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”?