• ~IMPORTANT~

    Our New Year's Eve Eve Party is 12/30 from 1-4! Come our and invite a friend!

“i-am-n” Part 2 (“Who Am I?”)— 8/28/16

Sunday was part-2 of our “i-am-in” series. This week’s message was “Who Am I?”

We kicked off the night in our prayer groups praying for the upcoming “See You at the Pole” Outreach at the end of September as well as continuing to pray for the persecuted church in the middle east.

We played a new game after prayer that was a big hit. We split into two teams, and each team had 15 seconds to decide who they thought would be the best at a certain task. Once a team member went, they could not go again. Some of the tasks were: who is the fastest crab-walker, the best thumb wrestler, the fastest alphabet song singer, and the best at a staring contest.

Worship time was great, and one of our students on the youth band spoke a word over the group that they felt God was laying on their heart!

The message was, “Who Am I?”

Like last week’s question, “Who Is God?”, this is a loaded question. Unfortunately, it’s a question that many of us cringe at the thought of answering because of one word— INSECURITY.
Insecurity is not being confident or sure, or uncertain. It is also a personal prison of bondage and lies we allow to grow around us from past failures, addictions, verbal/mental/emotional abuse, fear, pride, etc. You may look normal on the outside, but on the inside, you are stressed, worried, timid, insecure, and frightened. Insecurity makes it easy to believe lies, leading to an unrealistic fear of what others think. Our identity and the answer to the question, “Who Am I?” is not found in our accomplishments, people, or what we think of ourselves— it is found in who God says we are and who we are in and through him.

1.     I Am Original

Psalm 139:13-14NIV; Rms. 12:2
13 For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.

God created you. Every detail. Every inch. Piece by piece. He looked at you in awe. God created you with gifts, talents, and a plan that only you can fulfill.
Romans 12:2 says,
Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

When we conform to the world to try and fit in, be accepted, or get ahead in life, we are robbing ourselves of discovering the fullness of God’s will  and plan for our lives.

You were created to be original. You were created to be you.

2.     I Am Loved

Romans 5:8; Jn. 3:16-17
But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died
for us.; For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.

Christ gave his life so that you could be free, victorious, and experience his love. He loves you just the way you are. God created you the way he did for a reason. Don’t listen to the lies of Satan that today’s culture feeds us that you have to act or dress a certain way, or do certain things to fit in. You are loved. Believing that will change the way you live. Why? Because it will take away your desire to do things or give into the temptation to do things just to fit in. When you truly believe that you are truly loved by God, he is the one that you will live to please and be accepted by. The truth is—we live for God because we are already loved by him, not to earn his love.

3.     I Am Chosen

Ephesians 1:4-6
For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love 5 he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will— 6 to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves.

God chose you. He chose you to have a relationship with him, and planned ahead of time to adopt you into his family. All you have to do is accept the invitation. Think about what it means to be adopted. Chances are that you’ve been rejected, lost someone close to you, or feel like you have no hope or purpose. You have wounds from your past wonder if someone will ever welcome you into their family again. Then someone comes along and CHOOSES you to be a part of their family. This is exactly what God did for us! God knew all of our faults, mistakes, negative characteristics, and he still chose to freely give us access to all the benefits of being a part of his family! You are chosen.

The challenge for this week is to look yourself in the eyes each time you look into the mirror and tell yourself these three things: I AM ORIGINAL, I AM LOVED, and I AM CHOSEN. This may actually be harder than you think for some. You can learn a lot from someone when you look them straight in the eyes. Many times, you can see hurt, pain, regret, joy, happiness, confidence, etc. When you look yourself straight in the eyes it may mean that you are going to see some of your own pain, past mistakes, regret, etc. The point of this challenge is to do it until you truly believe what you are saying because when you truly believe it, you will live like it!

The first two weeks have taught us that GOD IS THE REAL-DEAL, GOD IS NEAR, and GOD IS A GOOD, GOOD FATHER. Because of who God is, we know that we can each say that I AM ORIGINAL, I AM LOVED, and I AM CHOSEN.

Don’t miss next week’s challenging, powerful finale— “What Am I Going to Do About It?”!!!

Make sure you check out some of the pictures from last night below before you leave!

Be Blessed!

-Pastor Dustin

 

“i-am-n” Part 1 (“Who Is God?”)— 8/21/16

Hello #teamawakening family!

Yesterday was the first part of our new series— “i-am-n”.

The idea for this series came from the “Exile Night” event that did on August 19th.

In northern Iraq, radical Muslims (ISIS) spray-painted the Arabic letter ن, or “N,” on the homes and businesses of Christians. The property owners were publicly identified as Christ-followers and given a choice to convert to Islam, leave or die. The courageous believers refused to deny their faith, and more than 100,000 fled with little more than the clothes on their backs.

Students will be challenged at the end of the series to be an “n” Christian, and standing firm on their faith at school, work, sports, etc.

The night started off with a new game called “Circle Dodgeball”. This is a game where everyone stands foot to foot with the person beside of them while their own feet are about three feet apart. The object of the game is to get the ball to go between someone’s legs. Once this happens, that person has to play the game backwards until they end up getting out… It’s pretty wild and fun!

Week One’s message was, “Who Is God?”

This is a loaded question with many different possible answers, but we went with three last night.

1.  God is the Real-Deal

1 Corinthians 8:6NLT says,
But we know that there is only one God, the Father, who created everything, and we live for him. And there is only one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom God made everything and through whom we have been given life.

God is the one true God. How do we know this when many people say that there are many different gods you can serve that will help you get to heaven? What sets God apart as the real-deal? Other religions require you to give something or meet a big list of requirements before you can be a part of the religion, or earn the god’s favor. Christianity is the only religion where our God gave everything, his very life, to create a way for us to have a relationship with him! We live the way we do, not to earn his love, but we live the way we do because he already gave us his love. There is a BIG difference.

2.  God is Near

Psalm 145:18NIV says,
The LORD is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth.

We don’t serve a God simply stays far off on his throne in heaven. We serve a God that desires to be near to us and directly involved in our lives. God desires to have a unique, personal relationship with each of us!

Hebrews 12:2NLT says,
…Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is risen and seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne.

The “joy” in this verse is us. We were the joy awaiting Jesus, the human form of God. God loved us and wanted to be near to us. The problem— our sin separated us from God and kept us from truly being near to him. God, being the real-deal, paid the price for our sin by giving his life on the Cross. He came near to us and endured the shame and pain of the cross all because he desires to have a relationship with us! God didn’t just come near as a one-time event. Through a relationship with him, we can be sure that he is always near.

3.  God is a Good, Good Father

Mark 10:18NIV says,
“…Only God is truly good…”

God is good and perfect in every way. The Bible refers to God as our heavenly father 265 times. This can be encouraging for some and discouraging for others depending on the type of relationship you have with your earthly father. The truth is this— God is perfect in every way, and he will never let us down. There are times when Satan does his best to deceive us into thinking that God doesn’t love, he has turned his back on us, or he isn’t there like he says he is. That’s when we have to remember and believe in our heart that God is the Real-Deal, God is Near, and God is A Good, Good Father!

Whether you’ve never decided to begin a relationship with Christ, you don’t understand what that means, you need God to show you who he really is, or you simply want more of him in your life, we’d love to be able to pray with you! You can email Pastor Dustin at dours@newlife-church.org with any questions or prayer requests.

Have a Great Week!

-Pastor Dustin

#teamawakening— 8/14/2016

Happy Monday AYM Family!

We had the honor and privilege of welcoming our new sixth graders, the class 2023, to youth last night!

We kicked off the night in our prayer groups that was followed by the “Would You Rather?” ice-breaker that included questions like, “Would you rather eat a handful of hair or lick three different public telephones?”.

Once the ice-breaker was finished, we moved into a powerful time of worship that ended with the youth gathered in front of the stage singing “Set a Fire” with the youth band. It’s a pretty incredible sight to see young people being lost in the presence of God and some even praying their own prayer during the music instead of singing the regular lyrics!

The message was #teamawakening.

We message started with this little fun fact about how much time each class of students have  until they graduate school and #teamawakening:

6th graders— 364 weeks
7th graders— 312 weeks
8th graders— 260 weeks
9th graders— 208 weeks
10th graders— 156 weeks
11th graders— 104 weeks
12th graders— 52 weeks

The students were then challenged with this question: What will you do with this time? While part of youth is about hanging out with friends, meeting new ones, and having fun, we encouraged the youth to also take full advantage of their time on #teamawakening to draw closer to God while taking advantage of everything that he has planned for them!

Ephesians 5:15-17NIV says,
15 Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. 17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.

What’s this mean for us?
1. Make the most of your time between now and the day you graduate.                                                                             2. God has an incredible plan for each and everyone of you!
3. There’s a lot going on in the world that can easily distract us. Paul is encouraging
us to take advantage of the time God has blessed us with here on earth to draw
close to him and make a positive influence in the lives of others.

The truth is— You will go through times in life where you feel like trying to make the most of the life God has given you is a losing battle because of the circumstances and situations you face. When you are in that situation, remember these verses:

For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus. — Philippians 1:6NASB
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. — Psalms 139:14NIV
What’s this mean for us?                                                                                                                                                                1. “He” is referring to God. God’s plan for your life does not change based on circumstances! God WILL finish                                      what he started in your life as you trust him!
2. The work he desires to do in your life is AWESOME. He will perfect that plan as you trust in and walk with
him.
3. When God created you—he was in awe. God he crazy about you, and has an incredibly unique plan for your life   that only you can fill. Don’t try to be someone you weren’t created to be!

Whether you have 364 weeks or 52 weeks left as a part of #teamawakening, take full advantage of all that God has for you!

Shelby Kenville, a 2014 graduate of Awakening Youth Ministries, also shared and encouraged the youth. She talked about her 9-week experience with Campus Outreach this summer, how God has taken her farther than she thought she could go in her faith, the importance of being a part of a youth ministry, and encouraged the youth to go deeper with God while taking advantage of all he has in store for them. Great job, Shelby!

Be Blessed!

-Pastor Dustin

Be Together. Not the Same. (7/31/16)

Welcome to another update from AYM!

This past week we started off with one of our favorites— fruit ninja. We would explain it, but it would probably confuse you. We’ll video it next time so you can check it out for yourself. For now, you can just check out the picture below:

The title of the message was, “Be Together. Not the Same.”.

Anyone who looks at social media or the news can see the division and cliques that exist in our culture. The truth is— these cliques exist in our schools as well.  Check out this video that we watched before the message:

1. Uniting with the Church

1 Corinthians 1:10NIV says,
I appeal to you, brothers and sisters, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another in what you say and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly united in mind and thought. 

Paul was encouraging the church to unify in the purpose and calling of continuing the work of Christ. We obviously are not going to agree on every little detail in life. Paul was simply reminding us of the importance of standing together on God’s word so the world sees a united body of Christ.

The truth is, cliques exist in church and youth ministries too. Awakening Youth Ministries is made up of people from different backgrounds, social standings, ages, schools, etc. We may be different, but our desire is to work together to help one another through life and be the hands and feet of Christ.

Middle School. High School. Guys. Girls. Together, we all make up Awakening Youth Ministries.

BE TOGETHER. NOT THE SAME.

2.  To Reach Into The World

We cannot effectively reach the world alone. It is a team effort, and why we first talked about “Uniting with the Church.

We too often want to blend in with people who are exactly the same as us while forgetting about the table of outcasts in the corner of the cafeteria. We may be very different from some of our peers and fellow students, but we are all a part of God’s creation. Check out what Mark writes in Mark 2:14-17NIV,

Then He went out again by the sea; and all the multitude came to Him, and He taught 
them 14 As He passed by, He saw Levi the son of Alphaeus sitting at the tax office. And He said to him, “Follow Me.” So he arose and followed Him.

15 Now it happened, as He was dining in Levi’s house, that many tax collectors and sinners also sat together with Jesus and His disciples; for there were many, and they followed Him. 16 And when the scribes and Pharisees saw Him eating with the tax collectors and sinners, they said to His disciples, “How is it that He eats and drinks with tax collectors and sinners?”

17 When Jesus heard it, He said to them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.”

Jesus didn’t see cliques and labels— he saw people. The truth is this: We all have the same Creator who loves each of us equally. He died for the sinner and the outcast just the same as he died for you and me. We see in this passage that the people who lived during the time of Jesus’ ministry didn’t comprehend taking the time to reach out to the outcasts either. When we’re at school, we hear labels like: Jocks, rednecks, goths, nerds, arts kids, gays, straights, christians, blacks, whites, potheads, sluts, skanks, etc. What would happen if someone had the God-given courage to forget about the labels and stereotypes and decided to reach out to the “unreachables”, work through life together with them, and introduce them to the true love and hope that is only found in Jesus Christ???

We ARE NOT saying that we should compromise the Word of God or the way we live to get others to like us. We are simply saying that we cannot expect others to give up a life without Christ if they do not see the love of Christ in us reaching out to them!  John 17:15-19NIV says,

15 I do not pray that You should take them out of the world, but that You should keep them from the evil one. 16 They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. 17 Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth. 18 As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world. 19 And for their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they also may be sanctified by the truth.

We are in the world (we are living alongside of others), but we are not to be of the world (live according to worldly values). Jesus has sent us into the world to reach those who do not know the love of Christ. We are to do this TOGETHER with the church so that we can hold one another accountable and encourage each other to stay strong in our efforts. Compromising the way we live to fit in ruins our witness. What is the point for someone who has not made the decision to follow Christ to decide to do so if there is no difference between believers and unbelievers.

Be Together— work together to help one another through life while reaching the lost.

Not the Same— Be the unique individual that God created you to be. Don’t blend in just to try to fit in!

We split into guy/girl small groups after the message to unpack what we learned from the message. For a visual illustration of the “Be Together. Not the Same.” concept we wrote the names of different cliques and stereotypes on puzzle pieces, and put the puzzle together. We had a puzzle with different pieces that represented different cliques and stereotypes that, when put together, made one puzzle. We are all different, but we all make up God’s incredible creation! Our job as believers is to allow God to use us to reach out to those different than us to invite them to commit to living their life for Christ.

Will you commit with us in “Uniting with the Church to Reach into the World”?

Be Blessed!

-Pastor Dustin