What is Your Mockingjay?

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What is Your Mockingjay?

Have you ever found yourself unintentionally involved in a conflict? Or perhaps you involuntarily started a skirmish, and now you face a battle that you’re not sure you’re going to win?

If you answered “yes” to either of these questions, then you know a bit about what it must feel like to be Katniss Everdeen in The Hunger Games. After being willing to sacrifice herself to save her younger sister, who would have been a totally vulnerable and inexperienced fighter, she has transformed into a formidable warrior who is capable of leading a successful rebellion against a very corrupt system.

She (literally) shattered the Hunger Games, and now Katniss will be the rallying point for the Districts’ attempts to overthrow their oppressors.

But I don’t think that’s what she wanted…

And neither would we—right? Like Katniss, we all would rather just have peace and be with friends and family in a stress free environment. Unfortunately, neither our world, nor The Hunger Games world, is set up that way.  So, we would be wise to—like Katniss—find our own personal Mockingjay!

In The Hunger Games, the Mockingjay is a symbol of rebellion towards the Capitol and a mockery of their failed attempts at spying on the Districts. To Katniss, it is a reminder of what she is fighting for and how vulnerable she is in the war she never wanted in the first place.

So what is your Mockingjay?  In other words, what symbolizes your commitment to the spiritual war we fight in every day and reminds you that we can never get comfortable or lose our focus on THE Cause of Christ? Look, I am with those of you that long for a more comfortable and conflict free life, but hey, whether or not we asked for it, when we trusted in Jesus for salvation, we joined the fighting forces of rebellion against the gates of Hell itself!

Personally, I’ve chosen the Cross for my Mockingjay. It is a symbol of rebellion towards the spiritual forces of darkness that wreak so much death and destruction in our world, and it reminds me of the astonishing vulnerability of Jesus Christ. He is the God of the Universe, yet He was born in a stable. But more than that:

Though he was God,
he did not think of equality with God
as something to cling to.
Instead, he gave up his divine privileges;
he took the humble position of a slave
and was born as a human being.
When he appeared in human form,
he humbled himself in obedience to God
and died a criminal’s death on a cross
(Philippians 2:6-8, NLT).

Jesus’ death and resurrection started a war for the souls of all mankind. Like the Capitol, Satan wants to maintain control over the world and keep all his subjects in complete subjugation, but God left us here when we were saved so that we can help take down the kingdom of darkness!

So I have a cross in my car to remind me to pray for my friends and family when I’m driving.  I have a cross at my desk to encourage me to fight the good fight against the world, the flesh and the devil each and every moment.

I even have a cross in my bedroom to remind me that Jesus is the reason I have breath in my lungs and a fire in my heart to serve Him from the beginning to the end of each day.

Many of you need a “Mockingjay,” and might I suggest you choose the cross of Jesus Christ, as well? Not as a religious symbol, but rather as a rebellious representation against the sinful patterns of this world. Looking to the cross will keep your heart, soul, mind and strength focused on Christ and His cause each moment. And if you are looking for worlds of encouragement to get in the battle, let these words wash over the deepest part of you:

Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross, and follow me” (Matthew 16:24).


The message of the cross is foolish to those who are headed for destruction! But we who are being saved know it is the very power of God (1 Corinthians 1:18).


As for me, may I never boast about anything except the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. Because of that cross, my interest in this world has been crucified, and the world’s interest in me has also died (Galatians 6:14.).

So if the Hunger Games motivates you to fight injustice, find your Mockingjay and get in the battle for THE Cause!


Sometimes having a symbol can really be helpful in reminding us of what is truly important, and nothing is more critical than THE Cause of Christ! This week, think through what might help you stay focused in serving Jesus.


PRAY: Jesus, thank You for humbling Yourself and dying on the cross so we could live forever with You. While we remain in earth, help us keep our eyes on You and our hearts committed to THE Cause
READ: Mark 8:34. Then, calling the crowd to join his disciples, he said, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross, and follow me.”
GET: Dare 2 Share: A Field Guide to Sharing Your Faith. This practical, how-to “survival manual” serves as a ready reference for relationally sharing your faith. Throw it in your backpack for easy access to the invaluable faith-sharing tips and tools you’ll find in this practical, real world resource. Features profiles on various belief systems, including compliments and conversation starters that will help you open up honest, authentic spiritual dialogue.


LEADERS: Be sure to check out the Discussion Guide for this week’s Soul Fuel – What is Your Mockingjay? located at the bottom of the page at this link!

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A Couple of Easy Reads for Parents


Raising a son to become a God-honoring man is no easy task. It’s complex, it’s dynamic, and it requires a lifetime of investment. But authors Brock Morgan and Mark Oestreicher know it can be done—confidence that’s rooted in their individual journey of faith and in their experience as longtime youth workers.

A Parents’ Guide to Understanding Teenage Guys will help you see your son through the eyes of Jesus and will inspire you to seek God’s insight and wisdom as you accompany him on this journey filled with failure and triumph, defeat and victory, joy and sorrow. You’ll discover insights on shepherding your son, preparing him to take the reins of his life, and helping him confront the extreme struggles every guy faces—such as loneliness, anger, lust, apathy, and technology.


Change is an inevitable part of life. So why are most of us parents shocked and surprised when our daughters change in unexpected, dramatic, significant ways once they hit the teen years? Girls go through their most dramatic developmental changes during adolescence. And they need parents to be there, just as present and involved as when our little girls were, well, still little girls!

As you read through the pages of A Parent’s Guide to Understanding Teenage Girls, veteran youth workers Brooklyn Lindsey and Mark Oestreicher will help you re-examine some assumptions and misunderstandings about this season of life. Then, from a place of trust in God, you will gain a fresh perspective on who your daughter is and who she’s becoming.

Serving Others Will Help Your Teen Thrive

Raising Resilient Children and Teens

Help your children thrive during both good and challenging times.

The Tension in Serving


The Tension in Serving

So it’s confession time.  I’ve followed the blog posts that Reggie and Kara have posted in the last few week, and I admit it stirs a tension in me.

I think it’s generally true that people change when the pain associated with the status quo is greater than the pain associated with change.  Whether the issue is weight loss, music in your church, finances or friendship, most of us only change when our current situation becomes painful enough to motivate change – and sometimes the pain has to be quite significant to provoke deep change.

The tension I see is that the culture we live in moves us to greater and greater personal comfort.  We don’t have to get up to change a channel, change the music, and can drive in without an appointment to change the oil on our cars. We don’t even have to wait for dinner.  Everything moves us (and our kids) into greater and greater comfort.  Which leads me to my confession: I actually like comfort.  Chances are you might to.  I think our kids don’t mind it either.

And that makes serving difficult.  There will be very little pain associated with the status quo of not serving.  Face it: serving others is rarely convenient.  It’s often expensive.  It takes energy, time, effort and often money that we could spend on ourselves.

Which is why if I’m going to serve Christ and serve others, I need to make myself do it.  I wish I was a good enough person to wake up every morning and want to serve others.  But I find it’s more of a discipline – like working out or eating well.  If I wait for the moment of spiritual maturity where serving others is automatic, I be very old when it arrives. Or dead.

How about you?  Do you have to fight the status quo?  What have you found effective in helping you make serving a priority?  What has helped your family engage the tension of learning to serve?