devozine

Jan/Feb 2020

Deadline: 05/27/2019

RESPONDING TO VIOLENCE

  • What experiences have I had with violence – mass shootings, terrorism, war, school shootings, gun violence, abuse, bullying, kidnapping, robbery at gunpoint, gang violence, murder? How did I feel? respond?
  • How have I or have people I know been affected by violence? When have I been a friend to someone who has been a victim of violence? What have I learned from that person? When has someone been a friend to me? How have they helped to enable healing?
  • When has gun violence hit close to home? How did I respond? When have I struggled to know how to respond?
  • How am I (and other teens) speaking out against gun violence? How have I seen the impact of marches, protests, and other events in raising awareness and preventing gun violence? In what ways can I (can teens) make a difference?
  • How have I been (or can I be) one of Christ’s peacemakers in the face of violence or in its aftermath? Who or what gives me the courage to work for peace?
  • What practical acts of kindness can offer healing after violence? How am I learning that small acts matter?
  • How am I learning to forgive those who commit violent acts? Who models this difficult practice for me?
  • When have I been angry enough to want revenge against someone for hurting me or someone I care about? How have I learned to control the urge to retaliate? When have I chosen to respond in positive ways rather than in angry or violent ways? Who helps me to see that there are options to violence?
  • How can I use writing, poetry, music, or art as a means of responding to violence? of releasing my thoughts and emotions? of encouraging others who are dealing with the effects of violence?
  • How do I respond to violence as a person of faith? What does God call me to do in a violent situation? in a relationship that involves violence?
  • Where do I see God amid the violence of our world? How could God’s love make a difference? In what ways can I help to bring God’s love and reconciliation to the world?

 

REAL TALK

  • When have I felt unsure if I could speak freely with someone else about a topic that is important to me?
  • What makes me feel comfortable enough to be real in a conversation?
  • How can I create space in a conversation so that others feel comfortable being real with me?
  • How can I work together with people with whom I disagree? What are some ways I have learned to focus on our commonalities instead of our differences?
  • What practical ways can I show others that I am open to their ideas – and to who they are?
  • How can I maintain a “posture of openness” even if my opinions, feelings, or beliefs are different from those of the person to whom I am speaking?
  • How has devozine offered me the space to be “real” with the world? When have others told me that my story of struggle or faith has offered them a word of grace or the encouragement to open up?
  • How has reading daily devos written by people in different countries and cultures allowed or encouraged me to adopt a posture of openness with those whom I encounter?
  • When have I resisted talking with someone with whom I disagreed? What made me want to hold tightly to my own opinions rather than to listen him or her? What did I learn about myself?
  • What are some ways I have seen division among Christians? What are some similarities that bring us together?
  • When have I been uncomfortable talking to people of different faith traditions? How has interacting with them helped me to be more open? to have a deeper understanding of God or of Christianity?
  • When have I felt uncomfortable talking to God? What are some unique ways I have found to talk with God about difficult issues? What happens in these conversations with God that makes them easier the more I engage in them? What have I learned by being honest with God that helps me to open up with others or to listen more deeply to their stories?
  • We are called to encourage one another and build each other up (1 Thessalonians 5:11). How do I practice this kind of Christian conversation when I disagree with someone? Who has modeled for me how to disagree in loving ways that still affirm the person with whom I am speaking?

 

GEN RISING

  • If I could offer advice to the next generation, what would it be?
  • How can teens build up and encourage the next generation? In what ways am I doing this in my own family, school, or community?
  • What have I learned from those who are younger than I am? What wisdom have I gained from spending time with children?
  • What does it mean to be a role model? Whom do I consider to be a role model for me? For whom am I a role model? How does knowing that others are looking up to me influence the way I live my life? What kind of example am I setting for others?
  • What behaviors or attitudes do I feel are important to model for my peers? When have I set the wrong kind of example for them to follow? How have I been able to turn the situation around? to seek forgiveness and make amends?
  • How have friendships with other Christians at school helped me to stay strong in my faith? How has my faith influenced my friends?
  • What have I learned from adult role models? When has a leadership role in my church or community afforded me the opportunity to be a role model to an adult?
  • What ordinary person—parent, sibling, teacher, coach, youth minister, police officer, soldier, friend—has become an unexpected role model for me? What difference can my words and actions make in the lives of others, even without my knowing it? How would I like to influence the people I encounter every day?
  • To whom do I turn when I have faith questions? What about this person makes me feel comfortable enough to ask questions? How has this person helped me to explore my questions and to seek answers?
  • How has my involvement in a youth group, an accountability group, or a mentoring relationship taught me the importance of doing faith together? What can I learn about doing faith together from Jesus’ relationship with his disciples?
  • How have my friends, my family, my church family inspired me? When have they enabled me to believe in myself? to dream big? to accomplish more than I thought possible?
  • How has the devozine community encouraged me? my generation? How will I encourage the next generation?

 

MAKING SPACE

  • When have I experienced a big change in my life—moving, transferring to a new school, losing a friend or significant other, struggling with an illness, and so on? What practices helped me through this period of transition? What tools helped me to let go of the past and make space for the future?
  • What do I need to let go of to create space for something new in my life? How might I use the season of Lent as a time for letting go in order to make space for God?
  • What are some spiritual habits that I practice regularly? How do they allow me to make space for God? to perceive a new thing God may be doing in the world or in my life?
  • What new practices have I tried because a devozine writer introduced me to them? Which ones helped me grow closer to God? Which ones didn’t work so well for me?
  • What have I learned from reading the stories of my peers in devozine? When have they helped me to see that I am not the only teen who is experiencing a particular problem or emotion?
  • What practices have helped me move through a time of change? Who or what helped me to see that God is with me wherever I am and whatever I am going through?
  • Why do I do devos? When has my devo time helped me to grow closer to God? When has it felt like a chore? What have I discovered that might help others who struggle to develop this practice?
  • How have I discovered the importance of making regular time and space in my life for God?
  • What difference does it make if I do devos regularly? When have I struggled to keep the discipline of regular devo time? What happens when I get out of my regular devo routine?
  • How do I find quiet time to be alone or to be with God in the midst of the noise and busyness of my daily life? How do these times prepare me to return to my daily routine?
  • Where and how often do I have devo time? Do I spend my devo time alone, or do I include friends? What do I do during my devo time? How do practices such as prayer, journaling, art, body movement, or silence allow me to rest and to renew my soul?
  • What influence or impact has spending regular time with God had on my life? How does my devo time help me to listen for God? to hear God? to follow God? When has God taught me something important during my devo time?
  • How does staying connected to God throughout the day help me to handle the ups and downs of my day? to notice God in even the most ordinary moments? When has the discipline of daily devos given me strength or carried me through tough times when I felt far away from God?
  • What does it mean for my life to know that even Jesus needed time alone? In what ways can I make space for God a part of my daily routine? How can I seek to incorporate space for prayer into everything I do?

 

LIVING THE QUESTIONS

  • How do I know what is true? How do I know God exists? Or that Jesus is who others say he is?
  • What questions would I like to ask God?
  • How do I respond to my own faith questions or to those of others?
  • How do I respond when friends/family/others question my faith? Who or what has challenged my faith the most? What did I learn through this challenge?
  • When have I doubted my faith? Who or what has given me the space, the grace, or the courage to express my doubt? How do I encourage others to explore their doubts and to search for answers?
  • What place do questioning and uncertainty have in my faith? When have doubt and questions led me to a deeper understanding?
  • How do I own my faith? When does faith stop being something my parents/friends/church leaders hand me and start being something I own?
  • What do I believe? How do I know? How do I allow/hold space for mystery in my faith?
  • What do I know to be true? What do I not know? How am I learning to accept what I cannot know? When have I taken the risk to believe something in faith when there was no conclusive proof?
  • How do I live what I believe when I’m not sure what I believe?
  • How do I hear God’s call? When have I felt lost or unsure of what next steps to take? How do I make myself available to God? What practices help me to discern God’s call?
  • Who helps me to recognize and act on my call to serve others? How do they support me in my call? How have others shown me what it means to be a disciple and follow God’s call?
  • How do devos help me to explore and to live with big faith questions? When has someone else’s answer to a big faith question changed the way I thought about my own questions?
  • Which of my faith questions are important enough to struggle with until I find answers? How will I hold these questions in prayer or talk about them with someone I trust?
  • At what points in my life have I questioned whether God was with me and cared for me? When have I felt God’s presence so clearly that I had no doubt God was with me? How has this experience given me the strength to live what I believe even in times when God seems absent?

 

JOMO (Joy Of Missing Out)

  • When have I experienced the Joy Of Missing Out? What was good and joyful about that?
  • When have I decided to turn down plans with others and to stay in or to spend time alone? Why did I make that decision? What emotions did I experience? What did I learn?
  • When have I chosen to disengage from a conversation, a relationship, or an activity because I needed a break? What happened?
  • What have I chosen to do less of? What led me to that decision? What did I lose? What did I gain?
  • How am I learning that I can’t do it all? Who or what helps me to say no to new commitments when I’m stretched too thin? to decide what to let go of when I’m overloaded? What role does God play helping me to discern what to take on or to give up?
  • When has focusing on my gifts, talents, and passions helped me make better decisions about which activities to accept or refuse? How has carving out time to engage my gifts brought me joy through creating beauty, serving others, being an advocate, resolving conflict, or encouraging others to share their gifts?
  • What sorts of things (good or bad) do I feel pressure to do or be in order to be accepted by my peers? Why is it so important to me to be accepted? How do I handle peer pressure?
  • When have I taken a break from social media? Why did I feel a need to do this? How did it affect me? my self-image? my relationships? my attitudes? my faith?
  • Am I more energized by spending time with other people or by spending time on my own? When do I feel the most depleted? What habits, practices, or exercises help me to recharge?
  • When have I experienced the value of leaving the rush of life and getting away for a while? How have I learned to slow down and savor every moment? How am I learning to relax and recharge myself—body, mind, and soul?
  • How do I “get away from it all”? Do I have to physically leave, or do I have more creative ways to relieve stress? When has getting away from or away to something made a difference in my life?
  • How does my faith help me overcome stress when pressures are rising around me? What scriptures do I turn to? How does my prayer life change when I feel the pressure rising?
  • When have I gone to a solitary place to spend time alone with God? What was this experience like? How can Jesus’ practice of “retreating” from the world to pray and spend time with God serve as an example to me?

 

CHAOS

  • What endings and new beginnings do young people face today? Do these changes feel positive? negative? both at the same time?
  • What transition am I facing right now—a move? my parents’ divorce? a change at school? a broken relationship? being the new kid? How is it affecting me? How can I invite God to be at work in that transition?
  • When have I navigated a transition well? Who or what helped me to weigh my options and to make healthy decisions?
  • When have I been hurt by a difficult transition? How did this affect me? others close to me? Who or what helped me to move on? What did I learn that will help me handle similar situations in the future?
  • What makes transition so difficult? How am I learning that even good change can be stressful?
  • How have I responded creatively in a time of change and chaos? How have I learned to live life in the “in-between” places? to stay calm and carry on?
  • How am I learning to expect change as a part of life, perhaps even to enjoy change? When have I benefitted from a change in my life? When have I experienced change that energized or inspired me?
  • When have I expected the worst in a situation only to be surprised by the outcome?
  • When has a time of change or loss opened surprising new opportunities for me?
  • When has the ending of a relationship or way of life led to rejuvenation and regeneration?
  • “The evil which in itself we seek most to shun, and which when we are fallen into it is the most dreadful to us, is oftentimes the very means or door of our deliverance” (Daniel Defoe). When has destruction led to deliverance in my life?
  • How have I been “in hibernation” over the winter? Could the less busy, less active, even boring parts of my life be spent in more positive ways? How might I be preparing for something? What practices might allow me to discover the gifts in me that are waiting to emerge?
  • When has the chaos of my surroundings mirrored the chaos of my inner self? How do I handle changes over which I have no control?
  • What changes would I like to see in myself? in my friends? in my community? in the world? in my spiritual life? When have I been an agent of change?
  • How do I stay focused on God in the midst of transition? How am I learning to give God my feelings of uncertainty and insecurity? When has God been my rock in a sea of change?
  • How am I learning to be open to the changes God desires for me? When have I witnessed God’s power to change someone for good? Am I ready to be transformed by that love?

 

CAN I GET A WITNESS?

  • Through stories, we can find new truths. When have I heard or read a story about someone’s life that inspired me? What about it encouraged me to change, to try harder, or to be kinder?
  • What Bible stories are most meaningful to me? Why? In which stories have I been able to see myself?
  • With what Bible characters do I identify most closely? In what ways do I see their lives connected to mine? What have I learned from them about making mistakes? being honest? forgiving others? trusting God?
  • When have I felt that a passage in the Bible expressed my exact thoughts and feelings? How did these words enable me to express what I needed to say to God? to tell my story to others?
  • When has a story or devo written by another teen seemed to express exactly what I was feeling? What was the message in that story that I needed to hear? Why is it so important to me to hear the story of a peer who understands what I’m going through?
  • What teen-written meditation have I shared with my friends or family? What was so important to me about that devo? What did I want others to hear or know? How did that meditation help me talk to someone close to me about what I was going through at the time?
  • When has a devo inspired me or changed my way of thinking? When has a devo changed the way I think about myself? about God? about others? about the way I live in the world?
  • When at a youth retreat or event has a teen given a talk that challenged or inspired me? that opened me to new perspectives that I hadn’t considered? In what ways were those words more powerful because they were spoken by a peer?
  • When have I recognized my story within the story of another person? as a part of God’s story? When has God used my story to bring others to faith?
  • When have I been asked to speak to a group of young people? What did I want to say to my peers? How did I draw from my own life and faith experiences to convey my message to them?
  • What stories do I have to tell? If I were to tell my story, what important people and events would I include from my lifetime? from before my birth? Why is it important to tell my stories?
  • When have I discovered the importance of listening to my family story? the biblical story? How has hearing these stories over and over instilled within me a sense of identity and belonging? What happens when I fail to listen?
  • How am I learning that the life I lead paints a picture of God’s story for others? Is my picture true-to-life, abstract, or impressionistic? What can I do to ensure that my story more accurately reflects God’s story?

 

G.O.A.T. (Greatest of All Time)

  • Who introduced me to devozine? When did I start reading devozine? What kept me reading devozine? How has devozine helped me to deepen my relationship with God? to live out my Christian faith? to develop practices that keep me in touch with what’s most important to me?
  • What has been one of my favorite devozine meditations? What was so meaningful about it? How did it connect with my life, my struggles, or my faith?
  • What devo from devozine have I torn out and hung up in my room or locker or placed in my Bible so that I see it every day? Why did this particular devo touch me? How does seeing or reading it often help to keep my faith strong? How does it remind me of the ways God is at work in my life and in the world?
  • When have I shared a devozine meditation (or magazine) with friends? Why did I feel compelled to share it? How did they react? Did it lead us into deeper faith conversations?
  • What has it meant to me that I could hear the voices of peers around the world as they focused on relevant issues through the eyes of faith? How has reading the faith stories of my peers inspired me to tell my story and to grapple with how I will live out my faith?
  • How has devozine helped me stay on track with my daily devotional time? How has having a devo to read every day helped me to build a regular practice of spending time with God?
  • In what ways has reading devozine helped me to grow in community with other Christian teens? to discover and to use my gifts? How has devozine helped me to talk to others about my own faith?
  • When did I receive a social media post from devozine that seemed to be created just for me? How do these messages encourage me to check in with God throughout the day?
  • In what ways do I share insights from my devo time on social media? When have I tweeted or posted a devozine meditation? How do my social networks express or reflect my faith?
  • Looking back, how do I see that reading or writing for devozine or serving on the Teen Advisory Board has helped me to consider a particular career path or field of study? How has that shaped who I am becoming?

Writers

  • Who or what gave me the courage to share my faith story with devozine? How did I feel about being published? What encouragement would I offer teens who want to share their faith with others?
  • When has someone expressed gratitude for a devo I wrote for devozine? How do I feel knowing that my story resonated with one of my peers or encouraged someone else to voice his or her thoughts and feelings to God?

Teen Advisory Board Members (current and former):

  • During my term as a Teen Advisory Board (TAB) member, what did I learn about putting together a magazine? about my gifts? about being a beloved child of God? about what I believe? about sharing my faith?
  • What did my time as a TAB member teach me about the importance of building friendships with Christian young people around the world, most of whom I would never meet?
  • How did our work together as TAB members encourage us to grow as friends in faith? How have I remained friends with other TAB members after our term was over?
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