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Be Bold, Be Strong for the Lord our God Is With Us

Faith, Youthwork and Family…

Month

December 2016

Time-travelling at Xmas

My wife and I love watching sci-fi and superhero programs together, one of our current favourites is “The Flash“, the current storyline is that he decided to run so fast that he could go back in time and change history, but it doesn’t go to according to his plan.  One comment my wife has made was

“TIme travel will never really happen because then someone will try to stop Jesus dying on the cross!”

Now whether or not you believe that:-

  • Jesus was born as a 8lb baby who never cried.
  • He grew up as a carpenter’s apprentice.
  • At 30-odd years old, he started his “ministry”.
  • He made his mark on the world before dying and resurrecting within a matter of a weekend
  • time-travel is even possible!

Millions of people all over the world are celebrating a holiday based on the fact that Jesus was born from a virgin girl called Mary in a stable with only animals around them!

The problem I have at this time of year is two-fold

  1. If “non-believers” are celebrating this “holiday” and “believers are constantly trying to remind them of the real “reason for the season” has the message got lost? Have followers of Christ, allowed materialism and commercialism to distract the world from what it is truly about? The free and undeserved gift of God’s son, who was to be sacrificed for us all, so that we could be reconciled with God and be able to stand in his presence in heaven, blameless and pure!
  2. I look back at the past year and further on, thinking back to what I have done or failed to do and I feel sadness, I feel sad that I have behaved in a way that has meant it necessary for me to need a saviour, made it necessary that i need forgiveness from my God and my family!  I have failed at times to show my family the love they deserve from me instead of anger and hurtful words (even if they were at times taken in a way contrary to my initial intention!)

Earlier this year I sent a message to my little sister, i started writing it last year but as she failed to send me her contact details when I requested them, the message sat in my drafts until the middle of the year when i felt the need to try and send it again, she was surprised as the content of the message covered things she had thought had been dealt with and perhaps I hadn’t completely dealt with it until that point!

I can be quite opinionated and despite claims that i do not get fired up enough, when i do share my strong opinions I usually cause mayhem as others don’t agree or handle it very well! This has happened twice this year, the first one was when I questioned the ridiculous comments about emigrating from Britain due to the Brexit vote, I said

How many prayers and meetings occurred seeking God’s will, and now you are overreacting! Where is your faith?

This was meant as a challenge but was taken as an attack and not in a loving tone that I perhaps should have taken!

The second was more recent in discussing Xmas decorations, I am all for remembering Jesus birth, remembering that he was the ultimate gift (life eternal, if we believe in him) but this “season” has very little to do with Jesus, he wasn’t born in December, he didn’t have a fir tree in the stable (i don’t believe it was there anyway!)

As I said in my last post, this month has seen an amazing response to an appeal for gifts and food for families who were going to struggle this year, our church has been able to give to 8 large families in need already and still looking to help more as the donations haven’t stopped! For me that is what Christmas should be about, showing unconditional generous love because we have been shown unconditional generous love!

What bugs me is that the worlds response to this time of year is the same as their response to thanksgiving or valentines day, almost acting as if “if you haven’t got something to celebrate, i have no need to express love, appreciation or gratitude”, My wife and I gave up celebrating valentines day, as we both agreed that we need to show each other love all the year round! LIke new years day, it is just another day, the earth still spins and makes its way around the sun!

Sure there are things in the past that I wish that I could have done differently, but this is the life I have chosen, my mistakes, failures, successes and pleasures are a result of God’s love and my actions or inactions, the future is ahead of us all and will be a result of how often we listen to God or ignore his direction. When God created the world, he knew everytyhing you were going to do, even before Adam started naming the animals, God knew your name, he is outside of time, better than a “timelord”, he is “lord of all” as he was at the beginning and he died to show his authority over all things!

I may be wrong in some of my opinions or beliefs but until I see otherwise, I will hold them fast and true!

Obedience- youth work session plan

https://phillatimer.wordpress.com/2012/01/06/are-you-sitting-comfortably-then-ill-begin-is-christianity-relevant/

Paper pens

DURATION: 10 MINS.

Ask the young people to list out the different types of people that they might be expected to obey.  Hopefully, they will list out the following types of examples:

Parents

Teachers

Police

God

Paper

  • Once you have the list, ask them to number in order who they find easiest to obey as 1 hardest higher number,
  • Take a moment to ask them why this is the case.

Get the group back together and ask them the following questions:

  • Why do we find being obedient so difficult?
  • Why would we not do what God wants?
  • Why should we do what God wants?

How far would the group go when it comes to obeying God?

  • Would they obey God and do whatever He asks them to do?
  • What is/would be the easiest thing God has/could ask them to do?
  • What is/would be the toughest thing God has/could ask them to do?
  • Why do they think God sometimes asks us to obey Him when it’s hard for us too?

By going through a tough experience and obeying God we can learn to trust Him more too.

Ask the group to look up Genesis 22: 1-19

This is the story of Abraham being prepared to sacrifice his only son Isaac.

Read through the story with your group.

Have they got any feedback from reading this?

When they’ve finished talking, give them some more background to the event:

  • Isaac was Abraham and Sarah’s only son, and they had waited a long time for him!! Abraham was 100 when Isaac was born. Imagine obeying God so much that you’d give up something you’d waited 100 years for!!!
  • It’s not just Abraham who was obedient here. Isaac wasn’t a young boy when Abraham tied him up to be a sacrifice. He would have been about 25 years old!! He could easily have fought off his aged dad. Instead he decided to obey…
  • What made Abraham and Isaac obey God?

It says in verse 12 that Abraham “truly obeyed” God. To truly obey means that we really do trust the person giving the instruction. Abraham didn’t know that God was going to stop him at the last second, as the blade came down. All he knew is that if God was asking him to do something, no matter how difficult, it was for his own good.

  • What might God be asking you to do to obey Him?

It probably isn’t something as tough as we’ve just read about…but it may cost you.You may not know the outcome, but you can trust that God does.

  • If He asked them to obey Him in a particular area, would they always answer yes?

Encourage the group to think which room it might be for them that Jesus can’t get into? What area of their life is do they keep off limits?

Jesus wants us to obey Him in all areas of our life.

Once you’ve done this, offer to pray for members of your group about different areas of their life where they struggle to let Jesus have control.

The Point: A chance for the group to make a decision to obey God in all areas of their life.

J. JOhn youtube car of your life?

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