Thursday, September 6, 2012

Tunnel Vision Part 1

This week we kicked off the new church year at WNW and it was such a great night!  It was the first Wednesday with the new students and so we showed a funny video that showed them a little bit more about what we do in youth.  We began with a worship set that included:  "Like A Lion" (Crowder/Newsboys), "Salvation is Here" (Hillsong United), "Always" (Kristian Stanfill), and "How He Loves" (McMillan/Crowder).

We started a new series called "Tunnel Vision".  We even built a small tunnel that you have to walk through as you enter the youth house.  As a child I always enjoyed getting to ride through a tunnel when we were driving somewhere because it reminded me of driving into the Bat Cave like Batman.  As I am now the one driving it's not as cool as it was when I was a child.  However when in a tunnel you can only see what is directly in front of you.  You can not see what is to your left/right/above because the tunnel blocks it.  Some people actually suffer from tunnel vision and lose their peripheral vision making their vision see like they are actually in a tunnel.  As humans we can be the same way as we are often focused on ourselves more than anyone else.  We are all selfish in our sinful human nature.  When we only think of ourselves it is like we have tunnel vision as we only focus on what is directly in front of us and what is important to us.

Jesus often taught on how we are to think of others and serve them.  One of the greatest teachings of this is in John 13:14-15 where He washed the disciples feet.  This took place right before His arrest and crucifixion.  Jesus was spending some final moments with the disciples and he taught them this lesson of serving others.  It was custom during this time when someone visited to your home that a servant would wash their feet.  As the people wore sandals their feet would have been pretty dirty.  So washing someone's feet was definitely a way to humble yourself and serve someone else.  The disciples should have been washing Jesus' feet but instead He was serving them and washing theirs.  He said that we are to do the same.  Not necessarily physically washing the feet of others, but to consider the needs of those around us, humble ourselves and serve them.

So what prompted Jesus to teach them this lesson?  More than likely it was because the disciples had been arguing over who was the greatest in Luke 22:24-27.  We do this ourselves as we sometimes try to outdo others and 1-up them with our stories.  Jesus teaches them that though the world views the one being served as the greatest, that actually the servant is the greatest.

So why is serving others such a big deal?  Why did Jesus teach this often?  When we look at how long eternity is and how short our lives are in comparison, it starts to make sense.  I used the Francis Chan rope example to tie this together.  Sometimes we are so focused on the short part of time that we spend on earth that we miss the big picture of eternity.  We do not need to be so focused on all the trivial matters of the short time on earth that we miss the opportunity to serve others and share with them the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  Eternity is long for everyone, which is why it is so important for us to share with them the love of Jesus so that they may also spend eternity with Him in heaven.  

So as I closed I challenged the students to think and look beyond themselves.  I challenged them not to live life in the tunnel, but consider the needs of others.  Everyone received a "mini tunnel" (a small piece of pvc) that says "Look Beyond Yourself- John 13:14".  I told them to put this somewhere they will see it before they leave their home each day as a reminder to think about the needs of everyone they encounter throughout the day.  

We ended by giving aways some door prizes and it was fun to see their reactions.  It was really a great night.  It was sad as we missed the presence of those who graduated and moved on, but exciting to see new faces.  I believe that God has a lot in store for these students and I am excited to be a part of it!

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