Lenses – Part Three

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. -Isaiah 55:8

We are in our third week of this series we are calling Lenses. Together, we are looking at Jesus’ life to see what type of lens He wore.

If you and I examine our lives, we don’t have to search long before we realize that some things are just leaving us empty. The framework in which we see the world is often foggy and faulty, and we need an alternative. We all want to live our best lives and not live it alone. So today, we are going to be talking about loneliness.

In a room full of people, almost all of us have felt alone. This is such a common emotion to feel, and the technology we use to stay connected actually tends to feed our feeling of loneliness.

Here’s the lie we’ve bought into: Im more connected when Im plugged in.

Loneliness has been a problem forever. But now that the norm for communication has shifted from face-to-face interaction to a broader and seemingly safer platform. We are making connections but not building real relationships. This week, we will look at how Jesus built relationships and learn how to see the world through his eyes.

Discussion Questions

  • How often do you feel lonely? What are the common factors that contribute to your loneliness?
  • Do you feel pressured to constantly “be connected” with your phone? How does that impact your relationships and mental health?
  • What does it look like to be selfish in a relationship especially regarding social media? What does it look like to be selfless in a relationship?
  • What stood out to you about Jesus’ dinner with His disciples?
  • So practically, how can you take up Jesus’ command this week to serve others? What step do you need to take to step out of the “selfie-centered lens” and into the “selflessness lens”?

Lenses – Part Two

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. -Isaiah 55:8

This week, as we continue our “Lenses” series, we are going to look at a common misconception about the world. Many people think they are a pretty good person. At least compared to the people the see at school or on tv.  They believe that religion is really about being a good person. They think, even if they don’t say it, the goal of life is just to do enough good so they can earn enough points to get into heaven. Life is just about added good deeds to their resume so that they can earn their way into heaven.

However, the Bible teaches us that good is never good enough because only God is good. We will look at the story from Luke 18:18-27 about a rich man who thought he could earn his way into heave.  We’ll also reflect on the verse Romans 3:23, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Finally, we will find freedom in God promise of Grace given to us without merit.

Discussion Questions:

  • A common “worldview” or “lens” that most people have is: “to be a good person.” Many of us tend to believe this is the meaning of life. Has this been the case for you? Why?
  • “Good is never good enough because only God is good.” What do you think about that statement? In what ways have you personally “tried hard” to be a “good person?” How has it left you empty and frustrated?
  • What is the difference in obedience to rule and giving up your life to follow Jesus?
  • How have you lived a “religious” lifestyle vs. having a “relationship” with Jesus?

Lenses – Part One

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. -Isaiah 55:8

We are back on Wednesdays! And we are excited to kick off the new series called “Lenses.” In this series, we will learn how to put a new lens on life: the lens of Jesus and His Word. We are going to look at a few common world-views that many people tend to hold and discover how they are unfulfilling narratives for life. Then we will begin to swap out the lies for the gospel truth.

This weeks focus: Why do we need a new worldview it lens?

Discussion Questions:

  • How many of you wear glasses or contacts? What was it like when you first got them?
  • What stood out to you most from the message?
  • Why do you think we need a new lens to look at our lives with?
  • How would your friendships, school experience, parent relationships, dating life, and free time change if you changed your lens to God’s?

What’s New From The Leadership Team

Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, and in purity. – 1 Timothy 4:12

Our leadership team has some exciting ideas for the new season of ministry this school year.  Through the leadership conference, our students came up with some fantastic ideas inspired by the verse 1 Timothy 4:12. Let’s take a look at how our students are strategizing to be leaders in the following areas.

Speech- New to our youth space will be a welcome table before worship.  Most student visitors come with a friend, but we will still ask them to sign-in and offer them a t-shirt repping our youth group.  Our leaders will also send a welcome postcard to the visitor and encourage everyone to wear name tags, especially for the first few weeks.

Conduct – Our students have asked to double down in serving with ministries like WelcomeHouse and Azala Estates.  These two mission opportunities are close to the heart of our student leaders, and we are investigation more regular participation in serving God and our neighbor through these avenues.

Love – This year, we will introduce a Big/Little mentorship program between our high school and middle school students.  On our first Wednesday, students will take a short quiz to help us match them to their ideal Big or Little. Throughout the year, students will be encouraged to hang out together, support one another in extracurricular events, and attend church events together.

Faith – Part of leadership meetings will be a time of prayer over student’s joys and concerns.  We now have a box and individual cards for students to submit prayer requests.  These can be anonymous or have a name attached. The prayers will also be shared in worship each week if desired.

Purity – One series this fall will specifically talk about dating and relationship.  “Your Better Half” will help students develop skills as good judges of character as we discuss what purity in dating looks like inside and out.

Special thanks to the Legacy Campaign for making this trip possible and enabling our students to grow as leaders in Christ. Our newly equipped Student Leaders will surely leverage our new youth space well in providing a Jesus-centered community for young people.

 

Leadership Part One

 Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity.

– 1 Timothy 4:12

After a funfilled day and a half in the “Windy City,” our youth leaders have made their way to Mishawaka, Indiana for three days of leadership training.  Before things got started we each drafted our own definition of leadership and shared them with the group.  Leadership is a tricky thing, but these students have already demonstrated a clear understanding of what it means to lead for Christ.

Our first session focused on leading in faith, as described in our theme verse 1 Timothy 4:12. Faith means listening to God, fiding quite to grow in relationship to God, and being confident that God loves us enough to speak to us.

Session two focused on being a leader in speech. The words we say have a huge effect on others to build them up or to break them down.  Our words can have an impression beyond even what our intentions are, so we need to be careful and Christ-filled when we speak.

Prayers are appreciated for the continued growth of these young leaders.  We are excited to come back with a student-led plan for what our youth ministry will look like this fall.

 

Known – Part Two

 

Your identity is not just about who you are, but why you’re here. The identity of something cannot be separated from its purpose. For instance, is a phone really a phone if it can’t make calls? We’re the same way. For us to really understand our identity, we have to understand our purpose.

We’re going to call the story of the prophet Jeremiah in chapter 1 verses 4-8, to learn about our purpose, God’s plan, and how God will provide for our future.

  1. Do you ever ask yourself the question, “Why am I here?”
  2. If you could know one piece of God’s plan for you, what would it be?
  3. How do you feel about existing for God’s glory? What are some ways you can bring Jesus glory?
  4. Where do you need God to specifically provided for you today?

Known – Week One

Can you believe it? Summer is almost here! With that in mind, our final series of this school-year is aimed at helping each of us keep our identity centered on Christ, especially when we won’t have the support of our weekly youth gatherings.

We have a big word for this idea that God knows everything. It is the word “omniscient” (all-knowing). It means that God knows everything about everything and everyone at every point in history. There has never been a thing that God hasn’t known.

For some people, this is scary. They can’t imagine that God has seen all of the bad things they’ve done, but it should be something we think about. Before we do something that we know we shouldn’t, we should remember that God is watching and caring about us.

Discussion Questions

  1. If you could ask God anything about your life, what would you ask him?
  2. Does that fact that God knows everything you’ve ever done make you more happy or more worried?
  3. Do you think our bad choices define who we are?
  4. What do you think gives us our identity?