We had another great night last night! Lots of pizza, games and laughs. Bill led us in a devotion based on Colossians 3:1-2. Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. We discussed the things we think about a lot on a daily basis and how almost all of those things are "earthly". When we keep our thoughts on these things we are more negative, angry, annoyed, self centered, we gossip, and complain, we feel beat down, BUT, when we focus on God we find hope and understanding, love and grace. We ended the lesson each sharing a blessing from the day and Bill reminded us that this is an easy way to shift our thinking from negative, earthly things, to positive, God-honoring things.
We are back next week for our last week of Highway 56! 5th graders are invited to come to WyldLife Club this Saturday from 5-7 here at First.
Last night we kicked off Highway 56 for 5th and 6th grade students. We had a blast! We ate pizza to start the night, had a raffle, announcements and a devotional on 1 Thessalonians 5: 16-18 which says, "Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus." We talked in small groups about why it is hard to always do these things, rejoice, pray and give thanks all the time but how we see God work in our lives when we do participate in them. Students learned about Hand2Hand and will help to pack the bags for the next 2 weeks. We finished out the night with lots of 9-square.
We're back next week! (We will NOT be going to BAM - the whole facility is closed for the day so we will be staying at First.)
We officially wrapped up Wednesday night IMPACT on March 28 with the Amazing Race downtown. Thank you to all the parents who helped run the stations! Students had a great time and many were even more excited when we ended the night with dodgeball!
I am grateful to know your son or daughter and have so loved watching them grow this past year. We prayed over the 8th graders on Wednesday, thanking God for the people that they are, for their growing relationship with the Lord and with other students, for their leadership and friendships and ultimately for the transition into high school. I am excited to see how God continues to shape and grow each student but I am also going to miss this 8th grade group! I will continue to pray for each of them to know God more. Thank you for allowing me to walk along side your child(ren). I am so very grateful.
Although IMPACT has wrapped up, Highway 56 is just about to begin. If you have a student who is currently a 5th or 6th grader, they are invited to Highway 56 for the next 3 weeks, April 11, 18 and 25.
We will have 2 IMPACT Hangouts in May, May 16 and 30. Many students expressed that they want to spend more time together so we're making it happen! All current 5th-8th graders are invited!
We had the opportunity last night to hear from Bob Herman, a christian counselor at Winning at Home. He used the diagram below to talk through a negative thought process someone can go thorough and the negative effects and outcome of that. And then he talked us thorough how to approach and walk through a situation in a more healthy, life-giving way. He used 2 Corinthians 10: 5 which says, We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. He also used Philippians 4: 4-7 which says, Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Questions to consider: What are you fearful of right now that could lead to anxiety? How can you bring it to God in prayer? What are you thankful for that you can help bring you peace and to find joy in?
We were grateful for the 5th grade boys joining us last night at IMPACT! They added some fun energy to the group. For the lesson we talked about idols, things we hold very close, things that take up a lot of our time and energy, things we put before our relationship with God. There were 4 categories we looked at, time, possessions, money/things we work for and gifts/talents. Students were challenged to think about which of these 4 categories is their idol and if they are willing to give it up in order to deepen their relationship with God. You could talk with your student about which one they recognize as sometimes standing in the way of their relationship and what they think they can do to make more space for God in their day or week. It's not that these things are necessarily bad or wrong, but when we forget to recognize that all of these things come from God, we don't bring him honor and glory and instead focus too much on ourselves.
Next week we will have a guest speaker, Bob Herman, from Winning at Home. He will be talking about mental health and will give students the language and tools to have conversations about mental health and to be able to respond to a situation that involves mental health from a Christian perspective. My hope in having Bob share with us, is that students will walk away knowing that youth group and church is a safe place that they can talk about mental health and also know how to handle a situation that may come up.
Last night the 5th grade ladies joined us for the evening to get a glimpse of what IMPACT is like! They jumped right in and had a great time. For the lesson we focused on our reliance on God and how in times of need we should call out to God instead of trying to do it on our own. We discussed how God's perspective is so much greater than our own and how when we turn to him, he uses his power to meet our needs. In small groups we talked about certain examples of how having Jesus in our lives has changed our perspective. You can have discussion about this and you can talk with your student about one way they can give their fears to God this week and lean on his help?
Next week the 5th grade boys with be joining us for the evening!
Last night we invited Pastor Scott and Cyndy to join us for the evening. They answered questions we came up with which ranged from questions about Scott being a pastor, his biggest accomplishments, how many baptisms, funerals and weddings he has performed, his most memorable sermon, etc. as well as questions about how he and Cyndy met, how he proposed, and how long they have been married. We ended with questions about some of their favorite things including food, cars, restaurant, football team, outdoor activity and childhood memory. It was so fun to hear more about their lives and to have the opportunity to say thank you for all Pastor Scott and Cyndy have done for us. It was a joyful evening.
Next week the 5th grade girls will be joining us for youth group!
This week we talked about the condition of our hearts and whether our hearts are rooted in good soil, God's truth, or poor soil, temptation, distraction, lies. Kent led students in an activity where the goal was to find 5 particular objects hidden in the "soil" (oatmeal) amongst other objects. One person was blindfolded and they were searching through the "soil" while their partner without the blindfold gave them directions and could see the objects. This was a great object lesson about our lives and how sometimes we have a lot of clutter that gets in the way and we often feel lost and confused, but God sees us and knows us and knows our hearts and reminds us of who He created us to be. A son or daughter of Christ, beloved and beautiful. And if we open our hearts to God, we will hear this truth and be able to sift through the mess in our lives. Consider asking your student, what is one thing you can do this week to exchange any bad soil in your heart for the good soil Jesus offers?
We invited Pastor Scott to join us at IMPACT next week so we can say thank you to him. We brainstormed questions to ask him and will have time to celebrate and remember how Pastor Scott has impacted our lives.
Happy Thursday! Last night we joined the congregation for part of the Ash Wednesday service. In the service everyone received a stone and this stone represented something that we cling too, that we spend a lot of time doing, or something that is interfering with our relationship with God. We were all challenged to think of what that thing is in our life and commit to fasting from it for the 40 days of lent. We then placed the stones at the foot of the cross, signifying our commitment to letting that "thing" go. We then received an a cross of ashes on our foreheads which reminds us of our brokenness, our need for Jesus and the grace of God. Many students shared what they were going to fast from when we debriefed after the service. Some of these included Instagram, candy, YouTube, video games, bread, and negativity to name a few. Talk with your student about what they are giving up and help keep them accountable! Maybe consider joining them with something you will fast from as well!
This past Wednesday we dove into the transfiguration of Jesus from Matthew 17: 1- 13! This is a somewhat complicated text but the main point is that Jesus is who he says he is, the son of God and all we have to do is listen to him. We talked about people in our lives who when they speak, everyone in the room stops to listen. Some of these people included grandparents, teachers, us leaders, and friends because students said they respect these people, these people have experiences that we can learn from, and that these people can sometimes be loud (friends). We also talked about expectations and how we have lots of competing expectations as Christians. But ultimately, that when we follow Christ, all he expects is for us to have faith! So we see how the disciples knew Jesus was God from the time they had spent with him but that they still doubted from time to time. Here, though, in this moment (Matthew 17:1-3), they experience his realness on a gut level. Talk with your student about this... see if they have had a moment where they really felt God's presence, where they knew God was the real deal. Maybe this was God working through others or maybe this is a more personal encounter. And if they don't feel yet like God is who he says he is, talk through why that might be? Questions, doubt, busyness, not listening, etc.
Hi, my name is Christy. I love listening to, talking with and spending time with middle school students!