Friday, March 18, 2011

Identity: The Office, Lady Gaga and Jesus

Thought I’d send out a quick note about our current Sunday night lesson series called “The Gospel According to The Office”.

We’ve covered a lot of ground and a ton of topics.  Basically, our format has been like this:

  1. Last week’s theme was “conviction” and we asked the kids to be on the look out for incidents in the show that people either were convicted of the wrong that they had done, or tried to convict others.
  2. We watched an episode called “The Chump” in which Michael realized that he was dating a married woman and did not care.  The people in the office spent the episode trying to get him to see that he was wrong using a variety of methods.
  3. We talked about conviction as found in the Bible, using Genesis 3:1-12, Exodus 13:20 and Deuteronomy 17 and 1 Samuel 8 as examples of God’s conviction and leading.
  4. We also read Romans 1 and talked about how God is evident but people ignore what He’s done because of their own wickedness.
  5. We ended with a challenge to hear God’s conviction and in small groups we had some further discussion and prayer time.
I’m sending this to you because this week, we are talking about the theme of “Identity”.  We’ll be using the Office episode entitled “The Fire” as well as Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way” and finally a video I made called “I am new”.  Each of these videos deals with the theme of “who we are” in a different way.  Our point is that “Who We Are” in Christ is our most important identity. Some may be hesitant for us to use Gaga’s video, and while I understand that, please know a few things about this song:
  • the first week that this song was released, it was downloaded 1.2 million times on iTunes, the fastest ever
  • if your student has an iPod, they most likely have Lady Gaga on it, probably, this song is there
  • we are determined to help our students discern, understand and see culture in the light of the Gospel of Jesus
I’d encourage you to take a look at what other Christians have said about this song, video, and it’s importance in our ministries to students.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

CIY: Believe 2011 Recap

If I were asked to describe CIY: Believe in just one word...that word would be "awesome". 

We left Eastview on Friday morning shortly after 10am.  The girls rode with Kathy (one of our middle school youth leaders) in our van, and the boys rode in Big Purple (our church van) with Steve (one of our middle school youth leaders) and myself.  The drive was as you'd expect, loud!   We stopped for lunch at the Denny's in the bustling city of Wayland, Missouri.  We had a run-in with the local sheriff's deputies there, they told us the difference between a "shiv" and a "shank", which fascinated the boys. 

After, we finished our drive to Family Arena, in St Charles Missouri.  We registered, and picked up another one of our female youth leaders, my daughter Katie.  Went to the hotel and got checked in and had quick dinner before going back to the Family Arena for the night.  We picked out our group's t-shirts, and then enjoyed a night filled with worship, comedy and a great speaker, talking about the life of Esther, in the Old Testament.

We woke up at a reasonable time, had breakfast at the hotel, and then to the Family Arena for the morning, more worship, an illusionist and a speaker, taking us deeper into the life of Esther.  Lunch was sandwiches at the hotel, and then back to Family Arena for a few more sessions.  The event was over about 4pm, and then we went to the Incredible Pizza Company for dinner and video games.  IT was a great night of food and hanging out as a group.  After around 3 hours, we returned to the hotel for a debrief of the weekend and more time with our group.  Lights out was around 11:30.

After waking up and having breakfast, we went to Harvester Christian Church for their morning service and left St Charles by 10:45.  We stopped at Hardees for lunch in Hannibal and were in the parking lot a little after 4pm.

Here's what happened on a deeper level:

The kids were exposed to a lot of LOUD music that honored Jesus. 
By the end of the weekend, they actually liked "Christian" music.
They were in an environment of more that 3000 others, so for those that love Jesus, they are not alone.
The kids laughed at the jokes and thought the illusionist was cool.
The speaker told the story of a girl who lived for God regardless of the fact that her parents were not involved in her life.  In fact, they were dead.
The kids made some great relationships with one another.
The kids built great relationships with the adult youth leaders.

Thanks to CIY: Believe for putting on an awesome event!