So as of a few weeks ago, I bought a bunch of notebooks, or journals for each student, we have been engaging with practices in them to help us remember our lessons and put some practicality behind our conversations.
Two weeks ago, we talked about Jesus and the Last Supper, we talked about the bread, the cup, and Jesus dying for us. All of us. Each student wrote a short prayer that helps us remember the grace of God in communion, and now each student has a short prayer to pray while partaking in communion.
Last week we discussed Jesus' resurrection and how because Jesus lives we to are offered life. We then mapped out on a page in our journals some things that we think are important, and then upside down we wrote what Jesus says is important, love, mercy, sacrifice. We see that Jesus is calling us to live life upside-down in His kingdom.
We will continue to use the journals, I am very pleased with how each student is engaging with notes and the practices, I encourage you to have conversations around what communion means to you with your students, and what living in the up side down kingdom looks like in your life and share that with your student.
Grace and peace,
This week we started off the Luke-Acts series and pointed out that from the very beginning of Jesus' life, he did things opposite of how we might think. Creating a different kind of world.... an up-side down world.
So in our Luke-Acts series, we explore the fascinating story of Jesus' life, ministry, and announcement of God's upside-down Kingdom. Luke emphasizes how Jesus was the fulfillment of the Hebrew Scriptures, setting the stage for the Jesus movement that would spread throughout the ancient world.
Just a basic intro for this week, looking forward to more good conversations!
Hey friends, this year we will be working through the Luke and Acts series from the Bible Project in youth group, talking and thinking about who Jesus is and how do we follow Him in the church.
We are also working through and new Sunday School curriculum, from the Bible Project, were we will get an overview of the entire Old Testament in 5th and 6th grade and the New in 7th and 8th!
Stay tuned for more details to come!
This week we talked about the Holy Spirit and its impact on our lives as followers of Jesus.
The Spirit is, first and foremost, God’s personal presence.
The Spirit is a person and not merely a force. But, when we start on page one of the Bible, before creation ever even began, we see a depiction of the spirit of God hovering over the dark, disordered waters of the earth, ready to begin spreading goodness and creation. In the Bible, any time we see a description of the spirit of God, such as what is depicted in the first few verses of the Bible, the Hebrew word "ruakh" is used. Ruakh can describe an invisible, powerful energy, and necessary for life, making "The Spirit" a fitting description for the Spirit of God.
When Jesus appeared to His closest followers, He breathed into them the Holy Spirit, empowering them too to spread God's goodness throughout the world. Soon after that, God's spirit comes over all of His followers. Today, through Christ and the power He has given His followers, God's spirit continues to hover over a dark and chaotic world, slowly healing it and working towards the day when it is restored to its former glory
When we think about who God is, its complex. It hurts our brains sometimes. A good way to see a little bit of who God is, is in the people he made in His image. We talked about how God created people in his image to rule the world with Him, create beauty and good things in this world.
People being made in the image of God has two important things for us to consider.
1. Because we are made in the image of God, we are beautiful, loved and made with purpose in this world. Feelings of worthlessness and despair are not part of God's design for our lives.
2. Because people are made in the image of God, as we look at others, we don't see them as lower than us or worthless. But as people who reflect Gods image to us.
As followers of Jesus we see Jesus reflected in our lives through the fruit of the Spirit, love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.
As we continue to move forward in this season, there are many tensions, worries and concerns. I continue to take every day at a time and I am grateful for every opportunity to meet with students in person in this season and build relationships and find a life rooted in Jesus together.
In youth group so far we have gone over Psalm 23 and how it shows us the picture of a life following Jesus. We talked about the whole Bible pointing us to Jesus. We see that when the Psalmist refers to the Lord as shepherd, we experience Jesus as our shepherd in this life. Christ proclaims this parallel in John 10 when Jesus tell us He is the good shepherd. So just as David proclaims the Lord, we proclaim Christ, who is the Lord of all.
So for middle school students we talked about life with Jesus as our shepherd, as you work through the Psalm we saw in Jesus we find rest, comfort, peace, support and love forever.
Now, we begin to make a shift in conversation, and last night I posed the question, why would we follow Jesus and let him be our shepherd, and how do we experience all the things Psalm 23 mentions? I find many middle school students begin to ponder this question and sometimes it begins to confuse them, and so it is my conviction to make the gospel explicit to students, rather than assumed. So we asked the question last night. We discussed that Jesus came to the world with good news. And now we will move forward in weeks to come to discuss what exactly is the "good news" Jesus talks about.
Grace and peace friends,
We are off an running! I don't know about you, but I have felt like fall has been a whirlwind so far and it's just beginning! Although it has felt that way, I am ready for more of a routine and cooler weather.
Sunday school is up a going - I like it being after the service, I hope you and your students do too. 5th/6th grade is studying the old testament people and stories and 7th/8th grade is looking at the tradition of the Reformed Church and will soon move into big questions about God, Jesus, the Church, the bible, etc.
Our first youth group was a lot of fun and getting to know each other. We talked about expectations, hopes and goals for the semester. We are a smaller group than last year but the other leaders and I look forward to the opportunity to build strong relationships with your students! Each week, on Tuesday's I will post what is coming up in the lesson for the week so that you are prepared to talk at home about what we covered in youth group!
Here we go!
Another program year has come and gone and I want to take a moment to reflect and say thank you! Without your support of your student and myself, this ministry wouldn't be possible. Thank you for trusting me and my leaders to walk with your students, to teach and learn, to answer hard questions, to answer silly questions and to have lots of fun! I love each of your students and feel so blessed for the opportunity to know them! It is my desire to provide a space where kids feel safe, valued and listened to and I hope that is what Sunday School, IMPACT and WyldLife have been.
We are graduating an amazing group of 8th grade students who have grown so much in their faith and as individuals these last three years and again I just feel so grateful to have walked with them! I cannot wait to see the work the God continues to do in each of their lives.
As we head into summer it is my goal to offer lots of opportunities for students to continue to plug in but please don't feel like your student needs to be at everything! Also, I am always willing to give your kids a ride if you aren't able to so please don't hesitate to ask. You can find our summer dates - more will be added soon - under the Middle School -> Schedule Information tab.
Last night we talked about prayer! We discussed the importance of prayer, how to pray and how praying effects our relationship with God. Sometimes we don't know how to pray, or we only pray when we need something, so we challenged students to think about praying to thank God, to ask for help, to pray for other people, to pray for the world, to pray at school when we see someone struggling, really just encouraging them to think about praying all the time! Not just at dinner or bedtime because the more we talk with God, the stronger our relationship will be with Him!
Questions to discuss:
When do you pray now?
How can you enhance your prayer life? What other times can you pray?
Do you know what to say when you pray or do you need help with knowing what to say?
My name is Josiah from Grand Rapids Michigan and I follow Jesus Christ of Nazareth. Also middle schoolers are cool.