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GREATER THAN Series, Part 2— The Image We Bear Is Greater Than The Lies We Hear— 8/27/17

Good Monday Morning!

We closed August out with a bang last night at #teamawakening! The night started off with a quick game of volleyball before worship started.

GEN122 did an OUTSTANDING job leading us into God’s presence during worship. As students entered in during worship, we asked if there were any students who needed prayer with lies they were struggling with about themselves regarding their image. You can see how this played out by looking at the pictures below.

The message was, “The Image We Bear Is Greater Than The Lies We Hear”.

Genesis 1:26-31NIV says,

Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”

27 So God created mankind in his own image,
in the image of God he created them;
male and female he created them.
28 God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth
and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.”

29 Then God said, “I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food. 30 And to all the beasts of the earth and all the birds in the sky and all the creatures that move along the ground—everything that has the breath of life in it—I give every green plant for food.” And it was so.

31 God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. And there was evening, and there was morning—the sixth day.

We looked at three points last night start with:

1.     The Image We Bear

We were made in the image and likeness of God. He chose us out of all he created to bear his image, to have a choice to experience his presence, and know what it means to have a personal relationship with him. God created us is in freedom and to rule and have dominion. God didn’t create you and me to live life neatly tucked into a box to be ruled and controlled by what others think we should do. He created us to live life in victory, as an adventure, and as the incredibly unique individual he created us to be. Up until God created mankind, he said that what had been created was “good”. After God added mankind to the mix, Genesis 1:31 says that God looked at ALL that he had made, and said that it was VERY good! I wholeheartedly believe that God wasn’t just talking about Adam and Eve when he said that is was “very good”. I believe that God, in his infinite wisdom, looked into the future, saw and included us when he said that it was VERY GOOD! God didn’t say we were “very good” because of anything that we had done. He said it was very good because of the love and pleasure he took in us!

2.      The Lies We Hear

Some of the students texted in some of the lies that students struggle with when dealing with their self-image. Some of the lies were:

1. You’re not good enough. You’re not strong enough.
2. I am easy to forget. There’s nothing special about me. I don’t have anything different than anyone else.
3. It takes beauty, a pretty face, and a body to be known as something in today’s world.

The truth about chasing the image that culture tells us we should chase is that it’s impossible to catch it. Think about it for a minute. The image that culture encourages us to chase is constantly changing. Clothing styles, hair styles, and various other things are constantly changing. Why? It’s because these things never bring true happiness. When we start chasing the image that everyone else is changing, we are becoming just like everyone else. The image that culture encourages us to chase is forgettable.

The One whose image we bear (God’s) is unchanging. Hebrews 13:8 says, Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. We all bear the image of God. God created us to reflect and look like him. Just like people see some of our parents in the way we act and look, God desires others to see him in us. We all bear the image of God, but that doesn’t mean that we are all the same. God is so creative that even identical twins have different fingerprints! While we all bear the image of God, he created us as incredibly unique individuals with our own gifts, talents, interests, etc.

As a matter of fact, you are unforgettable to God. Most of us tend to shut people out or forget about them when they betray us or turn their back on us. Thankfully, that’s not what God did for us. Romans 3:23 says, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” God saw the lies we had believed and the image of lies we were chasing. God didn’t turn his back on us and forget about us when we chose to chase another image other than the one he created us to bear. God’s love for each one of us is so strong that he couldn’t simply forget about us. He longed for us to accept and believe in the image he created us to bear so deeply that he gave his life for us on the Cross to restore our relationship with him. YOU ARE UNFORGETTABLE TO GOD!!!

3.     The Truth Be Told

1 Peter 3:3-4 says, Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. 4 Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight. 5 For this is the way the holy women of the past who put their hope in God used to adorn themselves.

There is nothing wrong with having nice hair or looking nice. What Peter is telling us is that our self-worth is not found in these things. We should not seek approval through our looks and possessions even though this is what culture tells us. The image we bear is already far better than any image we could create. Quit trying to create your own image. You’ll never do as good of a job as what God already did!

Psalm 139:13-14 and Jeremiah 1:5 says,
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.

1:5 Before I formed you in the womb I knew you,

Take this verse in for a couple of seconds— God created your inmost being— the small details that even you don’t know. He carefully constructed you. He knows
every detail about you: large and small, good and bad, and he still said “it was very good”! This is the one whose image we bear!!! The image we bear cannot be taken away. We don’t have to build up our image before God. He already did that when he created us and then restored it on the Cross! The image that you and I bear does not depend on and is not affected by the way you look, your clothes, your personal achievements, how many points you score, your grades, your parents, friends, the way  people treat you, etc. The image you and I bear is set in stone and is unchangeable. Sometimes we just need to wash the dirt and mud off so we can
see our true image.

Check out the short, 2 1/2 minute video below that we watched to go along with the message last night:

Gene thought he was a failure because he wasn’t fulfilling the “image” everyone told him he was supposed to keep. The truth is that Gene was created to be unique. He was created to be Gene. We were created to bear the image of our creator, and to simply be the people that God created us to be. Don’t allow the lies you hear to keep you from the joy and freedom that comes from bearing the image of God that God freely gave you!

THE IMAGE WE BEAR IS GREATER THAN THE LIES WE HEAR!

Be Blessed!

-Pastor Dustin

GREATER THAN Series, Part 1— The Light Within You is Greater Than the Darkness Around You. (8/20/17)

Hello #teamawakening family!

We kicked off a new series last night! Before we got to the message, we launched two new electives last night: Worship Arts and Community Outreach. The Worship Arts Elective will look at different ways we can express our worship. A typical meeting would look something like this: worship music playing in the background while students draw, color, and journal what they feel God lay on their heart and speak to them. The Community Outreach Elective will do volunteer projects like fixing things up at church, make meal bags to drop off at local food pantries, etc. to help impact the community with the love of Jesus.

 

We kicked off youth with an old favorite: Fruit Ninja. This is a game where the group sits in a circle, and everyone chooses a fruit they will be for the game. One person says they want ________ (the name of a fruit), and that person has to name themselves and what fruit they want before the ninja hits them with the paper towel roll. It can get a little fast paced and wild, which is why it is a group favorite.

We had a powerful time of worship led by our youth band— GEN122 before the message.

The message was “The Light that is in You is Greater Than the Darkness Around You.”  1 John 4:4NIV says, You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.

The church had been facing opposition from false teachers and people who were distorting the truth of the Gospel— Much like many students probably feel when they walk into school and realize they’re one of the only ones who believe the way they do. John encourages the church the he that is in them (Jesus) is greater than he that is in the world (Satan). They were already victorious. Their message was greater than the false hope that the world and false teachers offered.

We asked students, “What is our message? What are we about?” I believe our message and vision is exactly what people are looking for. What are people looking for? We looked at three things that people are looking for:

  1. A place to CONNECT. (Students want to place they feel they can belong to, and have something to be a part of)
  2. A place to DEVELOP and grow. (Students desire to grow into someone that has purpose, and become the person they were created to be)
  3. A place to DISCOVER God’s purpose for their life. (Students want to know their purpose and the reason they were put on this earth.

AYM exists to see all students CONNECT to the family of Christ, DEVELOP a deeper walk of faith, and DISCOVER God’s purpose for their. Students were encouraged to remember that this youth ministry has something real to offer their friends, and that should encourage them and give them the confidence to talk to their friends about their faith and Awakening Youth Ministries!

Matthew 5:14-16 says,
“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”

We are the light of the world. The light of Christ lives on the inside of us. Just like this verse says that people don’t light a lamp just to hide it, we don’t want to hide the light that we have within us. Students were encouraged to shine their light because it is greater and has more to offer their friends that the darkness that is around us. The truth is that students are searching very deeply for the truth. This is why we see so many addictions and negative things happening all around us. People are searching to CONNECT, DEVELOP, and DISCOVER. They are searching for something greater than what they currently have.

The light within you is GREATER THAN the darkness around you. It all comes down to one question that students were challenged with:

Will my commitment to shining the light of Christ be greater than my commitment to blending in with others in the darkness?

The students ALL committed to letting their light shine this school year! We invite anyone reading this to join us letting you light shine in the darkness!

Be Blessed and We’ll See You Sunday!

-Pastor Dustin

Amazing Race— Persecuted Church Edition— 7/30/17

Hello #teamawakening family!

This past Sunday was the final week of our Amazing Race— Persecuted Church Edition Series. We had a GREAT time during the Night of Worship from 6-7 before we came back to youth.

Sunday’s featured country was India. India has a population of 1,342,513,000 with 63,970,000 (4.8%) of those being Christians. You can check out a brief description of the environment that Christians in India are in below:

Since May 2014, India has been governed by a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government, led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. As a result, radical Hinduism, which was already present under the previous government, has increased steadily. While the level of intolerance continues to increase, Christians are regularly attacked by radical Hindus. The level of impunity has gone up markedly, with communities of converts to Christianity from Hinduism bearing the brunt of the persecution. They are constantly under pressure to return to their old beliefs, and are often physically assaulted, sometimes killed. Protestant Christian communities are the second main target because of their involvement in outreach activities and conversions, and they also face regular attacks by radical Hindus.

To support persecuted Christians in India, Open Doors is on the ground providing training, discipleship, education, vital relief aid and more.

After students prayed for the believers in India, we split into our teams to determine the winners of our four week, four team competition. Each week, teams had to complete detours and roadblocks just like teams do in the real Amazing Race. The detours and roadblocks typically involved a food challenge or a game that is popular in the featured country for the night. This past Sunday, the challenges were an eating contest where one team member has to eat a spicy Curry dish as quickly as possible. The next challenge was hopscotch and carom. In hopscotch, teams had to get a total of 30 before moving on. In carom (similar to pool, but played with the fingers), players had to make three shots before moving on. The final challenge was the Scripture verse challenge. Teams had to put James 1:2-4NIV in order,

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

Once teams completed the Scripture verse challenge, in was time to race to the Pit Stop to check in. The God Squad and The Jimmy Dean Green Machine finished the four week competition in a tie with The Jimmy Dean Green Machine winning the Relay Race Tiebreaker. The teams and their places are shown below:

Here are some more pics from the night:

Have a Great Week!

-Pastor Dustin