Exodus

Last night we continued our journey through the Bible, in the book of Exodus to be specific. Exodus is an action packed story of escape and God’s provision for His people.

We picked up the story of Moses after he killed an Egyptian who was beating an Israelite slave. Moses was in Midian tending a flock of sheep. Moses lead his flock towards Horeb where God appeared to Moses through a burning bush! God was speaking to Moses and telling Moses that he needed to go back to Egypt and lead the Israelites to the promise land. Moses said that he didn’t feel equipped for this and God assured him that He would be with Moses.

Moses went to Pharaoh, and said to let the israelites go. Pharaoh said, “no.” which lead to the 10 plagues (water to blood, frogs, gnats, flies, diseased cattle, boils, hail, locusts, darkness for 3 days, and death of first born). After each of the plagues Pharaoh still said no until his first born son had died. He then let Moses and the Israelites go.

Pharaoh’s heart was hardened and he changed his mind to pursue the Israleites. Moses parted the Red Sea and the Israelites walked to safety while the sea closed in on the Egyptian army, killing them. Moses and the Israelites then wandered the dessert for 40 years until they reached the promise land.

This is a really quick overview of Exodus. During this year we are giving the high lights of the stories and focusing on what they mean to us.

Moses was called to do something HUGE, something that he didn’t feel able to do. Sound familiar? God asks us to do the same, maybe not lead a whole group of people out of slavery, but tasks we feel unable to do. What does God call you to do?

Parents: Share a time with your child when God called you to do something you didn’t feel ready to do. How did you respond? How did it turn out?

Another part of this story was Moses’ desire to see God. When God first appeared to Moses through the burning bush, Moses hid his face. Later when God appeared to him again, Moses wanted to see God. God let him see his backside. There are times where we follow God and want to see Him to see if He is actually there. Where have you seen God in your life?

Then when they were in the dessert wandering, the Israelites lost sight if God and created an idol (golden calf) to worship. What do we worship, that isn’t God? (think: technology, money, status, friends, approval, etc.)

Each week I will be giving out cards to students giving them further optional readings to catch other parts of the book we are going through. Here they are below in case the sheet didn’t make it home:

exodus-read-more exodus-read-more

Genesis

Last night was a great night of CREW! We played some box Frisbee outside in this beautiful fall like weather before large group started. We are going to have a great year together!

Genesis:

We started out talking about how religion and science can work together and not be at odds. Genesis is a common book of the Bible that is called scientifically inaccurate.  There are questions that the Bible answers and science answers another set of questions, though they can support one another.

We looked at the big picture of Genesis; which is how we are created in God’s image, and we make mistakes but yet God still loves us. As you read through Genesis, one can think, “how are these people in the Bible?” but we see how God still loves and provides for them. We know that God loves and provides for us still to this day, and will continue to.

We also talked about how God gave us dominion over creation, and how can be good stewards of creation.

To Ponder…

  • How are we made in God’s image? What qualities does God have that we do?
  • How can we take better care of God’s creation?
  • All families have stories that are passed on or told frequently at family gatherings. What are some of those in your family? What is the origin of them? What does it say about your family?

How was the Bible Made?

Last night was our first night of our Bible year! We talked about does the Bible still matter and how it was created. The Bible as we know it was created through a process called canonization.

How do we know the Bible has the right books and still matters?

“But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, and how from infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”

We know from 2 Timothy 3:14-17 that all scripture is inspired by God. We also know that scripture equips us.

Questions:

How are you equipped for good works?

How has scripture equipped you?

How has God spoken to you through scripture?

In Small groups students talked about the Bible as a whole and the questions that it creates when knowing how it was made. Scripture is inspired by God and written by humans. How do we know the humans didn’t make mistakes or include the wrong books? Since scripture is inspired by God, we know that what needed to be included is included.

Questions:

What about the Bible’s history surprised you the most?

What book of the Bible do you find the strangest? Why?

In what ways do you think the Bible questions us?

Is the Bible trustworthy?

Why would we talk about how the Bible was made and the questions this can pose? As part of real faith for real life, we hear comments about how scripture contradicts itself or how it is inaccurate, but we need to know and believe that scripture is God’s written word to us. Also, it is ok to ask questions about what we believe, that is how we learn.

I look forward to our discussions as we dive into God’s word more this year and Genesis next week.

Forgetting The Log in Our Eye

As the summer winds down, we are also finishing our look at the book “Half Truths” by Adam Hamilton. This week we looked at the half truth of “hate the sin, love the sinner”. As with all half-truths, it is a well-intentioned statement. We are trying to say that we love all, but no their sins. People are welcome here, but we don’t condone those actions. As we think about this more, this statement causes us to forget that we have our own sin.

What is Sin?

Sin simply put is straying away from the path or to miss the mark that God has for us. Sin isn’t a good thing, but it is something we all do.  Trying to rank sins, or saying that all sins are equal supports this half-truth of “hate the sin, love the sinner”, and counters what scripture teaches.

Hate the sin…

Who did Jesus hang out with? He was with tax collectors, prostitutes, drunkards, adulterers, cheaters, thieves, and other “sinners”. Jesus ate with them, healed them, and called them to be his disciples. We never heard Jesus say, “I hate your sin, but I love you.” Jesus preached about grace and forgiveness of sins. Jesus only got mad about sin when church officials were committing sin.

…love the sinner

When we take the approach of loving the sinner, what is wrong with that? Shouldn’t we love sinners? Of course we should love sinners! BUT Jesus calls us to love our neighbor, He never said to love the sinner. Our neighbor is everyone that we meet, will meet, or never meet. Basically our neighbor is everyone. When we use the mentality of love the sinner, we put on a lens of judgement.


““Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.”

Matthew 7:1-5


If we love someone because they are sinner, and not our neighbor then we are putting more focus on the sin, not them as a person.

Final Thoughts

We should love our neighbor despite the fact we are a sinner.  There are some sins that we should hate” murder, oppression, abuse, racism, injustice, and indifference to others. We should work against these things, by showing love to those involved. Our job is to love, not judge. There are enough Christians who are quick to point out others sins and forget their own. Let’s love one another and lay aside our sin, while showing humility and grace.

God Won’t Give You More Than You Can Handle

We started out our night with some Highs and Lows

Think of a tough situation you have been in. What was said to you?

Odds are, it was something along the lines of “God won’t give you more than you can handle. “

Well this statement is very well intentioned, there are some limitations and assumptions put onto God that aren’t completely true, a half-truth if you will.

This saying comes from 1 Corinthians 10:13 which says, “ No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.”

Looking back to the original Greek the word for temptation in Paul’s context actually means tested.

What did Corinth look like?

Paul was writing to the Corinthians who were pagan worshipers before they became Christians. The Corinthians worshiped aphrodite, idol worship and prostitution were rampant in the temples. Though the Corinthians were becoming Christians they kept regressing to their old ways.

Earlier in this passage, Paul was also talking about how the Israelites were tempted and this isn’t something that just the Corinthians were going through. Basically he was saying that we will be tempted/tested at some point.

What is this passage not about?

You see Paul wasn’t addressing the hard times in our lives. He was referencing the temptations and testings that come in our everyday life. NOT difficult times that will/have popped in our lives.

Good News!

When Paul was talking to the Corinthians he was saying that God wont tempt/test them more than they can endure.

In times of temptation, we may not look very hard for a way out of that situation, but there is one. This is the Spirit leading us a way from temptation.

The problem here is that, though God provides a way out of temptation; it’s that we don’t pursue it.

God doesn’t tempt us; we do a good job of that our selves. James 1:13 tells us that.

Where they half-truth misses the mark

There are stresses and emotions that can be too strong for us to handle. Some turn to unhealthy ways to handle these emotions, others turn to help.

Remember what we talked about the first week of F.I.S.H.? We talked about “Everything Happening For a Reason”.

God doesn’t give us these bad situations, life happens, people hurt us. Know that God is with us in all situations, good and bad. 1 Peter 5:7 talks about this.

God will always help us handle all that we’ve been given. Are you pursuing those He has sent to help?

What to say instead?

For those going through tough times, here is a good thing to say: I love you and God loves you. God will be with you. Or How can I help?

Rapid City Day 4 (7/13/2016)


Day four of our mission trip was one of the most difficult yet. Most groups were struggling through the third of four days on their service sites and one of our groups was learning the ropes at two completely new sites. But despite the adversity they faced emotionally, mentally, and physically, we are all in great spirits this morning and ready to take on our final day of service.

Please continue to comment below. Your love and support has helped each of these youth (and chaperones) carry on when they’ve faced difficult moments. Thank you!

Rapid City Day 3 (7/12/2016)

We continued on our mission sites today. Some of us are getting pretty tired and could use some encouragement today. Last night we had some extra time before bed, so we were able to respond to some of your comments!

Rapid City Day 2 (7/11/2016)

Day 2 of our mission trip to Rapid City was our first day on our work sites. We we split up into four different groups, two of all St. Mark Youth and two groups mixed with Hope Lutheran from Fargo/West Fargo, ND. At our sites we worked with lots of different groups.

Our first group spent the day clearing out a lot where Habitat for Humanity will be beginning construction later this week. Our second group split there day between a food bank in the morning and a nursing home in the afternoon.

Sadly the other half of our youth were unable to gather videos from there sites due to confidentiality issues. But throughout the next couple of days I hope to capture the youth sharing the amazing stories that have already begun to take place at the Club for Boys (an organization which strives to equipdboys to become young men) and Black Hills Works (an organization which cares for people with mental disabilities of all levels.

The youth loved the comments from yesterday, and actually wanted me to keep on reading them after I ran out, so keep them coming today!

Rapid City Day 1 (7/10/2016)

Today we traveled from West Des Moines to Rapid City, SD. We chose our seats on the bus based on Dinosaurs (because of SD’s history of archeology) Jordyn picked out. We thought we might share what we learned with you!

Don’t forget to comment below, so I can read those comments to the kids around 10:45pm Central Time. Thanks in advance!