On Friday night, several of our 5th-8th grade youth (as well as a few friends!) met a church for a night of fun, food, games, and time in God's Word!

We started the night off making personal pizzas- would you believe we almost went through 5 lbs of cheese?!? After an icebreaker game and some fresh homemade pizza, we sat down to discuss peer pressure and how to handle it. Using the life of Joseph as an example, and a video devotion from "Your Time of Grace", we discussed three steps to deal with peer pressure:
1) Guard your heart and mind. Paul tells us in Romans 12:1-2 that we shouldn't conform to the patterns of this world, but rather be transformed by the renewing of our minds - that is, through the gospel and focusing on our relationship with God through Jesus.
2) Watch your environment - be aware of potential situations where you may be faced with peer pressure, or groups of people who are into things you know are wrong. Joseph refused to even be around Potiphar's wife, because he knew she was trouble. Maybe it is best to keep your distance from people and situations who may be trouble, so there is not a temptation to join in with them. 
3) Instead of maximizing the benefit of the sin (like our friends might do), focus on the potential consequence of offending God - like Joseph did when he said "How then could I do such a wicked thing and sin against God?" 
And finally, standing up to peer pressure can be hard. We may not always respond to it the way God wants us to. But thank God he sent us Jesus, who perfectly stood up to every instance of peer pressure in our place, and paid the punishment for the times we fail. That gives us the motivation to keep trying - out of thankfulness for the love and forgiveness God freely gives!

We wrapped up with "chubby bunny" as well as minute-to-win-it challenges and games, which had us with cookies on our faces, moving marshmallows with straws, and sorting a hundred skittles by color - all with the pressure of the one-minute count down! The night flew by, making for a fun start to our brand new Youth Group!

This was the first of our monthly "First Friday" hangouts- and now we're looking forward to our next get-together on March 3 at Fly High trampoline park! All 5th-8th graders and friends are welcome to join us!