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Showing posts from January, 2018

ALL THE RIGHT ENEMIES

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(From Luke 6:20-49)
One thing that constantly amazes me about Jesus is that he had no problem making enemies.

Most of us go through life trying to avoid conflict, keeping our thoughts to ourselves, and going to extraordinary efforts NOT to make people mad at us. We sugar coat things. We hold back. We think twice. We bite our tongues. We beat around the bush and rely on "little white lies." We easily fall in line, and would never want to rock the boat.

That. Wasn't. Jesus.

If Jesus were doing his thing today, the progressives would label him a conservative. The conservatives would label him a liberal. The rich would ignore him. The middle class would feel threatened by him. The government would not know what to do with him. Even most churches would feel it best to distance themselves from him.

Jesus: "Blessed are you who are poor"

Us: But the poor are just lazy. They are a drain on society. They're only in that situation because they abuse drugs or alcohol. We…

IDENTITY

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This week in our Young Disciples class we recapped and finished the topic "RESCUE" and then moved on to introduce the topic "IDENTITY."

As always, click the link below to listen to the class recording. Follow along with the presentation slides and the videos.
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RETHINK YOUR EXPECTATIONS

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(from Luke 3:1-4:13)

If you were going to save the world, how would you do it?

First, you've gotta have a problem to solve, right? That's pretty straight forward in most superhero movies. Batman has to save Gotham from the Joker. Spiderman has to save New York from Doctor Octopus. The Avengers have to save the planet from Ultron. The Guardians of the Galaxy have to save...the galaxy (!) from Thanos.

In movies and books like this, the "bad guys" are always pretty obvious. So an obvious problem demands an obvious solution. Are you with me?

But what about the problems that aren't so obvious? One reason I appreciated Captain America: Civil War so much (stick with me, we'll get to Jesus in a second) is that there was no really "villain." It was just a guy who vengefully set out to turn the Avengers against each other. Both sides thought they were right. And yet both were very, very wrong.

Imagine you are living in the early decades of the BC-AD changeove…

WHAT DO YOU MEAN BY ALL?

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I LOVE a good plot twist. Think about the last book you read or movie you watched that had a major turn. One classic is the scene in Empire Strikes Back when Darth Vader drops the bomb that he is, in fact, Luke's father (**SPOILERS!**). I think of stories where a character who was thought to be dead turns out to be very much alive, or where the main character has been dead all along. I think of stories like Ender's Game that make you think something is happening when really it's something else entirely.

I love books and movies that keep me guessing. The best stories are unpredictable at key moments. And that's what I appreciate about Luke.

The gospel of Luke is full of unexpected events and outcomes. Right from the start we're introduced to an elderly couple (Zechariah and Elizabeth) who have been childless their entire lives. An angel appears out of nowhere and says, "Guess what? You're going to have baby!" Zechariah is in shock and doubts the angel…

2017 SLIDESHOW

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Every year I make a slideshow for us to watch at our New Year's Eve Lock-In. I have a ton of fun making these little videos, looking back at all we've done throughout the year. I really couldn't ask for a better group of teens to work with. They make me so proud. Anyway, here's the video before I tear up too much...

RESCUE

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We have begun a new Wednesday night series based on "I Am a Disciple: A 40-Day Student Discipleship Journal." Each week our students are encouraged to complete fives days of devotionals and studies in this journal. And each Wednesday we will introduce the new topic for the week.

This week we introduced the topic of RESCUE. The journey of discipleship begins with the recognition that we are all lost children of God in need of rescuing.

Below you will find a link to listen to our class, presentation notes to follow along, and additional video resources.
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ADDITIONAL VIDEOS


When In Doubt...

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Christian Twitter kind of exploded a few days ago. The popular "Desiring God" account posted this:
I read the linked article, and it has a point to be made. But I don't think it is possible to have faith without some doubt. The whole point of faith is having that "I could be wrong" feeling, yet trusting anyway. It may sound contradictory, but I believe the enemy of faith is not doubt - it's certainty. Certainty leaves no room for growth, questioning, exploration, further discovery. Only faith can do that.
Do I ever go through seasons of doubt? Absolutely. I've spent countless nights lying in bed wondering if this whole church thing is worth it, if God really called me to this, if the Bible is really telling us the truth, and if Jesus is really worth devoting my life to. How can I know? I can't. That's part of it.
Faith is a choice. It fails to be a choice when we can no longer say no, when there is no possibility of being wrong.
The real questio…