Happy Monday Everyone!
Sunday was week two of our Lights. Camera. Action. Series. This phrase typically signals a new scene or picture. We believe that God is starting a new scene in our lives in 2018 where we will actively live out our faith to reach those around us. Our 2018 theme is “GO! Get Your Harvest!”
We had our electives before youth started, and this week’s electives were Self-Defense and Cafe. You can check out some of the pictures from electives below:
Last night, the discussion topic was “GO! Beyond Social Boundaries”. We reminded the students of the illustration from last week— Your life is a picture, and the eyes and minds of those around you are the cameras. What picture is your life showing? Last night we asked, “When it comes to how we relate to others, what kind of picture of God’s love do others see— Unconditional love or cliques and groups/clubs?” Our goal is to GO! Beyond Social Boundaries to take God’s love to all.
We looked at a true story that Paul tells us in Galatians about two guys: himself and Peter. Check out what happened in this passage.
11 When Peter came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he stood condemned. 12 For before certain men came from James, he used to eat with the Gentiles. But when they arrived, he began to draw back and separate himself from the Gentiles because he was afraid of those who belonged to the circumcision group. 13 The other Jews joined him in his hypocrisy, so that by their hypocrisy even Barnabas was led astray.
14 When I saw that they were not acting in line with the truth of the gospel, I said to Peter in front of them all, “You are a Jew, yet you live like a Gentile and not like a Jew. How is it, then, that you force Gentiles to follow Jewish customs?
Peter was allowing social labels to dictate and determine how he acted towards others. He was hanging out with the outsiders until the “in-crowd” showed up.
Paul calls him out on it, and in today’s terms, said something like this: You are trying to teach these people to live like Jesus, and you’re not even living like Jesus! (Not paying attention to the underprivileged, hanging with your church friends until your unchurched friends show up and vice versa, etc.) The picture that Peter was showing others did not line up with his message. Paul wanted Peter to remember— Labels don’t matter. People matter.
We also looked at John 8:1-11,
1 but Jesus went to the Mount of Olives.
2 At dawn he appeared again in the temple courts, where all the people gathered around him, and he sat down to teach them. 3 The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group 4 and said to Jesus, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. 5 In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?” 6 They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him.
But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. 7 When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” 8 Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground.
9 At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. 10 Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?”
11 “No one, sir,” she said.
“Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.”
A woman was caught in adultery. The crowds wanted to stone her (which was legal, but Jesus had a different idea in mind. The leaders who brought the woman to Jesus were trying to trap him. His message was one of mercy and forgiveness, but if he let the woman go he would be breaking the Jewish law. It looked like they had Jesus trapped to make him look like a hypocrite. Jesus responds by kneeling down and writing in the sand before the crowd slowly left. While the Bible doesn’t say what Jesus actually wrote, many believe he was writing things like anger, jealousy, gossip, anger, and other things that we have all struggled with. When he tells the crowd that the one without sin can cast the first stone, they realize that none of them qualify.
Jesus did not condone or approve of the life that this woman was living, but he extended love and mercy to her to show her the life that was available to her when he said, “Go now and leave you life of sin. Jesus spoke the truth, but connected with others with a type of love that motivated them to turn from their sin and follow him.
Jesus did four things in this story that we want to do as we connect with others and GO! Beyond Social Boundaries:
1. He listened. LISTEN to the story being told. Every person has a story behind what makes them who they are.
2. He stood up for her. STAND UP for others. Jesus stood up for the soul of the woman without accepting or endorsing her sin.
3. He was faithful. BE FAITHFUL. Be there when no one else is.
4. He had a conversation. HAVE A CONVERSATION to learn more about those you are trying to reach so they see the love of Jesus in you.
We will see you next week for Part 3— “GO! TOGETHER”