New Series: VIVID

As the parent of a student, you know the disconnect that often occurs between what teenagers say they believe and the way they live throughout their lives. Adolescents, like all Christ-followers, fight the constant temptation of falling into the trap of saying one thing while doing another. The Book of James clearly addresses this issue.

James puts forth a simple idea: our actions should match our beliefs. This is what it means to live a vivid faith through the power of the Holy Spirit.

In light of this, we are really excited to be launching a new series this week in ignition.  We’ll be digging into the book of James rooted in a study from youthministry360 entitled Vivid: A 6-lesson Study on the Book of James. This study will challenge students to evaluate their faith and their actions, to identify where the two don’t match up, and to make the necessary changes to live a life of a vivid faith. During the next six weeks your child will learn about:

  • the struggle with sin that lives in every Christ-follower
  • the danger of showing favoritism to those who are easy to like
  • the importance of spiritual fruit in our lives
  • the power of words
  • the futility of trying to love the world and God
  • the importance of submitting to God’s leadership

You’ll be receiving follow-up reminders from me as we teach these topics. We want to equip you with overviews of what we talked about as well as some follow-up suggestions you and your student might use to continue this important conversation.

We want to be known as a student ministry who leads students to live a vivid faith, standing as a powerful witness to a watching world.

Our students have immeasurable influence and present-day potential. Let’s unleash them as brilliant lights into this dark and hurting world!

Jesus and Tough Times: Devotional 3

Do you have a tendency to blame God when things don’t turn out the way you want?

Do you trust that He will be with you and help you get through this time? Why or why not?

Do you wish He would just change the situation, when sometimes nothing seems to change?

Take a moment, open your bible, connect with God.

Read Psalm 23.

And re-read it.

Today take some time to sit with God and be honest about whether or not you really believe having faith in Him will get you through those hard times.

Jesus and Tough Times: Devotional 3

I waited patiently for the LORD; he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand . . . Do not withhold your mercy from me, O LORD; may your love and your truth always protect me. For troubles without number surround me; my sins have overtaken me, and I cannot see. They are more than the hairs of my head, and my heart fails within me.” Psalm 40:1-2, 11-12

Have you ever felt like the guy (King David, FYI) who wrote the psalm above?

Sometimes our troubles are so many we can’t even count them. We can’t even see because it seems like everything is going horrible wrong. Our courage to face a new day is spent. It’s during these times we beg God to be with us. All we can do is ask Him to show us His love and steady our feet on the road as we go forward. In short, sometimes all we have is to cling to Him that He will be with us no matter what.

Do you believe (like King David) that God will be at your side to get you through the tough times? Why or why not?

Read the rest of Psalm 40.

What are you doing to hold onto God during your bad times?

Just for fun... U2 (one of my FAV bands of all time) has put this Psalm to music. Check out one of their original performances at the amazing Red Rocks venue:

Jesus and Tough Times: Devotional 2

Are you starting to believe that God cares about your feelings?

Are you starting to be more honest with God about your feelings? Why or why not?

Take some time today and really contemplate why being with honest with God is either easy or hard for you. Is it that you don’t really trust Him? If this is true how can you get to know Him better so you do trust Him?

Today meditate on why God would love you so much He want to hear everything.

Jesus and Tough Times: Devotional 1

While Jesus was here on earth, he offered prayers and pleadings, with a loud cry and tears, to the one who could rescue him from death. And God heard his prayers because of his deep reverence for God. Hebrews 5:7

Have you ever cried yourself to sleep? If not have you ever been so angry you wanted to punch something, or screamed into a pillow in your room? Think for a moment, “When things are going wrong, what do you do?” Do you scream, hit someone, or take it out on a friend or sibling? You know, Jesus Himself expressed a lot of emotion when HE experienced a tough time.

Look again at Matthew 26: 36-46.

Stop and think for a moment about all that was going on with Jesus at this moment. He was about to be arrested, beat up, spit at, bullied, teased, whipped, and nailed to a cross. After all of that He was going to die a painful death being treated like a criminal when He had done nothing wrong. If you knew all of this was about to happen, how would you feel?No, stop for a moment, close your eyes and think about how you would feel.

It’s fair that Jesus really didn’t want it to happen and that He needed to talk to God about it.

Can you relate when things are going bad for you? Do you want God to “fix” it? At the very least to you want things to change? Are you honest with God during those times about how you are feeling? Why or why not?

Something to think about . . .

  • Do you tell God on a regular basis how you are feeling about life? Why or why not? Have you ever thought about how He wants to hear from us, and all that we are thinking and feeling?
  • Jesus showed us that it’s alright to tell God anything we are thinking or feeling. God also showed us that He helped Jesus deal through His feelings. Do you believe God can help you through the tough times better when you are honest with Him? Why or why not?

March ReFuel Series: Jesus in Tough Times

We are starting a new series tomorrow night called, “Jesus and the Tough Times.” We are spending our time really talking about where the Lord is when things go wrong. It was a great discussion about some hard things.

This week, the lesson is entitled “The God Who Listens” and it focuses on understanding that when we experience tough times, we can and should express their emotions to God in real, honest ways.

We will look at the following Scripture passages:
  • Matthew 26:36-46
  • Hebrews 5:7

This is the recounting of how Jesus talked to God in the Garden right before He was arrested. It’s a powerful example of how Jesus called, cried and was open with the Father about how He was feeling.

Next Steps . . .

Here are some of the questions you may want to be processing for the rest of the week..

  • Do you feel like that it is easy or hard for you to be honest with God about what you’re feeling?
  • Do you feel like hearing more about the way Jesus was honest with God might be helpful? Why or why not?
  • What are you going to do in trying to be more honest with God about the way you are feeling about life?
By asking questions and looking more closely at the things that we are maybe a little afraid of – or that make us a little uncomfortable, we can begin to develop a faith that lasts for our entire lifetime and a relationship with Jesus that is unshakable.

Jesus and Identity: Week 2, Devotional 3

Your challenge today is to simply meditate on this thought:

What evidence do you see in your life that you are remaining in Jesus?

After all, Jesus said if we remain in Him, we bear much fruit. The idea of bearing fruit is a way of saying, “our lives will show a lot of evidence that we’re staying totally dialed in to God.”

So, look at your life. What evidence is there that Jesus is working in and through you? Think about two or three specific ways. Now, here’s the hard question: if there is not a lot of fruit in your life, don’t you have to ask if you’re truly remaining close to Christ?

Spend some time in prayer today talking with God about this concept. Listen to Him as He points out any aspects of your life where you are distant from Him.