It's the first Sunday of the month again! Our favorite day of the month, because we get to hang out together at Roots Sunday Night! The highlight of our time together this month will be an epic fight to the death (ok, not really) - Battle of the Sexes! We'll compete through various games, challenges, and trivia questions to earn points and crown one gender the Roots champion!
The prize, besides bragging rights, is the highly coveted THUMBS UP TROPHY. Every member of the champion gender will walk out with their very own 24k gold (ok, not really) thumbs up to mark the momentous occasion.
We'll have live music from our Roots student band, and we're beginning our two month series called "Continuum." We're taking two months to look at an overview of the whole Bible! Read the full blog post here.
Roots Sunday Night exists as a place for our students to invite their friends. Many people may not be comfortable with the idea of going to "church," but would enjoy coming to hang out with us on Sunday nights. We promise to show them a good time - and we promise to tell them about Jesus!
New Series: Continuum
There's something about the way we're wired that makes us connect with stories. Have you ever thought about how much stories have shaped your life? Maybe it's the stories about your heritage, or the stories you grew up reading, like Robin Hood, the Adventures of Tom Sawyer. No matter what kind of stories you like, they all have something in common: they make us open our eyes to a new world and let us experience something in a different time or place. They make us care. They make us feel for characters we will never meet, and who we may have very little in common with. In fact, research shows that stories are linked to our ability to care for others and nurture a sense on empathy. Finally, they make us hope. A great story will draw us in to the life of a character that's fraught with adversity and conflict and we resonate with their struggle to push through.
But stories aren't really powerful on their own. The magic of a story happens when it connects with our imaginations. Without imagination, you can't see past what you already know. Without imagination, you can't care how someone else feels. Without imagination, you can't hope beyond your present situation. Now here's the remarkable thing: the God who created our minds, the One who fashioned our desire to connect with stories, has crafted a story for us.
I don't know if you've ever had to explain the Bible to anyone recently. I had a friend ask me why I believe the Bible, since it's "just a book." I tried to explain, the Bible is way more than just a book. It's actually 66 books, written by 40 authors over 16o years. And it all comes together to tell ONE story. One messy, tragic, sometimes confusing, overarching narrative about God's loving pursuit of us, His children.
It's possible to grow up reading the Bible, but never truly understanding the story. It's possible to know the information, but never see how the pieces fit together. In the end, it's not just about the stories. It's about the One who authored the story, who pursues us and wants to bring us into the story with Him! We're not so much worried about understanding the story of God, but to fall in love with the God of the story.
For the next two months, we'll be taking a step back to look at the bigger picture of what God has done and what He is doing in the world. Join us as we seek out the One who has done, and is doing, amazing things, and has a place for us to join in!
Week 1: Paradise
Bottom Line: In the beginning a good God created a good world that reflected how good He is.
Scripture: Genesis 1:1,10, 26-31
Week 2: Exposed
Bottom Line: When sin entered the world, everything was broken, but God didn’t abandon His creation.
Scripture: Genesis 3:1,6, 22-26
Week 3: Promise
Bottom Line: God initiated a promise with His people even though they didn’t deserve it.
Scripture: Genesis 12:1-3, 15:1,5-6
Week 4: Faithful
Bottom Line: No matter what Israel did or didn’t do, God never deserted His people or His promise.
Scripture: Exodus 6:2-8, Numbers 14:2-4
Week 5: The Rock
Bottom Line: God fulfilled what He promised in Jesus, who demonstrated a new way to live.
Scripture: Matthew 7:24-27
Week 6: The Cross
Bottom Line: Jesus gave His life to rescue those who put their faith in Him.
Scripture: Romans 3:23; 5:8; 6:23
Week 7: Sunday
Bottom Line: Jesus Christ defeating death proved God had a plan since the beginning.
Scripture: Luke 24:1-8; Romans 8:11
Week 8: Go
Bottom Line: Jesus' followers shared His message of love with the world.
Scripture: Matthew 28:18-20
Crappily Ever After - Week 4
We're down to our last week of our February series on love and relationships! It's been a fantastic month with great conversations all around. Each week, students submit anonymous questions to be answered in front of the group. If you have questions you'd like to submit, click on this link to do so anonymously!
This week, we're talking all about girls! Let's jump right in. Here are the three main things we'll be discussing.
1. Women are beautiful and precious daughters of God.
Proverbs 31:10-11 - "Who can find a virtuous and capable wife? She is more precious than rubies. 11 Her husband can trust her, and she will greatly enrich his life." Women are more precious than rubies. We are all created in the image of God (Genesis 1:27, James 1:18). In the creation story in Genesis, there is an escalation in the text - each new thing that is created is greater than the thing before. God crowns all things by creating woman! He even goes as far as saying that it is not good for man to be alone. Adam breaks into poem at first sight of Eve. Woman is beautiful and precious. Women deserve to be treated with respect and validation as the pinnacle of God's creation.
2. A woman of God puts her identity and value in Christ.
The world tries to define womanhood in so many different ways, mainly centered around their bodies and what the opposite sex thinks of them. God's definition couldn't be more different. We are God's masterpiece (Ephesians 2:10), and it isn't about our bodies, it's about who we are. A woman of God doesn't count on a boy to "complete" her. She is fully complete in Christ. Her heart, mind, and body are devoted to God. A godly man will find nothing more attractive than that.
3. A woman of God uses her beauty and value for God's glory.
Your body does not define you. Our sexual culture builds up impossible standards that really has nothing to do with beauty. 1 Peter 3:3-4 - "Don’t be concerned about the outward beauty of fancy hairstyles, expensive jewelry, or beautiful clothes. You should clothe yourselves instead with the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God." Beauty comes from within. Girls, you have so much more to offer a boy - to offer the world - than your body! The greatest thing you can offer is your heart, your mind, your character. When you use your body as the "attraction", what kind of guy will you get? The kind who is only interested in your body.
We'll be watching a short video about how the male brain reacts to women. The speaker is Jessica Rey, a Christian girls' speaker who designs her own line of swimsuits. You can watch the clip (2 minutes) here, or watch the full video (1o minutes) here.
Girls, you are NOT responsible for guys' actions. Guys, control yourself. Be a man, not a boy. Girls, guys are idiots. If you're offering them your body, they will overlook the real treasure - your heart. Modesty is not about hiding your body or being ashamed of the beauty God has given you! It is about focusing on where your true value lies. You have so much more to offer than your body.
Crappily Ever After - Week 3
We've spent the past two weeks setting the foundation for what love and relationships are all about. For an overview of the entire series, read this post. In Week 1, we talked about how to pursue Happily Ever After - through a relationship with Jesus Christ. Read the post here. Last week, we talked about what a healthy, God-honoring relationship looks like. Read the post here.
This week, we're talking about GUYS. Girls, what do you look for in a guy? Guys, how do you become the guy that girls are looking for? To frame our conversation, we'll be looking at the life of Samson, who had it all going for him on the outside, but had deep issues that ultimately were his undoing. Here are our takeaways for the ladies:
Beware the guy who only looks good on the outside. Outward appearances have no correlation to inward qualities. Samson had a serious anger problem - when Samson got angry, people died! Pretty boys generally know they're pretty - and arrogance quickly follows.
Beware the guy who falls in and out of love all the time. This may mean he's looking at women as conquests and status symbols. Girls, you deserve better than that. Delilah was just one woman on a long list in Samson's past.
Beware the guy who keeps secrets. Like we discussed last week, trust and honesty are foundational blocks to a healthy relationship. Samson had quite the closet full of skeletons. Who we are and what we've done are part of what we bring into a relationship - for better or worse.
And for the guys:
Be a man of self-control. Control your temper. Cling to your purity. Be intentional about pursuing godliness in all areas of your life. This takes discipline.
Be a man of your word. Think carefully about the promises you make - and then follow through by keeping them. Girls are attracted to guys who are dependable and trustworthy. Your words are powerful and you need to use them carefully.
Be a man who respects women. Women are more than sexual objects. Treat women like your sisters. Honor their purity. Don't be fooled by locker-room talk - it's all made up, anyway. As a godly man, you need to step above that. Be attracted to women for their internal qualities.
I look forward to this conversation this Sunday at Roots!
Crappily Ever After - Week 2
We're headed into Week 2 of our February series on love and relationships called Crappily Ever After. When God made Adam and Eve, he had something in mind for their relationship. Unfortunately, sin has entered the picture and distorted everything. Because we are all imperfect, our relationships are imperfect, too. Does that mean that we are doomed to Crappily Ever After?
Last week, we covered what "happily ever after" truly is - an eternity with God through a relationship with Jesus. 1 John 4 tells us that God's love for us is perfect. We will never be able to love with the perfect love that God has, but we are not without hope! This week, we'll be talking about what a Christ-centered relationship looks like. When two people are individually focused on glorifying God, a relationship between them is going to be healthy, uplifting, and inspiring. Here's the outline of our discussion for this week:
1. We date to find a mate.
The purpose of dating is to figure out who we’re going to marry. Does this mean we should only date when we’re ready to get married? Not necessarily. Some may choose that - and that’s great! We just need to remember that the relationships we develop, even in middle school and high school, are shaping us into the person that your future spouse is going to marry! Who you are today is the person you’re bringing into your marriage.
2. A God-honoring relationship has its priorities and boundaries set clearly.
We often talk about the idea of God first, others second, and ourselves third. The same holds true in a dating relationship! God comes first. Each person must have their heart and mind focused on God and glorifying Him. Second, we must honor our family and friends. Parents are still parents, and they deserve utmost respect and obedience. W2e also can't neglect our friends and alienate ourselves. Serving others should remain a priority in a relationship. Boundaries include physical/sexual boundaries, but also so much more. We must be careful not to give away pieces of our hearts and our body too quickly.
2b. Parents, read this: We will be discussing physical boundaries this week, but we will NOT be using any graphic language or innuendo. This conversation will be tailored to the age (middle school vs. high school), and we will focus on how to pursue purity, rather than discuss “how far is too far.” We will read 1 Thessalonians 4:3-4, which tells us to flee from sexual immorality. If you have any concerns or questions, feel free to contact Ted Northrop!
3. A God-honoring relationship is built on honesty and trust.
1 John 4 - Perfect love drives out fear. Fear has to do with punishment, not grace. Grace is a defining characteristic of love. 1 Corinthians 13 tells us lve keeps no record of wrongs. We are to (try to!) love each other the way that God loves us.
4. A God-honoring relationship is selfless.
Imagine two people who are individually focusing on glorifying God first, then serving each other. Imagine a relationship where Happily Ever After, as best we can have it on earth at least, was possible. Imagine a husband that is committed to Jesus. Imagine a wife that is completely honest with you, a spouse who is trustworthy and completely trusts you. Imagine a marriage where you both selflessly gave to each other.