If there is anything I know and understand from Youth Ministry, it’s Awkwardness. Have you ever tried to have a conversation with a Junior High guy about “Dungeons and Dragons” having NO prior knowledge in the subject. Not only is the topic itself awkward, but throw in the communication skills of a Junior High guy and this tips the awkward-meter through the roof!
This past Wednesday, I challenged the students to bust the cliques that the a-typical Students Ministry across America has. The reason for this is because I desire and I feel that God has laid it on my heart to challenge Grace Point Students to be different…to be a FAMILY. It’s so easy to treat Wednesday Nights or your Youth Ministry as a chance to see your friends or social hour, but God intended church to be so much more. I look at Acts 2:42-47 and I see what the church should be and could be! We started off our conversation by explaining a couple of things that are inevitably true.
#1 – God created us for relationships! From God creating Eve for Adam to God ultimately restoring our right relationship with Him through the death and resurrection of His Son, Jesus Christ – you can plainly see that God values and wants to have relationships. Sure, God does want us to have CLOSE relationships, but not to the point that you neglect everyone else around you – this is not in line with how God views relationships. Therefore, we are called to branch out….which brings me to the next point of “truthiness”…
#2 – Sometimes having conversations with or meeting new people is absolutely AWKWARD!!!! However, it is also absolutely necessary! If you never put your self out there, then you will never branch out, thus eliminating the opportunity to expand the Family of God!
THE BIBLICAL BASIS FOR FAMILY:
- held together by the cheif cornerstone Jesus Christ (Ephesians 2:19-22)
- connected by the blood of Christ (Ephesians 2:12-13)
- brought together by the ONE Father (Hebrews 2:10-11)
- Everyone is important and has a part (1 Cor. 12:14-20)
- We need to use our gifts for God’s glory and for unity (1 Peter 4:10-11)
GOING BEYOND THE TEXT:
“12Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.
15Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.16Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. 17And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”
Wow! When I look at this text, I see such an amazing example of how I want to be, but also how a group of students could be! What if we LIVED OUT this text? WHAT IF compassion, kindness, humility, and patience were attributes that everyone saw in us. WHAT IF instead of pointing out each others faults or even segregating those who were going through a rough time – we stuck with people, no matter what! WHAT IF we forgave as Christ forgave instead of succumbing to the temptation to fall deeper and deeper out of relationships. WHAT IF we put on LOVE which binds everyone together…even the most awkward of people! WHAT IF we let the WORD of God penetrate our hearts and dwell deeply within every fiber of our beings…which would leave us no choice but to live out the heart of God. WHAT IF we were just down right thankful – not always wanting more or neglecting the things or people God has blessed us with. Instead of negativity, it was joy that surrounded us… WHAT IF!
We as a staff here at Grace Point Church have been reading an Unstoppable Force by Erwin Raphael McManus. This is an extremely challenging and encouraging book. I shared a quote from this book on Wednesday…take some time to read it…
“Acts 4:32 describes the binding togther of the hearts of the new believers. It says, ‘all the believers were one in heart and mind.” The idea fleshed itself out because no one claimed that any of his possessions were his own. Instead they shared everything.
The first century movement that it was both unifying and expanding at the same time. Every single day the church expanded. It grew outwardly, reaching new people. At the same time the church is described as growing together with common purpose, common values, common vision, and common movement.
Their hearts were wrapped around the heart and values of God, their minds were being shaped by the mind and perspectives of God.
Jesus Christ began a revolution that transformed individuals and created a transformational community!”
Common purpose, values, vision, movement…their hearts were wrapped around the heart and values of God, their mines were being shaped by the mind and perspectives of God. Oh how I desperately pray that people would be able to say this about Grace Point Students.
You see, it doesn’t matter how different we are. What we look like, smell like, do for fun, where we are from, where we are spiritually, etc. doesn’t matter to God. When Jesus came, the playing field was leveled. There is no longer jew, gentile, greek, white, brown, black, tan, awkward, cool, anything – Jesus Christ changed EVERYTHING! He started a revolution that would not only restore our relationship with the Creator, but also he started a revolution that challenges us and compels to be a part of a transformational and authentic COMMUNITY or FAMILY!
so….how do we partake in this revolution? ACTION! God is not about people sitting on the sidelines, much less standing on the street corners professing their righteousness (but not really living it out)! You want change, there has got to be action! I have found that whenever someone does something cool, good, or something that in turn causes them happiness – most of the time, people will try to attempt what that person did.
Don’t take my word for it…take it from the expert Sir Isaac Newton (pictured)! I mean he was an English natural philosopher, generally regarded as the most original and influential theorist in the history of science. In addition to his invention of the infinitesimal calculus and a new theory of light and color, Newton transformed the structure of physical science with his three laws of motion and the law of universal gravitation.
I’m interested particularly in the 1st and 3rd laws:
1st – Every object in a state of uniform motion tends to remain in that state of motion unless an external force is applied to it.
I look at this and see the potential of a student catching on to this whole ACTION thing and starts living out their faith in a way that creates momentum. Next thing you know he or she is moving and doesn’t want to stop living and loving for the Lord. External forces in this situation might be temptation or a “cool” kid cutting them down for their lifestyle, but at least we have motion. And just think , if ONE Student started into motion – the 3rd law might just show to be true!
Can you imagine if one student “got it”…started living out their faith and starting taking ACTION to live their life for Christ. It would be amazing to watch all the “reactions” that would come from this. I believe that there would be some equal reactions – people catching on and emulating this one BOLD student who is just emulating Christ. There might be those who run in the opposite direction, but that’s the same in all situation. But can you imagine the chain reaction? Will you be that person that starts the revolution in your school, work place, or life? Will you start LIVING OUT your faith in a real way? I promise you won’t be alone for long!
Praying that GPS becomes the Family that Christ sacrificed so much for! Let us Step Up and Take Action!