Archive for the ‘Christ’ Category

Parent Invite.001

If the whole family is doing the homework together, shouldn’t we do the lessons together on Sunday? I thought so! Parents will be a part of our small group this Sunday, January 25.

I have a little confession:

I loooooooooove my job.  I LOVE discussing scripture and theology, especially with students.  I love learning, and being able to share the things I have learned.  Love.  Love.  Love.


I am finding in our study of Matthew that there is an overwhelming amount of things that I want to explore and discuss!¬† We could get lost by going deeply into a short¬†passage. ¬†For example, we could spend DAYS pouring over Matthew 7:13-14, “Enter through the narrow gate. ¬†For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction and many enter through it. ¬†But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it,” (NIV). ¬†While there are times that going deep into The Word is so necessary, I want to be mindful that student ministry might not always be the time. ¬†(We also need to have time for epic Q-Tip Wars, which we participated in yesterday.)

So, as a result of being mindful of how deeply we dive into the Matthew-waters, I have created two options for you to use as you finish your study of Matthew 5-7.  One is an overview that pulls out the big ideas; the second includes in-depth study notes.

Lesson for January 18 (Overview)          Super-Intense Notes on Matthew 5-7

For those who participated in small group on Sunday (which was a mix of students and parents!), we did not get very far into the lesson before we ran out of time.  (I am STILL disappointed by that!)  I vow that next week (January 25) to find a better balance between a light overview and super-intense lesson.

In the mean time, I pray that–as your family works out the daily devotional lessons together–you grow in your knowledge of scripture and your understanding of your Savior, Jesus.

Bring your questions next Sunday as we work through Matthew 8:1-34.

Homework for Jan 25



The students of CORE Youth Ministry have been studying Nehemiah alongside the members of¬†Manchester United Methodist Church body. ¬†Instead of being a traditional youth group that develops¬†lessons¬†independently from the church body, we have decided to become radical. ¬†Our students (6th-12th grade) meet after church on Sunday mornings to discuss how Pastor Mike’s sermon on Nehemiah applies to our life today. ¬†The¬†students are studying the passage during the week, discussing take-home questions with their parents, taking notes during the sermon, and discussing areas of their life where they can apply biblical principles from Nehemiah, as well as other areas of scripture. ¬†We believe this radical step in youth ministry will foster discipleship at home, with families, and develop strong disciples for Jesus.

Follow our journey through Nehemiah¬†with our take-home questions, adapted from The Village Church’s Nehemiah series study guide.



holy week

Here we are in Holy Week, the most life-changing events for God’s people. ¬†We have spent seven weeks preparing our hearts for what is about to take place. ¬†Last night Manchester United Methodist Church taught on Matthew 26:1-4, 14-16, which is the plot to kill Jesus:

When Jesus had finished saying all these things,¬†he said to his disciples,¬†2¬†‚ÄúAs you know, the Passover¬†is two days away‚ÄĒand the Son¬†of Man¬†will be handed over to be crucified.‚ÄĚ ¬†3¬†Then the chief priests and the elders of the people assembled¬†in the palace of the high priest, whose name was Caiaphas,¬†4¬†and they schemed to¬†arrest¬†Jesus secretly and kill him….14¬†Then one of the Twelve‚ÄĒthe one called Judas Iscariot‚ÄĒwent to the chief priests¬†15¬†and asked, ‚ÄúWhat are you willing to give me if I deliver him over to you?‚ÄĚ So they counted out for him thirty pieces of silver.¬†16¬†From then on Judas watched for an opportunity to hand him over. (NIV)

What a slime-ball, right?! ¬†Judas was in Jesus’ posse, did everything with Him for 3 years, witnessed miracles, heard teaching, knew Jesus to be the Savior King…

…and he betrays Him? ¬†For 30 piece of silver?! ¬†REALLY?!

I can’t believe that’s all it took for Judas to betray Jesus. ¬†It breaks my heart. ¬†It makes me mad. ¬†How could he do that to Jesus?! ¬†How could he?! ¬†I asked this question to the students of CORE Youth Ministry and realized the cold, hard truth:

I am Judas. ¬†And I’m willing to bet you are, too.

You see, this Sunday is in danger of becoming¬†jussanothaday if we don’t see ourselves as sinners in need of saving. ¬†Otherwise, what is there to celebrate? ¬†If we are “good enough,” we don’t need Jesus to break the curse of sin.

But we do need him. ¬†Desperately. ¬†We are just a despicable as Judas. ¬†We betray Jesus with our words and actions. ¬†We rebel against our Heavenly Father with our heart and mind. ¬†We grieve the Holy Spirit with our sin. ¬†We will never be “good enough” on our own. ¬†We.Need.A.Savior.

And our Creator God knew this. ¬†His love for us is so deep–so unfathomably wide–that He implemented the most scandalous rescue mission of all time.

Enter: Jesus.

This Easter, as you reflect on the betrayal of Maundy Thursday (Matthew 26:17-75), the perceived hopelessness of Good Friday (Matthew 27:11-66), and the celebration of Resurrection Sunday (John 20-21). I invite you to fully engage with the events of Holy Week.  Let the realization of your sin remind you of your desperate need of a Savior, and let your desperate need for a Savior make your celebration that much sweeter on Sunday.

He.Is.Victorious!  Oh happy day!

This lesson was based on the Lenten sermon on March 27, 2013 from Senior Pastor Mike Druhl of Manchester United Methodist Church.

Lent: 6/7

Posted: March 21, 2013 in Action, Christ, CORE, Easter, Lent, Love, Luke, Pursue, Worship, Youth Ministry


I asked the students of CORE Youth Ministry what they found significant from our bible lesson from Pastor Mike of Manchester United Methodist Church.  The conversation was quite interesting.  What do you find significant?

36¬†One of the Pharisees asked Jesus[a]¬†to eat with him, and he went into the Pharisee‚Äôs house and took his place at the table.¬†37¬†And a woman in the city, who was a sinner, having learned that he was eating in the Pharisee‚Äôs house, brought an alabaster jar of ointment.¬†38¬†She stood behind him at his feet, weeping, and began to bathe his feet with her tears and to dry them with her hair. Then she continued kissing his feet and anointing them with the ointment.39¬†Now when the Pharisee who had invited him saw it, he said to himself, ‚ÄúIf this man were a prophet, he would have known who and what kind of woman this is who is touching him‚ÄĒthat she is a sinner.‚Ä̬†40¬†Jesus spoke up and said to him, ‚ÄúSimon, I have something to say to you.‚ÄĚ ‚ÄúTeacher,‚ÄĚ he replied, ‚Äúspeak.‚Ä̬†41¬†‚ÄúA certain creditor had two¬†debtors; one owed five hundred denarii,[b]¬†and the other fifty.¬†42¬†When they could not pay, he canceled the¬†debts¬†for both of them. Now which of them will love him more?‚Ä̬†43¬†Simon answered, ‚ÄúI suppose the one for whom he canceled the greater debt.‚ÄĚ And Jesus[c]¬†said to him, ‚ÄúYou have judged rightly.‚Ä̬†44¬†Then turning toward the woman, he said to Simon, ‚ÄúDo you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave me no water for my feet, but she has bathed my feet with her tears and dried them with her hair.¬†45¬†You gave me no kiss, but from the time I came in she has not stopped kissing my feet.¬†46¬†You did not anoint my head with oil, but she has anointed my feet with ointment.¬†47¬†Therefore, I tell you, her sins, which were many, have been forgiven; hence she has shown great love. But the one to whom little is forgiven, loves little.‚Ä̬†48¬†Then he said to her, ‚ÄúYour sins are forgiven.‚Ä̬†49¬†But those who were at the table with him began to say among themselves, ‚ÄúWho is this who even forgives sins?‚Ä̬†50¬†And he said to the woman, ‚ÄúYour faith has saved you; go in peace.‚ÄĚ (NIV)

Many students shared a kinship with the key players in this story. ¬†Like the Pharisee, there are times in our life where we pass judgement on those who seems be be living a messy, unholy life. ¬†Their sin seems to be far worse than ours. ¬†“At least we don’t do that!” ¬†The reality is, though, that no sin is worse (or better) than another. ¬†We were challenged to love Jesus as deeply and desperately as this woman did.

One observation made by a student was, “How interesting it is that the woman knew who Jesus was…that he could save her from her sin.” ¬†Digging more deeply, I wonder how¬†interesting¬†it is when we know who Jesus is–that He can save us from our sins–and yet we do not display the same adoration that the woman did.

As we prepare our hearts for Holy Week (Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Resurrection Sunday) the reality of who Jesus is, what He did, and what He’s all about becomes powerfully clear. ¬†Are you prepared to worship Him as this “sinful woman” did? ¬†She is leading the way for us. ¬†How will you respond?

Inspired by the Lenten Service at Manchester United Methodist Church on March 20, 2013. [Senior Pastor Michael Druhl].


We’ve been in Lent for a few weeks now. ¬†Lent is the season before Easter, a time of anticipation for God to reveal His GRACE and MERCY. ¬†Those may feel like mamby-pamby words until you experience them–truly experience them–for yourself.

Here’s an example of our ol’ buddy Paul, always showing what it means to experience God. ¬†Here’s a passage from his first letter to Timothy:

12¬†I am grateful to Christ Jesus our Lord, who has strengthened me, because he judged me faithful and appointed me to his service,¬†13¬†even though I was formerly a blasphemer, a persecutor, and a man of violence. But I received mercy because I had acted ignorantly in unbelief,¬†14¬†and the grace of our Lord overflowed for me with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.¬†15¬†The saying is sure and worthy of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners‚ÄĒof whom I am the foremost.16¬†But for that very reason I received mercy, so that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display the utmost patience, making me an example to those who would come to believe in him for eternal life.17¬†To the King of the ages, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever.[a]¬†Amen. (1 Timothy 1:12-17, NRSV, emphasis added)

Here we have a man who did some pretty bad things. ¬†He does not seem like someone who deserves a spot in Heaven and a relationship with God Almighty. ¬†But that’s why I can’t keep this “Jesus stuff” to myself–because mercy is God the Father using Jesus to rescue us from what we deserve. ¬†It’s knowing we deserve a punishment, but finding out that someone else took the punishment for us. ¬†Mind blowing, right?

I believe we’re all looking for mercy. ¬†We all want to be a part of a bigger story of being rescued. ¬†Take a look at another example of God’s mercy in action:

35¬†As he approached Jericho, a blind man was sitting by the roadside begging.¬†36¬†When he heard a crowd going by, he asked what was happening.¬†37¬†They told him, ‚ÄúJesus of Nazareth[a]¬†is passing by.‚Ä̬†38¬†Then he shouted, ‚ÄúJesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!‚Ä̬†39¬†Those who were in front sternly ordered him to be quiet; but he shouted even more loudly, ‚ÄúSon of David, have mercy on me!‚ÄĚ40¬†Jesus stood still and ordered the man to be brought to him; and when he came near, he asked him,¬†41¬†‚ÄúWhat do you want me to do for you?‚ÄĚ He said, ‚ÄúLord, let me see¬†again.‚Ä̬†42¬†Jesus said to him, ‚ÄúReceive your sight; your faith has saved you.‚Ä̬†43¬†Immediately he regained his sight and followed him, glorifying God; and all the people, when they saw it, praised God. ¬†(Luke 18:35-43)

In this man’s brokenness (remember, he was physically blind) he cried out for help. ¬†Jesus, being the compassionate, loving, merciful Savior that He is, healed the blind man. ¬†I’m sure Jesus was quite busy, and probably had many better things to do than waste his time with a blind man. ¬†Yet. ¬†Just like Paul, God used this man as an example of healing and transformation. ¬†He was merciful.

And He longs to show His mercy to you as well.

If you’ve never cried out to God for help and mercy, now is the perfect time to do it. ¬†We have two great examples of God answering our prayers for mercy, and scripture is¬†choc-full of other broken, hurting people who received God’s mercy when it was asked of Him. ¬†He ALWAYS extends His love, grace, and mercy.

Maybe you’ve already done this, but your relationship with Jesus has become stale, routine. ¬†It’s been a long time since you’ve experienced this desperate need for God’s mercy in your life. ¬†If this describes you, I encourage you to treat this season of Lent as a time for reflecting on past mercies God has shown you, and refreshing your faith through spiritual disciplines such as meditation, fasting, or solitude.

We are drawing near to Easter–the moment when Jesus displays His most awesome act of mercy. ¬†Prepare your hearts!

“He loves like a hurricane and I am a tree bending beneath the weight of His wind and mercy.” ¬†~David Crowder Band, How He Loves Us

Inspired by the Lenten service at Manchester United Methodist Church, March 13, 2013.  [Senior Pastor: Michael Druhl]

Lent: 4/7

Posted: March 7, 2013 in Christ, CORE, High School, Lent, Love, Luke, Service, Transformation

2011-06-28 COLORADO

“Father Abraham had many sons / and many sons had Father Abraham / I am one of them, and so are you / so let’s just praise the Lord!”

Many of us are familiar with this silly Sunday School song. ¬†Many of us are familiar with the story of Abram, a super-old, faithful man who was given a promise by God: “Look up at the heavens and count the stars–if indeed you can count them…so shall your offspring be,” (Gen 15:5, NIV). ¬†That’s a crazy promise, right? ¬†Abram and his wife, Sari were suuuuuuuuper old. ¬†Like our grandparents having their first baby. ¬†Sick. ¬†Nasty.

When God spoke to him, Abram had a choice in how he was going to respond.

Put a pin in that thought and turn to the New Testament, to Simeon. ¬†[Sorry, I have no catchy Sunday School song for him.] ¬†Simeon was also old, and was also given a promise from God that “…he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Christ,” (Luke 2:26). ¬†Like Abram, Simeon had a choice in how he was going to respond.

Both men could have taken the thing that was given to them from God (Abram: A promise for many children // Simeon: A promise that he would see the Messiah) and laughed in God’s face. ¬†“Yeah right! ¬†What are the chances that’ll happen?!” ¬†Or they could have responded in faith and action.

Which they both did. ¬†[For the rest of Abram’s story, read Genesis 15-22; For the rest of Simeon’s story, read Luke 2:25-35]

So what’s the importance of these two examples in our life today?

Our dear friend Bill preached this message at Manchester United Methodist Church last night. ¬†He challenged our actions and asked us, “What are you doing with the things God has given you?” ¬†God might not have told you that you will be given more children than there are stars in the sky like Abram, but He has given you gifts, talents, and passions.

You honor God by the way you live your life.  What are you doing with it?

Inspired by MUMC’s Lenten Service [Lay Leader: Bill Scanlan]

Speak life

What an unexpected night at CORE Youth Ministry.  We set out to discuss one topic, and ended up discussing something completely different.  There were TONS of rabbit-trails and (more than once) we halted the discussion to debate whether our donated cupcakes were topped with spoiled frosting.  Not exactly the spiritual depth I pray for weekly.

And yet, as I reflect on last night, I can’t stop smiling. ¬†Instead of being frustrated (or discouraged), I found it charming. ¬†Endearing. ¬†Sometimes we need a night where the discussion is unexpected. ¬†While “random” it was, “pointless” it was not.

In this season of Lent we are sharing a meal (hob-knobbing with our church family), attending a Lenten service, and discussing the sermon.  Last night Pastor Mike (Senior Pastor at Manchester United Methodist Church) preached on Luke 7:11-17,

Soon afterward, Jesus went to a town called Nain, and his disciples and a large crowd went along with him. ¬†As he approached the town gate, a dead person was being carried out–the only son of his mother, and she was a widow. ¬†And a large crowd from the town was with her. ¬†When the Lord saw her, his heart went out to her and he said, “Don’t cry.” ¬†Then he went up and touched the coffin, and those carrying it stood still. ¬†He said, “Young man, I say to you, get up!” ¬†The dead man sat up and began to talk, and Jesus gave him back to his mother. ¬†They were all filled with awe and praised God. ¬†“A great prophet has appeared among us,” they said. ¬†“God has come to help his people.” ¬†This news about Jesus spread throughout Judea and the surrounding country. (NIV)

The main point that Pastor Mike was trying to make was a question: “Are you dead (like this boy), or are you alive in Christ?”

After the sermon we got comfortable on the couches in the youth room and and began to discuss the topic at hand. ¬†It seemed, however, that there was very little to discuss. ¬†Everyone in the room was confident that they are not “going through the motions” of being a Christ-follower; everyone feels alive in Christ.

This is where the conversation might have stalled out.  And in a sense, it did.  But CORE students are amazing.  They blow me away.  In the moments where it felt like there was nothing left to discuss, they noticed a little nugget of Truth from Luke 7:11-17.

Jesus spoke life into the dead boy.

This has practical application in our own lives. ¬†We can all point to moments where scripture, a mentor, or a song on the radio has “spoken life” into our dry, weary, or dead souls.

As we tossed around this concept, ideas became to take shape for CORE’s Celebration Sunrise Service on Sunday, March 31. ¬†Students will share verses from scripture that “speak life” to them personally. ¬†My heart was so touched as they began to toss around passage after passage of “life-giving” Truth from the bible. ¬†I can’t wait for them to share on Easter morning.

Sometimes the most random nights give birth to something beautiful.