. I decided to hang around the house night after night with no particular agenda, just to see what happened.

The first night my oldest son went out after supper to hang out with friends and my other son was tied up with something else. I thought, well this is stupid. I wanted to go get busy with something. But my wife persisted. So I decided to give it more time.

And after a while, we started connecting much more. No agenda. Nothing pressing. Just by virtue of being in the same space in the same time repeatedly, we connected. And I learned this: While being around is no guarantee anything relationally significant will happen, not being around is an absolute guarantee nothing relationally significant will happen.

So be around.

3. Leverage The Ordinary
Your rhythm changes as your kids get older. Tucking your five-year-old into bed is an amazingly glorious ritual. Tucking your 15-year-old into bed every night is just weird. You lose a lot of the rhythms of childhood when your kids get older. And if you keep invading the space they spend with their friends, you lose major points.

But there are other opportunities. Meal times are a case in point.

Take the time to eat a meal together . . . not in the car . . . not standing at the kitchen breakfast bar sucking back a smoothie on your way out the door, but at a real table, with real chairs, with real forks and real knives. And chew your food. If you take 15-30 minutes to have dinner together and turn off all your devices, amazing things happen. Amazing things like conversations. No matter how busy our lives get, we always try to sit down together for five dinners a week. If you prioritize it, it can happen.

Another great opportunity is during your drive time. I know, you feel like a taxi service. So leverage that. Turn the music off . . . or up, depending on your mood. Don’t talk on the phone. Stop texting (especially if you’re driving), and talk. Conversations in the car can go deeper faster because you haven’t got the pressure of looking at each other.

So what happens when all this happens?

Well, you grow up. They grow up. And sometimes, they develop a habit of coming around.

I’m writing this after having lunch with my eldest son and his wife at a Mexican restaurant they found near their place in Toronto. He had called the day earlier and said, “Hey Dad, you and mom want to come down after church? We’d love to hang out with you guys.” My other son now calls and texts from a university out of town . . . even when he doesn’t need money. Imagine that.

Just remember this. When your kids withdraw, don’t withdraw.
It’s so worth the fight.

Get connected to a wider community of parents at TheParentCue.org


TRY THIS

In this series, we’ve been talking about the idea of “all access”—the idea that we have all access to God, which gives us access to hope and purpose. But your teenager also needs to know they have an all-access pass to talk to you. That’s certainly easier when they’re younger. Bath time and bed time give you clear opportunities to talk. But as schedules get busier and the conversations become more complicated, it may be helpful to remind your son or daughter that they still have your attention.

This week, try texting them or writing a simple note to let them know you’re still available to them. It doesn’t have to be long or emotional. Try something like this:

Hey, I heard you’ve been talking about “all access” at church. I know sometimes it may not feel like you have or need all-access to me, but I want you to know that you can talk to me about anything, anytime. No pressure to start today. Just wanted you to know.

Honestly, you may not get a response. That’s okay. The goal is to simply re-give them permission to talk to you on their time and when they’re ready. 


WEEK 1: APRIL 2

Session One

SCRIPTURE
Therefore, brothers and sisters, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water (Hebrews 10:19-22 NIV). 

BOTTOM LINE
Because of Jesus, you have all access to God.

SUMMARY
“Will you tell Katie I’ll talk to her again when she apologizes?” “Will you tell Brian he’s not my friend anymore?” We’ve all been involved in these kinds of exchanges, and we probably all agree they’re the worst. Separation between friends is uncomfortable and lonely. It can make us feel like outsiders. In this series, we’ll talk about how Jesus’ death and resurrection removed our need for a middleman to intervene between God and us—and, instead, gave us an all-access pass to Him.

Because of Jesus, we’re all in. Because of Jesus, we have all access to God. 


WEEK 2: APRIL 9

Session Two 

SCRIPTURE
For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need (Hebrews 4:15-16 NIV). 

Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself’” (Matthew 22:37-39 NIV). 

BOTTOM LINE
Because of Jesus, you have power over temptation.

SUMMARY
We all know what it’s like to face small temptations like food, but we also know what it’s like to face temptations that are a bigger deal. And sometimes when it comes to temptation, we feel powerless and alone. Because of Jesus, we’re never alone in our temptations. Because of Jesus, we can confidently talk to God about our struggles and our temptations, knowing that Jesus says, “Me too.”

We can confidently come to Him in our time of need. 


WEEK 3: APRIL 23

Session Three 

SCRIPTURE
May the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen (Hebrews 13:20-21 NIV).

Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself’” (Matthew 22:37-39 NIV). 

BOTTOM LINE
Because of the resurrection, you have access to a life of purpose.

SUMMARY
This is the final session of our series All Access. Because of the resurrection of Jesus, we have all access to God and we have all access to the power to overcome temptation. This week, we’re going to look at how Jesus’ resurrection not only equips us to do good things, but also gives us all access to God’s purpose for our lives right now. And we’ll explore how God can use our unique talents, skills, and abilities to help the people He’s placed in our world.