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.

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Doubt: For Parents Only

8 03 2012

Parents we know that doubt can be an issue with everyone, not just students. We wanted to take a minute to encourage you in your role as parents.

THINGS UNSAID

By Tim Walker

There’s been a lot of buzz lately about the term “helicopter parents,” people who hover over their kids all the time. For most of us who see a true helicopter parent in action, our first inclination is to say, “Relax. It’s okay.” But, as parents, if all of us were real honest, we would have to admit that we can understand their motivation. Parenthood is scary, uncertain, and filled with doubt. You wonder if you’re doing it right. You wonder if you are teaching them the right things. You wonder if you are raising independent kids, or ones who will be living in your basement when they are 40.

And here’s a big doubt—sometimes you wonder if they even love you anymore.

Let’s face it, the hugs and smiles came a lot more easily when they were little. When you came home, they ran to the door to greet you. They lit up when you walked into the room. You could just feel your child’s love for you simply by looking at his or her face. But now that your child is a teen, those hugs don’t come as often—unless there’s some item being purchased. And when you walk into the room, sometimes they seem more annoyed at your presence than joyful.

It’s easy to get hurt. It’s easy to quit trying to connect with them when the responses aren’t what they used to be. You can only handle hearing the word “fine” so many times before you just want to stop asking, “How was your day?”

But don’t stop. Keep it up. One of the things that we are teaching your child over the next couple of weeks is—when faced with a big doubt, rely on the things you do know. We’re teaching your child to look back and realize that there are some foundational things you have to hang on to in the face of uncertainty.

Your child loves you. He or she may not know how to show it anymore as they seek to break away and establish their independence, but it’s there. There are so many things going on in and around your child, that a lot of things that seemed normal a few years ago are just confusing now. Hang in there with them. Keep loving them. Keep fighting for relationship with them. Keep finding ways to connect with them.

And when you are scared or unsure, remember that you taught them a few good things along the way, and they are learning more from you than you realize.

© 2010 Orange. All rights reserved.

Get connected to a wider community of parents at www.orangeparents.org.





Doubt

4 03 2012

Series Overview

Everyone has moments of doubt. We doubt if we are heading in the right direction when going some place new. We doubt if that low-fat snack is really as healthy as it claims to be. We doubt if the people in our lives really care about us—even in spite of the evidence that they do. And sometimes our doubts are about God. Can we trust God? Does God really have our best in mind? What does a particular Bible verse actually mean?

When questions arise, they can be a little unsettling, especially questions about faith. But what if God was big enough to handle the questions? He is. What if God was secure enough to handle our uncertainty? He is. And what if doubt actually paved the way to a deeper belief, a stronger relationship with Christ? It can.

Session One (March 4, 2012)

You know those nagging questions that seem to linger in the back of your mind? The ones you hesitate to ever speak out loud, admit you have or let anyone else know you think? Questions like: “Does God hear me when I pray?” “Does He have a plan for my life?” “Does God really have everything under control?” Questions and doubts can be unsettling if they are left unsaid. We begin to think we are alone in our doubt, and often our doubts only grow until they paralyze our faith. But when we learn to admit our doubts openly, we learn that we are not the only ones—that everyone deals with questions. And when we learn to live with doubt, doubt can be a tool that strengthens our faith.

Session One Parent Cue: Do you ever have doubts about God? If so, what are they? What do you do with them—vocalize them or keep them to yourself? 

Session Two (March 11, 2012)

It’s one thing to recognize that doubt can strengthen faith—but HOW do you get there? How do you handle a doubt that you just can’t seem to move past? One way is to look back. When you look back, you draw on the things you do know to help you live through the things you don’t know or can’t understand. When you remember the things that God has shown you, you remind yourself of a bigger picture that can help you deal with the close-up situation at hand. The ways you have learned about or experienced God in your past are still true in the present, and can be used to pave the way to belief now—in spite of and in the midst of doubt.

Session Two Parent Cue:  What are some things that God has taught you in the past about Himself? How can those things specifically help you with the doubts you now have?