There is no youth on Easter Sunday, April 21st.

CLEAN UP TIME— Week 1— 2/11/18

Hello #teamawakening family!

Last night was the first week of our February theme— CLEAN UP TIME. We kicked the night off with a game called “Battle of the Sexes”. Five guys faced off against five girls. Each guy was given a Powerpoint slide they had to identity, and the girls did the same. The point of the game is that the guys got slides that most of the girls would know (the brand of the purse pictured) and the girls got a picture that most of the guys would know (what is the name of this tool). The girls won the game 4-1.

Worship time was great! We did a completely unplugged acoustic set since we didn’t get our sound system working until right before youth due to the remodel. This was actually a blessing in disguise as we got to hear twenty-six students and leaders singing out in worship together. Sometimes God allows things not to go how we want them to create an expected, intimate experience with him.

Next up was the message to kick off our CLEAN UP TIME theme for the month. It’s not necessary to clean up unless things are dirty or messy. We take showers to wash the dirt and smell off of us that is accumulated from living life. This months theme verse talks about God creating a “clean heart” in us. Just like our  physical bodies get dirty and smelly when they aren’t cleaned as we live life, our spiritual lives do the same as we go through life.

Psalm 51:10NKJV says, Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
The background of this story is that King David, a man after God’s own heart, made a huge mistake.  David had an affair with the wife of one his most loyal warriors and then had him killed to cover the affair up. David, who had been an example of leading with integrity and godliness since a teenager, had fallen. The phrase that we will look at throughout the month is, “Whatever has your attention, has your affection”. 
Our attention is what we place our focus on. It is the act or power of carefully thinking about, listening to, or watching someone or something (Webster’s Dictionary). Our affection is a feeling of liking and  caring for someone or something; a tender attachment (Webster’s). What ever has your focus eventually gains your affection and passion, and whatever/whoever has your affection eventually determines your actions. David’s attention and affection were in the wrong place.
When God sent Nathan the profit to confront David, David cried out to God with the prayer we see in Psalm 51:10. David desired for God to create in him a clean, or pure, heart and help him to be firm in his faith and actions towards God once again. David needed to clean up.
With Valentine’s Day coming up, we tied the topic of sexual purity into the message, and looked at how the words “pure” and “purity” have been used in culture as well as in the church. Many times in church circles, sex is made out to be bad— Don’t think about it! Don’t ask about it! Etc. We always start off our discussions on sex by telling the youth that sex is something incredible that was created by God. The catch? It was created by God to be between a man and wife within the marriage relationship. Anything outside of this is outside of God’s plan and brings hurt, confusion, and trouble.
We often hear the term “staying pure UNTIL marriage” a lot. While we obviously understand and agree with the principle of this comment (not having sex until marriage), purity is something that should be carried into and throughout your marriage. Purity is a life style. Purity is often confused with virginity. We challenged the youth with this comment— “You can be a virgin and not be pure”. If you are a virgin but looking at inappropriate things on the internet, having inappropriate conversations, listening to immoral music, etc., are you really living a lifestyle of purity.
Purity rings are another thing that is big in Christian circles. For the record, we think purity rings are a great idea, but wearing a purity ring in and of itself doesn’t make you pure. Purity is more than a ring. Purity is a lifestyle. Living a lifestyle of purity is more about what we do than what we don’t do. Many times, the focus is placed on things like “Don’t have sex until you’re married, don’t do this, don’t do that, etc.” When we place our focus on living a life that strives to draw closer to God and live the life that he has called us to live before himself and others, the don’ts many times have a way of taking care of themselves.
As we go through life, we get “dirt” on us: thoughts, temptations, opinions, habits, etc. that need washed off. We need to clean up.
Philippians 4:8NIV gives us some good advice on how to live a life of purity:
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.
Paul tells us to think, reason and decide (or focus) on things that are true, noble, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent and praiseworthy. Basically, Paul is telling us to focus on Jesus, his way of thinking, and things that glorify and honor him.
When we place our attention on these type of things, we become passionate about the things that honor and please God which leads to us living a life of purity before God.
We closed out the message by asking the students these questions before heading back into our Tribe Huddles for group discussion on the message:
What in your life needs cleaned up? What areas of your life do you need to shift your focus and attention? What or who have your given your attention and affection to that is leading you down a road like David travelled?
We all have areas of our lives that could use some clean up. It’s Clean Up Time.
Have a great week!
-Pastor Dustin