• ~IMPORTANT~

    There is no youth this Sunday, December 16th. We will see you on the 23rd for our Christmas Costume Party!

The Gift That Broke The Silence—12/9/18

Happy Monday #teamaym family!

Last night’s message was “The Gift That Broke the Silence”. We looked at Luke 2:1-20 and Matthew 1:18-25.

Luke 2:1-20 (CSB) says,

In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that the whole empire should be registered. This first registration took place while Quirinius was governing Syria. So everyone went to be registered, each to his own town.

Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family line of David, to be registered along with Mary, who was engaged to him and was pregnant. While they were there, the time came for her to give birth. Then she gave birth to her firstborn son, and she wrapped him tightly in cloth and laid him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.

In the same region, shepherds were staying out in the fields and keeping watch at night over their flock. Then an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Don’t be afraid, for look, I proclaim to you good news of great joy that will be for all the people: 11 Today in the city of David a Savior was born for you, who is the Messiah, the Lord. 12 This will be the sign for you: You will find a baby wrapped tightly in cloth and lying in a manger.”

13 Suddenly there was a multitude of the heavenly host with the angel, praising God and saying:

14 Glory to God in the highest heaven,
and peace on earth to people he favors!

15 When the angels had left them and returned to heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go straight to Bethlehem and see what has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.”

16 They hurried off and found both Mary and Joseph, and the baby who was lying in the manger. 17 After seeing them, they reported the message they were told about this child, 18 and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. 19 But Mary was treasuring up all these things in her heart and meditating on them. 20 The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had seen and heard, which were just as they had been told.

Matthew 1:18-25 (CSB) says,

The birth of Jesus Christ came about this way: After his mother Mary had been engaged to Joseph, it was discovered before they came together that she was pregnant from the Holy Spirit. 19 So her husband Joseph, being a righteous man,and not wanting to disgrace her publicly, decided to divorce her secretly.

20 But after he had considered these things, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, don’t be afraid to take Mary as your wife, because what has been conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21 She will give birth to a son, and you are to name him Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”

22 Now all this took place to fulfill what was spoken by the Lord through the prophet:

23 See, the virgin will become pregnant
and give birth to a son,
and they will name him Immanuel,

which is translated “God is with us.”

24 When Joseph woke up, he did as the Lord’s angel had commanded him. He married her 25 but did not have sexual relations with her until she gave birth to a son. And he named him Jesus.

There was a lot going on with Mary and Joseph at this point in their life. They are engaged. Joseph founds out that Mary is pregnant and knows the baby isn’t his. Engagement, called a betrothal (a binding exchange of agreement made before witnesses), was taken very seriously and could only be broken by death or divorce. Once the angel appears to Joseph, he understands what is happening and embarks on this incredible journey with Mary. Imagine the gossip and comments they endured from others as we can be pretty certain that most did not believe that this was a “virgin birth”.

They traveled 90 miles from Nazareth to Bethlehem likely on donkeys with Mary getting ready to give birth!

Now let’s fast forward to the shepherds. Can you imagine what they must have been thinking when the angel suddenly appears before them??? They were excited and intrigued at the news, but how did they know where to find the baby? It wasn’t the star the wise men followed because the wise men actually didn’t arrive to visit Jesus until he was about two years old (sorry to ruin your manger scene decorations:).

Here is a very possible scenario. There was a place called Migdal Eder, which means, “Tower of the Flock” located on the outskirts of Bethlehem. Sheep at this location were used for Temple Sacrifices, especially for Peace and Passover Sacrifices (Sacrifices were an atonement, or covering for sin). The shepherds here served the sacrificial system of the Temple, the Mosaic Covenant— a foreshadowing of the New Covenant (put in place after Jesus died as the perfect sacrifice and payment for our sins). These shepherds were specially trained to groom the perfect sheep for the sacrifices. They would take sheep to a cave or stall and set it in a “manger” to inspect it. When they laid it in the manger, they would typically wrap the sheep tightly in cloth or swaddling clothes.

When the angel told them they would find the baby wrapped tightly in cloth (swaddling clothes) lying in a manger, they would have known exactly where to find the baby Jesus and exactly what this meant— The perfect sacrifice, the Savior of the world, had been born!

There is still one final piece to the puzzle that pulls this incredible story together. When you are reading your Bible, you simply turn the page from the Old Testament to the New Testament. However, that’s now how it actually happened in real life. There were 400 years in between the two called the intertestamental period. During this time, Israel is ruled by other nations as a result of their disobedience and rebellion towards God. There were six different periods of time— Persian, Greek, Egyptian, Syrian, Maccabean, and Roman. There are no recorded words from God to the prophets and his people Israel during those 400 years.

This seems to be a time of hopelessness and defeat. Would God ever speak again? What would it be like? Will he be angry after all this time?

Louie Giglio describes it like this—“God broke the silence with the cry of a baby” (Jesus was God in human form)!

Hope had arrived.

Immanuel, God with us. We couldn’t get to God because of our sin so God came to us!

Be Blessed!

-Pastor Dustin

11/25/18— I AM GRATEFUL FOR…

Hello #teamaym family!

We wrapped up our month-long theme of thanksgiving/gratitude. This week’s message was, “I Am Grateful For…”

Luke 17:11-19 (CSB) says,

While traveling to Jerusalem, he passed between Samaria and Galilee. 12 As he entered a village, ten men with leprosy met him. They stood at a distance 13 and raised their voices, saying, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!”

14 When he saw them, he told them, “Go and show yourselves to the priests.” And while they were going, they were cleansed.

15 But one of them, seeing that he was healed, returned and, with a loud voice, gave glory to God. 16 He fell facedown at his feet, thanking him. And he was a Samaritan.

17 Then Jesus said, “Were not ten cleansed? Where are the nine? 18 Didn’t any return to give glory to God except this foreigner?” 19 And he told him, “Get up and go on your way. Your faith has saved you.”

Ten men were cleansed from their leprosy. Leprosy was a severe skins condition where a person could have sores on their skin that ate away at their skin and could also cause parts of their body to become deformed. Leprosy was also contagious and caused a person to be ceremonially unclean. Someone who had leprosy had to live in a designated area or village with others who had leprosy. These ten men had likely heard the stories and grateful testimonies about others who Jesus had healed of similar conditions. Your gratefulness doesn’t just affect you, it shows others the power and glory of God.

Ten men were cleansed, but only one returned to give thanks to Jesus.

Let’s take a look at what this could look like for today’s students. Imagine you had a new type of acne that caused sores to eat away at your skin and even cause parts of your body to become deformed. This new case of acne was highly contagious so you couldn’t be around your friends, family, or do the things you typically are a part of like sports, band, theatre, homecoming, prom, etc. You could only be around others that had this new type of severe acne. You couldn’t be around your family for Thanksgiving, Christmas, birthdays, or any of the special times you’re used to sharing in and being a part of with those you love.

One day Jesus comes walking by the area you are confined to and ten of you start crying out for him to cleanse you. He does and your body is perfectly normal! You can now be a part of all the things you were used to being a part of. You now fit in and look like a normal member of society. The other nine are so excited to be accepted again that they go on with their new life and completely forget about the One who made it possible.

The most important thing is not what we give thanks for but who we give thanks to. This man gave thanks to Jesus and acknowledged him as the source of his healing. Nine of the men received a physical healing, but the one who returned to Jesus received a spiritual healing and was saved. His gratefulness to Jesus showed where his faith in Jesus.

Give thanks to THE ONE who gave his life for you one the Cross. He is the source of all blessings and all we have to be grateful for.

What, or WHO, are you grateful for?

Have a great week!

-Pastor Dustin

 

10/21/18— Big Bang, Evolution, and Creationism

Hello #teamawakening family!

We had a guest speaker Sunday Night. Lee Rowlinson, 8th grade science teacher and member here at New Life Church, came in for Week 1 of 2 of his presentation on the Big Bang, Evolution, and Creationism.

Lee laid a foundation to understand what the Big Bang and Evolution Theories are, and next week he will show what the Bible says about Creation as well as show the proof we have from science to back up the biblical account of Creation.

Lee challenged students with some info and questions that you can read below:

We are children of God. We should stand on God’s Word.

How well do you know God’s Word? Can you back your thoughts and beliefs with “evidence”? What is your “evidence”?

You sit next to someone in almost all of your classes, see several teachers, walk past custodians, check in with administrators, receive nutrition from the cooks, and intermingle with support staff daily. Do those people see and hear “God” in and from you?

We are to be a shining light and not hide our light (Scripture) from others; believers and non believers.

Lee also gave students some homework:

  1.  Listen to your science lessons, and actually study and dig into those lessons (biological).
  2. 2 Corinthians 10:4-5NIV– 4 The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. 5 We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.
  3. Find “science” in the Bible.

Don’t miss out on Part 2 of 2 next week!

Be Blessed!

-Pastor Dustin

RETHINKING THE CHURCH— 10/7/18

Hello AYM Family!

Last night’s message was “Rethinking Church”.

Students were asked, “If you were stranded on a deserted island with nothing but a Bible, how would you imagine the church to function?”

Acts 2:42-47NIV says,

And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. 43 And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. 44 And all who believed were together and had all things in common. 45 And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. 46 And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, 47 praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.

The believers were devoted to the teaching of the Word of God, fellowshipping with other believers, and praying. They cared for one another’s needs. The church was a family. They were closer with one another than they were with anyone else. The church did life with one another. Check out some other verses that show how the church is called to function:

1 Timothy 4:13NIV says, Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to preaching and to teaching. 

 Hebrews 10:24-25NIV says, And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, 25 not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.

John 13:35NIV says, By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

 Ephesians 4:3-6NIV says, Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.

The church is called to be devoted to one another, the teaching and reading of Scripture, to constantly fellowship with one another, to show our love with one another, and to live in unity with one another.

Students were asked to close their eyes and imagine what would happen if the church functioned according to these Scriptures. Go ahead and take a moment to do the same…

It’s a pretty incredible isn’t it?!

Church isn’t about the lights, music, games, special events, etc. The church isn’t meant to simply be a location. WE ARE THE CHURCH!

I am believing and praying that this generation of believers truly grasps and functions as the Church is meant to function!

Students split back into their Tribes to go over these Discussion Points:

  1. The 1st Generation Believers were in constant fellowship with one another. What are ways that believers today can be in touch with one another and encourage one another?  (Social Media, Texting, E-mail, FaceTime, hanging out, etc.)
  2. AYM is more than a group or tribe. We are called to be a family of believers devoted to the teaching of the Bible, fellowship with our fellow believers,             read the Bible together, worship, and prayer with one another.
  3. It’s not about the lights, music, and games. It’s about Jesus. You can feel the presence of God in your room at home just like you do here with the band leading in worship.
  4. The church is called to Pray Together, Read the Bible Together, and care for one another. We are going to close out tonight by praying for one another, and praying for the friends we have as a part of THE CAUSE Circle (friends who do not have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ). Matthew 18:20NIV says, For where two or three gather in my name, there I am with them. As we pray, know that God is here among us. Allow him to pour out his presence and power upon this group and the individuals in it!

Be Blessed!

-Pastor Dustin

“IT’S YOUR TIME!”— 9/16/18

Happy Monday AYM Family!

We had an INCREDIBLE service last night! We started off my playing a game called “Mumble Mumble” to help everyone get to know each other better. Students walked around the room saying “mumble, mumble, mumble, mumble” until they heard a number called out. Once a number was called, students had to get in a group with that amount of students and say their name, school, and answer whatever the “get to know you question” was for that round. This was entertaining to watch:)

We had a powerful time of worship. It is always such a blessing to see students open up, raise their hands in worship, and experience the presence of God together.

The message was, “IT’S YOUR TIME!”

Have you ever had a longing or stirring in your heart to go for your dreams, but wondered if the timing was right? Have you ever wondered if the time would ever come for you to be somebody in this world? IT’S YOUR TIME to be somebody. IT’S YOUR TIME to be the you that you were created and destined to be!

Last night, we looked at a group of young guys whose time had come. The thing is, these guys had already fallen short in a pretty major way, but once they got a hold of the power and presence of God, their lives were never the same. They radically transformed the world around them.

We looked at three different things that IT’S YOUR TIME to do:

1.     IT’S YOUR TIME… TO LEAVE THE PAST IN THE PAST

Matthew 26:31-35NIV says,

 Then Jesus told them, “This very night you will all fall away on account of me,for it is written:

“‘I will strike the shepherd,
    and the sheep of the flock will be scattered.’

32 But after I have risen, I will go ahead of you into Galilee.”

33 Peter replied, “Even if all fall away on account of you, I never will.”

34 “Truly I tell you,” Jesus answered, “this very night, before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times.”

35 But Peter declared, “Even if I have to die with you, I will never disown you.” And all the other disciples said the same.

The disciples, and especially Peter, declared they would never leave Jesus. Just a few verses later in Matthew 26, Jesus warns some of the disciples to pray so they will not fall into temptation, but they did not take his advice. When Jesus was arrested, the disciples scattered just like Jesus said they would. Their world had been rocked. They didn’t expect things to play out like this!

Unfortunately, things got worse for Peter. Matthew 26:69-75 says,

Now Peter was sitting out in the courtyard, and a servant girl came to him. “You also were with Jesus of Galilee,” she said.

70 But he denied it before them all. “I don’t know what you’re talking about,” he said.

71 Then he went out to the gateway, where another servant girl saw him and said to the people there, “This fellow was with Jesus of Nazareth.”

72 He denied it again, with an oath: “I don’t know the man!”

73 After a little while, those standing there went up to Peter and said, “Surely you are one of them; your accent gives you away.”

74 Then he began to call down curses, and he swore to them, “I don’t know the man!”

Immediately a rooster crowed. 75 Then Peter remembered the word Jesus had spoken: “Before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times.” And he went outside and wept bitterly.

Luke 22:61 adds a detail to the situation and says that Jesus turned and looked straight at Peter. Imagine what Peter must have felt. He had just adamantly denied even knowing Jesus and then Jesus turned and looks at him. Imagine the shame and regret that Peter must have felt! I’m sure he wondered things like: What will happen to me now? Will I ever amount to anything? Will I ever be somebody in this world? 

John 21:15-17 shows us how Jesus responded to Peter when he was sitting with the disciples after he was resurrected:

When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?”

“Yes, Lord,” he said, “you know that I love you.”

Jesus said, “Feed my lambs.”

16 Again Jesus said, “Simon son of John, do you love me?”

He answered, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.”

Jesus said, “Take care of my sheep.”

17 The third time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?”

Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, “Do you love me?” He said, “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.”

Jesus said, “Feed my sheep.

When Jesus said, “Feed my sheep”, he’s telling Peter to go make disciples and change lives. This was what Peter was called to do from the very beginning! Peter’s purpose never changed and neither has yours. You will fall short and make mistakes. The key for anyone trying to recover from a mistake and shame is to leave the past in the past, and to fill up on the power and presence of God as you prepare to take your place in God’s plan for your life.

2.     IT’S YOUR TIME… TO FILL UP

On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about.

But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

When you are waiting for your time to come, seek God. As we wait on God and seek him, his power and presence is unleashed in our lives. Check out what happened in Acts 2:1-4:

When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place.Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.

The disciples received the gift from God just like Jesus said they would! God is faithful and true to his promises. The disciples filled up. Have you filled up on God’s presence and power?

Peter and the disciples filled up, and now it was time to…

3.     IT’S YOUR TIME… TO TAKE YOUR PLACE

As the crowd sees the disciples being filled with the Holy Spirit, some of them accuse the disciples of being drunk. Peter then stands up to address the crowd. Do you remember what happened the last time Peter faced a crowd of people? He adamantly denied even knowing who Jesus was.

Acts 2:36-41 says,

“Therefore let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Messiah.”

37 When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?”

38 Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call.”

40 With many other words he warned them; and he pleaded with them, “Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.” 41 Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day.

What was the difference in Peter this time around? Peter had filled up on God’s presence and power. The first time around, Peter didn’t pray for himself like Jesus had said. This time, Peter and the disciples obeyed the words of Jesus, and waited for the gift God had promised. Peter had put his past in the past, filled up, and took his place in God’s plan and purpose for his life.

What about you? Are you hanging onto the past and your mistakes, do you need to fill up on the presence of God? Do you need to stand and take your place in God’s plan and purpose for you life?

After the message, students had a couple of minutes to pray while the music played before being asked this question: “Are you ready to take your place?” Twenty-five students came forward to declare they were ready to take their place and be the world-changer they were created to be! We closed out the night by gathering around the students to pray over them that they would know that it was their time to leave their past in the past, fill up on the power and presence of Jesus, and take their place as the unique world-changers they were created and destined to be!

The best part of the night??? One student made the decision to accept Jesus as their Savior!

IT’S YOUR TIME…

Be Blessed!
-Pastor Dustin

 

 

THE CAUSE CIRCLE— 9/9/18

Hello AYM Family!

We had another great night last night in youth! We had a powerful time of worship followed by a great discussion time about how to share the greatest story ever told that’s hardly ever told (see last week’s post) with those in our version of THE CAUSE Circle. Check out the video below to learn about THE CAUSE CIRCLE:

 

After the video, students split into their Tribes with their Tribe Leader to learn about each step of THE CAUSE Circle.

PRAYER:

  1.  Jesus did this often. He got alone to talk to God and ReFuel before tackling the task at hand, and he prayed before making big decisions and challenges. (Before choosing the 12 disciples and before being crucified are just a couple of examples)
  2. Jesus showed the importance of talking to God about people before talking to people about God. When pray to God about the friends we want to reach with the greatest story ever told that’s hardly ever told, it prepares their heart to hear the good news of Jesus and the Gospel.

CARE:

  1. Jesus also modeled how important it is to care for people’s needs. He often healed the sick, fed the hungry, and helped the hurting. Jesus cared for the whole person, not just their spiritual needs. In the same way, we must love those we are trying to reach. This starts with listening to and caring for them. The friends you are trying to reach are people, not projects!

SHARE:

  1. The final step is to lovingly SHARE the Gospel: the greatest story ever told that’s hardly ever told, clearly and confidently. Inviting someone to place their faith in Jesus is inviting them to make the biggest decision of their lives. You are helping provide them with the opportunity to begin an eternal relationship with Jesus Christ.
  1. If they say “no”, or “not now”, continue the PRAYER, CARE, SHARE process. If they say “yes”, celebrate and get them plugged into a good church and youth group to help them grow deeper in their faith and challenge them to begin their own CAUSE Circle!

Students took time at the end of their Tribe Huddles to write down the names of their friends that they will be trying to reach with the Gospel this school year. Imagine this scenario. Students share the Gospel with three friends, those three friends accept Christ and then begin their own CAUSE Circle, and then those three friends do the same… That’s a BIG deal and how revival starts! Please join us in prayer as our students begin the journey of sharing the Gospel, the greatest story ever told that’s hardly ever told, with their friends and classmates.

You can find more info the THE CAUSE Circle and Gospel: Lifein6Words at dare2share.org

Have a great week!

-Pastor Dustin

STORY TIME: The Greatest Story Ever Told That’s Hardly Ever Told— 9/2/18

Happy September AYM Family!

Sunday Night was the kick off for our September theme titled STORY TIME: The Greatest Story Ever Told That’s Hardly Ever Told.

Our heart and goal this month is to encourage and prepare AYM students to know and share the greatest story ever told that’s hardly ever told. Check out this video to learn a little more about this story that we are talking about:

1.  GOD’S OFFER

Genesis 1:26-27NIV 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.

God created mankind in his image. We are God’s masterpiece and prized possession. God created us to live a life with him. A life with no sickness, no broken homes, no fear, no self-image, no disease, no death, no stress, no anxiety, no bullying, etc. Can you imagine a life with none of these things?

God gave mankind some instructions on how to live in this relationship and life with him in Genesis 2:15-17: The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it. 16 And the Lord God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; 17 but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die.”

Because of God’s love for us, he gave mankind a choice. We would amount to nothing more than robots if God programmed us to automatically do the right thing. God made us a truly incredible and mind-blowing offer, but we chose a different offer.

2.  Man’s Choice

Genesis 3:1-7 says,

Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You    must not eat from any tree in the garden’?”

 The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden,but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’” “You will not certainly die,” the serpent said to the woman. “For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”

 When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her,   and he ate it. Then the eyes of both of them were opened,

Man chose to pursue the offer that the serpent (Satan) offered and elevated his own desire above God’s. Mankind sinned and the perfect offer was ruined. Romans 3:23 and Romans 6:23a says,  for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God; (6:23a)For the wages of sin is death…

The perfect offer was ruined, and our sin separated us from God. Romans 3:23 says that ALL have sinned. That includes you and me. There is nothing that you and I can do to undo that damage caused by our sin. Romans 6:23a says that the wages, or payment, for sin is death. This really doesn’t sound like the greatest story ever told that’s hardly ever told, but hold tight— the second part of Romans 6:23 is an absolute GAME-CHANGER!

God made an unbelievable offer, our choice separated us from God and his perfect offer, but God did the unexpected after we turned our back on him.

3.  God’s Gift

Romans 6:23 says, For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

We chose to reject God’s offer and God gave us a gift— eternal life. But don’t forget, there was a price that had to be paid before we could receive the gift— death. Romans 5:8CSB says, But God proves his own love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. John 3:16NIV says, 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.

Jesus paid the price! God’s love for us— you and me— was and is so strong that he wasn’t willing to let our mistakes keep us from the life with him that he originally offered! Eternal life isn’t just something that we have to wait until we get to heaven to experience. John 17:3 says, Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.

Do you know God? Do you know his word, his love for you and others, his victory, truth, freedom, joy, and peace? Eternal life is knowing God the way he created us to know him, and that life with him begins the moment you place your trust and faith in him alone!

Things like sickness, broken homes, fear, poor self-image, disease, death, stress, anxiety, and bullying will be around as long as their is still sin in the world, but we do not have to be controlled or overcome by these things because of the gift of eternal life we have in and through Jesus Christ!

This truly is the greatest story ever told that’s hardly ever told! Have you placed your faith in Jesus? Would you like to begin a relationship with him or learn more about what it means to have a relationship with him? If so, you can contact us at the church by calling 419-625-6110. We would love to talk and pray with you!

Don’t miss next week as we will be learning how we can share the greatest story ever told with our friends, classmates, and those around us.

Have a great week!

-Pastor Dustin

 

 

Hey AYM Family!

Last night we welcomed some new sixth graders to the family as we talked about Standing When Others Bow and Bowing When Others Stand.

First, we looked at the story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in Daniel 3. These three friends faced an incredibly difficult situation of temptation: bow down to the image of gold made by the king or be thrown into the fiery furnace. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego had incredible faith and devotion to God, stood firm in their faith, and refused to bow down before the idol. They chose to STAND WHEN OTHERS BOWED. Couldn’t they have just bowed and asked for forgiveness? They could have, but that would have shown a faith that was less authentic than they had chosen to live by. If you read Daniel 3, you know that these three world changers respectfully explained to the king why they could not obey his command and he had them thrown into the furnace as a result. To the king’s surprise, there were four people walking around in the furnace when he looked in. Jesus was in the furnace with Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego.

When we face temptations that seem like they are impossible to overcome, we need to remember that Jesus walks right along us as we trust in him.

Daniel faced a similar situation in Daniel 6. He was in line for a huge promotion in the nation of Babylon, and some others became jealous and devised a plan to trap Daniel. They knew Daniel was extremely devoted to God, and his faith was the only thing that they could use to trap him and prevent him from getting the promotion.The jealous men tricked the king into making a decree that anyone who bowed down to any person or god for thirty days other than the king would be thrown into the lion’s den because they knew that Daniel faithfully prayed at his window three times a day.

Daniel had a choice to make. Couldn’t he just pray in another part of his room so everyone thought he was obeying the king? He could have, but what kind of example would that have set before those who knew Daniel and the faith that he professed? Daniel continued to God at his window just as he had before. He bowed before God when everyone else was standing for themselves. The jealous officials saw Daniel and reported him to the king. Daniel was then thrown into the lion’s den, but God sent an angel to shut the mouths of the lions and protect Daniel!

Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were able to overcome the temptations they faced because they made their decision of how they would live their lives long before they were ever faced with these situations of temptation.

What about you? Have you decided how you will respond when your friends ask you to do something that goes against your faith and the word of God? Just like God was with Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, he will be with you and give you the strength you need to withstand and overcome the temptation you face.

Be bold and ask God to give you the strength to STAND WHEN OTHERS BOW AND BOW WHEN OTHERS STAND.

Be Blessed and have a great week!

-Pastor Dustin

 

THE AMAZING RACE: Persecuted Church Edition— Yemen— 7/15/18

Happy Monday!

Sunday Night was Week 2 of our 2018 THE AMAZING RACE: Persecuted Church Edition. This week’s featured country was Yemen. Check out this video for some more info on Christians in Yemen:

What helps these people to be so strong in the midst of such adverse circumstances?

2 Corinthians 4:7-12NLT says,
We now have this light shining in our hearts, but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure. This makes it clear that our great power is from God, not from ourselves.

8 We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair. 9 We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed. 10 Through suffering, our bodies continue to share in the death of Jesus so that the life of Jesus may also be seen in our bodies.

11 Yes, we live under constant danger of death because we serve Jesus, so that the life of Jesus will be evident in our dying bodies. 12 So we live in the face of death, but this has resulted in eternal life for you.

The believers in Yemen know the power of God lives in them, and they know that their example of faith and commitment to their faith in Jesus serves as a testimony to others including those who persecute them. Their lives have been radically transformed by the love, power, and freedom found only in Jesus!

Colossians 2:7-10 says, Let your roots grow down into him, and let your lives be built on him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness.

Don’t let anyone capture you with empty philosophies and high-sounding nonsense that come from human thinking and from the spiritual powers of this world, rather than from Christ. For in Christ lives all the fullness of God in a human body.10 So you also are complete through your union with Christ, who is the head over every ruler and authority.

The Yemeni Christians are rooted in Jesus and the worry or the desire to please man. Their lives are built on the foundation and truth of Jesus. They are thankful, strong and unwavering in their faith. They are not controlled by human thinking. They are full and complete in Jesus.

What you are rooted in feeds you. What are you rooted in? Where is your heart, focus, and trust?

1 Peter 2:9-10 says,  But you are not like that, for you are a chosen people. You are royal priests, a holy nation, God’s very own possession. As a result, you can show others the goodness of God, for he called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light.

10 “Once you had no identity as a people;
    now you are God’s people.
Once you received no mercy;
    now you have received God’s mercy.” 

You are not like the world. You are chosen by God and you are royalty! You are part of a holy nation, generation, and God’s very own possession that has been chosen and set apart to change your world. You will show others the goodness of God! You need to search no longer for your identity— you are a child of God!

We pray for the people of Yemen, and we are also encouraged, motivated, and inspired by their example and unwavering faith in Christ Jesus!

Have a great week and don’t miss next week as we take a look at Mexico!

-Pastor Dustin

 

THE AMAZING RACE: Persecuted Church Edition— Sudan— 7/8/18

Hello #TeamAYMfamily!

We launched THE AMAZING RACE: Persecuted Church Edition Sunday Night. This week’s featured country was Sudan. Each week, teams compete in detours and roadblocks that introduce something specific from the week’s featured country.

John O’farrell, one of our middle school leaders, gave the message and encouraged us with 1 Peter 2:9—  But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.

John challenged us to learn from the example of the Sudanese Christians of how their faith is unwavering even in the face of extreme persecution, sometimes even death.We are part of a chosen generation that has been chosen by God to make him known to the world around us. We may face some ridicule from time to time for what we believe in, but periodically facing hard times is more than worth it in light of what Jesus has done for us.

While we pray that God will give the believers in Sudan strength, we also pray that we will be inspired and motivated by their unwavering faith.

Be Blessed!

-Pastor Dustin