Archive for the ‘Gospel’ Category

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.


Week 1.

Meet Paul.  He used to be this super-Jew named Saul who obeyed every Jewish Law perfectly.  I mean, he was kind of a big deal in that community.  His fatal flaw: he HATED Christ-followers.  We know that Saul was out to destroy this annoying group of people who said that Jesus Christ was the Messiah.  Then one day Christ spoke to Saul, and he was transformed.

A complete 180-degree turn around.

“Saul-the-super-Jew” became “Paul-the-super-Christian.” ¬†He preached The Gospel–Who Jesus is, what He’s about, and how it affects our life–everywhere he went, with everyone he met. ¬†He risked his life, was beaten, persecuted, and imprisoned. ¬†Even THAT didn’t stop him. ¬†He had found a God who changed his life, and he could NOT keep that to himself.

The reason we’re interested in Paul is because he’s the author of our Revolution! study of the book of Romans. ¬†If we’re going to understand Romans’ content, we better understand the man who wrote its important pages.

Week 1: Romans 1:1-17.

Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle¬†and set apart¬†for the gospel of God‚ÄĒ¬†2¬†the gospel he promised beforehand¬†through his prophets¬†in the Holy Scriptures¬†3¬†regarding his Son, who as to his earthly life[a]¬†was a descendant of David,¬†4¬†and who through the Spirit of holiness was appointed the Son of God in power[b]¬†by his resurrection from the dead:¬†Jesus Christ our Lord.¬†5¬†Through him we received grace¬†and apostleship to call all the Gentiles¬†to the obedience that comes from[c]¬†faith¬†for his name‚Äôs sake.¬†6¬†And you also are among those Gentiles who are called to belong to Jesus Christ.

7 To all in Rome who are loved by God and called to be his holy people: Grace and peace to you from God our Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ.

Paul’s Longing to Visit Rome

8 First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith is being reported all over the world.9 God, whom I serve in my spirit in preaching the gospel of his Son, is my witness how constantly I remember you 10 in my prayers at all times; and I pray that now at last by God’s will the way may be opened for me to come to you.

11¬†I long to see you¬†so that I may impart to you some spiritual gift¬†to make you strong‚ÄĒ¬†12¬†that is, that you and I may be mutually encouraged by each other‚Äôs faith.¬†13¬†I do not want you to be unaware,¬†brothers and sisters,[d]¬†that I planned many times to come to you (but have been prevented from doing so until now)¬†in order that I might have a harvest among you, just as I have had among the other Gentiles.

14 I am obligated both to Greeks and non-Greeks, both to the wise and the foolish. 15 That is why I am so eager to preach the gospel also to you who are in Rome.

16¬†For I am not ashamed of the gospel,¬†because it is the power of God¬†that brings salvation to everyone who believes:first to the Jew,¬†then to the Gentile.¬†17¬†For in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed‚ÄĒa righteousness that is by faith¬†from first to last,[e]¬†just as it is written: ‚ÄúThe righteous will live by faith.‚ÄĚ[f]

Big Idea: God is at work in our lives to make us pleasing and useful to Him.  We can see this based on Paul’s example; he was SOLD OUT to Christ.

Focus:¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† Romans 1:17, ‚ÄúFor in the GOSPEL a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: ‚ÄėThe righteous will live by faith.‚Äô‚ÄĚ ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†¬†


What is the righteousness revealed from the Gospel?

What impact‚ÄĒif any‚ÄĒdoes this verse have on your life?

What examples have you experienced of ‚Äúliving by faith‚ÄĚ?

What might it look like for you to be ‚Äúpleasing and useful‚ÄĚ to God?

Are you doing those things?  Why/why not?

What are you taking away from this?


Adapted from “Creative Lessons on Romans” by Chap Clark. ¬†Used on 9-5-12 by CORE Youth Ministry.

Gospel Foundations [Part 3/3]

Posted: September 16, 2012 in Belief, Christ, CORE, Gospel

From August 8, 2012.

“Matchbox Race.”

Let’s do a quick review from Gospel Foundations Part 1 and Part 2:

Gospel = What Christ did (life, death, resurrection) and how it affects me.

Main Point of Romans 5:6-10: That we were POWERLESS sinners in need of a Savior.

Main Point of 2 Corinthians 5:21: Christ took our punishment (Hell) and gave us HIS reward (Heaven).

That’s where we are right now.

So imagine you have a matchbox race car, and your job is to blow this tiny hunk of metal down the winding track.  You have some tools to help you (if you want):

A coach. // A Racing Handbook. // Cheerleaders.

This little guy is low to the ground, but it sure is difficult to get him moving anywhere too quickly. ¬†You and your lungs–as vital as they may be–grow tired quickly and take breaks more and more frequently. ¬†(P.S. I know this to be true because we did this little experiment with the students of CORE.)

At the end of this long track is your prize–fresh baked, piping hot Chocolate Chip cookies. ¬†They smell sooooo good, but they’re sooooo far away! ¬†How will you ever make it to your delicious prize?

After a particularly dizzying attempt to move your matchbox race car forward, over walks our pal Harrison. ¬†He has a bucket full of candy. ¬†The Sweet Tarts and Bottlecaps don’t sound as delicious as the cookies, but whatcanya do? ¬†The cookies are soooooo faaaaaar awayyyyyy and the candy is RIGHT HERE! ¬†You think long and hard about taking some candy, and a break from the race.


What if you were given another tool. ¬†Not just a coach…not just a racing handbook…not just cheerleaders. ¬†What if you were given a hairdryer. ¬†Yes! ¬†The hairdryer can blow air directly on your matchbox car with speed and ease! ¬†Ahhhh, yes! ¬†MUCH better than that dreadful huffing and puffing and blowing your hopes of reaching those chocolate chip cookies.

See, the hairdryer did all the work to get the matchbox car to the end of the race. ¬†Okay, cool…but what does this metaphor have to do with me?

Car = Me. (I’m in the race of life.)

Racing Guide = Bible.

Cheerleaders = Small Group pals.

Coach = Mentor / Pastor / Spiritual Leader.

Chocolate Chip Cookies = Heaven.

Candy = Temptation / Distraction.

Hairdryer = Christ!

When we make the comparisons we see that the main point for tonight: Christ already did the work!  With His death and resurrection (remember, His resurrection shows that He had VICTORY over Hell, or the eternity that WE deserved) we see that the hard part is over.  Since Jesus did all the work, we don’t have to!  We don’t have to EARN our way to heaven (or blow our matchbox car with all of OUR might and strength).  All we have to do is RELY ON CHRIST.  (Believe in your heart and confess with your mouth that Jesus is your Lord and Savior.  Soooo easy, but LIFE-CHANGING!)

Reading your bible without Christ does no good.  Having a mentor without Christ is meaningless.  Being in a small group without Christ doesn’t make it easier.  But when you RELY ON CHRIST (since He already did the work!) the race becomes bearable.  You don’t need to take rests, because you’re RESTING IN CHRIST.

Gospel Foundations [Part 2/3]

Posted: September 16, 2012 in Belief, Christ, CORE, Gospel

From Aug 1, 2012.

‚ÄúNeed Meets Solution.‚ÄĚ


Last week we established that we (all mankind) are sinners, powerless to save ourselves from being an enemy of God (Romans 5:6-11). ¬†We are DESPERATELY in need of a Savior, since we’re powerless to do this on our own. ¬†Thankfully, God had a plan. ¬†Phew! ¬†I love that about Him…

Let me back up just a bit to my word “DESPERATELY.” ¬†What images are¬†conjured up in your mind when I say that word?


…or this?

…or maybe even this?

Okay, okay, enough with the examples. ¬†But truthfully, our need for a Savior is a truly desperate situation because it’s¬†dire–a literal¬†LIFE OR DEATH¬†situation. ¬†It’s the difference between eternity with God, or eternity apart from Him. ¬†(P.S. An eternity apart from God = Hell. ¬†Hell is just exactly that: eternity without God. ¬†Heart.breaking.)

Since we established last week that we’re sinners (enemies of God), we can see that we deserve Hell. ¬†We can’t help it…we’re powerless to save ourselves. ¬†So let’s break it down.

Our need: To be rescued from Hell (or an eternity apart from God).

What’s the solution? ¬†(This is the one time that a “Sunday School Answer” is actually appropriate.)

Solution = Jesus.

HOW?! you ask?


2 Corinthians 5:21

 God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

The power (and the beauty) of the gospel is NOT that we’re notsobad; instead, it’s that we ARE so bad, but Christ dealt with it! “

All we have to do is accept “The Swap-sy.” ¬†It’s that simple.¬†

Challenge:¬† Memorize¬†Ephesians 2:4-5, ‚ÄúBut because of his great love for us, God, who, is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in our transgressions‚ÄĒit is by GRACE you have been saved!‚ÄĚ

Gospel Foundations [Part 1/3]

Posted: September 16, 2012 in Belief, Christ, CORE, Gospel, Romans

From July 25, 2012. ¬†<—–Don’t judge…I’ve been a little behind. (: (: (:

Even though school had not started yet, I decided to quiz CORE students on their knowledge of “The Gospel.” ¬†Don’t worry–they weren’t graded, and neither will you. (: ¬†But our discussion revealed that these foundational questions had not been asked of our students in so long (if ever), that they struggled to answer. ¬†There’s no judgement from me, but I wonder how you will answer the questions. ¬†Lucky for you, I’ve helped you out on a few. ¬†Follow this lesson with Part 2 and Part 3.

Quiz #1:

We’ve heard it ¬†many times, but what does the word ‚Äúgospel‚ÄĚ mean? ¬†It means “good news.”

So…what is the Gospel? ¬†The Gospel tells us who Jesus is, what He did (with His life, death, and resurrection) and how it impacts our life today.

To the best of your understanding, what would you say a Christ-follower believes?

Scripture Time!

Romans 5:6-11

You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him! For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life!  Not only is this so, but we also boast in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.

This passage shows me that a Christ-follower believes that we are all sinners (that is, powerless to save ourselves from being enemies of God) in need of a Savior. ¬†But a Christ-follower also believes that God did a MIGHTY, AMAZING, INCREDIBLY “good” thing through Jesus. ¬†That’s the GOOD part of “good news.”

Quiz #2

If ‚ÄúGospel‚ÄĚ means ‚Äúgood news,‚ÄĚ what is the good news you read in this passage?

Does Romans 5:6-11 seem like ‚Äúgood news‚ÄĚ for your life?¬† Why or why not?

How would you use this passage to answer the question, ‚ÄúWhat do Christ-followers believe?‚ÄĚ

Do you agree?  Why or why not?

Main Point:¬† Awareness of our NEED for a Savior.¬† The ‚Äúgood news‚ÄĚ is only ‚Äúgood‚ÄĚ if we‚Äôre in need.

Take away: We’re in NEED of a Savior.

Challenge: Memorize Romans 5:8