We're starting off our February series this Sunday! If you haven't yet read the series overview, take a minute and read it now!
In the first week of our series, we'll be looking at the bigger picture on love. What's it all about? We'll start by introducing the concept behind the series. God created us in His image, and told us to be fruitful and multiply! Relationships are instituted and ordained by God. However, when sin entered the picture, our relationships suffered the consequences as well. The first thing Adam does after sinning is to blame Eve! Not a great start.
That rift has been passed down to us. We are all sinners, and that sin makes "happily ever after" an elusive goal. The fact of the matter is that every human relationship we have will have problems. That doesn't mean they are bad - we just need to set our expectations realistically. Our culture tells us that we need to find "The One" that will make us happy - AND that there's only one "The One" out there for us. We are setting ourselves up for heartbreak and disappointment.
We will only ever find satisfaction and contentment in The One whose love is perfect: Jesus Christ. We can only begin to love one another because God loved us first. We'll be taking a look at 1 John 4, where John helps us understand that we will never figure out how to love one another until we put it in perspective with God's love for us.
Each year, during the month of love, we do a message series that covers love, sex, and dating. This year, we're looking at how sin has distorted our relationships. We're all looking for that "happily ever after"... but how do we find it?
Throughout February, we will be comparing and contrasting two big ideas: the way God intended love to be vs. what sin has turned love into to. When God made the world, when He made us, He had something in mind. He created Adam and Eve and told them to be fruitful and multiply! [Gen 1:28] They were made to be together. And then sin entered the picture. Nothing is the way God intended because sin has distorted EVERYTHING - especially our relationships.
From the moment Adam and Eve took that bite, their relationship (and ours) was plagued by sin. Someday, God will make everything right again. He will restore us in a post-sin world, where we will be free from sin and its repercussions.
But what about now? How are we supposed to live and love while sin keeps getting in the way? We are not without hope! When we begin to understand God's love for us, we will better understand how to love one another. This is the big idea for this entire series: We love each other because God first loved us. He has set an amazing example for us in Jesus Christ, who shows us how to live and love.
Parents, Read This:
We are committed to addressing the difficult and uncomfortable topics. During this series, our focus will be on relationships and dating. We will surely be covering some aspects of sex, physical boundaries, and honoring God with our bodies, though these will not be the main focus of any single week. This conversation will not be graphic in any way, but we want to communicate very clearly with you about what we're discussing each week, so you can decide if it is appropriate for your child.
Here's an outline of the four weeks ahead of us:
Week 1 - The First Love. God's love for us shows us how to love.
Week 2 - Why We Date. What's the point of dating, and how do we do it in a God-honoring way?
Week 3 - Guy Talk. We talk about guys. Girls, what should you look for in a guy? Guys, how do you be the guy that girls are looking for?
Week 4 - Girl Talk. Converse of Week 3: Guys, what should you look for in a guy? Girls, how do you be the girl that guys are looking for?
Below is an article from Orange, our curriculum resource, about what we're learning at Roots during this series.
1. We’re Teaching This
Let's be honest. We've all been guilty of painting a less-than-honest picture of ourselves or others through social media. But the Bible reminds us that what we say—whether on-line or in person—matters. How we talk about others, and ourselves, is important. And it all starts with what's inside our hearts. So where do you need to rethink what you say on-line? What things are you dealing with inside that need to stop showing up on your newsfeed? What do you need to do to become the person you want to be—not just the person you want everyone to think you are?
2. Think About This
I remember when my family got our first VCR machine. I was in elementary school and this “new technology” seemed so cool. You could just pop in a video–remember those—and watch any movie you wanted to without having to actually go to the movies. It was the beginning of the home theatre.
Just to other night, my kids and I wanted to watch a movie and I was reminded of how much this experience has changed. As we scrolled through the hundreds of movie titles on our Netflix feed, I found myself frustrated that we couldn’t find what we wanted to watch. Would I actually have to go look at Hulu or Amazon to find the movie we wanted? Then, once we found what we wanted, I put in my password and a message came up telling me that I would have to wait a few minutes for my movie to load and if it didn’t, to call Amazon directly. I started to get a little bit frustrated, until I looked over at my daughter who was REALLY frustrated. And I paused. This isn’t that big of a deal. I used to have to drive to Blockbuster, spend 30 minutes walking around the store looking for a movie, stand in line to pay and drive back home all before we could even put the movie in.
It’s funny how nowadays, everything is at our fingertips and yet we are less satisfied and less patient. You wake up in the morning and turn on the television. Instantly, you have all the latest news right in front of you from around the world. You’re driving in your car and you hear a song that you really like. You grab your phone, type in a few lyrics and find out who the artist is, along with the album, song and entire discography. We don’t have to wait for anything these days. We live in a world where we can have what we want almost immediately. And sometimes this availability in the world of technology and media gets transferred to other areas of our lives. Even areas that are meant to take more time and be a bit difficult, like relationships with other people and with God; even our own relationship with ourselves. But sometimes, the waiting process—delaying the gratification of something we want, of a result we want to see–is a really healthy and good thing. Because the old adage “good things are worth waiting for” is true. Waiting for something—going through a process—can make us appreciate the whole experience more. And if we aren’t careful, our relationship with technology and the expectation of immediacy it fosters will rob us of the ability to exercise the wonderful discipline of delayed gratification.
Maybe there’s some merit to this idea of waiting on something and even waiting for something. Maybe by waiting a bit—waiting to check our cell phones, Facebook feeds, Twitter feeds, email, text messages, you name it—we will begin to move at a faster pace with the most important things: our relationships. Maybe we can learn to slow down a bit. Breathe a bit. Look around a bit. And ultimately, enjoy the beautiful relationships and experiences that come with waiting and resting.
3. Try This
Choose one night and get everyone in your family off the grid. That means a full media blackout for everyone in your household for 6-9 hours. No Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Vine … no Internet at all. In fact, get really serious and have a designated and out-of-reach spot for everyone to put their phones—and iPads, tablets … you name it—and instead, spend that time in face-to-face, quality family time. You could go out for a family night or a have a media-free zone at home and have a meal and after-dinner game night together. Here are some fun dinner table questions to get your night rolling.
Get connected to a wider community of parents at www.orangeparents.org.
Let’s be honest. We’ve all been guilty of painting a less-than-honest picture of ourselves—or others—through social media. But the Bible reminds us that what we say—whether online or in person—matters. How we talk about others, and ourselves, is important. And it all starts with what’s inside our hearts. So where do you need to rethink what you say online? What things are you dealing with inside that need to stop showing up on your newsfeed? What do you need to do to become the person you want to be—not just the person you want everyone to think you are?
This week, we'll be talking about the healthy and the dangerous ways to incorporate social media into our lives. Sometimes it can feel like social media is the perfect outlet for everything we want to say. The positive. The negative. The hurtful. And without the face-to-face interaction, it can feel like the words we say are less powerful and less harmful than if they were said to someone’s face. But the truth is, what we say—what we post—matters. It determines how others see us. So what are you posting that helps? And what are you posting that hurts?
What a full day! We started with breakfast in our rooms before heading to General Session 2 with Starfield and Dr. Brenda Salter McNeil. She talked us through the Isaiah 6 passage where Isaiah comes face-to-face with God and becomes aware of his sinfulness. She reminded us that God doesn't promise us an easy and painless journey. But when we fix our eyes on God, nothing else matters!
Lunch at Chick Fil A and Chipotle. Does it get any better? Afternoon break-out sessions had us split up among a variety of smaller group seminars, including a spiritual Zumba session and #scripturedoodle, a look into worship through art.
We had an hour or so to kill, so what better to do than to get Sweet Frog? The afternoon concert was with Israel & New Breed, which was open to the public. We got our first taste of Michael Jr's comedy - hilarious! He had us rolling on the floor!
The Ravens game happened to be during our free time... I won't rub it in. Some of us went to the pool and got in the hot tub while waiting for our pizza dinner to arrive. We all crammed in one room and shared dinner while watching the Ravens' demise. (You didn't expect me not to mention it, did you?)
General Session 3 started with Michael Jr. We'll be seeing him again in the morning! Starfield led a great time of worship again, including "I Will Go" and "Reign In Us". Illusionist Brock Gill did an amazing trick where he shot a bullseye with a bow and arrow - while blindfolded! He closed with a Gospel presentation that had students flocking to the front. Praise the Lord! Pray that these hearts would find good soil to grow deep and produce a crop.
We can't wait to see you all again on Sunday!
What a great start to the weekend! We arrived at the Convention Center around 7:30 after filling our bellies at the Salisbury mall. General Session #1 started at 8:00 with worship from Starfield, one of my favorite bands! They'll be leading worship all weekend. Two of the best songs they played were "I Will Go" and "Revolution" - take a minute to listen!
Dr. Brenda Salter McNeil brought the Word! The theme for the whole weekend is "Masterpiece" - we are all created by God with a purpose. Dr. McNeil used the imagery of a puzzle to help us understand that we are all a unique piece of the puzzle as the Body of Christ. When even a single piece is missing, the puzzle is incomplete. We all have an obligation as Christians to step up and play our part!
The session ended with a concert by Anthem Lights, a Christian boy band of sorts. They sang a few covers of popular songs, including Taylor Swift, One Direction, and of course, Let It Go. The show ended with a few of their original songs. Our students really seemed to enjoy singing along and dancing together!
We're now checked in at our hotel and most are asleep! A full day awaits us tomorrow. Check out a few pictures from this evening at the top!
Danae is the Director of Youth Ministries at KIUMC. She has a B.A. in Culinary Arts and Service Management from Paul Smiths College in Paul Smiths, NY. She has attended KIUMC for the past 8 years. Danae enjoys cooking, spending time with family and friends, and is a complete Disney Fanatic.