Archive for the ‘Follower.’ 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.

Manchester United Methodist Church has welcomed five new members!  On April 7, students completed their Confirmation class and took a vow to serve MUMC with their prayers, presence, gifts, and service.

103

 

From left to right: Kelsey Anderson (Youth Director), Alyssa Sellner, Nick Andregg, Nolan Lyness, Liz Koloc, Hanna Koloc, and Pastor Mike (Senior Pastor).

bioWe give thanks for all that God has already given you and we welcome you in Christian love.  As members together with you in the body of Christ and in this congregation of the Manchester United Methodist Church, we renew our covenant faithfully to participate in the ministries of the church by our prayers, our presence, our gifts, and our service, that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ.  Amen.

 

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.

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‚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]

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.

For those of you who have been keeping up (Week 1, Week 2, Week 3, Week 4,), we have been talking A TON about the idea of #sacrifice. ¬†It was starting to feel pretty dark, like being a Follower of Christ is a terrible death sentence. ¬†Well, I suppose there is a death sentence involved…

Luke 923

The death sentence I am referring to is a death to ourselves, and a death to anything we may love more than Christ.  We are called to #sacrifice the things that distract us from a closer walk with the Lord.  We are called to kill anything that robs us of the presence of Jesus in our lives.

There I go again…getting all intense. ¬†So I started asking the students of CORE Youth Ministry a few questions, like:

What motivates your #sacrifice?

The answer I heard brought tears to my eyes. ¬†“Love.” ¬†These Christ-followers in Manchester, Iowa pointed back to Luke 9:23, describing “…take up his cross daily,” as a picture of love. ¬†When Christ took up His cross, it was motivated out of His deep, wild, extravagant love for us.

ephesians

Our #sacrifice–whatever form it takes in your life–is motivated by our deep, deep love for the Lord. ¬†And our love for the Lord is a response to His deep, deep love for us. ¬†I promise that it is as simple as that.

How will you live this love out during this season of Lent? ¬†Maybe it’s #sacrificing something that has kept you from spending time with the Lord. ¬†Maybe it is adding something to your life that brings you closer to Christ. ¬†Either way, here is our prayer for CORE Youth Ministry, and our prayer for you for the next 40 days:

Final Lent Prayer

Inspired by “Not a Fan” by Kyle Idleman, and the Ash Wednesday Service at Manchester United Methodist Church.

Let's Make a Deal

Have you ever seen the game show “Let’s Make a Deal?” ¬†In case you have not, here’s the basic concept:

“The show is based around deals offered to members of the audience by the host. The traders usually have to weigh the possibility of an offer being for a valuable prize, or an undesirable item, referred to as a “Zonk”.¬†Let’s Make a Deal¬†is also known for the various unusual and crazy costumes worn by audience members, who dressed up that way in order to increase their chances of being selected as a trader.”

Thanks Wikipedia!

One thing that I noticed in my extensive research of this gameshow (I love my job!) is that you make a deal, you’re all in. ¬†You have to give up the prize you have in order for a chance to receive the prize you want. ¬†You can’t have both. ¬†There’s an element of #sacrifice.

That reminded me of something I read from Kyle Idleman: ¬†‚ÄúYou won‚Äôt be able to follow the path of Jesus without walking away from a different path.‚Ä̬†

This was a major point of CORE‘s¬†discussion last night. ¬†Can you be a Christ-follower (on the “path of Jesus”) without walking away from something else? ¬†If your answer is “no,” then what have you walked away from?

If your answer is “yes,” then take a look at “The Rich Young Man” (Matthew 19:16-22):

Just then a man came up to Jesus and asked, ‚ÄúTeacher, what good thing must I do to get eternal life?‚ÄĚ

‚ÄúWhy do you ask me about what is good?‚Ä̬†Jesus replied.¬†‚ÄúThere is only One who is good. If you want to enter life, keep the commandments.‚ÄĚ

‚ÄúWhich ones?‚ÄĚ he inquired.

Jesus replied,¬†‚Äú‚ÄėYou shall not murder, you shall not commit adultery,¬†you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony,¬†honor your father and mother,‚Äô¬†and ‚Äėlove your neighbor as yourself.‚Äô‚ÄĚ

‚ÄúAll these I have kept,‚ÄĚ the young man said. ‚ÄúWhat do I still lack?‚ÄĚ

Jesus answered,¬†‚ÄúIf you want to be perfect,¬†go, sell your possessions and give to the poor,¬†and you will have treasure in heaven.¬†Then come, follow me.‚ÄĚ

When the young man heard this, he went away sad, because he had great wealth.

What we see here is a “fan” of Jesus who appears to be doing everything right. ¬†He’s following the major commandments, he’s eating his vegetables, and keeping his nose clean. ¬†But he was still lacking something: sacrifice. ¬†See, this story isn’t called “The Poor Man,” or even the “Middle Class I-Do-Alright-For-Myself Man.” ¬†It’s called “The Rich Young Man.” ¬†This dude was rollin’ in it. ¬†And the evidence that he loved his wealth was in his response to Jesus’ words: “…he went away sad, because he had great wealth.”

Now do not be deceived: This example is NOT about money. ¬†It’s about sacrificing things that are more¬†valuable¬†to you than God. ¬†I don’t pretend that sacrifice is easy. ¬†It’s painful. ¬†It takes commitment.

Kind of like P90X.

P90X example

 

 

Now this guy looks like a dude who’s committed. ¬†In order for him to look like this beast he has to #sacrifice sleeping in, eating cheeseburgers, and going out with friends. ¬†There’s NO WAY he can do those things and look like that. ¬†Right? ¬†He had to sacrifice. ¬†And I bet it sucked. ¬†I wonder if every morning when his alarm went off he thought,”I could just hit the snooze button.” ¬†I bet the smell of cheeseburgers taunted him when he at his salad. ¬†I bet his friends tempted him with weekend Halo marathons. ¬†But after all the sacrifice he looked like that.

So.Worth.It.

“When we sacrificially deny ourselves for Christ’s sake it is the clearest evidence of our committed love.”

We can see what Mr. P90X loves and values by what he sacrificed. ¬†We can see what “The Rich Young Man” loved and valued by what he did not sacrifice.

If our relationship with Jesus was like “Let’s Make a Deal,” a fan wants the prize behind Door #1 without sacrificing what he currently has.

I love Jesus, but...

 

“When we sacrificially deny ourselves for Christ’s sake it is the clearest evidence of our committed love.” ¬†If you agree, where is your #sacrifice?

I know all of this has gotten pretty heavy, so let me bring you a glimmer of hope:

We can’t talk about #sacrifice without talking about the motivation behind it. ¬†Next week is our FINAL lesson on “Not a Fan,” and is also Ash Wednesday. ¬†We’re going to take the journey towards Jesus’ #sacrifice for us, exploring His¬†motivation¬†and our response.

It’s about to be a love-fest up in here.

 

Inspired by “Not a Fan” by Kyle Idleman. ¬†Join other committed followers at¬†http://www.facebook.com/notafan¬†