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.

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Just Like the Movies

13 05 2012

Session 1 (May 13, 2012)

We have all seen a great movie, read a good book, or been to a fantastic restaurant.  While you may have just stumbled upon this experience by accident, I would be willing to bet that you were sent or told about that experience by a trusted friend.  Whenever we experience something great, we want our friends to experience it as well. That is why the most effective advertisement for a movie or book isn’t a trailer or blurb or critic review, but it is word of mouth from a friend. This isn’t news to you or your student, but this principle it important. We want our students to realize that they have influence over their friends. Their friends trust them, and trust their recommendations.  This level of trust is why the Bible teaches us that we need to be good stewards in our relationships. God has placed us in many relationships for a specific purpose, and while it could be to make sure our friends see good movies, I believe that it might be a little more than that.  God has placed us and your student in relationships to be his representative.  This is a huge idea, and a great responsibility. We want our students to realize that they have been entrusted by God with their relationships, and this realizations should change how we interact with our friends.

Talk to your student about a relationship in your life that you feel was placed by God.  Ask your student if they feel like God has placed any person in their life for a specific purpose.

Session 2 (May 20, 2012)

Last week, we began by showing our students the amount of influence that they have over their friends. As we conclude our two week series, we want to help our students to understand how they should use that influence.  The Bible uses many analogies to help make its point, and this week is no different. We are going to look at a famous passage with a simple idea: the word of God needs to be sowed everywhere.  While farming references can be difficult to grasp for our students, this principle is simple.  A seed cannot grow unless it is planted (or sown), and our job as Christians is to being planting the seed of the word of God in our friends.  We do not want our students to think that it is their job to make someone a Christian, that is a job only for God.  We want them to realize that their job is to point people towards God and His word.  Just like referring a friend to a great movie, we want to point our friends towards a great relationship with their heavenly father.

Talk to your student about a person who was influential in your spiritual growth. Ask your student why it is only their responsibility to spread the word of God and not make someone a Christian.





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.