Beyond a Shadow of a Doubt

25 11 2012

Series Overview

If you were to guess who we have more reliable accounts of – Jesus or Julius Caesar – who would you guess? Nope, it is not the guy with his own salad dressing. In fact, we have more accounts dated closer to Jesus’ actual lifetime than we have for all the events of the Roman Empire during that time. The truth is that even our history books are written on very little evidence. There are widely accepted facts that are credited to a single source, dated hundreds of years after the event. Yet somehow the Bible is the document that is so widely criticized for its accuracy. The truth is that Jesus is the most well-documented person in ancient history. For the next two weeks, we want our students to know that what the Bible says can be taken as truth. We want them to learn to believe in what the Bible says “Beyond a shadow of a doubt.”

Week 1 (November 25, 2012)

Jesus was a real person. This sounds like an obvious statement, but for many people, including many students, it can be a real question.  We are constantly inundated with stories of people that blend together fact and fiction, and this can often cause us to doubt the legitimacy of the Bible.  We want our students to know that having questions is not a bad thing.  We want them to ask questions, and we want them to understand and believe that Jesus was a real person.  The disciples were willing to suffer and die for their belief in Jesus. This is some of the most compelling evidence we have about the life of Christ.  Today, we want to discuss the evidence that we have that Jesus was a real person and he needs to be a part of our life.

Talk to your student about the link between doubt and faith.  Ask you student what part of the story of Jesus do the find the hardest to believe.

Week 2 (December 2, 2012)

The Bible is one of the most scrutinized books in the world.  However, it has been shown to be accurate time after time.  The most common frustration people have with the Bible is not about the people and places, but the miraculous events. We want to know how some of these things could have happened. Ultimately, we are left with the option to believe the Bible is true or be skeptical.  What we want our students to know is that the Bible is the inspired word of God.  It is not our job to try and explain how miracles happen, but to know that they do happen.  We need to approach the Bible with the right attitude that everything is written so that we might believe.

Talk to your student about the importance of believing the Bible to be true. Ask your student what they find the hardest to believe about the Bible.


Wants and Needs

4 11 2012

Series Overview

Maybe it’s because we live in a culture that has so much. Perhaps it’s just a part of being a student. Then again, maybe people have been struggling with being too materialistic. What is not debatable is that today’s students spend a great deal of time thinking themselves, their wants, and their stuff. So, for the month of November, we are going to talk about how to keep our material desires in check – and how we have the great opportunity to partner with God in meeting other people’s needs. We are going to participate with Operation Christmas Child to give every student in our ministry the opportunity to serve. Hopefully, over the next 3 weeks, every student will begin to realize “It’s Not All About Me!”

Week 1 (November 4, 2012)

In order to dismantle the problem of materialism within students, we must start with the common pull we all feel to place ourselves at the center of our own universe. While it’s tempting to make ourselves the center of it all, we simply can’t handle it. It is not good for you to be the center of the universe. If we were, we’d fall apart. It is too much pressure. It would not work! Jesus points out some of the reasons in Matthew 6. If we were the center of it all, our lives would be over run with worry and anxiety. It is actually best for us to place God where He belongs: at the center of our lives.

Ask your student how life would be different if we sought God first and didn’t worry about what we are going to get.

Week 2 (November 11, 2012)

I once heard an advertising director say the key to selling a product is getting the customer to picture their lives with the product and imagine how much better their lives would be with the product. Now, I don’t know if every product is sold that way, but I do recognize that I fall into the trap of trying to “get my life together” by purchasing stuff. I feel better about a date if I have a new outfit. I feel cooler if I have the latest gadget. I feel important if I have the nicest car. Our students are feeling these same pressures. The truth that we must be reminded of in Matthew 6 is that all this stuff will not last. As Jesus puts it, “moth and rust destroy.” Instead, we need to acknowledge the truth that our heart follows our treasure. That is, what we value most drives the rest of our lives. Today, we want to ask our students what do they value most?

Talk to your student about what you value most in your life. Ask your student what they treasure in their own life.

Week 3 (November 18, 2012)

Middle school and high school can seem like a waiting room for students. There is a long list of freedoms and responsibilities they are not quite ready for and this can leave them feeling marginalized. In the final week of our series, we want students to take advantage of an opportunity to be used by God to meet other’s needs. In Matthew 7, Jesus tells his followers to pray for what they need and then, in the very next verse, he instructs them to follow the golden rule. Is it a coincidence that these two verse are next to each other or is God trying to tell us something?  Jesus is trying to point out that we can be exactly what someone else is praying for. This is the unique opportunity to be the instrument God uses for life change.  The question is: Do you want to be a part of it?

Talk to your student about how you have met the needs of others in your life. Ask your student why God chooses to use people to meet the needs of others.