Lost In My Thoughts

5 05 2013

Title Slide

Series Overview

May is a bittersweet time of year, as we get excited to see new 6th graders join us and all our students grow up a grade, but it’s also time that some of our students are graduating and moving on to college.  Wow!  After several years with us, we’ve covered topics ranging from doubts to dinosaurs, from worship to worries, and even parents to pornography.  However, we also know there are plenty of topics that slip through the cracks or questions that have been addressed, yet keep popping up in group.  So, for the next 3 weeks, we’ll look at the most common questions that have been brought up time and time again in our groups. Everyone has questions, and we want to do our best to help our students find some answers to some of their most common questions about their faith.

Week 1 (May 5, 2013)

We know it’s a little weird.  It also feels a bit dark and macabre to think about too much, but we can’t help but wonder: “What is heaven like?  What will life be like after I die?”  Movies, songs, and TV shows have pumped our brains full of images of what eternity may be like, but can we trust those clichéd images to be accurate?  So, this week in Transit, we’re going to talk about it.  We’re going to talk about what heaven is going to be like, what eternity has in store for us, and what life looks like after this life.

Talk to your student about what you think heaven is like. Ask your student how they picture heaven.

Week 2 (May 12, 2013)

“Why do bad things happen?” is the most common question students ask. We spend a few Sundays a year tackling this issue in some form or fashion.  There is a developmental switch triggered at this age that makes this question central to their faith. Moreover, as each student may face a new type of personal crisis for the first time, the question needs to be reinforced and reapplied. So, this week, we are going to talk about how God sustains us though hard times. He is always with us and our job is to simply remember he is here and trust him. It sounds easy, but it is a lesson they will learn and relearn the rest of their lives.

Talk to your student about a time you had to depend on God through difficult circumstances. Ask your student why it can be hard to depend on God during these times.

Week 3 (May 19, 2013)

By the time students have made it to middle school and high school, they have probably noticed that people don’t always do what they should.  Sooner or later, each student will notice a celebrity, family member, or friend do something that doesn’t live up to the standard the student expected.  When it comes to their faith and how they feel about Christianity, this can cause a unique problem.  Often students find themselves unsure of what exactly a Christian looks like.  What is a Christian, anyway?  How are Christians different from everyone else? So, this week in large group and small group, we are going to remind our students that a Christian is simply someone who believes in Christ.  However, the challenge we find in John for how we should live as Christians is a bit more complicated to live out.

Talk to your student about what your think it means to be a Christian. Ask your student what they think being a Christian means.

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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.





I Was Wondering

3 06 2012

Series Overview

Everyone has questions. It is part of life.  At Transit, we want to take some time to answer some of the most common questions that students have when it comes to issues of faith and the Bible.  While we try to address many of these issues throughout the year, over the next four weeks we want to address some specific questions.  Hence this series’ name “I Was Wondering.”  We can’t answer all of our students questions now, but we can start addressing some of the big questions so that our students can be set up for success in matters of faith.

Session 1 (June 3, 2012)

How do I know God’s will for my life?  This is a question you might even be asking yourself, and in many ways, it is the million dollar question of Christianity.  It is our nature to want to know where our life is headed and how we can prepare for our future.  We want our students to realize that while we want God to give us a roadmap of our future or use a booming voice to give us direction, it doesn’t happen that way (in most cases).  This doesn’t mean that we should give up.  The most important factor in determining God’s will for our lives is to spend time with God.  We can’t know God’s will if we don’t know God. Finally, we want our students to realize that this takes time.  Figuring out God’s will for our life is a journey that we are all on right now.  We need to be aware of how God has used us in the past, and how he is using us now. We need to know the strengths and the passions that God has given us because it is through these experiences that God’s will begin to manifest itself in our lives.  So while we may not know God’s will right now, we want our students to get moving and to start looking for how God has and wants to use them.

Talk to your student about your own experience in determining God’s will for your life. Ask your student what skills, strengths, or passions that they think they have been given by God.

Session 2 (June 10, 2012)

Why do bad things happen to good people?  I don’t think many of us will have to think very hard to come up with a time when we have all asked this question.  It is one of life’s most difficult questions, and it often comes in some of our most painful moments.  We want our students to know that bad things don’t happen because of God, but because of us.  God created a perfect world, but when sin entered the world so did pain and suffering.  The world is broken. God knows this, and the great news for us is that he has done something about it.  Jesus was sent to Earth to fix the sin problem.  We want our students to know that the world is broken, but God has done something about it.  Bad things are going to happen, it is a part of life, but our students need to know that God is on their side. Not only is God on their side, but we are too.  We have small groups so that we have a community to helps them out when things are bad.  We might not be able to stop the bad things from happening, but we can be there to support those who are suffering.

Talk to your student about the importance of community during life’s bad times.  Ask your student what they can do when one of their friends is suffering.

Session 3 (June 17, 2012)

What about people of other religions?  Our students are often bombarded with the worldview of other religions. Whether it is in school or through interaction with their friends, our students are told that every religion has its own path to salvation.  While this sounds great, it just is not true.  We want our students to know that you can’t just do anything to get salvation.  There is only one way to salvation and that is through Jesus.  The great news for us, and people of all religions, is that salvation is for all people.  All we have to do is confess and believe.  God has opened the door of salvation to all people and said that all you have to do is confess and believe.  It is that simple. We want our students to know that salvation is for all people, and that our job as Christians is to tell people about it.  Salvation is a free gift for anyone who believes so we need to be willing to tell those who don’t know.

Talk to your student about God’s plan of salvation. Ask your student if they think it is fair for God to ask everyone to accept Jesus as their Savior.

Session 4 (June 24, 2012)

What does it mean to be a real Christian?  In week three we talked about the importance of salvation, but that often leads to another question of what now.  We want our students to know that being a Christian isn’t about following a bunch of rules, it is about a lifestyle.  Whether it is fair or not, people will make assumptions about God based on how we live.  We are God’s representatives to the rest of the world.  This may sound like a huge task, and it is, but the great news is that this is an effective way of telling people about God.  How we choose to live and the decisions that we make can help to change the lives of other people. We want our students to know that their friends are looking at their life as an example, and we want our students to start making the right choices now.

Talk to your student about what being a Christian means to you. Ask your student if they think being a Christian means they have to miss out on the “fun” things of life.





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?