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– This one, I welcome everybody into the video that we are gonna be looking at teaching youth of the Bible through Sunday school life groups, fall groups, whatever you are doing in your local church. And we have Drew Dixon with us today from Lifeway Christian Resources, and he is going to be getting us up to speed on a youth curriculum, provided through Lifeway. Many of you through this COVID season, may be looking at a curriculum from a fresh new standpoint maybe it’s time for a change whatever. So I’ve asked Drew to kind of give us everything in a nutshell, including some updates, and so with that Drew, I’m just gonna toss it over to you and let you help us out.
– Yeah great, well, it’s great to be with you. Alabama always has a kind of special place in my heart because I planted a church there before coming to Lifeway. So New Covenant Baptist Church in Albertville, Alabama it was kinda really special church, and in my heart and was the family pastor at that church for about six years. So I did oversaw children’s ministry and then it was much more hands-on with student ministry. And so kinda, that’s what I did before I came here to Lifeway, and so now I’m the team leader for student ongoing Bible studies at Lifeway, which means I oversee three curriculum lines, you’ve probably heard of them, So I won’t belabor them too much but we have The Gospel Project which is a three-year chronological study through the Bible with the focus always being on Jesus, The Gospel Project, it’s also our most kind of like theologically I don’t know, astute line. We really wanna teach students. We wanna bring heady deep theology down to a level that students can understand. And when it demonstrate through that line why theology matters in our everyday lives and make it feel less like in the clouds and more accessible and real and important because we all believe theology is super important for students to begin to unpack and understand. So there’s these 99 essential doctrines that we’ve identified. They’re sort of key doctrines of the Christian faith that we unpack throughout the Gospel Project. And then we have Explore the Bible which has kind of our most straightforward book by book studies each quarter we’re gonna camp out in a book of the Bible, I’ve written most of the content for Explore the Bible for about the last five years or so. So that’s Explore the Bible always been very close to my heart ’cause I’ve had the wonderful opportunity of writing a lot of that content. And so each quarter we just unpack a book of the Bible and the goal there is to demonstrate how studying the Bible in context, gives us, empowers us to live for God’s glory and the context that we find ourselves in. So how does the studying the Bible in context empower us to live in the context that God’s placed us. And then Bible studies for life, is this the line where we unpack what scripture has to say about various issues? So it’s kind of more of our topical line but we’re always unpacking scripture. We wanna treasure biblical truth and everything that we do. So I kinda oversee those three lines, and then also do a whole bunch of other little things that involve student ministry curriculum but student ministry is my passion and in fact, everyone who works at Lifeway on the student team, it’s sort of expected that you have experience, teaching, ministering to students whether that’s as a leader or a student pastor. And of course I’ve done that in the past. And then also that you be connected to your local churches, student ministry, and so that’s something I’m trying to do here in Nashville as well. So love student pastors, love student leaders and love the opportunity to speak to them. So yeah, that said, I thought I would, instead of like ’cause I think most of you are probably somewhat familiar, with those three Bible studies lines. You’ve you’ve at least seen them. You’ve probably used one or two of them in the past. So I thought I would just try to stick to things that are pretty new with each of those lines. So I wanna show you a clip of a couple of different videos because we recently launched some new videos, for Explore the Bible and then some new videos for the Gospel Project. And these are videos that enhance your study. They’re not essential or they’re not, you don’t have to use them. I think it’s important to us to, that our curriculum like The Gospel Project and Bible Studies for Life and Explore the Bible that our leader guides, that they can be used in a classroom setting of someone who just doesn’t want to spend time on video just doesn’t care, like you feel like video is a distraction. There are student pastors that feel that way and we get it. So you don’t have to use these, but if you do they will enhance your study, and they’re not every week. I think that’s kind of cool. It’s like, we’re not leaning on video every week, but these are our videos that can kind of break up the monotony of a quarter. We all know that sometimes students just like get bored. Teenagers, get bored, sadly. And so this is a way to sort of a few times a quarter we’re going to watch this, watch a video that we think is pretty cool. So with the Explore the Bible, I’ll show you that one first, these are book overview videos. And so we’re going to give students a big picture view of this book of the Bible. What is it about, what makes it distinct and unique? What makes it powerful? And why does it matter to a teenager in 2021, right? Why does it matter to a teenager today? So I’ll share my screen here and I’ll show you a clip of one of these first ones, I’m really, they’re animated. So I’m really proud of how these turned out. I think they’re really cool. All right, so I think you’re seeing this webpage now. All right, so I’m gonna show this, oh, you know what? I need to make sure that when you share your screen that I have the audio. Yeap okay, share sound. I have to do this again, all right. And I will need you to confirm for me that you’re getting the audio.
– Voice: In the last unit we talked a bit about the Apostle Paul and his time in prison in Rome which was when he wrote his letter to the Philippians. Actually though, Paul wrote several letters when he was in prison in Rome. I guess there’s not a whole lot else that you can do when you’re in jail. And some of those letters were a bit more than the cordial Thank You note we saw with the Philippians. An example of something more urgent is his letter to the church in Colossae. Now Paul opens it, thanking God for your faith in Christ Jesus, and the love you have for all the saints. But after that, it gets real. And it becomes clear that Paul is writing the church mainly because of what’s popping up there, heresy, now what’s heresy? It’s basically a fancy word or false teaching, teaching that goes against what the authors of scripture, authors like the Apostle Paul teach us. Now, we don’t know exactly what the false teaching spreading around the church in Colossae was, but based on Paul’s letter, it sounds pretty similar to several heresies, we see frequently in the New Testament and the early history of Christianity. On the one hand, there was narcissism that comes from the Greek word narcissus, which means knowledge. And it’s the idea that people are saved through having secret knowledge. Now, on the other hand, it also seems to have been part of a tradition we see in the book of acts, where Gentile Christians were being told, they had to keep the Jewish Law to be safe. Based on what Paul writes in his letter, we can also glean that some people were worshiping angels, and even denying the divinity of Jesus. And that last bit, the teaching that Jesus isn’t God, or some people call it Renism, seems to be one of Paul’s biggest concerns here. And not for nothing, which is why he opens the letter with a beautiful hymn to Jesus. He is the image of the invisible God. The firstborn over all creation Paul writes, for everything was created by him, in heaven and on earth, the visible and the invisible. And he goes on from there. Now, if you’re familiar with early Christian creeds like the Nicene Creed, which is like an official statement about our most important beliefs, you can see where they got a lot of their material from. Scholars differ whether Paul is composing a new hymn here or just quoting something that was already popular in the ancient church. But regardless it’s some beautiful imagery on who Jesus is, and what he came to earth to do. After the hymn, Paul confronts the heresies in the Colossian church head on, be careful that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deceit, he writes. Later adding don’t let anyone judge you in regard to food and drink or in the matter of a festival or a New Moon or Sabbath Day, basically, don’t trust in your own knowledge or you’re keeping of special rules. So what should you trust in? Sunday school answer everybody in 3, 2, 1, Jesus, you got it. You were buried with him in baptism in which you were also raised with him through faith in the working of God, Paul writes that. So basically you’ve been United to Jesus and Jesus is enough. To be clear though, Paul’s point isn’t that having Jesus means nothing else matters. In fact, Paul’s point here, is that being renewed by Jesus sets us free to choose, to serve the people around us, not out of obligation, but out of joy and gratitude, whatever you do he writes, do it from the heart as something done for the Lord and not for people. Wherever you are in life, you can serve people around you with joy, not because you have to, but because God has freed you to. And that’s why Colossians is good news.”
– Cool, so I’ll stop sharing. That’s an example of one of these book overview videos and the idea is to make the Bible more accessible for students to make it make more sense, I think a lot of times in Bible study we can get really narrow and miss the big picture of what various books of the Bible are trying to teach us, how God might use those in our day and age, and just unpack these in a way that hopefully is fun and engaging for students. So that’s what those videos are kinda about. There’s gonna be at least two of them every quarter. And so the fall quarter that’s coming up, is going to be on Philippians and Colossians. So the video like this on Philippians and a video like this on Colossians, and you can show those as you start those books. And that’s a great way to get your students excited about studying the Bible. And hopefully, like, I think for some students today the Bible feels like this kind of weird book to them, and maybe even feels like outdated if they’re listening to some of the things that people say about the Bible today. So hopefully this makes the Bible, it reveals that the Bible is actually really beautiful and really life-giving, and it’s not as strange as we might think sometimes. So that’s what those are about. Then I mentioned also that we have some new videos for The Gospel Project. And so I mentioned before that a big theme in The Gospel Project is theology. So what we’ve done starting in fall we’re going to relaunch The Gospel Project. So gospel project 4.0 is gonna release and we’re gonna start the chronology over, So we’re going to start at Genesis, and spend the next three years starting in the fall going from Genesis through Revelation and with the launch of that, we’re doing each unit. So there’s three units in each quarter, in each unit we’re gonna have one study that unpacks, one of the 99 essential doctrines. So it’ll be a way for us to sort of, again, emphasize that theme of theology being important in the lives of students, and so to help with that, we’ve created these essential doctrine videos. So it’s myself and another student pastor, his name is Kristoff, Kristoff Hart, and we just have a chat basically about this introduction and try to bring it down to earth. So think of something like the doctrine of sin or the doctrine of the glory of God. Well, we take that doctrine and then talk about it in a way that we feel like makes a lot more sense for students and kind of speaks their language, and helps them see why it matters to them today. So I’ll show one of these as well. So I’m gonna share my screen again. Okay, here we go. Are you getting the audio again? Okay great, let’s make sure. And I won’t show all of this one, just a little bit of it.
– All right man, I kinda want to just dive into this point.
– I’m with you man let’s talk about the elephant in the room sin.
– Such a happy topic.
– It’s such a happy topic, but when use that word a ton in church but I don’t even know if many people really know what it is. You wanna give him a quick definition.
– Yeah, let’s I’ll do my best, I’ll try. So we can find one of the Bible. I think that’s probably the best place to look for definitions of biblical words. And 1st John 3:4 says “Sin is lawlessness”. So that word lawlessness is, it’s the Greek word is “anomia”, which kind of means like gross injustice or just utter disregard for God’s law. It’s basically willful disobedience of God choosing to disobey God.
– Right, so sin is really rebellion.
– That’s it, man.
– Honestly, it’s weird to think about, but we all do it.
– And there’s this thing in us that just likes to push against authority, I mean, we do it with our coaches or parents or teachers and we’re the same way with God, if we’re being honest. And though we may have love in our hearts for God we also have rebellion in our hearts against God.
– That’s right, we can find it even in the earliest parts of the human story. So Adam and Eve are told not to eat this one tree in this beautiful garden, full of beautiful fruit trees for them to eat, but God says, don’t eat of this one tree. And it’s the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. And of course we know what happens they eat it. Which maybe doesn’t seem like a huge deal to us, right? But it was like they were saying to God, thanks, thanks God, but we’ll take her from here. We’ll decide for ourselves what is good and evil. And they rebel against God’s command, and this is where we see sin enter into the picture of the human story.
– Yeah, and then we see it again, a few chapters later like it just stays there in Genesis 11 with the Tower of Babel. I mean, after the flood, God basically tells his people to be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth. And so there’s this charge to go and spread out and add some babies and just kind of populate the world post flood. And of course, because they’ve got free will and sends in the picture, they choose to rebel. And so they’re traveling and they decide to just set up camp in Babylonia. And then in Genesis 11:4 they’re basically like we not going nowhere. Let’s just build a city and a tower that reaches to the sky and let’s make a name for ourselves, and that’ll keep us from being scattered all over the world. And so they rebel against God, rebellion against God and his ways is really in the heart of all people.
– Yeah man, it really is. And we see it play out in a couple of key ways. They’re selfish hearts, first lead them to disregard God’s commands. They don’t want to be scattered which is what God had told them to do to fill the earth. So they stay put.
– There’s that sin as long as since thing again.
– Right exactly, and they’re choosing not to do something that God specifically asked them to do. It’s like what my kids do all the time, right? But they see their rebellious hearts and they try to take glory from God. So the build the city and this tower and the goal, the Bible tells us is to make a name for themselves. They want to bring glory to themselves which is what we all wanna do. And remember we talked about this before, we as human beings, we exist to glorify God. So we’re trying to take glory for ourselves, and when we do that, we’re rebelling against God.
– You’re so right, and we so often like wanna make ourselves famous. Like that’s ultimately what we want, we all wanna be influencers, we wanna be TikTok famous or Instagram.
– Like you.
– Well, let’s not do that, but we all wanna have a platform basically.
– Yeah absolutely.
– And God might give that to some of us but that can’t be the goal. We ultimately exist to glorify God, not ourselves.
– That’s right, and I was giving you a hard time, Kristoff’s TikTok is amazing. It’s not a glorifying to Kristoff, it’s very much the goal of what you do on TikTok is to glorify God.
– That’s the whole point.
– But, yeah, it should be God’s way, right? That we want and not ours, his way is better. But that’s what makes our hearts rebellious when we wanna live any other way, than God’s way, that’s sin, that’s awesome. So in Isaiah 65, God is speaking through the prophet Isaiah, and he says, he says this, “I was ready to be sought by those who did not ask for me. I was ready to be found by those who did not seek me. I said, here I am, here I am to a nation that was not called by my name.” So basically God’s like, I was here for a bunch of people that didn’t want me, that didn’t call on me. And then he goes on to say,” I spread out my hands all day to a rebellious people who walk in a way that is not good, following their own own devices.” This is us, we’re those rebellious people that seek to live our own way instead of God’s. But there’s some good news here, right?
– You’re so right, you bet there, In Genesis, God responded to the people rebelling and building the Tower of Babel by confusing their language and forcing them to scatter. In other words, he stepped in to keep people from hurting themselves more. God stepped into the middle of our rebellion to save us from ourselves. And then years later God would do the same thing by giving us Jesus, Jesus is the cure for our rebellious hearts. I mean, in Christ our lawless hearts have been replaced with loving ones, and so now, then those hearts are just fill it up with deep love and respect and obedience toward God. And so, because of the sacrifice of Jesus we don’t have to live to that rebellion anymore. Like those rebellious hearts don’t have to be rebellious anymore, where there was rebellion against God, there is now reconciliation with God which means, this is just an opportunity to heal our broken relationship. And Jesus offers healing for our broken relationship with God. And so we get to joyfully obey our calling as we just kind of scattered throughout the world bringing glory to God and making the name of Jesus now.
– That’s great.
– Well, I said, I wasn’t gonna show the whole thing, but I was enjoying it so, I hope you are too. So, but that’s one example, we’ll have three of those each quarter for The Gospel Project those launch in the fall and the sessions, the leader guide sessions and the daily discipleship guide, we’ll have a section that tracks with a video that gives leaders a chance to sit down with students and unpack a little bit of the video content respond to it in a way that hopefully will help students further apply why talking about the doctrine of sin would matter for students in like in 2021. So yeah, that’s how those are structured and really excited about those videos. We hope they really help students begin to catch a vision for why theology is really, really important. So, yeah, I think I’ll spend just a little more time showing, some of that. I’ll share my screen again so that you can see the new version of The Gospel Project. So like I said, it’s gonna relaunch in the fall. So here is an example of the leader guide, This is session one, so I’ll show you some new features of this. So we’re beginning at the very beginning, so that’s why it says in the beginning, we’re going back to Genesis. Every session opens up with two intro options. These are ways you can open up your study. They’re kind of one, usually an activity one might be a visual illustration but the idea here is to introduce students to the main point. So the main point for this week is God created everything out of nothing, revealing His unmatched glory. Then we jump into the study itself, this is a new feature, we have this big question here. This, the idea here is to anticipate some big questions that students might think of, as they’re studying the Bible. So this one says in Genesis 1:1 God created the heavens and the earth, but what about the rest of the universe? Like what does that mean? Does it mean just the heavens and the earth or? So then we unpack what is really meant by that phrase and help students understand what’s really going on there and help leaders, equip leaders to be able to answer big questions that students might have. Then of course we have questions and we’re equipping leaders with what they need to answer these questions, these are questions that you had in bold are questions you would ask to students on Sunday morning, or whenever your groups meet. And then we’re equipping leaders here with notes to be able to answer the questions. Then we have biblical commentary here. So if you wanna dig deeper, give some, have answers to what the text is about, we’ve got you covered right there. And then we always have a central doc, in a central doctrine in each session that we’re highlighting, so this one is creation out of nothing. And so that’s highlighted here. And then of course we have commentary again, and questions and leader’s notes. And then, this is our application page, essentially. But we, with The Gospel Project, we have three types of application questions. So there’s head questions that have to do with how should we think, how should the truth of God’s word, and the truth of who God is, change how we think and process, and then how should it change our hearts? How should it change our motivations? And then how should it motivate our hands? What we do, how we live day in and day out. And then of course every session of The Gospel Project we’ll have a Christ connection that connects the passage of scripture we’re in to Jesus, into the gospel. So it doesn’t matter where we are. If we’re in Genesis or Isaiah or Ezekiel or 1st John. we’re going to have a Christ connection in each session. So this is session two, or actually I’m gonna skip to session three, sorry, hold on. I’m skipping to session three, because this is an example of one of those essential doctrine sessions. So this will have, there’s a doctrine video, about this this essential doctrines. One of these central doctrines we unpack in the fall is being made in the image of God. I’m sorry, being made, sorry, Made for God’s Glory. So we’re unpacking this doctrine of the Glory of God. So this essential doctrine for this session this is in a central doctrine session. We’re gonna spend a whole session unpacking the glory of God, God’s glory. And so we have a section here that gives you an overview of the video, like the example that I just watched, other that was on a different central doctrine, but then there’s a summary, and then there’s some opportunity to discuss. So after you’ve watched the video, here’s some questions to discuss with your students to help them process what they just watched. And then this session just kind of works a little bit differently, so normally we have those engage options at the beginning here, we spread them throughout the study. But we were always giving you commentary. And we’re always giving you questions, discussion questions to talk to students and the answers to those discussion questions. So you, as a leader can lead students through it. And then we have a big question here again. And so, and we always have the head heart hands, and a Christ connection, but just wanted to show you how, the essential doctrine sessions are sort of outlined a little bit differently. And real quick, I’ll show you. I don’t know why I stopped sharing. I need to share again, I’ll show you an example of the daily discipleship guide as well. Okay, let’s see here. Okay, this is the daily discipleship guide, here is the outline for the quarter, and so now this is our cover actually. And so our cover is all connected to the various sessions that are gonna be unpacked. And so if you looked at this, I just think it’s so cool. It’s the art of the on this is just really, it was really cool. You’ll see some like, this is the Tower of Babel, right? This is the session on sin of course, that we just talked about, this one’s on creation. You can guess this is probably Abraham, right? Taking Isaac and finding the ram. So anyway, I just think the new look for The Gospel Project is really, really like, it’s kind of loud, but I think that’s what we need for students so I’m really into it. So here’s session one. This is the daily discipleship guide. Again, this is what we would want students to have in their hands to follow along, on Sunday morning, so they can track with leaders about what leaders are teaching. So students have the discussion questions and then they have the big question as well, so they get that information and then they have those head-heart-hand questions and they have the central doctrine and the Christ connection, and then this is cool. This is something that this found only in the DDG and the daily discipleship guide, And that is five days of daily devotions that are built on the seven arrows of Bible reading. So one of the things that we’ve, this is something we’ve developed recently. You’ve probably already seen some of this, but again we want to make the Bible more accessible to students, less weird and difficult. I think sometimes we read the Bible and it’s like, you read through a genealogy and you’re just like, what is that about like, I don’t even know how I’m gonna apply that to my life, but for students we want to help them get better at reading the Bible, like improve and learn how to read the Bible in a way that’s going to be impactful. So these are seven questions students can ask themselves, as they read the Bible. So the first one is really simple. What does the passage say then? The next one is, what did the passage mean to its original audience? Like what do we think Genesis, how it would have landed to the people who first read Genesis? What does the passage tell me about God? What does the passage tell me about man? So about people, what does it say about me? What does it say about human beings? What does this passage demand of me? And then how does passage change the way I relate to other people? So that’s this horizontal question. How does this passage challenge me to love my neighbor? That kind of thing. And how does this passage prompt me to pray. Until we sprinkle these questions throughout, and we give students some guidance here, on these and then again, there’s five days of them. So that’s what you see there. And a cool thing about these two is that if you buy our print books, you can access or you can they’re perforated. So you can tear these devotions out send them home with your students. And then that way, if your students are like a lot of the students in my church, they don’t have to, you don’t have to worry about them not bringing them back next week. Like, I know how students are sometimes. You send something home with them, you’ll never see that thing that you send home with them again, like it’s lost forever, right? So you can send these devotions home and leave the books in your church or in your meeting space so that again, they’re perforated. So that’s how that works. And I’ll show one more thing, and then I’ll kind of be done. Let me share my screen one more time, hold on. Okay, I have too many things open right now. All right, here we go. Okay, so our digital offerings for curriculum starting in the fall are changing. So some of you are probably familiar with my curriculum manager. And to be perfectly honest with you, you probably like, this is just me being honest as somebody who’s worked for Lifeway for almost seven years you probably don’t like my curriculum manager. So I’ve good news, it’s the my curriculum manager was kind of clunky and difficult to use and not super user-friendly, we have a brand new platform for all of our digital curriculum. So if you don’t wanna buy print, all of our studies are available digitally, they’re available online, through ministry grid. So just go to curriculum, it’s right up here curriculum.lifeway.com, and you’ll register if you don’t have a Lifeway account already, if you do have a Lifeway account, you just log in, we’re gonna log into my account here, and I’ll show you kind of how it works. So you’re now in curriculum builders. So I could search for curriculum, and let’s say I wanna do The Gospel Project that we just looked at. I just type it in here, and now it can find but of course we want students, right? So let’s specify, and so here I can find everything that I want right there. And I can also go to curriculum builders here, and search for curriculum, or I can access curriculum, I already have access to, but it’s a lot simpler to use now, if I click on curriculum here at the top, I can be taken to the curriculum I bought, this will take me to what I’ve already purchased, and so it’ll all be here really easy for me to access. And it’s just a lot easier to use. And I would just encourage people to go check it out give it a try, it’s a monthly subscription model, as opposed to like a once a quarter payment but the subscription models based on how many groups are you gonna be using it. And so I think it’s really affordable for especially at the lower tiers. So if you just want an easier way and you can get your your leaders all to access this curriculum themselves, through ministry grid, it’s really easy to use. And just a lot less headache I think if you want digital curriculum. So yeah, it’s kinda an overview of what we’ve been up to on the ongoing level. Yeah, let me know. Any questions Daniel, as we wrap up here?
– Well, I’ll do more of a comment. One, I liked the videos really kind of the contrast, I do still teach students Christian worldview and apologetics in a scholastic setting not in a church setting. And so we use videos every now and then ’cause it just helps them click. So I like really both styles there, And so that was good, I like those, and I think they’ll be very useful. So that is a good new feature in that. I think you and I talked about there, the state as a whole seems to trend toward Explore the Bible, though gospel project is the growing curriculum line in our state. And I think especially among youth. So I appreciate you looking at really both of those a little more intensely and what’s coming up. I do think that folks as a whole, are familiar with them though you gave us the quick 411 there at the beginning on what each line is designed to do. And I guess because I teach Christian worldview and apologetics gospel project is having more appeal to me right now because of looking at some of these key doctrines, and so I’ll do like the layout with the 99 essential doctrines, that they’re looking at and so nothing wrong with Explore the Bible, nothing wrong with Bible Studies for Life, curriculum lines at all. I mean, they’re good solid book studies and Explore the Bible, which can be helpful too, and I do think the video with the overview of the book is probably going to land well with some of the students because of that only . So you can’t go wrong, I mean you just basically have to know who your students are. I mean, ultimately we teach people the Bible, right? In curriculum is to help us teach people what you need to know the people, and so I think that would be the key for most student leaders is know who you have, know the depth, their understanding, and then kind of weigh out the pluses and minuses of the curriculum line. You may say the best thing for us to do is use what their parents are using. And so that may be the driving force behind that. So I think that’s all good, and I appreciate Drew you coming on, it’s really the first time you and I’ve gotten to meet.
– In person I don’t think, except maybe across the room and
– Yeah, yeah.
– And so I appreciate your heart for students, and the work you are doing. Lifeway is a faithful partner to us, and not only teaching students the Bible, but growing the kingdom of God. And so again, much appreciation for you, and this recording is made available to our churches to use and use again, especially I think as you’re going into this fall and maybe making a change in your curriculum, ordering process, some of you may have stopped ordering for a season because of COVID. And I hope that you do see the advantage of using curriculum and that you do see the advantage of using our preferred partner in Lifeway Christian Resources. So thanks much Drew.
– Yeah thank you.
– For a good quick overview and I think it is helpful. So God bless everyone and take care and call on Drew, call on me, if we can assist you further