Good morning everyone!
I can't believe we are at the end of 2017 already. This has been an amazing year, and I'm excited for what God has in store for us in 2018. This past week, we left everyone on a cliff hanger for Sunday school, and wrapped up IMPACT quite nicely.
We are continuing to talk about Hell and the atonement in Sunday school and predictably, we have some different opinions! That's a good thing though, and we are enjoying some pretty deep discussion around the topic. This past week was filled with a bunch of rabbit trails and good questions surrounding what hell is like, and what things like universalism and annihilationism are! But fear not, we are going to start back up by outlining exactly what the Reformed church believes, and where we get that in Scripture. I would love to have you guys there to add meaning to the conversation if you are able!
IMPACT was lots of fun. We managed to fit three mini lessons into our regular teaching time, and played a couple of games of sardines to end the year on a high note. We talked about evaluating who our kings are and who our King should be. They were challenged to put the rightful King in his place as we enter into a new year, and to be ready to have Jesus disrupt some things that make them comfortable.
Since we don't have Sunday school or IMPACT next week, I can tell you what were planning for the 7th of January! Sunday school will be covering where Jesus talks about Hell in Scripture, and IMPACT will be a standard evening with a focus on a healthy devotional life!
I hope you all have wonderful and blessed holidays!
Happy first snow day of the year!
This past week in Sunday school, we began to touch on one of the most controversial topics in modern Christian belief: whether or not Hell exists. We started this week with a story about a girl named Gina and her two uncles. Gina's Grandma died, and at her funeral, Uncle Chad takes it upon himself to remind Gina and her sisters that Grandma didn't believe in God, and therefore the pastor officiating her funeral was wrong about her being in heaven.
Nice going Chad.
Gina's younger sister breaks down, and runs to her mom, who is sitting next to Uncle Max. Uncle max attempts to console the girls by saying that Uncle Chad has no idea what hes talking about, because Hell doesn't exist!
This may be a made up story, but it's not that far fetched. We live in a world where books like "Love Wins" and "Erasing Hell" have entered the mainstream, and armchair apologists have beliefs that range across the spectrum.
So as we began, it was my goal to make sure our students know that there is a (semi) Biblically defensible position asserting that Hell does not exist, as many had never heard that before. I'm pretty sure everyone in the room thought I had two heads. The reasoning behind presenting this opinion is simple. We want to make sure that our students enter college, and the world with an existing knowledge of WHY they believe what they believe. I could teach them what the RCA believes outright, or we could talk about the other views, and why they fall short. A student is much more secure in thier faith when they know the challenges that they will have hurled at them, and have already grappled with them in their own minds. It's far better to have students ask these questions while they are still surrounded by a strong supporting body.
We didn't come to any earth-shattering revelations this week, but we did touch on atonement theory and what happened when Jesus went to Hell (according to the apostles creed) and paid for our sins. (Spoiler alert : lots of people who are lots smarter than me have agreed to disagree about this, so I'm doing my best to make all that information available to our students on an accessible level.) I would invite you all to come join and see how this looks! I want to be completely transparent as we address topics like this.
IMPACT was great! We had a pretty standard night, and talked about Mary and Martha with Jesus. So often we have expectations of what we should do to be "holy" or right with the Lord, but all He asks of us is to just BE with Him. So we talked about dropping those expectations and just trying to be close to Jesus this week, whatever that looks like. This snow day is a great start!
Next week we will keep hammering away on Hell, and talk about fresh starts during IMPACT. Next week is our last Sunday school/IMPACT time before break, but we will have a Christmas party the following Friday during our normal game night time slot at my house!
Thanks for sticking it out till now, this ones a doozie! Have a great week!
Happy Tuesday everyone!
This past week in Sunday school, we picked up where we left off, and finished the question "is it wrong to doubt God?" We came to the conclusion that doubt isn't toxic, and is pretty normal for believers. Even some of the greatest church fathers experienced doubt and it drove them to pursue God with greater intensity!
Next week we will start to tackle the question "Is Hell real? If so, how could God send people there?" We realize that this can be a pretty tough subject, and we hope to handle it in a sensitive manner. The RCA is clear, and they believe that Hell is a real, eternal place. We will allow for discussion of other viewpoints though, and try to present a fair and accurate interpretation of the relevant scripture.
At IMPACT, we started our time with some quality fellowship, and celebrated having new pool cues! Our lesson was called the Hound of Heaven, and built on the idea of identity that we have been chasing these past few weeks. We talked about seeing one another how God sees us, The "omni's" of God and how he loves us in a special way, and this week we spoke about how God pursues us. Its not always a blinding light like it was with Saul (Paul), but sometimes its a gentle whisper. I challenged them to look for ways that they are being pursued by God this week, and to look for ways that God might be using them to pursue someone else.
We got to worship again this week, and I love it. From a youth pastor's perspective, this is a big step in the right direction for our youth group. I celebrated a whole year at First yesterday, and looking at the progress we have made this year is unbelievably encouraging. We have new students coming regularly, many more volunteers, a desire to come to events, and personal connections between students. New faces aren't a surprise and they are welcomed with open arms. We are more open with one another, and teaching is designed to help students own their faith. What an exciting time for our youth!
I'm Noah. I do High School things. Expect this page to update every Tuesday morning!