Lost In My Thoughts

5 05 2013

Title Slide

Series Overview

May is a bittersweet time of year, as we get excited to see new 6th graders join us and all our students grow up a grade, but it’s also time that some of our students are graduating and moving on to college.  Wow!  After several years with us, we’ve covered topics ranging from doubts to dinosaurs, from worship to worries, and even parents to pornography.  However, we also know there are plenty of topics that slip through the cracks or questions that have been addressed, yet keep popping up in group.  So, for the next 3 weeks, we’ll look at the most common questions that have been brought up time and time again in our groups. Everyone has questions, and we want to do our best to help our students find some answers to some of their most common questions about their faith.

Week 1 (May 5, 2013)

We know it’s a little weird.  It also feels a bit dark and macabre to think about too much, but we can’t help but wonder: “What is heaven like?  What will life be like after I die?”  Movies, songs, and TV shows have pumped our brains full of images of what eternity may be like, but can we trust those clichéd images to be accurate?  So, this week in Transit, we’re going to talk about it.  We’re going to talk about what heaven is going to be like, what eternity has in store for us, and what life looks like after this life.

Talk to your student about what you think heaven is like. Ask your student how they picture heaven.

Week 2 (May 12, 2013)

“Why do bad things happen?” is the most common question students ask. We spend a few Sundays a year tackling this issue in some form or fashion.  There is a developmental switch triggered at this age that makes this question central to their faith. Moreover, as each student may face a new type of personal crisis for the first time, the question needs to be reinforced and reapplied. So, this week, we are going to talk about how God sustains us though hard times. He is always with us and our job is to simply remember he is here and trust him. It sounds easy, but it is a lesson they will learn and relearn the rest of their lives.

Talk to your student about a time you had to depend on God through difficult circumstances. Ask your student why it can be hard to depend on God during these times.

Week 3 (May 19, 2013)

By the time students have made it to middle school and high school, they have probably noticed that people don’t always do what they should.  Sooner or later, each student will notice a celebrity, family member, or friend do something that doesn’t live up to the standard the student expected.  When it comes to their faith and how they feel about Christianity, this can cause a unique problem.  Often students find themselves unsure of what exactly a Christian looks like.  What is a Christian, anyway?  How are Christians different from everyone else? So, this week in large group and small group, we are going to remind our students that a Christian is simply someone who believes in Christ.  However, the challenge we find in John for how we should live as Christians is a bit more complicated to live out.

Talk to your student about what your think it means to be a Christian. Ask your student what they think being a Christian means.





The Battle Within

7 04 2013

TBW MainSeries Overview

Each one of us faces a battle within, a battle that may go unseen by those around, but inside there is major brawl. It’s a battle with temptation. And depending on the temptation and its hold on your life, it may be a battle that seems impossible to win. In this series, Andy Stanley takes a look at the temptations Jesus faced in the desert, and identifies the driving forces behind the temptations we all face every day. Because once you realize what the pull is behind the temptation, you can find the confidence to follow Jesus’ example and respond as He did.

Week One: The Main Event (April 7, 2013)

Bottom Line: In every single temptation you face, there is always more at risk than you think.

In the sport of boxing, the main event is the big fight, the moment where everything is on the line. But for most of us, we are oblivious to the truth that in every temptation we face, there’s a lot at stake as well. When face to face with temptation, the choice feels insignificant sometimes. There are times when it feels like no one will notice, or it’s not really a big deal. But in looking at the temptations Jesus faced, we realize just how much is at stake—not only in His life, with the temptations that were before Him—but in our lives as well, with the ones we face every day.

Talk to your student about an time in your life where a temptation you faced risked more than you initially thought. Ask your student how we can deal with temptation.

Week Two: In This Corner (April 14, 2013)

Bottom Line: Every time you’re tempted, your confidence in God is at stake, not just your self-control.

When facing temptation, it seems like it’s always about the choice, the decision, the temptation. But it’s always about more than that. It’s not just your reputation or your innocence that’s at stake—it’s your confidence in God. The lure of temptation makes us question whether we can really trust God to come through for us, to be there for us, to provide for us. We begin to think He’s not in our corner, that He’s not looking out for us. But what if we began to see Him there? What if we realized that whatever is luring us away really has nothing to do with what we think it’s about, and there’s a deeper issue, a trust issue, at work? It might completely weaken the pull of that temptation, and it might help us get to the heart of what is really going on.

Talk to your student about how you rely on God when facing temptation. Ask your student how temptation can cause us to doubt God.

Week Three: Fixing the Fight (April 21, 2013)

Bottom Line: We are tempted to believe we know how God works and how we think we can work Him.

In the boxing world, sometimes things aren’t always what they seem. Sometimes the winner is known before anyone walks into the ring. Sometimes the outcome is pre-determined by a person who has manipulated things behind the scene. Sometimes a fighter takes a dive. Sometimes a boxer throws the fight. And if each one of us were completely honest, sometimes we try to work things as well in our fight with temptation. And who or what we are manipulating isn’t the temptation, it’s God.

Talk to your student about a time where temptation might have changed your view of God. Ask your student how temptation can change our view of God.

Week Four: Hook and Jab (April 28, 2013)

Bottom Line: We are tempted to pursue the right thing the wrong way.

Temptation doesn’t always have to be about doing something bad. In fact, sometimes it’s not the end result that’s not necessarily a bad thing, but how we plan to get there. It’s the shortcut, the path, the compromise. And in this fight, this struggle with temptation, sometimes the punches we throw and the ones thrown at us are simply about pursuing the right things but in the wrong way.

Talk to your student about a time when you did the right thing the wrong way. Ask your student why it is still wrong when we do something right the wrong way.





First Things First

24 03 2013

Title Slide

Series Overview

By the time students reach middle school and high school, they have probably learned that there are only just so many hours in the day. There are limits to how many hobbies you can pursue. There is a finite number of friends you can talk to for hours every night. So, for the next two weeks, we are going to apply that same life lesson to our faith. We only have so much time, energy, and interest, so what are the most important things in life? What should we include in our day-to-day life and what can fall to the side? The only way we are going to give up sleep, fun with our friends, or time playing Xbox in order to spend time with God is if we put “First Things First.”

Week 1 (March 24, 2013)

Yes, by middle school and high school, they’ve learned that we have to prioritize even simple decisions, such as “What must I put in by book bag today?” or “Should I get up now for school or sleep 10 more minutes and skip the shower?” These are simple lessons in prioritizing, but they carry major life lessons that affect their walk with God. There are simple activities or practices that strengthen our faith. The challenge for every believer is that, to find time and energy for these exercises, we must sacrifice other activities. Every believer wants to pray more, read their Bible more, and serve more. However, only the mature believer is prepared to forfeit time elsewhere in order to make time for God.

Talk to your student about a time when you gave up something good to gain something better. Ask your student how they can prioritize their relationship with God this week.

Week 2 (March 31, 2013)

We have talked about the idea that sometimes we need to give up something good to gain something better. Now we want our students to know that Jesus did the exact same thing when he went to the cross.  Jesus was willing to give up his whole life in order to gain something of greater value – YOU! Through his work on the cross Jesus showed just how valuable you are and how valuable a relationship with God really is. We want every student to know that they have tremendous value in the eyes of God, and that they are loved so much that Jesus was willing to give up his life. This Easter we want every student to know just how valuable they really are.

Talk to your student about the importance of Easter. Ask your student how they feel when they hear that Jesus gave up his life for them.





Baptism

17 03 2013

Baptism Image

March 17, 2013

We love telling stories in Transit, especially stories about faith. One of the best ways to share your story is through baptism.  While baptism is great way to share your story, it is often misunderstood.  If you ask ten different people about baptism, you will probably get ten different responses.  We want to talk about the real reason for baptism. Baptism was created as a way celebrate and share our faith.  We want all of our students to know that we want to celebrate baptism with them, and we want them to share their stories.  Our lives our changed when we enter into a relationship with Jesus, and baptism is one of the best ways to show others that our lives have changed. Just like a wedding shows that two people have come together or a graduation shows that someone has completed a degree, baptism is the way that we show how our faith has impacted our lives.  Baptism isn’t something this is required or must be done in a specific way, but it is the way that we show that our faith has become our own.

Talk to your student about your experience with baptism. Ask your student if they would be interested in getting baptized if they have not been already.

For more information about baptism at Redstone please visit the Baptism Page.





Saved You a Seat

3 03 2013

Title Slide

Series Overview

We want Transit to be a fun and engaging place every Sunday for all students.  While it might be easy to congratulate our selves for engaging the students who come to Transit consistently each week, we want to make sure that we stay aware of one key truth – there are hundreds of students in our sphere of influence who do not have a relationship with Jesus. Over the next two weeks, we want to focus on the students who are not in Transit.  We want to talk about how our students can be better prepared for when new students who up for the first time because we want all new students to know that we “Saved You a Seat.”

Week 1 (March 3, 2013)

Isn’t it interesting that students will know someone’s favorite color, favorite movie, and what boy or girl they like but, if you asked them if their friends goes to church, they will shrug and say “I don’t know.” Students will take the time to memorize their friends’ class schedules, but ask them which friends are Christian and you’ll get a blank stare.  It seems it is not a lack of compassion on their part, but a lack of awareness. It simply has never entered into the lens of how they view people.  So, today, we want to point out to all our students that eternity is a reality, that students have been called to share the gospel and Transit is here to partner with them.

Talk with your students about how you invest in other people in your life. Ask your student who they can invite to Transit and BigStuf this summer.

Week 2 (March 10, 2013)

The natural pull of any organization is to begin to focus on the insiders.  After all, they are the ones who are there every week.  They are the ones who will tell us what they need, want, and expect.  So it is no wonder that organizations drift toward serving and anticipating the needs of their most dedicated members.  The challenge for Transit – and any ministry, for that matter – is to fight this pull and remember we are a part of the great commission to bring in new believers.  The good news this morning is that, as a whole, the students of a church love to invite their friends.  The hard news is that not every student they bring sticks around.  Why is that?  Is there something more each small group could do to make people feel more welcome?  Remember, new students are always going to be coming to Transit. We need to decide now what we want their experience to be like, so we are prepared when they show up.

Ask your student what their first experience in Transit was like, and how they can help create a great experience for a first time student in Transit.





Stepping Into Character

17 02 2013

Logo Slide

Series Overview

In this two-week series, we are going to speak about how someone builds and grows his or her character.  We want to encourage our students to evaluate how strong their character really is and inspired them to strengthen it. We know that the size of our character will always limit our success. But what can we do to build our character? In this series, we want to help them discover practical ways to build their character.

Week 1 (February 17, 2013)

Just like our muscles grow when we exercise, just like we get better at a sport when we practice, just like we get better at playing an instrument when we rehearse – so our “character muscle” grows when we practice doing the right thing. We gain stronger character when we routinely make wise decisions and have right reactions to tough situations. However, any person that has lived through bad relationships, poor job choices, or life-changing regrets will tell you this major difference: Godliness and godly character is way more valuable! It impacts our lives now, and in eternity. However, exercising takes time. You don’t exercise once and have big muscles. It takes time, it takes effort, it hurts when you do it, it is not comfortable, it takes work – but it is worth it.

Talk to your student about how you have grown your own character. Ask your student why our character is so important.

Week 2 (February 24, 2013)

We are encouraging students to make sure that they have friends of good character. We’ve all heard some versions of “Bad company corrupts good character” from our parents, as we rushed out the door with our friends. And. as adults, we know that truth, because we’ve seen it and felt it. However, our middle schoolers are just learning this tough lesson. The good news is that the opposite is also true: If you hang out with the right people, your character will begin to grow. Then, when the time comes for your character to be revealed in a major life decision, it will be stronger and bigger. So, we are also encouraging them to make sure they are “walking with the wise” today in Transit. We will challenge them to identify someone they would call a mentor that they think has good character.

Talk to your student about who you go to for advice. Ask your student who in their life can serve as a mentor.





Dirty Words

20 01 2013

Dirty Words Slide

Series Overview

For the next few weeks, we are going to tackle an area of life where we all struggle: our words. We all know that sick feeling in the stomach – you know, when you’ve crossed the line and hurt someone’s feelings with an off-hand remark. Putting a foot in your mouth is an all-too-familiar feeling. And everyone has had a day ruined because someone else just wanted to get a laugh at someone else’s expense. Why is this such a common trap that we all fall in?  Why can’t we avoid these situations? For the next 4 weeks in Transit, we will equip our students to gain a little control over their tongues. It is going to take a new level of sensitivity, an understanding of what is in our hearts, and a good dose of accountability. So, for the next 4 weeks, we are going to try to clean up our Dirty Words.

Week 1 (January 20, 2013)

We all believe that what we say can just be neutral, “that no one will care” or “it was just funny.”  However, Solomon understands that there are really only two types of words: preserving words and ruining words. The ugly truth is that each of us, with a few choice words, could get fired, be headed for a divorce, or alienated from our friends. Words carry a great deal of power. They can build up or tear down. Students are becoming acutely aware of this truth for the first time. Middle School and High School can be a place filled with hurtful insults, misguided remarks, and jokes that land too close to home. Each us of us need to realize there are no neutral words.

Talk to your student about a time when you “stuck your foot in your mouth.” Ask your student why there are no neutral words.

Week 2 (January 27, 2013)

Last week, we discussed the problem that we all have with controlling our tongues. Even as we discussed the truth that there are no “neutral” words, each of us was thinking about the time we couldn’t help but say something hurtful or cross the line. Each of us has a person or a situation where we get bumped or provoked and we feel we have to speak out. The assumption that we all make is that the person who knocks us is the problem. “They make this stuff come out!” However, being knocked around just shows what is really in your heart. When we hurt someone with our words, we might say that “we were provoked” or “I don’t know where that came from,” but it comes from our hearts. The question we have to ask today in small group is: “What is in your heart?”

Talk to your student about a time when you let your anger get the best of you.  Ask your student how they are most likely to show their anger.

Week 3 (February 3, 2013)

Sooner or later, someone is going to be honest with you and tell you about an area of your life you need to work on. It could be your attitude, your work ethic, or you words. You need to decide how are you going to react to that conversation.  Solomon suggests we value it – that we even guard those moments, because they are so precious. We all need that sort of relationships in our lives. In the same way, we want to challenge students to have the hard conversations with friends, because that is how you can truly care for them. We all have experienced the urge to tell a close friend that the person they were dating was the wrong guy, or that a habit was getting out of control, or maybe tell them their attitude is hurting those around you. However, more often than not, we talk ourselves out of those conversations, because we want to be nice, or it would get awkward, or we don’t want to rock the boat. Our students need to learn to care for their friends more than they care for the friendships.

Talk to your student about the importance of close friendships in your life. Ask your student why close friends are better than a large number of friends.

Week 4 (February 10, 2013)

As we wrap up our series on the power of our words, we shift the focus to how our words can affect our relationship with God. In Matthew 5, we find one of Jesus’ more shocking statements as we are told that calling someone a fool is just as bad as murdering someone. He is trying to remind this culture, who is obsessed with becoming holy by good deeds, just how holy God’s righteousness is. However, he is also trying to make a point about our words and their power. Every time we use our words carelessly with a friend or family member, we have the potential to affect our relationship with God. There is a strong, yet often forgotten, connection between the health of your earthly relationships and your ability to have a healthy relationship with your heavenly father.

Talk to your student about a time your words affected your relationship with God. Ask your student how our words on earth can affect our relationship with God.