Thursday, June 21, 2012

The Pursuit- Make Christ First

This week we continued our after-camp study of the Pursuit by looking at Making Christ First in our lives.  We began the night with a little competition.  The guys and girls competed against each other to see who could complete a 48 piece puzzle first.  The trick was I had held out 1 piece from each puzzle.  However even though it was close the girls pulled out the victory.  I tied this in to the closing part of the lesson.  We then had a worship set that included "Take it All" (Hillsong United), "How Great is Our God" (Chris Tomlin), and spent some prayer time praying for Younite, Current Canada mission groups, and mission efforts in Sub-Saharan Africa (these 2 groups were our mission's focus at MFUGE).

We read Matthew 6:33 which is the verse that is leading us in the three week of the after-camp study and specifically this week making Christ first.  We then read Mark 12:33 where we are commanded to God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength.  Making Christ first means that nothing comes before our devotion to God and His plans.  We then split into three groups for discussion and then joined back to discuss it all as a group.

Group 1- With All Your Heart and Soul
Exodus 20:3-6
-How is the heart and soul represented in these verses?
-What is an idol?
-What are some examples of idols that are worshipped today?
-Do you think some of these "things" can be ok in God's eyes if they are enjoyed not as idols?
-Do you have to give up absolutely everything in order to seek God first?
-What does it mean to love God with all your heart and soul?

Group 2- With All Your Mind
Colossians 3:2
-What are some of the normal things that a teenager thinks about on a daily basis?
-How do you turn your thoughts to Christ?
Philippians 4:6-9
-What does it mean to "set your mind on what is above"?
-How do you do this with so many other thoughts racing through your head?
-What does verse 6 tell us to do with our worries?
-When you give your requests to God, what happens to your thoughts?
-What does it mean to dwell on these things?
-What does the old phrase "Garbage In - Garbage Out" mean and is it true?

Group 3- With All Your Strength
Colossians 2:6-7
-What does it mean to "walk in Him" (verse 6)?
-As a Christian, how can you be "rooted and built up in Him"?
-How does a person's foundation or what they are rooted in affect their actions?
-How do you seek God with all you strength you are tired physically, mentally, or emotionally?

We closed by thinking back to the puzzle from the beginning of the night.  We talked about how it was unfair for me to give them the task but hold back a piece of the puzzle.  The same is true when set out to follow God, but we do not make Him first.  When we do not seek Him with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength then it is not fair to Him.  It isn't fair to the One who has given us life, and given us a Savior so that we can inherit true life in Him.  When we hold back from seeking Him with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength then it is hold us back in our growth from Him.  We are unable to be used in the way that He wants to use us.  I challenged everyone to think about what is holding them back from seeking God with their hear, soul, mind, and strength and resolve to change it.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

The Pursuit- Seek Christ

Last week at Wednesday Night Worship we began a 3-week after camp study that continues "The Pursuit" theme that we studied at camp.  We opened the night by singing "Happy Day" (Tim Hughes) and "Beautiful" (Phil Wickham), and by watching the video that I posted yesterday.  We then began the study for the night with a brief review of what we had studied at camp before diving into the thought for the night of seeking Christ.  Each of these three weeks we will begin by looking at Matthew 6:33 before splitting into groups.  Each group had a set of Scripture to read and questions to discuss.  We then went through each part together as a group and discussed each section.  We often seek with passion that which is most important to us.  Often we only seek Christ half-heartedly because He is not that important to us.  We should seek Him passionately and whole-heartedly and each of the groups looked at a different attribute that should lead us to that.  Here are Scriptures that each group looked over and discussed:

Group 1- Christ is Creator and Sustainer of All Things
John 1:2-5, 10
-What do the words "creator" and "sustainer" mean?
-When you imagine what it looked like when God created the world, whom all do you picture in the scene?
-Whom was God talking to when He said 'Let us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness' in Genesis 1:26?
-Explain the Trinity and how it was possible for Christ to be there.

Group 2- Christ is the Revelation of God
John 1:1, 14, 18
What does the word "revelation" mean?
-Why is Jesus called "the Word"?
Colossians 1:15-20
-What does it mean that Christ is the "image of the invisible God"?
-How does this phrase relate to John 1:1?
-What are specific instances in Christ's life on earth that show that Christ was fully God?
-What do you think it was like to be around Jesus?

Group 3- Christ is Grace and Truth
John 1:16-17
-What do the words "grace" and "truth" mean?
-What did John mean when He explained that "the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ"?
-Discuss how you have personally experienced God's grace through Christ.
-Discuss how you have personally witnessed the truth of Christ in your life.

After discussing these as a whole group, we closed the night by taking a few moments in silence reflecting on these attributes and the one that we are most thankful for.  I challenged the students to go home and spend some more time that night reflecting on which attribute means the most to them.  When we begin to understand the nature of God is when we will be begin to pursue Him whole-heartedly.

Monday, June 18, 2012

MFUGE 2012 Video

It's been real hectic since we have been back from camp.  Another tire blow-out and stranded van made for an interesting trip home, but we made it home safely praise God! This year we had an amazing time at camp and God really did a great work in us and through us.  It is hard to cram 6 days of 7 a.m.- 12 midnight into a 3-minute video but we gave it our best attempt.  This video however is the extended version with extra stuff that we showed last week at Wednesday Night Worship.  Due to time constraints and the fact that everyone doesn't get your inside jokes, we showed a shorter version at church yesterday.  However here is the full version, with all the goofiness added at the end.  Hope you enjoy!

Friday, June 8, 2012

M-Fuge Day 4

I'm getting to post this way later than I anticipated so my post will probably be shorter. Today's Bible study focus was Stand and how we are to be unified as Christians. After our group set out to track we had a bit I'd a setback as one of our cans blew a tire. Thankfully it was on a highway and area that didn't have much traffic at the time and so he was able to easily get the van into a parking lot in order to put on the spare. We ended up being about an hour late to our site but it was fine.

Tonight's worship service was great. The pastor preached on community and used several passages of Scripture. Our group devotions time went well and one of the things that was brought up from their morning Bible study that sometimes people are Sunday only Christians, which was a thought that had been on my heart to mention for about a week. I challenged the students to consider that if this is how they are living their lives then they are leading people straight to hell. I also told them that they can be unified without Jesus being in the middle but that it would fail. The other thought that I left them with was a reminder of the sermon I preached a few weeks ago. I told them that it they are experiencing division anywhere that it first existed in their heart as they were divided against God.

Prayer Requests: good rest tonight and strength tomorrow on our last day on sites. The van as will be getting a new tire before heading home because we don't trust the spare. Boldness on our last day on site.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

M-Fuge Day 3

Day 3 at M-Fuge has been a long day but another great one. Our Bible study theme for the day was Proclaim as we looked at how we are called to proclaim the Gospel and share with those who need to know Jesus. After our track groups all were back on campus we were able to have extended free time to do whatever we wanted as a group. We went to downtown Greenville and walked through a beautiful park which happens to be the park where our evangelism track is working at. We then ate an amazing meal at the Italian restaurant Trio. This food was so good, but even more so after eating camp food. We then went to a few shops and before heading back to campus we stopped in a wonderful coffee shop called Spill the Beans.

We returned to campus for worship and group time and it was a great night. The pastor's message was from Mark 2:1-12 where the paralytic was brought to Jesus. As he taught through this passage he pointed out that when Jesus forgave their sins that He showed He is God and showed His authority. We were challenged with whether or not He has complete authority over us. If He truly does then who is it that we need to bring to Jesus like these men did in this passage?

In our Bible study time we shared our experiences on our track sites and what spoke to us during the Bible study and worship service. I closed by challenging them to spend some time before going to sleep and think about if a book was written about their lives. I asked them what would be written about how we proclaim Christ. Would there be anything written? And what would we like to be written? It was a great day like I said before as we had the opportunity to serve and spend more time bonding as a group.

Prayer Requests: Boldness in sharing the Gospel. Safety on track sites, I know that my group on Friday will be going to a rough area of Greenville. Good sleep and rest. That we all will be willing to follow God regardless of what it means and what it costs us.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

M-Fuge Day 2

We woke this morning to a wet scene as it had rained in the night and was still drizzling as we went to breakfast. It was a bit cool which made it very nice compared to the usual hot Fuge weather. We went to the AM Show for worship and some videos, etc. and then had our Bible study. Today's theme was Pursue as we looked this morning at how God is pursuing us. We also talked about the authority of Jesus in our life. The thing that stood out to me the most was from Ephesians 1:3-10 and our leader asked "do we seek redemption and forgiveness, etc. as the treasures they really are?". We then headed off to our track sites.

The worship service for the night was great. The only songs I remember were 1) a song that is one of Finding Favour's originals that was really good and 2) How He Lives. The pastor's message was amazing. He preached on how we are adopted by God when we are saved and preached from Galatians 4:4-7. He challenged those who realized they needed to be saved and adopted by God. He told a story of someone who adopted some kids from another country who had lived in an orphanage in terrible conditions. When they rescued these orphans as they drove down the road these kids were reaching back in the direction of the dark, junky orphanage. As Christians, though we are adopted we sometimes reach back toward the dark sinful life we were redeemed from. Some Christians go back to actually living in the dark sinful life. Something for all Christians to think about.

We then had our church group devotions. We took time sharing about our day and what we learned in Bible study and experienced in our Tracks. I'm in the Social Track along with Laura, Ivey, and Nathan C. We went to a couple of nursing homes where we interacted with the residents. It was great hearing from the Evangelism Track and how they spent the day sharing the Gospel with people in the park. We also spent some time talking about the worship service and it was nice hearing how God spoke to everyone. It was a great day and looking forward to the rest of the week. One of my favorite things is seeing how our group, like last year, has really bonded so far.

Prayer Requests: Boldness for everyone, especially those in the evangelism track. Energy as we all get more tired as the week goes on (and personally I have only gotten 3 hours of sleep each of the past 3 nights). The vans bc van #1 that didn't want to start for a few minutes yesterday didn't want to start again today. It finally did but makes me really nervous each time. Healing for some of our students and some of our leaders.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

M-Fuge Day 1

No wi-fi means I'm posting this from my phone. Never done this before. Hopefully I'll still say everything I intended. We rolled out this morning about 10 am and headed to Greenville. On our lunch stop one of the vans didn't want to start up but we got it to go finally. Praying that it will run fine all week. After driving a total of about four hours we made it and were officially going through the registration process. From the moment we stepped on campus you just got the feeling that it's going to be an incredible week. After dinner we went to the opening worship and it was great. The band Finding Favor opened up with the song I Am Free, and then sang Everlasting God and Our God. Even though these are songs we are very familiar with it was truly refreshing. Praise God that we are "free to live" for Him, that he is everlasting and is greater than any god we can conjure up in our lives. The camp pastor opened with a story about how he pursued his wife and related it to our theme "The Pursuit" of how God pursues us and how great that is. Afterward we found out our track groups for the week. Then we had group devotions where we shared about our track groups and talked more about how God is pursuing us. We read Ephesians 1:22 about how Jesus is lord over everything but the question is whether or not He is Lord of your life.

This week is going to be amazing. I believe with all my heart that God is going to do amazing things in us and through us. I look forward to the victories that will take place this week. Please pray for us all this week as God stretches us, molds us, challenges us, and uses us. My prayer is that He will shake us all in a good way.

Here are a few pictures. I didn't take many today but will try to get a few more tomorrow.