Hell is For Real

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!

Ron Freeman

Eternal Life: With God or Separated From God, You Choose

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!

Steven Thompson

The Game of Questions

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.

Is the “Sea of glass” rough?

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!

-Vince

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

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.