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

The Unopened Gift— 12/11/16

Happy Monday #teamawakeningfamily!

We kicked off last night with a game of rock, paper, scissors—Christmas Edition. Santa Claus beats Scrooge, Scrooge beats Snowman, and Snowman beats Santa Claus. The best part of the game was seeing the youth impersonate whoever they picked each round!

The message tonight was the “Unopened Gift”.

Think about the best present you’ve ever received for Christmas. Until you opened it, it was nothing more than an unopened gift. It isn’t until a gift is opened that you experience the joy it was meant to bring. Check out the video below for a quick laugh, and maybe even a reminder of how some of us act when we finally get that gift we’ve waited on for so long.

Luke 2:8-20NIV says,

8 And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 9 An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”

13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,

14 “Glory to God in the highest heaven,
and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”
15 When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”

16 So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. 17 When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, 18 and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. 19 But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20 The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.

There are three things that we talked about last night when it comes to the unopened gift.

1.     Open the Gift

Think back to the best gift you’ve ever received, and think about what you would have missed out on if you had never opened that gift. Think about what the shepherds would have missed out on if they wouldn’t have “opened” or accepted the gift that the angels told them about. They would have missed out with a face to face encounter with the Creator and Savior of the world!

We then asked the question— What gift or blessing is God trying to give you in your life right now that you haven’t opened?

The gift of salvation that God has given to us wasn’t just to save us from going to hell, but it is also to help us live victoriously and experience the love of Christ in our daily lives. The definition of salvation is — deliverance from the power and effects of sin. The part of this gift that many of us never open is the part that delivers us from the effects of sin: insecurity, anger, bitterness, unforgiveness, the pain from the past that you struggle with, being afraid to to fully commit to what God has for you, etc. The gift of salvation is truly the best gift that anyone will ever receive.  Are you using it like God intended?

2.     Use the Gift

It sounds weird that someone wouldn’t use the gift of salvation, but think about it for a second. The gift of salvation that God gives to us wasn’t just to save us from going to hell, but it is also to help us to live victoriously and experience the love of Christ in our daily lives. The definition of salvation is — deliverance from the power and effects of sin. The part of this gift that many of us never use is the part that delivers us from the effects of sin. Some of these effects are: insecurity, anger, bitterness, unforgiveness, the pain from the past that you struggle with, being afraid to to fully commit to what God has for you. The gift of salvation is truly the best gift that anyone will ever receive.  Are you using it like God intended?

3.     Give the Gift

The shepherds went back and spread the word and all who heard it were amazed. Are others amazed at what they here you saying, or showing, about the greatest gift ever given? The truth is this— We aren’t fully experiencing the gift of salvation until we give it away and share it with others. Think about the joy it brings your parents to see the joy on your faces when you open your gifts, and then think about the feeling you have seeing someone enjoy a gift that you’ve given them. There is something special about seeing someone’s life impacted by something that you’ve given them or done for them.

We split back up into our small groups after the message, and the leaders went over this week’s challenge with the students. The leaders helped the students in their groups to develop a plan for giving away the gift of salvation this Christmas. This included helping them verbalizing what the gift of salvation has done for
for them, what it means to them, and practicing talking with their friends with others in their group.

This week’s challenge is to :

  1. Ask your friend what the most important/special part of Christmas is to them.
  2.  After they are done, ask if you can share. Then take time to talk about the gift of salvation that began with the birth of Jesus and how it has impacted your life.

Be Blessed and Give the gift of salvation this Christmas!

-Pastor Dustin

 

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