Final IMPACT follow up! 3/26/17
Its almost April already! Holy cow!
Yesterday in Sunday school we continued asking the question "Is Jesus really the only way to heaven?" We spoke briefly about other religions and the different ways we view Jesus. This was week two of this particular question, so we didnt dive terribly deep just yet, coupling that with the wact that next week we're not going to be meeting! In fact, we wont be meeting again until the 23rd of April, because after spring break, we have Easter! If we have enough students sticking around over spring break to justify some events, I'll make sure to let both you and your student know!
IMPACT was a blast. We played games, shared laughs, threw dodgeball and ate pizza. I feel very blessed to be leading your students into a new season here at first, and I praise God for all the things He is already doing within this group. What a blessing to be a part of it all!
3/19/17 Follow Up
Yesterday was great. In sunday school, we finally managed to conclude our discussion about whether or not God discriminates against women. We all decided that He doesn't, and that culture could take a lesson or two from Jesus. I was not actually able to be present to hear the end of that discussion, as I was teaching the 5th and 6th graders our "In God's Image" curriculum. From what I heard though, things wrapped up nicely and we were able to start our next question! So in the following weeks we will be discussing whether or not Jesus is the only way to heaven.
IMPACT last night went as well as I could have hoped. It's very hard to judge how well these "sex" talks go in the moment, but there was a healthy balance of very deep discussion and some nice comedic relief. We followed that outline that was sent out via email exactly. Our discussion started with the lies that the world tells us about sex, and we spoke briefly about how music plays a large part in that. After addressing all of those lies, and breaking down why they aren't true, we moved on to some of the lies the Church as a whole has taught teens and broke those down as well.
We tried to present a biblical and wholistic view of sex as something that affects the mind, the body, and the spirit of a person. When any one of those things isn't taken into account, or is misused, it affects the other two things as well. The biblical picture of marriage accounts for all three of these things in a monogamous relationship. It also mirrors the relationship that God has within Himself, as the two become one flesh in a way that reflects the trinity. We encouraged to take these things into account NOW as they are dating and starting to learn what characteristics they are attracted to in other people.
Finally we talked about dating and what all of this has to do with relationships outside of marriage. I encouraged your students to think of the people they are dating as someone who belongs to God first, and is potentially someone else's future spouse. I encouraged them to set boundaries with one another out of respect, and to involve you guys (their parents) in a similar discussion.
Next week we will keep plugging away at "Can I Ask That" and will be celebrating the official end to IMPACT programming in the evening with a party. If you'd like to know more details about last night or anything else for that matter, feel free to shoot me an email! Thanks for being a part of what were doing at First!
Welcome to another week!
Yesterday in Sunday School we continued our now four week long discussion on what the Bible has to say about women. We focused specifically on the idea of submission in marriage and what the different views are within the church. We even had a minor Greek lesson on the nuances of the word "submit" that is used in Ephesians 5 and Colossians 3 in reference to wives submitting to their husbands. This led into the topic of homosexual marriage and how we are to treat them in relationship to what scripture has to say about submission. Obviously, if two men are married these verses don't speak directly into that situation. This was a good enough conversation starter that we decided to cover that a little more in depth during IMPACT.
So we did. IMPACT followed its usual course of fun and a few games of dodgeball before we tucked into some tough issues. I brought up "The Shack" and talked about the danger of being wooed into universalist thinking. If you want to know a little more about what I'm talking/worried about with that book and movie, check out this article by Al Mohler.
We used that as a transition into talking about things or issues that might cause us to look at scripture through a wrong lens. I shared what I believe to be a biblically accurate view of homosexuality and the challenges that believers face in approaching the subject. For transparencies sake, I believe (as does the RCA) that homosexuality is a sin against God and is not how He intended marriage to be. I base this belief on God's design of man and woman in Genesis 2 and His command for them to be fruitful and multiply, which is not possible in a homosexual relationship. There is also a passage in Romans 1 that speaks directly to the unnatural and sinful nature of this kind of relationship.
But while that kind of lifestyle is sinful, we are still called to love them as children of God who bear his image. We spoke about depravity and how sin doesn't have levels, but rather ALL have fallen short of the mark that is Christ. This is something that I find easy to talk about, but not easy to live out. We were blessed to have other leaders speak in to this situation as well, sharing personal testimonies and different practical ways to love people who struggle with homosexual attraction. I apologize for not warning you that this was coming, but I didn't know myself until yesterday morning!
In light of that conversation, I feel like next week should be dedicated to talking about God's design for marriage and relationships. It was a natural segue that we couldn't chase with the time that was left last night. So next week in Sunday school, we will finally (hopefully) wrap up our discussion on what the Bible says about women. It has been a great conversation from beginning to end every single week and I'm very proud of your students for their maturity in dealing with a "hot button" issue. Then at IMPACT we are going to look rather intimately at what it means to be created male and female with the image of God. This conversation is going to be directed at healthy relationships with one another and the ways that culture has distorted our Father's intention for one another. I will be sending out an email with more information about the specifics of what we want to talk about. I truly feel like this is God's leading for the group, even though I'm still pretty new here.
If any of this is exciting or uncomfortable, I'd love to hear what you as parents have been/ are currently thinking! Feedback is always appreciated!! Have a lovely week!
3/5/17 Follow Up
It was another great Sunday in the life of the FRCZ youth group. We began the morning with one more long conversation about women and the church. We talked about the cultural context of the passages the book had given us to study. This seemed to lower a lot of the tension in the room. We wrapped up the discussion yesterday talking about how God created man and women different but equal. The man (Adam) was not complete without Eve, and vice versa. Next week we're going to wrap up this discussion, with a healthy dose of how Christians should live in light of the fact that we are all God's beloved children who bear His image.
IMPACT was great as well. Mario Kart is a staple, and ping pong is headed that way too. We played a card game called superfight for our game time, and a self-cloning velociraptor with acid blood wiped the floor. Seems right.
For our lesson we addressed what lent was, why we celebrate it, and how we should respond to it. We talked briefly about how the practice of lent isn't necessarily a Catholic thing, but is applicable for protestant churches as well (Wyatt was really bummed that we don't have fish frys like they do). We also talked about why it parallels Jesus in the desert, and touched on why people give something up for lent. Dynelle challenged us to try to give up something significant because we all have the Holy Spirit in us, the same on that sustained Christ in the desert. We closed the night in prayer, and went our separate ways.
I just want to brag on your kids for a minute. I am so blessed to be leading a group of students that is so loving and passionate about Jesus. I look forward to every day that I get to spend hanging out with them. Sundays are easily my most favorite day. I can tell that they hear and respond to things, even if they don't always vocalize it. They are rock stars, and I give that credit to you as their parents. It might not mean much coming from a 23 year old who isn't a parent himself, but you all are doing a great job. Thanks for making my job easier :)
Have a lovely week!
I'm Noah. I do High School things. Expect this page to update every Tuesday morning!