Monday, August 18, 2014

Because You Are I Am

Most years for Younite I use a song in the development of the theme and curriculum.  However this year I developed the theme without a song in mind and so our student band decided it would be great if we wrote our own song.  Here is a video of what we came up with.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Godly Leadership

This week at WNW we began a two-week discussion on leadership.  We have 14 new 7th graders moving into youth next month!  I want to take a couple of weeks to challenge our students in leading them, as well as each other, and those they are around all day each day of school.  We began with a random discussion question.  I asked the students if they could choose a cartoon character to be president of the United States, who would it be and why?  There were some great answers including "Woody from Toy Story because he is wise" and "Olaf from Frozen because he is awesome" among a few others.  We then discussed what are the qualities of a good leader and we came up with the following list:  knows when to stop leading and begin to follow, humble, listens, sacrifices, responsible, truthful, confident without begin arrogant, respects others, thinks through their decisions, wise, knows how to handle stress.  We discussed each of these and why they are necessary qualities in good leadership.  I shared that all of us are leaders whether or not we want to be.  People are always watching and we have an influence on others constantly.  The main question is not whether or not you will be a leader, but instead is what type of leader will you be?  We looked at the following two kings of Judah and compared how they led their people.

1) King Jehoram - 2 Chronicles 21:12-15
We know that Jehoram was the son of Jehosophat and grandson of Asa who were both known to be godly kings.  However Jehoram was quite the opposite.  He led like most of Israel's kings and led the nation to idolatry.  He murdered many including his family.  A leader like this had a major negative influence on his people.  Judah followed in idol worship among other things.  Verse 13 of this passage says that Jehoram's actions "have caused Judah" to follow suit.  He lived an ungodly life and influenced his followers to live ungodly lives as well.

2) King Josiah - 2 Chronicles 34:31-33
We know that after many generations that Josiah was a king that had his eyes set on following God.  He did many great things, including the reestablishment of celebrating the Passover.  He made a covenant to follow God and made the people do the same.  However it was his daily lifestyle that influence the people to follow God as well.  He led Judah to a period of time where the people were seeking God because he lived a life of godly influence.

We then discussed the ways we can be leaders to the new students, as well as each other. The students shared about how they can make the new students feel welcome, but develop a relationship with them over time.  We also discussed that being real is necessary.  The students can't see one version of us at church and then see another version elsewhere.  It is important to live godly at all times because they are watching whether it is at church, school, home, events, social media, etc.  We closed with a time of prayer to commit to being a godly leader and asking God to lead us closer to Him first. I told the students that they can't lead anywhere to where they are not already at.  While we have not reached perfection in our relationship with Christ, we are to continue to grow closer to Him in order to be able to lead others closer to Him.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

WNW 8/6/14

This week at Wednesday Night Worship was a very special one.  We opened the night with a worship set that included "You Are the Fire" (Michael W. Smith), "Because You Are I Am" (Opposite Way Student Band), and "Oceans" (Hillsong United).  This song list was chosen by Shane who is one of our seniors that is moving on to college.  After singing I shared that it was a special night to hear from two of our students who are moving on to college- Shane and Laura.  They both addressed the students recalling some of their favorite moments over the years but also challenging the students.  Shane shared different verses from Paul's writings.  He told the students that they have an influence on the younger students moving in whether or not they want to but that they need to be careful to what ways they are influencing them.  He also left them with the offer that he is always available for them to help them in anyway they need.  Laura shared about how we are to be a light in this dark world, and for the students that are moving up.  She shared though that they cannot share a light that they do not already possess.  She used Ephesians 5:8 and Matthew 5:16.  After they finished, I shared that these past six years have been a time of investing in them as they also have invested in us.  But now is a time for them to be sent out even more so into this world to have an impact for the kingdom.  I read John 20:21 and said that as they go out, we are to commit to praying for them.  I then had Shane and Laura sit in the front in chairs and we spent some time praying over the two of them.  I am honored to have been their youth pastor for their six years in student ministry.  It has been such a blessing to see them grow in the Lord as I have seen them spiritually mature. I am excited for all that God is going to continue to do in them and through them in their college years.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Younite 2014 Theme

I wanted to share a brief overview of the theme for this year's Younite.  We used the letters "bcUriam" which stands for "Because YOU Are I Am."  The main verse used was 2 Corinthians 12:9- "And He has said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.'  Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me."  We are all weak whether we want to admit it or not.  If we dwell on our weaknesses too much it will hinder us from obedience in Christ.  However, because of all that God is we can be all that we need to be in order to follow Him.  Each day we looked at a different quality of God and applied it to our lives.

Day 1- Because God is Forgiving I Am Forgiven
Fire is a symbol of forgiveness and purity throughout Scripture.  We looked at the necessity of forgiveness and how everything else in our walk with Christ hinges on it.

Day 2- Because God is Hope I am Hopeful
Hope is a word that we misuse to describe our desires or wishes.  True hope is defined as confidence in God's faithfulness for the future, but also in the present.  This hope enables us to purse God's calling for our lives each day.  The anchor is a symbol that has been used for hope and for Christianity for years.

Day 3- Because God is Love I am Loved
The heart of course is a symbol of love, but love is also a word that is misused.  We focused on Christ's relentless love for us.  

It is when we begin to see ourselves the way God sees us that we gain the confidence to follow Him as He has directed us.  Seeing our identity in Christ alone is necessary for all believers in order to grow in their faith.  We wrapped up the study on Day 4 by talking about since God is these things for us (forgiving, hope, love) then we are also to be them to others.  Because we are forgiven, we are to forgive others.  Because we are hopeful, we are to share that message of hope with others.  Because we are loved, we are to love others well.