This first week we talked about "Planning the Trip". I challenged students to close their eyes, think about 2008, and consider if they are the same person they were a year ago, grown spiritually (hopefully), or digressed in their relationship with Christ. The scripture used was Philippians 3:12-16.
After having students examine their lives over the past year, I talked about how we all made mistakes and regrets. However the beautiful thing is that if we ask forgiveness it's forgotten. The hard thing about it sometimes is moving forward. We must forgive ourselves and forget the past as Paul tells us in this passage.
I then had the students think about where they want to be a year from now spiritually and how they plan to get there. I challenged them to set goals, practice spiritual disciplines, memorize scripture (but focus more on scripture study and the memorization will occur), study scripture with parents (which got a great reaction), and prioritize. Along the lines of prioritizing/time management here are some interesting facts. There are 1440 minutes each day. If we would just begin by devoting 30 minutes to God (quiet time, Bible study, prayer, etc.) then it would only equal 2.08% of our day. Not much time to give to someone who died on a cross for us. I also pointed out that the #1 phrase that teens use (in my thoughts adults use it too much too) is "It's Not Fair!" And not only is it the most used phrase but on average is said 86 times a day. That equals an hour and a half each day of whining and complaining.
I then challenged the students with the following: No whining/complaining and move away from legalism, Put God 1st/Spiritual Growth, Be more Missional, and have a Child-like Faith. In verse 14 it tells us to "press toward the prize". Too many times in my life I thought the prize was a material blessing, but I now know that the prize is the upward call of God. The prize is that God would use us in the midst of our weakness and failures. That's one of the things that makes me fall more in love with God is that He would use me.
In closing I challenged the students, and myself to have the mindset this year of this: to ask God "What can I do for you?" It's easy to ask God to do "stuff" for us but we need to ask God what can we do for you.
I also opened the night with this crazy video, which there will be one to go along with each sermon of this series. Enjoy!