Archive for the ‘Experience’ Category

CORE students get some help priming the Youth Room for the big update! #leadership

CORE students get some help priming the Youth Room for the big update! #leadership

Basecamp” is about preparing for a journey.  We have been preparing for CORE Youth Ministry’s big journey this summer merging with 7th and 8th grade students; until now our preparation has come in the form of brainstorming ideas (remember the white tiger idea?), cleaning the youth room and planning the new room design, and discussing lesson plans.

This past Wednesday, the students of CORE turned the preparation inward.

One important factor when beginning a journey is leadership.  We have all been a part of a group with natural-born leaders; other times we are a part of a group with weak or reluctant leaders.  One thing we can learn by reading both the Old and New Testament is that we serve a God who loves to show His leadership through the most unlikely people and situations.  Perhaps one of the most profound examples of this can be seen through the journey of the Israelites from slavery into the Promised Land.

Moses and Israelites-003

Even though the lines of this picture have become a bit faded (click the pic for a closer look), you can see that the Israelite’s journey is full of ups and downs.  When you read Exodus (for the sake of the narrative, you can skip the laws of Leviticus and the census info from Numbers 1-10), Numbers 11-25, Deuteronomy, and Joshua you see an action and adventure-filled drama that is almost as unbelievable as the storyline of Twilight.  Almost.  (I haaaave to believe that God parting the Red Sea is more believable than a world where a vampire and a werewolf are both in love with Kristen Stewart.  Maybe that’s just me…)

This journey shows us good (and bad) leadership on the part of Moses, Aaron, and Joshua.  This journey also shows us the good (AND BAD!) example of God’s beloved people, the Israelites.  Read the story (Exodus – Joshua) and follow along on our slides [Leadership 4:6]. Ask yourself:

What are the lessons learned by the Israelites?

What lessons do we learn from the Israelites?

What great leadership qualities were displayed by Moses?  Aaron?  Joshua?  What poor leadership qualities were displayed?

What does this journey reveal about God?  What does it reveal about the Israelites?  What does it reveal about ourselves?

How can we be strong leaders in our new journey?

My prayer for you is that the God who delights in showing His powerful leadership through the most unlikely of people and situations would reveal Himself to you this week.  As we see through this journey to the Promised Land, our God hears the cry of His people, and He responds in powerful ways.

Series GraphicI’ve been pretty hyped about our new series, “Basecamp.”  You may be asking yourself, “Whattheheck is a basecamp?”  Basecamp refers to the place where, say, a mountain climber prepares for his journey.  Basecamp is the place where he rests, trains, and prepares for his journey ahead.

You guessed it!  At CORE Youth Ministry we’re about to begin a journey.  But that journey does not begin until aaaaaafter we train up at “Basecamp.”

It is my personal belief that before beginning a new, uncharted journey it is beneficial to look back on the events that brought you to this point.  Last night we remembered mission trips, theologically dense series, and hilarious kung fu movies.

We talked about the good, the bad, and the ugly things we’ve experienced together over the past three years.  We brainstormed the things we need to accomplish before beginning our new journey this summer (…like getting a white tiger for the youth room.  Wouldn’t that be sweet?!)  We began to dream about the things we need to accomplish at “Basecamp” before the summer journey begins.

I can’t help but think about Moses and the Israelites leaving slavery in Egypt for the Promised Land (Exodus).  There was a lot of fear and uncertainty (and complaining!), but there were also AMAZING demonstrations of God’s power and provision.

In the coming weeks we will explore this biblical example more closely as we prepare for the adventurous journey that lies before us.  In the mean time, I’m going to research the cost of feeding a white tiger.

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, “As you know, the Passover is two days away—and the Son of Man will be handed over to be crucified.”  Then the chief priests and the elders of the people assembled in the palace of the high priest, whose name was Caiaphas, and they schemed to arrest Jesus secretly and kill him….14 Then one of the Twelve—the one called Judas Iscariot—went to the chief priests 15 and asked, “What are you willing to give me if I deliver him over to you?” 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.

Mercy

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—of 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, “Jesus of Nazareth[a] is passing by.” 38 Then he shouted, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” 39 Those who were in front sternly ordered him to be quiet; but he shouted even more loudly, “Son of David, have mercy on me!”40 Jesus stood still and ordered the man to be brought to him; and when he came near, he asked him, 41 “What do you want me to do for you?” He said, “Lord, let me see again.” 42 Jesus said to him, “Receive your sight; your faith has saved you.” 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]

DTR—Define the relationship.

In the past three weeks we have taken a look at the difference between a “fan” and “Follower” of Jesus.  We established that fans often look like Followers, but fans do not have a true level of commitment.  They become “enthusiastic admirers” of Jesus  for the things they can get from Him: good grades, popularity, and a puppy for Christmas.  (You might be scoffing at those spiritually weak “fans.”)

Let’s turn the tables on you:

Ask yourself, “Am I a fan, or a Follower?”  Chances are you assume you are a follower because your family goes to church, you volunteer in the community, and you have not been arrested in the last month.  …But is that what it takes to be a “Follower”?

Think about it this way:
There’s a guy or girl you’re crushin’ on.  You start hanging out, and it is fun and exciting.  She’s pretty; he’s cool; you’re friends think you’re cute together.  But the time comes when you wonder, “Where is this going?”  You have to decide if things are casual, or committed.  You have to have “DTR.”  Define.The.Relationship.

The same way you have to have a DTR to figure out if things are casual or committed with your crush, you need to do that with Jesus.  For instance, would your relationship with Jesus be “Facebook official”?  You know, would your Facebook status say, ”In a Relationship with” Jesus? or would it say, “It’s Complicated” with Jesus?  Would it say “Single and Ready to Mingle!”?  Here are some questions worthy of some head-scratching, soul-searching time of reflection.

Scan

DTR 2-002

 

What did your reflection reveal about your relationship status with Jesus?

If you see yourself closer to a “fan” than you want to be, then let’s begin the  journey from fan to follower.

Not a Fan 2 002

Here’s what Jesus says about moving beyond a casual relationship, into a committed follower: Luke 9:23

“And [Jesus] said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.” (ESV)

Anyone”—an open invitation.

No matter what you have done, Jesus is calling you to be in a committed relationship with Him.  Does accepting this come easily to you, or do you struggle with being accepted and loved?  Do you try to earn His love/acceptance by the “good things” you do?

When Jesus says “anyone,” He means “everyone.”  What does that reveal about His character?

Come after Me—a passionate pursuit.
How do you “come after” someone with whom you want to become better friends?  How do you pursue your crush?  I remember one time when I was being pursued by a guy.  He was so intent on “passionately pursuing me” that he spent hundreds of dollars on a private airplane ride…and it was only our first date!  We didn’t need a DTR to see that he was pretty committed.  (And no, this was not on an episode of The Bachelor.)

It makes me think of Matthew 13: Treasure in a Field parable.  I have always struggled to understand why a guy who stumbled upon a big pile of treasure sold everything that he had and bought the land where the treasure was buried.  I mean, that’s crazy, right?  But look at if from his perspective: He sells all he has (#sacrifice) because the treasure he has found is far “bigger and better” than what he is trading.  He is passionately pursuing the treasure.

 “When we discover the life we can have in Jesus we are to come after Him like this man pursued this [treasure].  Fans will be careful not to get carried away.  Followers understand that following Jesus is a pursuit that may cost them everything, but it is the best investment they could ever make.” Kyle Idleman, Not a Fan: Teen Edition

If you realize you look a lot more like a fan than Follower, take some time to consider what it could look like to “passionately pursue” a relationship with Jesus.  Talk to people who are doing that very thing.  Consider the comparison to a dating relationship: spend time with Him, getting to know Him.  Maybe even book a private plane ride with Him. :)

Inspired by Kyle Idleman’s Not A Fan: Teen Edition.

How would you describe someone who is a “fan” of Jesus?  Someone who puts on a “Team Jesus” jersey, cheering loudly when Christianity is cool?  Someone who goes to church on Sundays, knows all the words to “How Great is Our God,” and has a fish bumper sticker?  I would describe this person as an enthusiastic admirer… much the way we admire Katniss Everdeen or Tim Tebow.

Website2

During this series, I’m wondering if being a fan–an enthusiastic admirer–is enough for Jesus.  Not sayin’…just wonderin’.

That’s why your presence at CORE on Wednesday nights is SO. IMPORTANT. during this series.  Without you, I’m just going to keep on wonderin’.  I need to hear your thoughts, beliefs, understanding, and experiences.

Catch Kyle Idleman’s thoughts on candy, snuggies, and sacrifice in the video below, and share your response next Wednesday at 7pm.

c/o http://www.notafan.com

Mission Info

 

My office will be open on Mondays from 3:30-5pm to research and explore ways we can serve.  Feel free to join us then, or research on your own.  Not sure where to begin your research?  Check out the amazing organization @coreyouthmin follows on Twitter, or take a look at some organizations on Kels’ Ministry Resources Board on Pinterest.