• ~IMPORTANT~

    We look forward to welcoming this year's incoming 6th graders on August 12th! We hope to see you there!

March Madness— Week 2— A Knight’s Night— 3/11/18

Happy Monday #teamawakening family!

Week 2 of March Madness  2018 was another powerful, record-setting night! This was the first time in over four years that we’ve had at least thirty students two weeks in a row! We also had a powerful altar time that we’ll talk about later in the post.

We had our competition for the night right after our worship time. Tonight was a “Knight’s Night” and the competition was jousting. This year’s jousting competition was much improved from last year’s jousting in office chairs.

 

The Message for the night was “Draw the Battle Line”.

The battle line is where the battle begins. The battle line is where we make the decision to dig in, take a stand, and fight for our prize— freedom, victory, and joy in Jesus.
Philippians 3:12-14NIV says,
Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. 13 Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
Paul was striving towards the prize for which Jesus took hold of us. We were the prize that Jesus fought for. Jesus took hold of us and saved us from our sin to give us the gift of eternal life— freedom, victory, joy, etc. Everybody wants the prize, but many never take hold of it because the prize often lies behind the giants we face on the other side of the battle line.
Check out the story of David and Goliath and how David ran to the battle line.
David more than likely wasn’t any older than 15 years old and was very possibly even younger.  David’s dad, Jesse, sent David to take food to three of his older brothers who were fighting in the Israelite Army as they fought against Goliath and the Philistines. Goliath, an experienced giant, champion fighter, came forward each day and mocked Israel. David heard this, and the young teenage boy sprung into action. David’s battle line got crossed. He was fighting for God and God’s chosen people. David was fighting for freedom.
1 Samuel 17:48-49 says, As the Philistine moved closer to attack him, David ran quickly toward the battle line to meet him. 49 Reaching into his bag and taking out a stone, he slung it and struck the Philistine on the forehead. The stone sank into his forehead, and he fell facedown on the ground.
David, a young teenage boy, ran to face an experienced, champion giant because he knew that he wasn’t alone. The jousting competition wasn’t just a fun game. It was a great illustration of what it looks like when we run to the battle line to face our giants in life. Students had someone pushing them towards the
battle line and their opponent in the jousting competition. David knew that the power of God was behind him. Because of David’s faith in God, that power propelled him to the battle line and  to victory.
Check out the end of 1 Samuel 17:48-49. It says that Goliath fell facedown before David. This may just be the most powerful verse of the entire story. Think this through for a second— If you get hit hard enough with a rock that it sinks into your forehead, you’re going to fall backwards, not forwards.
People bowed with their face to the ground as a sign of honor and respect, often to a king or someone in power. Goliath falling facedown before Goliath showed that God had humbled David’s giant before him.
We closed out the night by asking students : What are your giants that seem to be mocking you: fear, failure, addiction, anxiety, health, family problems, low self-esteem, fear of pursuing your God-given dreams and passions? Will you let tonight be the night that you draw your battle line and run to face your giants?

As we face our giants, Jesus is the one pushing us towards our battle line. As we get closer to the battle line to face our giants, he is speaking things to us like: “Don’t give up! You’ve got this! I believe in you! Your victory is just on the other side of the battle line and this giant you’re about to defeat!

Students were invited to write their giants on a sheet of paper, fold it up, and lay it at the foot of the Cross. Our battle line starts at the Cross where Jesus fought to give us our prize. Sunday Night, that’s where we ran to the battle line to defeat our giants, and that’s where you can defeat yours as well! As students walked away from the Cross, it represented them walking in victory over their giants just like Jesus conquered the Cross and the grave as he fought to give us eternal life!
This was a powerful moment that ended as the leaders gathered around the students as we prayed for and encouraged the group.
What are your giants, and will today be the day that you face and defeat them?
Have a great week!
-Pastor Dustin

March Madness— Week 1— Battle of the Burgers— 3/4/18

Hello #teamawakeningfamily!

Last night was an AMAZING and record-breaking night for AYM! We had thirty-eight students for our Battle of the Burgers Night, and three people made the decision to begin a relationship with Jesus Christ!

The Battle of the Burgers competition was intense with Derik Phillips narrowly edging out Austin Yoakum, last year’s champion.

The message was, THE BATTLE FOR THE PRIZE.

Every battle has a prize— Freedom, victory, money, etc. Last night’s battle had a trophy for the prize. The battle that we looked at for the message was the battle of Light VS. Darkness and Good VS. Evil. This battle also had a prize— YOU!
You’ve got to go back to the beginning in order to get a proper understanding about his battle.
1. The Battle is Waged
Text: Isaiah 14:12-15; Ezekiel 28:13-19; Revelation 20:1-3; Genesis 3:14
Satan, previously known as Lucifer, was a beautiful angel who is believed to have been in charge of leading worship in heaven until he became greedy and decided he wanted to become God. He led a rebellion and a third of the angels were cast  out of heaven with him.
God then created mankind (Genesis 1:26-31) to be with him. Satan knew he couldn’t defeat God directly, so he waged war on God’s prized creation— mankind—you and me. Mankind sinned and was separated from the perfect relationship with God. (Genesis 3)
Isaiah 64:6NLT says,   We are all infected and impure with sin.
                                     When we display our righteous deeds,
                                    they are nothing but filthy rags.
                                 Like autumn leaves, we wither and fall,
                                    and our sins sweep us away like the wind.
Romans 3:23NIV says, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
This makes it seem like we are hopeless in this battle, but the battle takes a turn in our favor.
2. The Battle Takes a Turn
Romans 6:23NIV says, For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Mistakes often cost us, especially in battle. Our sin, too, came with a cost, or payment, that was required—death. The good news is that this verse that starts off “doom and gloom” has a “but”, or a game changer— a gift. The gift of God was and is eternal life, not death with Jesus! We were defeated in our sin, but Jesus came on the scene and got the “W” for us!
 What does this game-changing gift mean for us now?
3. Now What?
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.
Even after all that mankind has and still does to reject God’s love, he loves us. We have nothing to offer God that he doesn’t already have, but he loves us.
John 3:16 says that whoever believes (Trusts— relies, places confidence in; to rely and trust in Jesus alone to forgive you of your sins as you follow him
and become the person he created you to be) has eternal life.
Greg Stier says, “It’s not a matter of trying, but trusting in Jesus alone. A restored relationship with Jesus comes not by doing good deeds, but is received as a gift through faith.
John 10:28ESV says, I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand.
Eternal life doesn’t just start after you go to heaven. Life with Jesus, a life of freedom, victory, truth, and joy starts now and lasts for all of eternity.
When students walked in last night, and when you started reading this post, you probably weren’t thinking about how an eternal battle was fought over you.
That means that you’re kind of a big deal! It all comes down to one question— Which side will you choose?
Will you choose freedom? Will you place your trust in Jesus and except his free gift of love that he purchased when he gave his life for you on the Cross?
You are loved unconditionally by the Creator of the Universe, and feared by the devil! Satan knows that we are unstoppable the moment you and I realize and understand that we were the prize, that we are loved unconditionally, and the God-given potential that lives within us. He knows that we will change the world with the life-changing love and power of Jesus!
Will you join the battle as we continue to help others see the eternal love and freedom that is available through a relationship with Jesus?
Be Blessed!
-Pastor Dustin

Night of Worship— 2/25/18

Happy Monday!

Last night was a GREAT night at AYM. We started off with our Tribe Huddles and Game as we usually do before moving into worship for the night.

Our GEN122 Youth Band did an outstanding job of leading us in worship after putting in a lot of hard work this month to get ready for the Night of Worship! Our goal for the night was to show students that worship is more than music and singing.

Amy, one of our volunteers, did a painting during worship, and we also had a white board set up for students to write down prayers, words of encouragement, or Scripture that God laid on their heart during the worship set.

It was a powerful and encouraging night as we watched twenty-nine students worship, some with hands raised and eyes closed, and share what God spoke to their hearts during the night.

We closed out the night by praying over the students while the students prayed for our March Madness event and the students that will hear the Gospel as a result of the month-long event.

Would you please join us in praying for March Madness? We are praying for our current students to have the boldness to invite their peers out, and that lives will be changed and new relationships with Christ will be started as a result of the event.

2018 is already shaping up to be a great year, and we are excited to see what unfolds throughout the rest of the year!

 

Be Blessed and have a great week!

-Pastor Dustin

CLEAN UP TIME— Week 2— 2/18/18

We had a great time last night for Part 2 of CLEAN UP TIME.

We had our Elective Time from 5-6 before youth as usual. The Easter Outreach group continued working hard as they prepare for their Easter performance, and the Games Elective had a blast playing ping-pong and pool.

We kicked off the night with one of our favorite games, KNEE VOLLEYBALL. This game is a more relaxed version (as far as rules go) and wild (as far as the ball bouncing off of walls and chairs) of actual volleyball. The game is played on your knees, and the ball can be played off of the wall, ceiling, etc.

The GEN122 Youth Band (GEN— short for generation. 122— Romans 12:2) did a great job leading everyone into worship last night.

 

Mariah gave a brief message last night on Campus Missions, GO! Get Your Harvest!, and Making Disciples who make disciples. She shared with the group her heart and how our theme verse for the month, Psalm 51:10NKJV,

Create in me a clean heart, O God,
And renew a steadfast spirit within me.

fits in with Campus Missions. Sometimes, we need God to “clean up” the way we approach and view the importance of our friends having a relationship with Jesus. Mariah shared that it starts with planting a seed. That’s what our part is. Care enough for our peers and friends to sow seeds of God’s love and salvation into their lives, and pray that they will respond to God’s call and invitation to them. Mariah did an outstanding job to set up Tribe Huddle time when students talked with their Tribe Leaders on how to connect with and reach different people in their schools.

 

Have a great week and don’t miss our worship night this Sunday, February 28th!

-Pastor Dustin

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

Arts Night— 1/28/18

Hello Everyone!

This Sunday was our first monthly Creative Arts Night. We kicked off the night with a quick ice-breaker where two people had to see who could be the first to put 30 band-aids on their partner’s face. Make sure to check out the pictures of the aftermath below:

The band led us in a powerful time of worship last night, and you can catch a short clip of that below:

We had several of the students participant in the Creative Arts night by doing a drawing, song, or sharing a testimony.

Next month, we will be doing a Night of Worship where students will be able to experience the different avenues of worship as we worship together— singing, painting, writing, praying, etc.— as we worship together. January was a great month, and we expect February to be even better!

Be Blessed!

-Pastor Dustin

 

LIGHTS. CAMERA. ACTION.— Week 3— 1/21/18

HAPPY MONDAY #teamawakening family!

The topic this week was “GO! Together!”

There is power in numbers. Ecclesiastes 4:9-12NIV says,

     Two are better than one,
     because they have a good return for their labor:
     10 If either of them falls down,
     one can help the other up.
     But pity anyone who falls
     and has no one to help them up.
     11 Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm.
     But how can one keep warm alone?
     12 Though one may be overpowered,
     two can defend themselves.
A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.

We’ve all been in situations where we thought we’d be better off trying to get through it ourselves so we didn’t have to rely on someone else or let someone else see our vulnerabilities and flaws. The problem with that way of thinking is that it normally ends with us being overcome instead of overcoming whatever lies before us. However, we can get through anything when we have people to go through life with! The more reliable, godly people we have around us, the stronger we become.

Last night was Fellowship Night, and we took a look at communion and what it actually means for us today. Most of us think of communion as a cracker, grape juice, and praying to thank Jesus for dying for our sins. While there is nothing wrong with that, there is much more to “communion” that we typically realize.

Communion means “sharing”. It comes from the same root word for common, community, and to communicate. A life of communion is meant to bring everyone together as one body.

Paul writes 1 Corinthians 11:17-22 in response to the church at Corinth neglecting to live a true life of communion with one another .

1 Corinthians 11:17-22 says,
In the following directives I have no praise for you, for your meetings do more harm than good. 18 In the first place, I hear that when you come together as a church, there are divisions among you, and to some extent I believe it. 19 No doubt there have to be differences among you to show which of you have God’s approval. 20 So then, when you come together, it is not the Lord’s Supper you eat, 21 for when you are eating, some of you go ahead with your own private suppers. As a result, one person remains hungry and another gets drunk. 22 Don’t you have homes to eat and drink in? Or do you despise the church of God by humiliating those who have nothing? What shall I say to you? Shall I praise you? Certainly not in this matter!

The believers at Corinth came together to do the “church thing”, but were really only concerned with themselves. Paul wanted their focus to be on helping one another through life as they all followed Christ together. Check out these next words from Macey, one of our All-Star student leaders we are blessed to have in AYM. Macey was unable to make it last night due to a last-minute illness, but she planned ahead so that we were still able to take a look at what she had to share anyway! Max, one of our sixth graders, shared Macey’s words with us. This turned out to be a great opportunity to allow one of our younger students to experience ministering to the rest of the group. Macey said,

This relates to how sometimes in our own lives we do the same thing just because it’s what we’re “supposed to”. We should take this time and make it about us, God, and this family that God has helped us build here. Communion and living a life of communion with one another should be very personal.

The point of community is that we GO! Together. Communion is sharing in our community, #teamawakening. This means that we struggle together, we rejoice together, we fail together. we win together, we overcome barriers and differences together, and we GO! through life together. Communion (community) helps us experience God’s love and gives us strength to GO! Get Our Harvest! (our 2018 theme that we talked about in the 1/7/18 post).

Max closed out the message with sharing these words from Macey about her heart for AYM this year as we “GO! Together”:

It’s easier said that done, but it’s in the hard times that we really need to rely on others most. Whether it be people here, friends at school, or even family, those are the people who help the most. My goal for us this year is to never feel alone. Not only do we have God, we have each other! I also don’t want someone to ignore another person they know is struggling. Reach out to others and let them in as well. It’s the only way we are going to grow as one for Christ.

Max studying his notes as he gets ready to share!

We took this time to split back into our Tribe Huddles to share our struggles and victories and pray for one another. I caught this moment at the end of our Tribe Huddles and was able to take a picture to share with you:

The Little Rascals Tribe closing out their Huddle time by locking arms in prayer!!!

We closed out the night by gathering back together to take communion together. John, who leads our middle schoolers with his wife, Cindy, shared this with me after youth, and typed it so you could experience it as well. I hope it fires you up as much as it did me when I heard it!:

We had communion tonight for Awakening Youth Ministries and I was asked to pray before we partook of the bread. Toward the end of my prayer I felt a very 
hot presence come over me like a fever. I had an overwhelming feeling that these young men and women were going to be great and do Great things for the Lord!!! I am honored that the Lord has put my wife and I here with these Precious lives to see them grow together in the Lord.

Don’t miss next week as we close out January with Creative Arts Night where the students will be able to share in music, dance, drawing, dance, etc.!

Be Blessed and be a blessing!

-Pastor Dustin

LIGHTS. CAMERA. ACTION. — WEEK 2— 1/14/18

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.

Galatians 2:11-14NKJV
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”

-Pastor Dustin

LIGHTS. CAMERA. ACTION.— Week 1— 1/7/18

Happy 2018 #teamawakening family!

We kicked off 2018 last night with unveiling our 2018 theme, “GO! GET YOUR HARVEST!”, as well as some things we will be starting up this year. The band led us in worship as the countdown reached 0:00, and the AYM students always have a blast during music and worship time!

Before the message, Noah and his team performed a short skit that showed a man who was visited by three people from his past to help him realize the parts of his life that were off course.

Think about this question: “What would you do if someone you knew came back from the dead to tell you something?”

The truth is— this question is more than the basis of a skit. This is exactly what happened in our first passage of Scripture from last night! Matthew 28:18-20NIV says, Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

After Jesus was crucified, he rose from the dead, and appeared on a few different occasions to the disciples over a period of forty days before he ascended to heaven. He used those few short times together to tell them some pretty important things. One of the main things he said to them was, “GO MAKE DISCIPLES”. It was time for the disciples to GO live out everything they had learned the last 3 1/2 years with Jesus. If Jesus used some of his last moments on earth after he rose from the dead to tell us to GO, we need to pay attention! We are believing that 2018 will be a year where we GO! We want 2018 to be a year of action as we live out our faith, and allow our vision of seeing all students CONNECT to the family of Christ, DEVELOP a deeper walk of faith, and DISCOVER God’s purpose for their lives come to life!

One thing we are doing a little differently this year is that each month will be a different theme, and each week will be a different format. The different formats will be a main message, campus missions night, fellowship night, and Creative Arts night. Each week will go along with the theme for that month.

Last night was our main message for the month, and our January theme is LIGHTS. CAMERA. ACTION. This phrase typically signals the start of a new scene or picture. As students looked at the different cameras set up on stage, they were asked a series of questions: What does a camera do?  In life, who is the picture and who is the camera? A camera takes and records a picture. In life, we are the picture and the people we are around are the cameras. Students were asked to think on this question: What type of picture is your life right now? 

A movie would be pretty boring if the actors just stood around after the producer said “Lights, Camera, Action!”. We don’t want life to be a poor picture because we as followers of Jesus just stand around and keep our experience with Jesus confined inside the church building, or even give the wrong impression of what being a follower of Jesus is really about. We are called to “GO!”

Matthew 9:35-38 says,
Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness. 36 When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. 37 Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. 38 Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.” 

Jesus was moved with compassion as he looked at the crowds. Compassion means to have deep pity, love, or sympathy. Jesus’ heart broke for those he saw because they were alone to face the struggles of  with no hope of a Savior. They had a plan, purpose, and destiny for their lives, but had no one to help them discover it. What breaks your heart? Does your heart break for those around you who are struggling through life and do not have a relationship with Jesus? Does it break when you see injustices like abuse, discrimination, orphans, homeless people, etc.? Does you heart break for those who have never had the opportunity to connect with their Creator and the unconditional love he has for them?

Jesus said that the harvest (people who need connected to Jesus) is plentiful (there’s a lot of them), but the workers are few (there aren’t many people willing to GO). What’s your harvest? It could be the people you are around at school, your job, your sports team, family, etc.

Our 2018 theme is “GO! GET YOUR HARVEST!” God believes in each of us enough to trust us with the mission of making disciples. As you GO, you realize that you have worth, purpose, and are a part of something greater than you could ever hope for. You were created to be a world-changer!

WILL YOU GO?

We’ll see you Sunday!

-Pastor Dustin

 

The 12 Words of Christmas— 12/17/17

Happy Monday, and welcome to the last update for 2017!

We will start off this update with a short video clip of three of our singers having a little Christmas fun… They sound much better than this on stage:)

We kicked off last night with a new game titled, “Shoot the Breeze”. This is a game where students get a balloon to blow up before shooting the air out of the balloon to blow cups off of the table. The team that blows all of their cups off first wins. We did the best two out of three, and you can check out a clip from the game below!

The message, the final message in our “You Are a Gift Series”, was “The 12 Words of Christmas”— “A Savior has been born to you; He is Christ the Lord.” We looked at the setting of the story that took place, the gift that the angels told the shepherds about, and the scene of the birth of Jesus.

1. THE SETTING

This was a gift that no one expected, given at a time that no one expected, to people that no one expected. Israel was in the middle of what you could call a 400 year silent treatment from God. God did not speak to the Jewish people as a result of their pagan lifestyle and dishonoring him, their families, and others.  God’s chosen people hadn’t heard from a prophet, had any visions, etc. from God. Imagine a son asking his Father, “Dad, have you ever hear from God?” The
Dad answers, “No, son. Neither did my Dad, or his dad, or his dad, etc.” If I’m in the place of the Israelites, I’m probably going to be a little afraid for
God to break the silence— 400 years of silence, anger, and disappointment from God being let out…

Mary and Joseph are under a cloud of scandal. They are not married and Mary is pregnant. Their story, which was the truth, was that Mary is still a virgin, and that the child is from the Holy Spirit. This was physically impossible, and no one really believed them. Most bible scholars believe that Mary was around 15-16 years of age at this time. Imagine you are a 15-16 year old girl, and you tell your parents that you are pregnant. They start freaking out, and you try to calm them down by telling them that the baby doesn’t belong to your boyfriend. Your parents hit full-blown freakout mode because now they think you are sleeping around with multiple guys, and then you drop the news that your still a virgin… Chances are that your parents aren’t going to believe you. A virgin birth is something that had never happened before and will never happen again. It was a miracle from God. Now, you get an idea of what Joseph and Mary were going  through!

2. THE GIFT

The shepherds were out in the field nearby the place Jesus was born when the angels appeared and told them about the gift of the Messiah being born.
Shepherds weren’t exactly high-class society people. They were considered unclean because of the work they did, and they were typically even considered the weakest and most dispensable in their families. God chooses to send the angels to the shepherds and reminds us the cultures opinion of us does not affect the plan, purpose, and worth that God places on us! The shepherds were terrified! They had just been given word of an incredible gift, and they left to go receive it.

3. THE SCENE

Mary and Joseph are just trying to find a place to stay. They likely staid down the hill from the stable in something like a small cave where the animals gather to find shelter in storms, and the “manger” was more than likely a feeding trough that the animals ate out of. Mary has to be thinking to herself, “Please God, not here, not now! However, it did happen there, and it was perfect! It reminds us that God does not need our circumstances to line up with his promises in order to deliver on his promises to us!

The shepherds arrive to find Mary, Joseph, and the baby Jesus. Remember, God himself had still not spoken. Matthew 1:22-23 says, The virgin will give birth to a son, and they will call him, Immanuel- “God with us.” Jesus was fully man, and fully God all at the same time, and he broke the finally broke the silence after 400 long years with the cry of a baby! God didn’t yell, call them failures, and lecture them on why he had not spoken to them for 400 years. His cry said, “I hear you, and I am crying with you. I’ve seen your brokenness and sadness, and now I am here to restore everything that has been broken if you will simply trust in and follow me.

“A Savior has been born to you; He is Christ the Lord.”

Who do you know that needs the silence in their lives to be broken with the 12 Words of Christmas? You are a gift! Give yourself this Christmas by using the gifts and talents that God has created you with to make a difference in someone’s life this Christmas!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

-Pastor Dustin