Paralyzed. Have you ever felt that way at the beginning of a big project? Maybe it was a research paper or presentation for your class. Maybe it was cleaning up your room after a sleepover with your friends. Or maybe it’s something even bigger than that. Maybe you dream of doing something big with you life—something that matters. But the idea of actually doing it is really intimidating. You aren’t sure where to start. So it just seems easier to plan on back away slowly. Big results require big actions—and you just don’t feel ready for that. Nehemiah faced a similar challenge—he wanted to do something, felt called to do something, that seemed nearly impossible. But what Nehemiah didn’t let the fear take over. He didn’t stand, paralyzed, on the sideline. Instead, he discovered that the most important step you take may also be the smallest. The first step.
We’re Teaching This:
What is the biggest challenge you’ve ever faced? Maybe it’s a basketball game against your archrival. Maybe it’s passing your math class. Maybe it’s just trying to get up and go to school on time. Whatever it is, you’re probably familiar with the little knot that forms in your stomach. The nerves. The feeling of being completely overwhelmed. The Bible tells the story of a guy named Nehemiah who was all too familiar with that feeling. In fact, it isn’t just one story—there’s a whole book in the Bible named after him. Growing up in service to a king in Babylon and then Persia, Nehemiah probably didn’t think his life would make much of a story. But when he learns that his family’s homeland is in ruins, something changes in Nehemiah. He decides to do something about it—to go there. To build. Nehemiah decided to face, head-on, the God-sized challenge of rebuilding the wall surrounding Jerusalem and creating a safe place for his people. And through his story, we may just find the tools we need to face the challenge of improving our town or our school. It’s time to build.
Think About This:
Where did you grow up? Was it a small town with little to do outside of farming. Or was it a big city with tall buildings and a public transit system? Or something in between? No matter where you grew up, one thing is for sure—it still affects you. Whether its in our taste for certain types of food, our comfort level with certain groups of people, or the dialect with which we speak, there are always traces of where we grew up tucked in the folds of our personality. And that’s a great thing! Environment is one of the things that God uses to mold us into unique individuals.
But does your student know that?
The reality is, life begins long before you move out on your own. Not only does their current town profoundly shape them, but it’s also the first place students will have the opportunity to invest themselves—to care, or to serve others. It’s the first place they learn to assign value to the people around them. What students learn in their hometown will be what they carry into every town after that.
So if our hometown is so important, why is it that so many of us get the idea that the real-world exists after high-school? And how can we teach our students to make the most of their time here?
Focus on now. College is coming. The real world is coming. But for today, your student is right here. While it’s important to talk about the future, we also need to fight the urge to talk only about what comes next. The truth is, if your student is in high school, he or she already has a limited amount of time left in your home and possibly in your town. By teaching them to use this time wisely and value the impact they can have right now, we are also teaching them a principle that they will take into their future. The principle of caring for where you live.
As parents, it’s easy to talk about the glory days of college or our experiences when we moved out on our own. Those stories are often more exciting or have better morals to them. But, even in our well meaning way, we sometimes accidentally communicate that our lives didn’t start until after we left home.
Try sharing a story of what it was like growing up where you lived as a student. Was it a big city or a small town? Was there a lot to do or were you often bored? Most importantly, in what ways does your hometown shape who you are today? As you share, you may just find your student starting to value his or her own experience more exactly where they are.
In February, we spent the entire month talking about love, relationships, and dating in a series called Crappily Ever After. The last week of the series, talked about girls: what guys should look for in a girl, and how girls can be the girl that guys are looking for. Naturally, the topic of modesty was a part of the conversation. If you're interested in reading a little more on the topic, here is an article with a great perspective.
Have you ever wondered why we do what we do every week at church? What did Jesus really have in mind for us as we follow Him? After Jesus died, and was resurrected, He told His disciples what their purpose from then on should be—to go. Go—and make disciples. Go—share God’s story. In other words, our job, as followers of Jesus is to get off the couch. It isn’t our job to just get something, but to be something, to go somewhere.
What if we started taking this responsibility more seriously? What if we got what being the church and not just getting from the church meant for our lives? When we begin to invite others into God’s story, when we share Jesus’ message of love, we participate in the transformation of people—and ultimately the world around us—by participating in God’s big story in the way He always intended.
We'll be reading Jesus' last words on earth, found in Matthew 28 and Acts 1. How can we respond to Jesus' calling on our lives?
If you're not familiar with Relevant Magazine and it's accompanying website, I highly recommend you check it out. It is always an engaging read, for students and adults like. Patti Ruocco sent me this article and I thought it was worth sending out to all of you.
From the article: "God rarely does things according to our timeframe, and because of this we can easily get discouraged. If we aren't careful, we'll think He's uncaring or mad at us... God always has good reasons for making us wait. Waiting is a part of life and one of God's tools for developing people."
Read the full article here!
Pain is a part of the story—everybody’s story. And for the disciples, the day they saw Jesus die was a day when their pain had probably never felt more real. It seemed like God had abandoned and forgotten them. That was on Friday. But then Sunday came—and Jesus was alive! This plot-twist changed the world of the disciples. But it still means something for us today. The resurrection of Jesus gives us hope that God has a Sunday—someday—for all of us. One day, all the pain, all the brokenness, all the hurt will be gone. The resurrection is a guarantee of the someday we all long for—of a world made right when our current world feels so wrong.
One week isn't enough to talk about what Jesus did to pay for our sins. He died on the cross, but the story doesn't end there! Jesus conquered the grave in the resurrection - proof that He is who He says He is! Join us this week at Roots to join in the conversation!
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.