New Year, New Opportunities

13 01 2013

Transit logo with shadow

Week 1 (January 13, 2013)

The beginning of the year is always an exciting time of year.  It is time that is filled with energy and excitement.  The new year brings new opportunities, and the same is true in Transit.  We want all of our students to know that they have a tremendous opportunity this year.  They have the opportunity to partner with God and see him act in their lives in a big way this year.  We want them to know that when we partner with God we will witness great things.  For some of our students the challenge is to continue their walk with God, and strive to go even deeper.  For other students, they have the opportunity to begin their journey.  No matter whether they are at the very beginning or farther along the path, we want every student to recognize the opportunity they have this year to partner with God.

Talk to your student about what you are looking forward to in the new year.  Ask your student what they are excited about in 2013.

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Breaking Down Christmas

9 12 2012

Breaking Down Christmas Title Slide

Series Overview

Christmas is a familiar time of year.  We put up our decorations, pick out a tree, and start listening to Christmas music, assuming you didn’t start in early November.  We also turn our attention to the story of Jesus’ birth.  Many of us have heard the story numerous times, and we could probably tell it without having to look it up, but how many of us truly understand what the story means?  Why was Jesus so special, and how is he connected to his Father? Where is the presence of God today? These questions are important, and we want to use the story of Christmas to answer them.  We want to talk about the nature of God in three different persons, and the Christmas story is one of the few places where all the persons of God have a role.  We want to take some time to examine the character of God, because if we don’t, we might just miss it.  So, during this Christmas season, we are “Breaking Down Christmas.”

Week 1 (December 9, 2012)

This week we are starting with God the Father, who know all and is all-powerful.  The Christmas story begins with Mary facing a scary situation.  She is pregnant and lives in a culture that ostracized unwed women with children.  She had many reasons to feel despair.  However, she rejoices in her situation because she knows that God the Father knows her situation and can do great things.  This is just as true for us as it was for Mary.  God the Father knows every situation that we are going to face, and he wants to do great things in our lives too.

Talk to your student about a time when you needed the comfort of God. Ask your students why it is important that we know that God the Father knows all.

Week 2 (December 16, 2012)

As crazy as it might sound, Jesus was fully human and fully God.  He grew up like all of us. He ate, slept, and did chores like any other person.  However, he is also fully God.  He is the Son of God, and will reign forever.  This is great news for us, because Jesus is God who knows exactly what it is like to be human.  He knows what it is like to live and have to face tough decisions everyday.  Jesus is the part of God that knows what we are experiencing in our lives.  The work of Jesus on the cross makes it possible for us to have a relationship with God.  We want all our students to know that whenever they face a tough situation, they are not alone.  Not only does God know what is going on, but Jesus can relate to you because he has been there too.

Ask your student why it is important to know that Jesus was fully human and fully God.

Week 3 (December 23, 2012)

Over the last two weeks, we have talked about God the Father, and Jesus the Son of God.  This week, we are looking at what might be the hardest part of the nature of God to understand, the Holy Spirit.  The presence of the Holy Spirit is found several times in the Old Testament, including in the life of Moses and the builders of the temple.  The New Testament tells us that since the death and resurrection of Christ, the Spirit dwells within believers.  The Spirit has many jobs, but this week we want to talk about how the Spirit serves to reveal truth and motivate us to action.  The Holy Spirit helps us to discern what God is communicating to us as we read the Bible.  The Holy Spirit is the part of God that leads us and inspires us to grow in our relationship with Jesus.

Talk to your student about a time in your life when you felt the presence of the Holy Spirit. Ask your student if they have ever felt the Holy Spirit in their own life.





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.





Into the Unknown

14 10 2012

Series Overview

We all only get one trip through life.  The question that many of us face is how do we make sure that we choose the best path through life when we have never done it before?  How do we navigate the unknown?  Every student is on a path, and we want them to choose the right one.  However, the truth about all paths is that your intended destination does not decide where you will go.  Instead, the direction you choose now will determine where you go.  Many students, and adults too, go through life without an understanding of this principle.  Direction, not intention, determines your destination.  Our students are choosing their paths right now, and we want them to choose the right one.  We want them to know that not only have to be intentional about the path that they choose, but they also need to seek good advice as they choose their path.  We want all of our students to be prepared as they go off “into the unknown.”

Week 1 (October 14, 2012)

This week, we are talking about the importance of wisdom.  Students do not think about wisdom very often, but they are putting some form of wisdom into practice every day.  Students are making decisions now that will impact their future, but they often fail to realize the importance of choosing the right path now.  Proverbs is all about wisdom, and it clearly shows that the wise path is reached through wise decisions.  While we would like for our destination to dictate our journey, that is not the case.  Our path is dictated by the decisions that we make, and the direction that we choose to go.  A careful plan can be spoiled if you don’t set out in the right direction from the start.  We want our students to have the best path through life, but in order for that to happen they need to start making wise decisions now.  We want our students to know that their path now will determine their destination later.

Talk to your student about the importance of making wise decisions. Ask your student if they know of a time in their life where a decision in the past helped to determine their future.

Week 2 (October 28, 2012)

Seek good advice. It is a very simple statement that can have a profound impact.  We know that our students are making decision every day. Decisions that will determine the direction and quality of their life now and into the future.  Our students are not making these decisions alone.  They are influenced by a wide range of people.  We want our students to seek out good advice, and we want them to know where they can go to receive wise counsel.  Life is hard, but it is much easier when you have people in your corner who have more life experience.  We want each of our students to look for a mentor.  A person they know they can go to get healthy advice.  Decisions in life are hard, but they are made easier when we seek good advice.

Talk to your student about who you go to when you need advice. Ask your student who they can go to when they need advice.





Parts

16 09 2012

Series Overview

We often try to stop behaviors or habits, without fixing the things that cause them. Doctors never tell someone who has suffered a heart attack to stop having heart attacks. Instead, they give instructions to change diets, exercise routines and other lifestyle activities, in order to ease pressure on the heart. In the same way, we have to adjust our lives to allow our bodies to be all that God intends for them to be. The things we look at, listen to, and allow into our lives affect not only our physical health, but also our spiritual health. So, for the next 4 weeks, we are going to start to look at the whole self and not just see ourselves as a collection of “parts.”

Week 1 (September 16, 2012)

It has happened to all of us: We have all been caught off guard by an emotion. Perhaps you were watching a movie and, out of nowhere, you started to tear up.  Maybe someone said something innocent to you and you just snapped and yelled something back. Have you ever felt your heart break by just watching a commercial? What about sitting in church and just feeling disconnected or out of whack? All of these situations suggest that there is some connection between our emotional health and our spiritual health. In the poetic language of Proverbs, we are told that our “heart” is something to be guarded, for it is the center of life.  Well, today we want to start our series called “Parts” by exploring our students’ emotional health. We want to know how their hearts are doing, and we want to encourage our students to pay attention to their hearts.

Talk to your student about the connection between our emotional health and our spiritual health. Ask your student about the last time they felt compassion?

Week 2 (September 23, 2012)

This week, we are focusing on how important our eyes are to our souls. The Bible says that our eyes are the light to our souls. Just like a light in a dark room, God wants to bring His light to every part of our lives. Darkness symbolizes sin and separation from God. If we continue to allow our eyes to be fixed on things apart from God, darkness will continue to fill up our souls (mind/will/emotions).  God wants us to “fix our eyes on him.” He wants us to allow our souls (mind/will/emotions) to be filled up with things that encourage our relationship with him. We must be careful what we look at in order to protect our souls from sin and darkness. We want our students to know that what they look at will change them, and that from now on they need to begin guarding their eyes.

Talk to your student about how you guard what you look at. Ask your student if they think they are negative consequences to some of the things that we see.

Week 3 (September 30, 2012)

One of the most powerful gifts that God has given us is the ability to communicate. However, our mouths can be one of our most dangerous and harmful weapons. The Bible talks about the tongue being a double-edged sword.  The idea of the tongue as a sword refers to the ability to both protect and destroy. One of the most difficult areas for us to use self-control as teenagers is our use of words. With the same mouth that we use to worship our God and pray, we curse and hurt other people. We have to grasp the incredible opportunity and responsibility we have to use our words. God wants us to use them to build others up. He blesses us with the ability to communicate and even gives us the words He wants people to hear. It is our responsibility to train ourselves to use our words in ways that are healing and helpful.  We want our students to begin to choose to build others up rather than tearing them down.

Talk to your student about a time where you chose to build someone up with words rather than tear them down.  Ask your student how they can build someone up this week.

Week 4 (October 7, 2012)

There is an old saying, “garbage in, garbage out.” As clichéd as that might sound, it’s absolutely true.  As much as we would all love to prove our others wrong about the music we listen to, the truth is that what we hear and the people we listen to affect us. It also affects what our futures will look like. This week, we are looking at the ear. We all get and give advice on a daily basis. Our decisions are greatly affected by whose advice we listen to. If we listen to the wrong people, we will more than likely end up with regrets and possibly be in danger.  We must also be on guard against ourselves. Sometimes, others know more about situations than we do. We must be careful to surround ourselves with people who have our best interests in mind. We must also be willing to listen and follow through with what they advise us to do.

Talk to your student about a time in your life where you listened to bad advice. Ask your student which of their friends they usually go to for advice.





Framework

2 09 2012

Series Overview

Shouting matches, stomping out of a room, insults under the breath, and even a few curse words will become more and more commonplace in the homes of our students over the next few years. What happened to the sweet children that used to hug their mom and dad as soon as they walked in the door?  Meanwhile, students are also wondering why things have changed: “Why are my parents so annoying all of a sudden? Why do they ask so many questions? Why don’t they trust me?” The truth is that part of a student growing up requires this challenging time in the relationship with their parents. It seems like the easy child/parent relationship that we all took for granted is gone. However, it can be good, again. We can get closer to that “picture perfect” ideal we all have for our home life. It simply requires both sides understanding it takes a little work.  So, for the next 2 weeks, we’ll be talking about our student/parent relationship in a series called “Framework.”

Week 1 (September 2, 2012)

Every student wants independence. It is part of growing up, but it can also be a struggle. As a parent you have a front row seat in watching this happen.  Our students want to be treated like adults, and they want independence.  Believe it or not, we want to help our students gain more independence, and I bet you will agree with us.  We want our students to know that to get more freedom and independence they only have to do one thing, honor their father and mother.  This may not be a new idea, but it is a huge idea that we want every student to grasp.  Honoring your father and mother is a key part of the Christian life, and it is one of the few commandments that comes with a promise.  At Transit, we want to partner with you the parent to not only help build the faith of your student, but also to help create a healthy family, and that begins with honoring your father and mother.

Talk to your student about your own experience with your parents. Ask your student how they would define the word honor.

Week 2 (September 9, 2012)

Every relationship is going to experience conflict at one point or another.  Whether it is between friends, siblings, or parents and children, conflict is unavoidable.  We want our students to know that conflict is a part of life, and it is something that is not easy to deal with. However, how we deal with conflict says a lot about who we are.  Students have a tendency to deal with conflict in two ways: avoidance or full on confrontation.  While you may have experiences a screaming argument or two, pretending conflict doesn’t exist can be just as bad as an all out fight.  We want our students to know that dealing with conflict is a part of life, and that in any conflict we have to be willing to own our part.  Whether we like it or not, we are never blame free. We always have some role in a conflict, and it is up to us to own it.   We need to be willing to apologize and ask for forgiveness even if 99% of the problem is because of the other person.  We are still responsible for 1% and we need to take responsibility for it.  We cannot control the response of the other person, but we can control our own response so we need to take responsibility for our own actions.

Ask your student why it is important that we learn to own our part of an argument.