Always A Greater Purpose

I enjoyed my return to spending Sunday with you talking about our awesome God and His Son, Jesus Christ.

We discussed the idea that everything we do – EVERYTHING –  has a greater purpose. That greater purpose is serving our Lord, God.

I asked the students what were their favorite things to do.   We had some great answers: video games (Fortnite is apparently popular), sports (a lot of basketball players in our group), reading, spending time with friends.

These are all fantastic and fun things to do. But what should always be our end goal?  I asked the students if they knew there is a greater purpose for everything they do.

Then we read Romans 14:7-8 and Colossians 3:23-24 which sparked some great discussion. I think we all realized that even in the things we do for fun, we serve God. We can use video games, sports, reading and spending time with our friends as a way to connect with others. That means also connecting with people who may need a friend.

As Christians, no matter what our age, we should seek out ways to connect with others and share the word about God, how wonderful He is, and that He sacrificed His son, so that we could go to heaven.  Think about that. Isn’t that worth sharing?

You bet it is!  So how do we take these steps to reach out to others?  Well, that’s what we are going to talk about the next time I am with the students in June. I can’t wait!

In the meantime, I hope the students remember to spend time every day reading their Bible and thinking about what they read.  They can start small with maybe 5-10 minutes. The important thing is for the students to get into the Bible daily, spend time with God, and get to know Him better.

Until next time, I pray that the hearts of the students reflect the awesome heart of our Lord, Jesus Christ.

Your friend,

Paul

What Is Life’s Most Important Subject? And Yes, There Is A Test…

I asked the question: “If you could ditch all your classes tomorrow except one, which class would you choose to actually attend and why?” The students gave answers ranging from lunch and athletics to band, math, and science.

I was trying to lead them to see that throughout life we are always learning and that life is the ultimate school where we learn.  In school, the students will learn about subjects they will use during their entire life. Here at church we learn about the love that God has for us and His purpose and plan for our lives. Social media is a place where they are constantly being taught about the different issues and topics that are happening in our world and the opinions of others.

Then I shared with them that there is one subject that is the most important in all of life and that this subject not only affect them in this life but also for eternity. That is the subject that Jesus asked His disciples about in Matthew 16:13-20 when He said, “But who do you say that I am?”

As I read versus 13-15, I stopped and asked, “Who here is a Christian?” For those who said they were, I asked how they became a Christian. I then proceeded to read the rest of the verse and then highlighted for them Peter’s response about who Jesus was: “the Christ, the Son of the living God.”

I then began to share with them that when we were born into this world we were all born as sinners, separated from God (Romans 3:23) and that we are enemies of God.  Because of our sin we deserve death (Romans 6:23a) but Jesus died for us in our place on the cross, His blood was shed for the forgiveness of our sins, He was buried and on the 3rd day He rose again from the grave. He was seen by over 500 people as evidence that He had risen from the dead, then ascended to heaven until He returns again. I explained that if they would be willing to confess that Jesus is the Son of God, believing that He died on the cross for their sins, rose from the dead and are willing to receive Him into their hearts as their Lord and Savior, that they would be saved, born again as a child of God, that their personal relationship with God would begin at that point and they have become a Christian. I then invited them to make that confession of faith, to receive Jesus into their hearts as Lord, confessing that they were a sinner in need of Jesus to be their Savior. I am happy to report that four students accepted Christ for the first time and one student recommitted her life! Praise God!

Steven Thompson

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