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.

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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.





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.





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? 





Transit

8 01 2012

Series Overview

We often talk with adult groups about the three vital relationships: our relationship with Christ, our community with insiders, and our influence with outsiders.   As we launch a new name for our Sunday morning program and begin a new year, we hope to re-focus our priorities by exploring these vital relationships. Much of what we will discuss and study throughout a student’s three years “in Transit,” will re-visit these basic truths.

Session 1 (January 8, 2012)

The middle school and high school years can be a weird time of life, especially middle school. Students are definitely not kids anymore, but they are not quite adults.  They are on a journey into adulthood.  While this journey might be overlooked, it is an important part of our students development.  At Transit we want our students to know that they matter now, and that this stage of life is important.  Now is the time for our students to embrace the journey, and begin to develop a faith of their own.  1 Timothy 4:12 illustrates this fact.  Faith is a journey that takes a lifetime, and there is no better time for our students to begin then now.  Talk to your student about your own faith journey, and ask them why having a faith of their own is so important.

Session 2 (January 15, 2012)

It’s no secret that friends are vital to a student’s life.  They’re worried about who they will see at lunch, nervous about where their seats are in every class, and obsessed with texting to see what everyone is doing.  However, few students grasp the importance of true community with a group of friends.  Transit is devoted to the idea of providing every student with a small group because that’s where life change happens.  This morning we want to remind our students of the truth that we all are designed for genuine community. Talk to your student about how community has played a significant role in your own life, and ask them who are the people that influencing their life today.

Session 3 (January 22, 2012)

In our final week of this series we’ll remind ourselves of our commitment to the lost.  The bible tell us that we carry the obligation to make disciples of the world, which not only brings others to Christ, but also helps us grow in our personal faith. Therefore, it is healthy and beneficial for us to engage in relational evangelism.  This can seem like a daunting task to the average middle schooler, so today in Transit we want remind them that we are on their side.  It is our goal to partner with our students to make Sunday morning a safe place to invite their friends.  Ask your student who they know that needs to experience Transit.





Forward Motion

20 11 2011

Series Overview

We’ve all made resolutions and set goals, but too often we fall short of what we expected to accomplish. Unfortunately it’s often the same when we try to become the Christian we really believe God has called us to be. We fall short of the goal and become increasingly discouraged. In this series, your student will learn that following Christ is more about the small steps we make every day, not about the huge leaps of faith that we think we need to make. They will set a goal, determine the first step and then make it. The series will end with a celebration!

Session One (November 20, 2011)

So many times we look at our lives with great expectations, thinking we should be leaps from where we are. We expect perfection. We expect to arrive at some level. The reality is that following Christ isn’t about leaping to instant perfection. We’re walking with Him daily–a walk that involves steps, not leaps. Following Jesus Christ is about the small steps we make every day, steps of obedience, steps in relationship with Him. Sometimes those steps are small, sometimes they are big–but they are all still steps, moving us forward.

Session One Parent Cue: Following Christ is about steps, not leaps. This week your students will be introduced to the myth: that Christianity is all about taking big leaps of faith. They will encounter some of Scripture’s most daunting verses, and wrestle with what it means to have a life of consistent spiritual growth. Each student will set a goal for himself or herself, and the next few weeks they will revisit their goals. Discuss with them what you think may be some unrealistic goals you have for yourself.

Session Two (November 27, 2011)

The goal of every Christian is to become more like Jesus. But the problem comes when we think we’re going to achieve that today. It’s a lifelong journey, a process, a walk. Following Jesus is about the steps we take every day, and as Christians, we have divine help in taking those steps–the Holy Spirit. What is the step God is asking to take? What’s holding you back from taking it?

Session Two Parent Cue: The way you get from where you are to where you want to be is one step at a time. This may sound ridiculously obvious, but we all forget it. We want to go to the gym one time and look like a model; we want to make one smart comment at work and be promoted right to the top. But we know deep down that isn’t the way things work. The good news is that in our spiritual development, God has not left us alone to work out the mess. He has sent His Spirit to guide us. This week, students will look at the power of the Holy Spirit to guide their paths, and they will make a plan for beginning to take the first step toward their goals. What is an obtainable goal that you can work on achieving this week? 

Session Three (December 4, 2011)

What if you acknowledged the steps you took every day in your own “walk” with God? What if you realized that even though you may not be where you want to be, you may be exactly where God wants you to be, learning the things you need to know one step at a time? It brings a lot of freedom, doesn’t it? But not only that, what if we started celebrating not only the steps we take every day, but the steps those around us do as well? Because what may not be a big deal for you, may be huge for someone else. And all that celebration begins to turn into one big party.

Session Three Parent Cue: Celebrate the steps you take in your relationship with God, and celebrate the steps others take as well. It’s all about celebration, not the cheap kind of celebration that comes from making a big deal out of nothing, but the real party that comes naturally when we know that we have made even the slightest move in the right direction. Your students will talk this week about what it looks like to encourage each other and celebrate with each other whenever they make progress toward one of their goals. What are some specific areas of growth you have seen in your teen in the last couple of weeks, months or even year?