Dirty Words

20 01 2013

Dirty Words Slide

Series Overview

For the next few weeks, we are going to tackle an area of life where we all struggle: our words. We all know that sick feeling in the stomach – you know, when you’ve crossed the line and hurt someone’s feelings with an off-hand remark. Putting a foot in your mouth is an all-too-familiar feeling. And everyone has had a day ruined because someone else just wanted to get a laugh at someone else’s expense. Why is this such a common trap that we all fall in?  Why can’t we avoid these situations? For the next 4 weeks in Transit, we will equip our students to gain a little control over their tongues. It is going to take a new level of sensitivity, an understanding of what is in our hearts, and a good dose of accountability. So, for the next 4 weeks, we are going to try to clean up our Dirty Words.

Week 1 (January 20, 2013)

We all believe that what we say can just be neutral, “that no one will care” or “it was just funny.”  However, Solomon understands that there are really only two types of words: preserving words and ruining words. The ugly truth is that each of us, with a few choice words, could get fired, be headed for a divorce, or alienated from our friends. Words carry a great deal of power. They can build up or tear down. Students are becoming acutely aware of this truth for the first time. Middle School and High School can be a place filled with hurtful insults, misguided remarks, and jokes that land too close to home. Each us of us need to realize there are no neutral words.

Talk to your student about a time when you “stuck your foot in your mouth.” Ask your student why there are no neutral words.

Week 2 (January 27, 2013)

Last week, we discussed the problem that we all have with controlling our tongues. Even as we discussed the truth that there are no “neutral” words, each of us was thinking about the time we couldn’t help but say something hurtful or cross the line. Each of us has a person or a situation where we get bumped or provoked and we feel we have to speak out. The assumption that we all make is that the person who knocks us is the problem. “They make this stuff come out!” However, being knocked around just shows what is really in your heart. When we hurt someone with our words, we might say that “we were provoked” or “I don’t know where that came from,” but it comes from our hearts. The question we have to ask today in small group is: “What is in your heart?”

Talk to your student about a time when you let your anger get the best of you.  Ask your student how they are most likely to show their anger.

Week 3 (February 3, 2013)

Sooner or later, someone is going to be honest with you and tell you about an area of your life you need to work on. It could be your attitude, your work ethic, or you words. You need to decide how are you going to react to that conversation.  Solomon suggests we value it – that we even guard those moments, because they are so precious. We all need that sort of relationships in our lives. In the same way, we want to challenge students to have the hard conversations with friends, because that is how you can truly care for them. We all have experienced the urge to tell a close friend that the person they were dating was the wrong guy, or that a habit was getting out of control, or maybe tell them their attitude is hurting those around you. However, more often than not, we talk ourselves out of those conversations, because we want to be nice, or it would get awkward, or we don’t want to rock the boat. Our students need to learn to care for their friends more than they care for the friendships.

Talk to your student about the importance of close friendships in your life. Ask your student why close friends are better than a large number of friends.

Week 4 (February 10, 2013)

As we wrap up our series on the power of our words, we shift the focus to how our words can affect our relationship with God. In Matthew 5, we find one of Jesus’ more shocking statements as we are told that calling someone a fool is just as bad as murdering someone. He is trying to remind this culture, who is obsessed with becoming holy by good deeds, just how holy God’s righteousness is. However, he is also trying to make a point about our words and their power. Every time we use our words carelessly with a friend or family member, we have the potential to affect our relationship with God. There is a strong, yet often forgotten, connection between the health of your earthly relationships and your ability to have a healthy relationship with your heavenly father.

Talk to your student about a time your words affected your relationship with God. Ask your student how our words on earth can affect our relationship with God.

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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.