I really enjoyed teaching and learning with the students once again. The students did a great job participating in the discussion!
Our discussion revolved around the question, “What is a father?”.
We agreed that a father is:
- a source (of life and growth)
- a provider
- a corrector (a teacher)
- someone who loves us unconditionally
We looked at various father figures and they all met this criteria. Fathers (whether a biological father, adopted father or a father figure) affirm your life and develop you. Fathers make sure we have what we need to live and grow by providing for us food, shelter, education, and yes… video games! Fathers take the time to correct us and discipline us because they care and want to us to grow up to be wonderful, responsible adults. Fathers love us, even when we are not acting lovable.
So once we agreed on that, we compared those characteristics to God. And Shazam! He matched.
God is the source of our existence: 1 Corinthians 8:6
God is our provider: Galatians 4:6
God is our corrector: Hebrews 12:5-11
Lastly, God loves us crazy unconditionally: 1 John 3:1, Romans 5:8
The evidence is so clear! So while we celebrated our dads this past Sunday (and we should), let’s not forget to celebrate our Heavenly Dad who has proven time and time again that He defines the word, “Father”.
Thanks for letting me spend time with you. I hope to do it again soon.
The dynamic of our Sunday morning group is fantastic! Each of the students come from different places in their lives and different backgrounds and they still find ways to meet in the middle. This past Sunday was no different! We talked about Esther, her life as Queen of Persia, and how she saved her people. That sparked other questions and statements about the students’ lives and where they were coming from.
It was so amazing to see that when one student said she didn’t believe in Jesus, another jumped in and asked why and we had a discussion about it. When the other students saw she was getting uncomfortable, they transitioned to another topic and kept engaging with her to and help make her feel welcome and loved. They wanted to guide her to the Lord and still show love which was incredible to see.
So great job NextGen for again showing us all why you are amazing!
Cat poop in brownies?! Thank goodness it was just a metaphor and wasn’t true. Karlye and I had so much fun talking with the students about what we consume via social media, movies, songs, books, etc.
We looked at James 1:12-16 and found that we are not tempted by God but by our own desires. When we give in to our desires (our sinful nature) we begin heading down a slippery slope that, if we continued to follow, would lead to death. This is the reason it’s important to stay focused on the path God has before us, the righteous path.
It was amazing to me how much the students were aware of what causes the slow fade within us. We talked about friendships and the difficulties of saying “no” when so many are saying “yes.”
It was a great weekend and such an important lesson in today’s world!
Have a great week!
Ashley and I had a great time with the students this Sunday! We started the discussion by asking the students what’s on their watch list for the summer. Some students are looking forward to binge watching Arrow, while other are eagerly anticipating the premier of The Incredible’s 2. We also asked what other media they will “consume” during their time off. YouTube, Snapchat, Instagram, and Xbox games were some common answers.
Then, as I presented a tray of fudgy, frosted, delicious-looking brownies, I asked who would eat one if they knew I added in just a little bit of cat poop while baking them. Yep, you read that right. Cat poop. Most of the students turned away in disgust while others said they would still eat them! Yuck! Of course there was NO poop in the brownies (in fact, I didn’t even bake them)! I used that illustration to show the students that watching a movie or YouTube video with just a little bit of inappropriate content in it is like eating a brownie with just a little bit of cat poop.
What we consume physically and mentally affects us. I pointed them toward Philippians 4:8 as a great list of what we should fill our minds with.
Stay tuned for more details from Ashley.
Have a great week!
This past Sunday I had the awesome pleasure of talking with the students about how their story can change the world. We were continuing the topic of On Mission for the month of May. We looked at the Apostle Paul in Acts 26 when he told his story to the king and used that time to evangelize to as many people as possible. It was so cool to show the students how their own story could change the lives and eternities of people because their story matters. Everyone’s story matters. We each looked at ourselves and asked the tough question, “Do we truly believed Jesus died and rose again for us?”.
It helped all of us look within and strengthen our convictions and maybe look where we haven’t thought of before. Two thousand years later, Paul’s story is still changing lives, just as theirs can.
This week in On Mission Prep we looked at what it means to be ‘On Mission’. We discussed how being On Mission really begins with investing in ourselves as believers so that we can impact the lives of others. One thing I mentioned to the students was that you can’t give someone what you don’t have yourself. In regard to sharing the gospel with others, we talked about how you can’t share an authentic experience with others if you don’t have a personal and intimate relationship with Christ yourself.
We looked at Isaiah 9:6-7 and Luke 1:30-31 which prophesied Jesus Christ and what His ministry would be during His lifetime. We also compared it to what the Bible has to say about believers and what our ministry could look like during our lifetime. This comparison was made so that the students could see that just as Christ’s ministry was prophesied, so also we as believers have the Bible that teaches us what we ought to be doing for God with our lives. We even looked at how Jesus Christ Himself prayed for us as believers today as we are On Mission (John 17:20-22).
I used the analogy of being like a sponge for God. I poured water into the sponge while the students read several verses aloud. As I was pouring, we talked about how we can apply these verses to our lives. I mentioned that as I poured the water on the sponge(which represented the Holy Spirit) there was no difference in the outside appearance of the sponge. It still kept its form and shape, however it was different on the inside. I then squeezed the sponge and the water flowed out of it symbolizing how the Holy Spirit within us should overflow into others as the water did into the container below.
Also, to give the students the practicality of what it looks like to live On Mission, we went through several more verses and discussed how when we do what those verses tell us to do, we become like sponges that absorb the Word of God. By being ‘like a sponge’, we are full of the Word of God and the Holy Spirit within us can drip out of us because we are so full. When the Holy Spirit pours out of us onto others that’s when we can truly live On Mission. I reminded them that you can’t share the love of the Holy Spirit with others if you don’t have the love of God within yourself.
So we started off with a pile of sand in the center of the room on the floor. I then shared this old illustration with the students: What if the earth was covered in sand and once every million years, a bird removed just one grain of sand. How long would it take for the sand to be removed off of the earth?
This is only a glimpse of what eternity is.
We then began discussing all things hell. The students shared what they have heard about hell including the who, where, why, and how of hell. We then turned to scripture for answers. Students agreed that hell is for real and they learned that Jesus preached more on hell then He did on the topic of heaven.
God gave us the Bible with warnings of His wrath and judgment. Just as a parent wants the best for their kids, so does our Father in heaven. Matthew 7:13-14 says “Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.” I concluded by asking the students if they were confident their names are written the book of life and let them know they can always talk to a leader at the church if they aren’t sure or want to give their life to Christ.
This week, Careem McBean will be sharing with us. You student(s) won’t want to miss it!
I asked the students if they could remember a time or experience they had that was so awesome they wish it would never have ended and that everyone could have experienced it.
I then asked them if they could remember a time or experience they had that was so awful, painful and miserable they wish it would have been over quickly, had never happened, and that they want no one to ever experience it.
God has created us all to live eternally. More importantly, God created us to live eternally with Him. That time or experience the students had that was so awesome is a small taste of what living eternally with God in heaven is like.
Although God created us to live eternally with Him, not everyone will. There will be people who will live eternally separated from God in hell. Jesus describes this as a place of weeping and gnashing of teeth (Luke 13:22-30). This place was not intended for us but for Satan and his demons because he wanted to be God and rebelled against Him (Isaiah 14:12-17). That time or experience that was awful, painful and miserable is just a tiny bit of what living eternally without God in hell is like.
We read several verses in the Bible that describe eternal life. By faith you can believe in Jesus and receive Him, having your sin debt paid by His death on the cross and spend eternal life with Him. Or, you can choose not to believe and receive Jesus and you will spend eternity separated from God paying the price for your sin. The choice is yours!
I am continuously amazed at how much our students know and how curious they are! These young adults face so much more in life than I did at their age and it’s so important to teach them how to find the answers in Jesus.
What began as a discussion about different topics such as loving our neighbors and who our neighbors are to what our middle names are and what being a light in the world means. I began a series of questions that led our students down a path of discovery. I shared that a light doesn’t need to be super bright to shine if it’s in a dark room.
The conclusion we came to was to be a light, learn to shine bright and share Jesus. I asked the young adults to think about their testimony which we determined is the truth about Jesus in our lives. Then I challenged them to think about why they follow Jesus or why they are not following Him.
It was a great Sunday to walk with our students through this time of discovery, to explore what it means to follow Jesus, and to find answers by asking questions.
It is always an amazing experience to talk with the students at On Mission Prep. On Sunday, we discussed all sorts of things and as usual, the theme revolved around heaven and what happens when we die. I love their curiosity and intrigue about what happens after we die and so we landed in Revelation 4.
As we read and saw the description of The Throne Room of God questions were flying out left and right:
- Is God made out of jewels? (v3)
- What does a rainbow of emerald look like? (v3)
- Who are the 24 elders? (v4)
- Do you think any of them are women?
- Why do they have crowns too?
- Do you think the Sea of Glass was rough? (v6)
- What are those living creature things? (v6)
- I thought angels looked like humans?
And on and on. It was great to talk through those and so many more questions and see the students trying to figure out the answers. The best was the discussion about the sea of glass. They pictured the ocean and knew that is not calm and smooth like the metaphor suggested or even if it was a metaphor. They wondered if there were actual waves of glass and how difficult it would have been to walk on.
The time was capped off by the four guardians of the throne of God and why they looked so frightening?! To see the students begin to understand what God’s army is all about and to watch them read ahead and see the battle for eternity was amazing to watch. They were blown away to see how much God truly loves us by creating us to look like Him and how He sent his Son to die for us in such an epic way. Great things are coming!