Do aliens really exist?

If you are leading a group for the first time and it starts out slow, it can derail fast and you can lose heart. Luckily, the NextGen group at The Brook is awesome and I happen to have lots of random facts floating around my head to break the awkwardness. That was the start to have one student give me the ultimate compliment as I said it was time to go, he said, “It’s 12:15 already?! Wow that was fast!”

When you tell a group of people to ask you anything, you get a wide variety of responses. When that group are all middle and high schoolers during a NextGen Ministry meeting, the questions get very interesting!

I asked them about what they had been reading and most said either nothing or “well I read about Easter last week!” I had a hunch that would be the response so I prepared to dig into my personal quiet times in Lamentations and talk about my own Daddy disciplines with my kids, but a question popped up and then another and another. Before I knew it, we were off talking about if aliens were real and what happens when we die and why some people feel the Bible boring. All fantastic stuff!

I started telling them about the amazing stories of King David, his battles and when he sinned and chose to send pestilence instead of famine or war. To hear what the student’s choices would be were very interesting, but all ultimately thought David was right!

Then we went into what happens after we die and how Christ died in such a horrific way to take our punishment away from us. We talked about what angels look like and if we get wings when we die or if their is an actual stairway up or a long line we have to wait in with a giant book with our name in it! I loved every minute of it! However, my most favorite part was challenging the students to read Revelation this week to see how this story ends and what it will be like and everyone said they were excited to read to find out more!

-Vince

The Personal Invitation

Blog Prayer

This past Sunday, we had a great discussion about the power of a personal invitation. I shared part of my story about how a friend persistently invited me to church in many creative ways and eventually I agreed to go…and it changed my life.

I encouraged the students to invite a friend, family member, or neighbor to church and reminded them that a simple invitation could change the trajectory of someone’s eternity.

The names pictured above are the names of the people the students will be inviting to church this week. Would you join me in praying for everyone on the list?

We ended the second hour by praying over the baptismal and praying for those who have chosen to be baptized this coming Sunday.

I can’t wait to see what God does as the students boldly invite the people in their lives to join them at church!

** Due to the Easter Holiday, On Mission Prep will not meet Sunday morning. Students are encouraged to attend the main worship service with their parents (and hopefully whoever they invited).

We Want You To Want To

This past Sunday started off a little different. There we were, standing under the sails with just a few students. Curious as where all the other students were since it was time to begin On Mission Prep, I began to walk toward the worship center and noticed many students playing basketball. When I shared that it was time to begin, they were surprised when they learned what time it was. Now of course our leaders could go and round everyone up on Sunday mornings, but how much better would it be for our students to be so excited to dive into the Word of God on Sundays that they make it a priority to meet under the sails early. We want them to want to.

Last week wrapped up the quiet time practice and ended with a great discussion about 2 Chronicles 7:14 and the reasons why God wouldn’t listen our prayers.

I am looking forward to spending time with the students tomorrow morning!

The Love of Christ

We started off by spreading out and doing quiet time practice, and then we came back together and shared what stood out to us in the scripture we read. One student shared that the love of Christ stood out to him. From there, we went into a discussion about how love separates Christianity from all other world religions and that it’s not just the love that our God shows us, but also the unique way that we are called to love others. Loving our enemies and putting others needs above our own is the kind of love that makes Christians a shining light in an otherwise dark world.

What did Jesus look like?

I have truly enjoyed the last three weeks! I am excited to announce that Daisy Pierce won the coveted fuzzy donut/cupcake journal after completing several of the challenges over the last three weeks! Congratulations Daisy!

This past Sunday we had a time of Q & A. Some of the fun questions we got to discuss and look to the Bible for answers were: Did the burning bush have flowers? What did Jesus look like? Why do friendships drift apart?

I also learned that there were several students whose favorite book of the Bible is Revelation. It’s one of my favorites too! We got to have a great discussion about some aspects of end times and what maranatha means.

I hope you’ll join me in continuing to pray for the people we know that don’t know The Lord and that you’ll invite those people to join you at church!

It’s Up To You…

Thank you guys for letting me spend three weeks with you talking about quiet time and developing a relationship with the Lord. If there is anything you learned, I hope it was this:  God wants to spend time with you, but it’s up to you. 

Our lives get busy. We have our family, friends, school, sports, band, video games, and the list goes on and on. I urge you to carve out a little time each day to spend with God, get to know Him, talk to Him, and listen to Him. The Bible is where you start. It’s our foundation. 

Remember, there are 1,140 minutes in a day. Start by carving out 5 or 10 minutes to read your Bible and think about what you read. You don’t have to read a chapter or an entire book all at once. You can read a verse and spend the time dissecting it like we did this Sunday. Not every day will be a “wow” moment, but over time, I promise you will have more than a few. God does speak to us. We just have to take the time to be with Him, talk to Him, and listen. 

Though our three weeks are over, I want to remind you of my invitation. Feel free to chat with me and ask me questions. You see me almost every Sunday. I am here for you. 

Paul

God Wants You!

Greetings!

We had another great Sunday session of Strength and Beauty!  After a week of studying Proverbs, we shared our thoughts. It was amazing what Proverbs has to say about taming the tongue and disciplining the words that come out of our mouth. We could all pay attention to that.

We also talked about quiet time. Some of you struggled carving out 5-10 minutes a day for God. But we all had time to play video games, sleep 8 hours, and hang with our friends. Well, our friend The Lord Almighty wants time with us too. Let that sink in – The Lord Almighty, Creator of Heaven and Earth, Master of all the Universe, the reason for our very existence, wants to spend time with each of us. James 4:8 says, “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you”.  Now that’s a promise!

There are 1,140 minutes in a day. If we take the time to give Him ten minutes, that still leaves us with 1,130 minutes to do what we want. Sounds like a pretty generous God to me. So let’s find the discipline and desire to spend just ten minutes a day with God this week.  Put down the video game controller.   Put down the TV remote. Wake up a few minutes earlier.  Tell your parents you want to spend 10 minutes with God every day, reading the Bible, and reflecting and talking to Him. I’m sure they will support you.

So this week, read Proverbs chapters 18-24. One chapter for each day. So on February 19, you will read Proverbs 19. On February 20, read Proverbs 20 and so on.  Again, write down or highlight your favorite verse each day.  Also, mark down on a sheet of paper how many minutes you spent with God each day, how many minutes you spent playing video games, how many minutes you spent on TV.  We will share next Sunday. Remember, you make time for what you want. Let’s commit to wanting time with God.

Paul

Did you say SOAP?

It was so encouraging to hear how the students prayed for the individuals their wristbands represented this past week.

I got to share about the S.O.A.P. study method (S.O.A.P. stands for: scripture, observation, application, and prayer) and, back by popular demand, the students had time to find a place around campus to have their quiet time for the day and to give the S.O.A.P. method a try.

After spending time reading, praying, and practicing the S.O.A.P. method of studying, we came back together to share about what we learned. This sparked some great discussion and I loved hearing what the students discovered as they read their Bibles.

The two challenges for this week are: 1. Continue to pray daily for someone to either come to know The Lord or for someone who you will invite to church and 2. Practice the S.O.A.P. study method every day this week.

Next week is Q&A!! I look forward to diving into the Word to answer the questions the students bring! See you Sunday!

 

Get In There!

I enjoyed our time together this past Sunday getting to know you all and hearing your stories.  I also enjoyed sharing my story with you. Now you know I am just an Ordinary Joe, just like you!  The beauty of God’s love is the fact that He not only loves us Ordinary Joe’s, but He wants us to have a relationship with Him and the best way to start that relationship is to spend time with Him.

If you can remember, I used the analogy:  you spend lots of time with your friends, so if you want a relationship with God, you need to spend time with Him.

So how do we get started?  It’s easy.  You open up that Bible.  His 66 book love letter to us is in there and that’s how we get to know Him, and His son Jesus.  So this week, I asked you to read one chapter of Proverbs a day, corresponding with the day of the month.  So if today is February 14, you will read Proverbs 14.  I also asked you to work through Proverbs 12 -17 this week and write down the one verse from each chapter that spoke to you or clicked with you.

I am looking forward to hearing your favorite verses this Sunday.  Then, we are going to explore how we can talk to God.  It’s going to be a great day!

By Paul Willingham

 

Words Matter

I had a blast getting to spend time with the students this past Sunday. I asked the question: “If you could meet any Bible character besides Jesus, who would you meet and why?”. Some of the answers were: Joseph because he rose from the bottom to the top and Jonah because I’d like to know what it would be like to be swallowed by a large fish.

We also talked in depth about the power of our words and how to be intentional about speaking life-giving words even when someone hurts us.

We ended the day with two challenges. The first is to wear a wristband as a reminder to pray for someone daily who either doesn’t know the Lord or who you will invite to church. The second is to do an act of anonymous servanthood and come prepared to share about it next week!

I can’t wait to hear the ways in which the students have anonymously blessed someone this week and the God stories that come from their intentional time of prayer.