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Awakening Team Ninja Warrior—Part 3— Overcoming Obstacles (6/26/16)

Happy Monday Everyone!

Last night was Part 3 of our Awakening Team Ninja Warrior Series. This week the message was “Overcoming Obstacles”. We started the evening off by praying for the Foxborough Park Community where we are teaming up with the Salvation Army to reach the families of the neighborhood, and the flood victims in southern West Virginian who have lost their homes, friends, and loved ones in what many are calling a 1 in 1,000 year amount of rainfall.

The message was “Overcoming Obstacles”. We looked at Hebrews 11:1-3; 6-12; 17-19NIV,

Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. 2 This is what the ancients were commended for.

3 By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible.

6 And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.

7 By faith Noah, when warned about things not yet seen, in holy fear built an ark to save his family. By his faith he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness that is in keeping with faith.

8 By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going. 9 By faith he made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country; he lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise. 10 For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God. 11 And by faith even Sarah, who was past childbearing age, was enabled to bear children because she considered him faithful who had made the promise. 12 And so from this one man, and he as good as dead, came descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as countless as the sand on the seashore.

17 By faith Abraham, when God tested him, offered Isaac as a sacrifice. He who had embraced the promises was about to sacrifice his one and only son, 18 even though God had said to him, “It is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned.” 19 Abraham reasoned that God could even raise the dead, and so in a manner of speaking he did receive Isaac back from death.

Noah built the ark without having physical evidence that it would actually happen, and he and his family were saved.

Abraham received the promise that God would make him in to a great nation. The problem was that Abraham was around 100 years old and his wife, Sarah, around ninety years old. This was a pretty big obstacle considering people that age don’t have babies. However, God delivered even though they didn’t always cooperated and tried to do things there own way. Abraham and Sarah had baby named Isaac, and it was through Isaac that the promise given to Abraham was to be fulfilled.

There was a major obstacle that presented itself— God told Abraham to sacrifice his only son. Would a loving God actually do this? This event is often used by many atheists to argue that a loving God would never ask someone to do this.  When reading the full story in Genesis 22:1-19, you see Abraham’s faith at work. He says in Genesis 22:5,  He said to his servants, “Stay here with the donkey while I and the boy go over there. We will worship and then we will come back to you.” Abraham new that God would provide for him as he faced this obstacle. Hebrews 11:19 says, Abraham reasoned that God could even raise the dead, and so in a manner of speaking he did receive Isaac back from death. Hebrews 10:23 says, Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. I believe that Abraham understood this concept. God WILL NOT go back on his word or promise to you. Hebrews 11:1 tells us that, Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. 

Abraham didn’t see or know how God would provide, but he knew that he would. The reality is this—before Abraham could receive his promised blessing, he had to lose it. Abraham had to relinquish control, and surrender his hopes and dream to God. God came through just as he does today! Many times we panic because we don’t see God and wonder why he isn’t moving the obstacle from our path. The truth is that sometimes God will remove the obstacle, but many times he is standing at the top wanting us to overcome the obstacle to deepen and strengthen our faith in him! The reason we often times can’t see God is because we are looking at our obstacle instead of looking up at him.

We challenged the youth to with this statement: “Be careful to not ask God to remove an obstacle from your path that he is standing at the top of waiting for you to meet him. It’s better to climb an obstacle with God than to walk an easy path without him!”

After the message, we went outside for our team competitions where teams had to complete an obstacle course using what they had learned from all three weeks of the series: Preparing for battle (they had to develop a strategy for completing the course), Teamwork (they had to work together to complete the course), and Overcoming Obstacles (they had to work and trust their teammates to overcome the obstacles throughout the course). You can check our some of the videos below.

You have to let go before you can overcome!

Have a great week!

-Pastor Dustin

Awakening Team Ninja Warrior— Part 2— Teamwork (6/12/16)

Hello Everyone!

We’re happy to bring you the update from Part 2 of our Awakening Team Ninja Warrior Series. The focus this week was on teamwork.

Romans 12:3-8; 1 Corinthians 12:26-31NIV says,
For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you. 4 For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, 5 so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. 6 We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; 7 if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; 8 if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.

If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.

27 Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it. 28 And God has placed in the church first of all apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healing, of helping, of guidance, and of different kinds of tongues. 29 Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? 30 Do all have gifts of healing? Do all speak in tongues? Do all interpret? 31 Now eagerly desire the greater gifts.

We talked about how we are all different with different God-given gifts, talents, but we all belong to the same body of Christ where we can use our unique gifts to help others. Paul lists “helping” as a gift in 1 Corinthians 12:28. Many people may feel that they do not have anything to offer God or the Church if they don’t lead, teach, or play music. There is a place and need for everyone on God’s team as we help each other through life and spiritual battles.

Being a part of a team is all about putting the needs of your teammates first to achieve a certain goal. It’s not necessarily about having the best people on your team, but it’s about having the right people on your team. We need to surround ourselves with people that will help us stay on course, overcome life’s battles, and keep us focused on God.

After the message we moved outside for team building activities and competition that showed how our week 1 topic— Preparation— was linked to this week’s topic— Teamwork. The teams realized how important it was to have their teammates remind them of their plan to complete the obstacle course when things got chaotic and tiring.

The race started by each person on the team spinning around a baseball bat 10 times, running up to and walking crossed a balance beam, and crab walking back to tag the next person in line. After each person on the team was finished, the team had to form a human tunnel by standing shoulder to shoulder and bending over to touch the ground. One person would then crawl through the tunnel, take their place in the tunnel while the next person crawled through. The team to complete this with the fastest time won the competition for the night. You can check our a picture and video from the night below!

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We’ll see you on 6/26/16 for Part 3— Overcoming Obstacles! You don’t want to miss the message OR the competition for this week!!!

-Pastor Dustin

Awakening Team Ninja Warrior— Preparing for Battle (6/5/16)

Hey Awakening Youth Family!

We had a blast Sunday as we kicked off our “Awakening Team Ninja Warrior” Series with Part 1— Preparing for Battle. Much of the series is based off of the competition seen on TV known as American Ninja Warrior and Team Ninja Warrior.

By definition, a ninja warrior would be someone who is an experienced in warfare and trained in the ancient Japanese martial arts for assassinations. The athletes in the ninja warrior competition train and prepare their bodies to overcome some of the most intense physical obstacles an athlete will see. What does this have to do with our walk with God? EVERYTHING!

Whether we realize or not, we are in spiritual warfare. Ephesians 6:12NLT says, For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places. Just like the military prepares for battle by learning about their adversary, weapons, and their fellow soldiers, it is important for us to do the same in the spiritual battles we face.

We looked at the spiritual armor that God gives us in Ephesians 6:10-20— the Belt of Truth, Breastplate of Righteousness, Gospel of Peace, Shield of Faith, the Helmet of Salvation, and the sword of the Spirit. While it’s not an actual piece of armor, prayer helps us connect with God to receive guidance and instruction for the battles we face.

We did four different team games after the message, and each week the competition will get a little more physically intense.

The first game we did was jousting in office chairs with pool noodles. One person on the team was seated in the chair with a wad of tape on their shoulder and a pool noodle in their hands. Their teammate pushed them towards the opponent, screaming at the top of their lungs while they tried to knock the wad of tape off of their opponents shoulder. Yes, this was as wild and fun as it sounds! The lesson from this game was that when we are in spiritual warfare, we have to be focused on God as we courageously approach our opponent (Satan) to win the battle in front of us.

The next game we did game required the teams to squeeze all of the juice out of a lemon into a cup. Once the team had done that four times, they had to take a teaspoon of the lemon juice and put it into a small cup of water with each team member having to drink a cup of the lemon water. The lesson in this game was that just like the teams had to squeeze all of the juice from the lemons, God desires us to give everything we have to him as we fight our battles. While the athletes in America Ninja Warrior give everything they have to conquer the obstacles in front of them, it is important that we do the same as we face obstacles in life.

 

Just as a fun fact—athletes competing in American Ninja Warrior actually incorporate lemon water into part of their morning diet.

The next activity involved the team hearing a situation and then determining what piece of armor they should use if they were in that situation. This helped to review the armor of God and what each piece is used for.

The last activity tested everyone’s balance. We put three parking blocks together that the teams had to race across to see who could complete the task the fastest. The catch was that there were youth staff hitting them with pool noodles to try to knock them off balance. Several of the youth had to try multiple times before they were able to complete the task. This helped remind everyone that we will face obstacles in life that may knock us off course. The key is to never give and always look ahead to the end of the path where God is leading us.

Be Blessed and we’ll see you for Part 2 next week!

-Pastor Dustin