teenage-girlfriendsBFFs and frenemies are one of the best…and worst…things about being a teen. What you might not realize is that they’re also possibly one of the highest risks you’ll ever face. Why? Because it may seem like those never-ending text conversations and tweets back and forth are trivial rumblings, but new research reveals that they’re influencing everything from mental health, to career paths, to how you approach relationships with guys. Do your friends draw you closer to Jesus? Or closer to the boy-crazy train? Let me be honest with you, there is no middle ground.

Here are three things you need to ask yourself about your friendships if you value sexual purity. 

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NotEndDear girl whose dreams have been crushed,

This is not the end.

It may feel like it. The grief may come in waves so deep that you can’t catch your breath at times. Breathe. Breathe.

This is not the end.

That fractured pelvis that robbed you of your athletic dreams is not the end. Those so-called friends who betrayed you and have left you lonely are not the end. The rejection letter isn’t the end. The divorce is not the end. The funeral was not the end.

Not for God’s girl. I have some hope and you need it. So, let’s spend a few minutes together filling your heart with something more powerful than that hopelessness. Read More


I was lonely at church

ERASINGI know what it’s like to feel lonely.

Oh, I didn’t look lonely. Active in a small group, a leader in Vacation Bible School and the youth group, I never missed a church service. And Bob and I were always hosting church parties in my home complete with a legendary baked bean and coleslaw food fight that some poor woman is still probably cleaning out of the corners of that old kitchen. My life looked fun. But I was sad, and my body could not contain it anymore. Research reveals a startling negative impact of loneliness on physical health. Chronic sinus infections, migraines, and stomache problems led me to a breaking point: I found myself in a doctor’s office with a prescription for anti-depressants in hand.

That was fifteen years ago. I found my way out, and it wasn’t those pills. (Though I am thankful I had them for a short season.) Today I fellowship in a circle of authentic friendship that’s difficult to describe, but when I have someone visit they always say something like, “I really crave what you have here” or “I’ve never been in a group of authentic fellowship like this ever.” There is hope for a life of authentic intimacy and friendship in the body of Christ. Let me show you the way out.

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sunset-9What would you do? The child you know and love—and was raised as a boy before you met and the adoption was official—wants to be raised as a girl. The catch: doctor’s cannot really say for certain if this child is a girl or a boy. This child has a medical condition known as intersex.

About 1 in 2,000 babies are born with conflicting physical sexual organs in which a sex development specialist is brought in to consult. In many cases, closer examination and blood tests reveal that they are biologically male or female. But for some, no clear biological sex is evident. Such was the case of “Laurie,” whose adoptive Christian parents were seeking answers when they came knocking on my door. What her mom told me about the Christian community’s response broke my heart.

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Snake-AppleA Guest Post by Alyssa Spang, Grace Prep Faculty

I’ve no recollection of the first moment when I decided that God wasn’t to be trusted, but I still have numerous memories of doubt scattered throughout my life.

I wish I could remember the first time that I doubted God because then I could remember the implied opposite: a time when I trusted him fully. Sadly, the language of doubt comes much more naturally to me than joyous trust in God’s character.

There are so many hazy pieces of theology scattered throughout Christianity. What did the creation of the world look like? How is Jesus fully God and fully man? Why does God allow evil to happen?

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