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Monday, November 19, 2007

We have had many new families and students coming to both our church and our student ministry weekly gatherings. Because of this, I thought I’d break down the purpose of each of our meeting times. At the end, I’ll give some observations as to the fruit that this is bearing.

We meet on Wednesday nights from 6:30-8pm. This time is designed to introduce students to who Jesus is. Not only do we want our students to come, we want them to bring their friends. We have a hang out/fellowship time from 6:30-7:00, then a relevant message about Jesus followed by small group time. In their small group, they dig deeper into Scripture, discuss the text, and talk about what they learned. Again, this is ground level, foundational stuff; we’re trying to teach who Jesus is and introduce them to the love of Christ.

The next “step” for involvement or growth would be on Sunday mornings. We meet from 8:45-9:45am. Here, we teach right from Scripture, using the Faithweaver material, which takes a student through the main teachings of the Bible in 3 years. Currently, both our high school and middle school groups meet together but this will be changing after the new year. The material here builds on the foundations laid on Wednesday nights. We go deeper into Scripture, and focus on application of spiritual truths. Here, our goal is to introduce them to what it means to be a disciple of Christ. If Wednesday night is the foundation, Sundays are the walls.

The deepest level of growth takes place on Sunday nights from 6:00-8:00pm. This time is a straight Bible study. Many of our studies on this night are multi-week studies and the students are required to purchase their own material and commit to doing the work. We just finished a 9-week session in which we used Henry Blackaby’s “Experiencing God” material. Next up, beginning January 6 is the “Why?” study, which will be 6-weeks long. Continuing the analogy of the building, this time of study would be the roof and finishing touches- how their discipleship affects their lives on a daily basis.

Here’s what we are seeing as a result of how we’re currently “doing” ministry. Many of the kids who only attend our Wednesday night meeting do not know who Jesus is beyond the intellectual; He is simply not real in their lives. For some students who attend on Sunday mornings, but NOT on Wednesday nights, they struggle with the application because they have no idea who Jesus is; there is no foundation.

As a ministry team, we would appreciate your thoughts and prayers as we wait on the LORD on this topic. We also ask that you would evaluate the spiritual needs of you and your family and involve yourselves in the direction(s) that you feel the LORDs leading.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Next year, our student ministry is going on 2 mission trips. Each student who wants to participate is being asked as a part of the application to answer a question or two about their relationship with Jesus. Many are struggling with those questions. I came across a joke today on the internet while thinking about the question, "Who is Jesus?" Here's the joke...

"Karl Barth, Paul Tillich, Reinhold Niebuhr, and James Cone find themselves all at the same time at Caesarea Philippi. Who should come along but Jesus, and he asks the four famous theologians the same Christological question, “Who do you say that I am?”

Karl Barth stands up and says: “You are the totaliter aliter, the vestigious trinitatum who speaks to us in the modality of Christo-monism.”

Not prepared for Barth's brevity, Paul Tillich stumbles out: “You are he who heals our ambiguities and overcomes the split of angst and existential estrangement; you are he who speaks of the theonomous viewpoint of the analogia entis, the analogy of our being and the ground of all possibilities.”

Reinhold Niebuhr gives a cough for effect and says, in one breath: “You are the impossible possibility who brings to us, your children of light and children of darkness, the overwhelming oughtness in the midst of our fraught condition of estrangement and brokenness in the contiguity and existential anxieties of our ontological relationships.”

Finally James Cone gets up, and raises his voice: “You are my Oppressed One, my soul's shalom, the One who was, who is, and who shall be, who has never left us alone in the struggle, the event of liberation in the lives of the oppressed struggling for freedom, and whose blackness is both literal and symbolic.”

And Jesus writes in the sand, “Huh?”"

Hilarious. But, isn't that the way we often think of Jesus? When someone asks us who Jesus is, we feel put on the spot like we have to give some deep, 20 minute long theological answer.

Jesus once posed this very same question to his followers. We can read about it in Matthew 13. Jesus and the gang are in Caesarea Philippi, and he asks the gang, "Who do people say the Son of Man is?". His followers reply, "some say John the Baptist, others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets." Jesus then asks the stunner..."But what about you? Who do you say I am?" I love the simplicity of Peter's response, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God." Peter is then praised for it. His simple response.

Who do YOU say that Jesus is?

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

From Salvo Magazine, comes an interesting article on "fame". In talking with many of our kids, they too have the desire to be famous. Here's the link to the article itself, with some highlights posted below.

"A Pew Research Center poll of 579 18 to 25-year-olds released in January revealed that to 81 percent of them, getting rich is their generation’s first or second most important life goal, and 51 percent said the same about being famous. A similar poll of junior high students, conducted a few months later, showed that when asked what they want to be when they grow up, the majority said they want to be famous...You don’t exactly need a poll to tell you these things, though. We are surrounded by anecdotal evidence of it. Ever see an entire stadium full of people waiting outdoors for three days for a chance to audition for American Idol? It happens about a half dozen times a year and all over the country...."