Thursday, May 29, 2014

No Excuses- Part 4

This week at WNW we wrapped up the "No Excuses" series.  We opened with a worship set that included "Marvelous Light" (Charlie Hall), and "One Thing Remains" (Kristian Stanfill). We then recapped the previous week and then split up to take some time to read and re-read Psalm 119:73-80.  After giving the students several minutes we split up into groups to discuss it verse by verse.  We talked about how verse 73 sets up this section of verses by acknowledging God's power and authority over us by creating us and how the psalmist asks for God's guidance in understanding His commands.  Then the rest of these verses is about the psalmist's life being lived as an example for others.  This is only possible after God has grown Him in understanding His Word.  The same is true for us.  We must grow in God's Word not for knowledge sake, but so that by growing in Him we can be used for His glory.  

We closed by gathering everyone together and discussing a bit of what each group talked about.  We also talked about some of the things that hold us back from reading as we should.  One thing discussed is that we sometimes do not know where to start.  We then discussed some ways we can start reading our Bibles- book studies, topical studies, even reading plans through avenues such as Youversion.  I ended it by challenging them to not only read Scriptures, but to pray them as well.  This passage is a great one to use as a prayer in our quiet times.  

This series was done in a completely different style but it was really fun to get the students involved this way.  Hopefully it has given them some ideas on how to grow in their individual Bible studies.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

VBS 2014

This year we did our Vacation Bible School differently as a church.  We do a weekly after-school program on Wednesday's so we decided in order to reach these children we would do VBS before school was out.  Here is a recap video of the week.

No Excuses- Part 3

After a week with no WNW due to VBS, we resumed this week with the "No Excuses" series.  We opened with a worship set that included "Our God" (Chris Tomlin), and "Scandal of Grace" (Hillsong United).  We then spent some time praying over some of our own that are leaving for missions over the next week.  Christopher and Shane are going to spend a week doing medical missions in Haiti.  Kaite is spending the summer in Puerto Rico serving on staff with World Changers.  Malee is already in South Africa to serve several weeks in Cape Town.  We are so excited for their opportunities and cannot wait to hear reports from each!

We then spent several minutes as we all read through 1 Samuel 8 where Israel demanded a king.  We then split into four groups to discuss the following questions:
1) What was Israel's problem? - They wanted a king
2) Why did they desire a king? - Because they wanted to be like all other nations
3) What was wrong with this desire? - Their desire to be like other nations was more important than following God
4) Did their desire to be like other nations lead to other sins? - Yes- particularly idol worship
5) Do we ever feel a pull to be "normal" like the rest of the world/society?
6) Who defines what is "normal"?
7) How should we measure society's standard of "normal"?
8) Do Christians ever compromise with the world around them?  How so?
9) If you withstand the pressure to be "normal" and are different, will you face opposition?  Is the opposition worth it?

We then came back together as a group and heard from each group a little bit of what was discussed.  Each group had great insight that was different from the other groups.  It was a great night altogether.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

No Excuses- Part 2

This week we continued the "No Excuses" series looking at how reading the Bible is not as intimidating as it may seem.  We opened the night with an activity called "Family Portrait."  We split the group into 3 teams.  During each round, 1 team posed as a group for their family portrait while the other 2 teams observed.  After a few moments the group stopped posing and the other 2 groups tried to imitate what they saw.  It was pretty funny seeing their odd poses and then the other groups trying to imitate the family portrait.  Afterward we looked at James 1:22-23 where we are told to be doers of the word and not only hearers.  We discussed that this means we are to apply the Scripture that we read to our lives and not only hear what it says.  James says that if you only hear it then you are like someone who looks at themselves in the mirror then forgets what they look like.  We discussed how this is similar to the "family portrait" game and how we are to remember what we read/see/hear in Scripture, and try to emulate what we observe.

We then played a worship set that included "You Are Holy (Prince of Peace)", "Here for You" (Matt Redman), and "Waiting Here For You" (Christy Nockels).  As soon as we were finished singing I had everyone open their Bibles to the book of Philemon.  This brief letter is only 25 verses long.  After spending some time reading this book, we split into groups to discuss the following:
1) Who wrote this letter?  - Paul
2) Who did he write the letter to?  - Philemon, also to Apia and Archippus
3) What is the theme of the letter?  - Forgiveness
4) Who is Paul urging Philemon to forgive?  - Onesimus, his former slave
5) Why does Philemon need to forgive him?  - He stole from Philemon and ran away
6) How can we apply this theme of forgiveness to our lives?  - When we consider how Jesus has forgiven us of our sins, then we should forgive everyone who hurts us.

There were several other questions and thoughts that came up during our group discussions.  It was interesting to see that many of the students had never read this short book in the Bible before, or did not remember if they had.  I challenged them to read it several times over the next few days and dig deeper into the text.  There is so much to learn from this brief letter from Paul.  This was another example of how the Bible is not intimidating and we have much to learn from it.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

No Excuses- Part 1

This week we began a 3-week series called "No Excuses" that will be done a bit different than our normal Wednesday Night Worship services.  We began with a worship set that was acoustic and just a few of us to give some of the band members a week off to just be there and worship.  We sang "Oh Happiness" (David Crowder Band), "Mighty To Save" (Hillsong United), and "How He Loves" (David Crowder Band).

I began by getting them to discuss the reason we make excuses for anything which of course is "because we don't want to do whatever we are supposed to."  We looked at Luke 14:16-24 at the people who made excuses to not attend the dinner they had been invited to.  I explained the message of the parable is that God is more willing to save sinners than sinners are to be saved.  They will make excuses to why they choose to reject Jesus.  

But thinking along the lines of excuses I asked them what are some excuses why we don't read the Bible like we should.  They answered- laziness, not enough time, choosing other things instead, and intimidation.  I shared that this series is going to be a way to see that the Bible is not as intimidating as they may thing.  I then had everyone spread out and take 10 minutes to read Luke 15:11-32.  After that time I split the students into three groups, and each were led by an adult to discuss the following about the "prodigal son":
-How are we like this son?
-How is God like this Father?
-How are we like this brother?
-How can we apply this to our lives?

This led to some great discussion in each group.  We closed up by discussing how this is a good passage to read and see that it is not intimidating.  There are definitely harder passages to understand, but we can not allow make that excuse to keep us from reading.  So this is format we will use for the rest of the series and will look at different passages.