New Year…New Series

Have you ever been part of two very different groups? Maybe you go to a different school or you’re in different classes than the people in your neighborhood. So you’re a part of both groups. Or maybe you play on a different sports team than all of your friends. So after practice hang out with the team but on the weekends, you hang out with completely different people. When that happens, we feel like we’re from one world and living in another. We’re torn.

And if we’re honest, sometimes going to church or being a Christian can make us feel that way too.

We go to church and what we hear makes sense. We see people living out their faith and it looks perfectly normal, maybe even fun.

But what looks good on Sunday doesn’t always feel comfortable on Monday.

Back in the everyday world, living as followers of Jesus can make us feel like we’re from another planet. But does it have to be that way? And what does it look like to live for God in a culture that doesn’t necessarily think the same way? Believe it or not, these aren’t 21st century questions. Long ago, the Apostle Paul wrote a letter to the church at Philippi as they figured out how to navigate their faith and culture at the same time. As we spend the next few weeks talking about what he said, we may find that Paul’s advice to the Philippians is just as relevant for us as we learn to manage the tension and live in a way that is out of this world.

This is life or death

No really.

Fuel is required to survive. And as life comes at each of us 1,357 mph, we know our fuel supply quickly evaporates. We need more.

We must ReFuel. Or risk dying on the road.

And, at Ignition, we REALLY believe that middle school small group gatherings are absolutely life giving and death defeating.

Knowing Jesus personally and forming spiritual friendships allows each of us to be changed. Our small groups create an environment of acceptance, loving honesty and biblical truth. We focus on really diving into God’s word and learning how to explore and study on our own, believing that this prepares us for a long, healthy and authentic spiritual journey.

Our leadership team is rolling out an incredible curriculum from YouthMinistry360 called The Thread.

The Thread will completely change how your student sees the bible in two very specific ways.

First, your student will learn the big-picture story of Scripture. So many of us simply don’t have a grasp of the narrative of the Bible. Key characters. Key events. Few of us understand how these elements fit into the story of God and His people. The Thread aims to change this.
Second, your student will learn what the Gospel is, and how it literally courses through the narrative of the Bible. Not only will your student learn the story of the Bible, but they will see that it is a story of unfailing love, as God seeks from the beginning of Creation to draw humankind to Him through the grace of the Gospel.

In addition, this year, we will have three very specific types of groups:

Starting Point

Designed for our brand new 6th grade students. Each gender specific group has dedicated leaders, a flexible schedule and loads of interactive challenges.

Foundations

7th and 8th graders will find themselves challenged to go a little further and a little deeper in their gender specific groups.

Growth

This co-ed group is limited in size and is available by sign-up only. The curriculum is intensified; there will be homework and a devotional. Don’t worry – this isn’t AP Calculus. This group is designed to help students take personal responsibility for their spiritual health and maturity.

So, please be sure to sign up your student here and be sure to indicate whether or not they would like to consider the Growth group.

November ReFuel Series: Jesus and Culture

Today’s Christian students (and adults) find themselves living in a culture that is antagonistic to much of what they believe.

Against this backdrop, how do we know how to engage with culture in a way that keeps our influence intact, but keeps us from being negatively impacted by the world? The good news is that Jesus had lots to say about this.

Jesus And Culture, part of The Jesus Studies, helps us understand how to live as Christ-followers in the world we find ourselves living in. We will learn how to embrace being separate from the world but still living in it; how our lives as Christ-followers will be counter-cultural; how we are affected by what we consume of culture through media and entertainment; and that Christ’s ultimate goal for us is to embrace holiness in our interactions with culture.

For three weeks in November ReFuel will be exploring what Jesus has to say about living in and loving well our world.

Each week we’ll offer an opportunity to dig deeper on our own through devotionals posted right here. Trust me, this is a series that will change our perspective on this critical topic.

Brave faces of Real church

As if last week’s middle school Sunday gathering wasn’t powerful enough, we wrapped up the second part of our series “The Other Story” this past Sunday. I can honestly say I was completely blown away.

Cheryl opened with a beautiful story from Luke, chapter 7. As is His style, Jesus so adeptly points out the dangers and damage that comes from judging people by what we think we know about them, all the while missing out on the heart of his or her story. Our value, our hope and our future is found in the way Jesus see us and redeems us.

In order to best describe the journey for her personally, Cheryl wrote an amazing spoken word piece that kept us all on the edge of our seat and moved us beyond words. Alicia shared the miraculous story of her rescue and recovery from a horrific accident, and how God’s faithful provision and presence in a dark time redeemed her heart and her faith.

Then, students were invited to speak. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect – whether anyone would be willing to stand up and do such a scary thing as share their personal story. I definitely wasn’t fully prepared for what happened next.

An avalanche of the Holy Spirit began to flood the room.

Meghan was the first to stand and bravely share how her encounters with Jesus at church camp led her to seek out a church family that “fit” her. After a long and often frustrating search, God brought her to Seneca Creek and she has found a new set of friends and deeper connection to the community of God.

Soon, student after student raised their hands to stand. So many, in fact, that we ran out of time.

Meghan, Andrew, Nicky, Orion and Andre each bravely shared intensely personal stories of their journeys with Jesus, God’s faithfulness in dark and troubling times and the hope that they have for a future walking beside the King of Kings.

It was incredible. Adults, who don’t normally serve in Middle School and who happened to be there on Sunday, have since approached me to share how moving and powerful the morning was for them personally. In fact one person was very clear and said this:

That? That is real church.

I couldn’t agree more. So much so, that, in order to give the other students who didn’t get a chance to speak, we are doing it again. Sunday, November 30th will be Part 3 of The Other Story.

If you are so inclined, feel free to join us. In the meantime, however, I would ask you to pray for our students. Getting up in front of your peers is always scary, but sharing these stories of pain and redemption is not only scary – it’s extremely hard. Pray for their courage and that their relationship with God would be strengthened in the process.

And, in case you are curious, here is a quick view of our brave faces from this past week.

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Freebie Extra ReFuel Devotional #3

I seek you with all my heart; do not let me stray from your commands. I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you. ¾ Psalm 119:10-11

Can you say the same thing David says here? Can you honestly say that you seek God with all your heart? If you’re like most people, you could say that sometimes. But what’s keeping you from saying that all the time?

How about your commitment to God’s commands? David begged God not to let Him stray. What about you? How is your commitment to, as Paul says in Ephesians 5:1, “imitating God”?

Is God’s Word hidden in your heart? If you never had access to a Bible again, would you be able to recall God’s Word based solely on how well you know it? And are you studying the Bible so that your life will reflect God’s own character?

Big questions, aren’t they . . .

But they’re important ones. And as a Christ-follower, how you answer them may tell you a lot about your faith.

So, I’ll check in with you again… How are you doing at the #Challenge25 memory verses? Here’s a list of all FOUR (with links) that we are working on right now.

Ephesians 3:20   Galatians 5:22-23   Matthew 5:16    John 3:16

Have you memorized any? If not, what’s stopping you? Why don’t you start right now! I mean, there are prizes…

Freebie Extra ReFuel Devotional #2

Here’s an interesting couple of questions for you:

When was the last time you had a meaningful time of reflection and worship through reading the Bible . . . alone?
When was the last time, without anyone asking you, or leading you, that you picked up the Bible and met God in its pages?

For some of you, the answer is “a few days ago.” That’s awesome. But for others, the answer is “uhhhh . . . hmmmmm . . .”

Here’s a challenge. Make time today (and hopefully tomorrow) to pick up your Bible or Bible app and spend some with God. Read a few of the psalms, echoing the praise of the writers. Read John 15, Or Colossians 1, or Romans 6, or any other of the awesome passages in the Bible.

Just don’t do nothing.

Don’t let another day go by without making time to draw just a little bit closer to God.

Freebie Extra ReFuel Devotional #1

“But the seed on good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop.”    Luke 8:15

There’s a cool word in verse 15.

It’s the word, “retain.”

Think about it. Jesus is talking about how the ideal person responds to God’s Word. He had just finished talking about how some people ignore it, some people hear it but don’t really pay attention to it, and some people are OK with it for a while, but then lose interest.

These aren’t really good examples, are they?

But the last way of responding to God’s Word is the right way. In faith, we’re supposed to accept God’s Word and retain it. The idea of “retaining” is cool. It paints the picture of someone wanting God’s Word. Of someone holding on to it. Keeping it in. Really wanting it to find a home inside them.

How is your attitude toward God’s Word? Do you retain His Word? 

If not, what’s standing in the way of you wanting God’s Word more?

BTW… How are you doing with our #Challenge25 memory verse so far? We are three deep and a new one comes this week!  Keep working on Matthew 5:16, Galatians 5:22-23, and Ephesians 3:20! Prizes are still available every Sunday!