Archives for September 2018

Adam’s Devotional – September 27 – October 3, 2018

From Adam…

If you’ve gone to First Presbyterian Church for a while, then you already know.  You know that more often than not, Sundays can feel like family reunions. And that’s what it’s supposed to feel like.  We come back together once a week to remember that we are family– to remember that even if we are having trouble forgiving Uncle Church member or Aunt Pew Partner, that God has already forgiven them.  We remember, “oh yeah, my last name is Heavenly Family.” Our Youth Ministry Mission Statement reads . . . The youth ministry of First Presbyterian Church . . . to be a part of a church, to be a part of a Christian faith community is kind of like being a part of AA– except in public, on display for all to see. When we show up to church, we are admitting that we don’t have it all figured out.  We are admitting that we are imperfect, that life has become unmanageable, that we need each other, and we need God. Sitting down in the pew is synonymous with coming clean with the way we have hurt ourselves, hurt others, and hurt God in our attempts to do life on our own.  We sit down in the pew to get off the ladder of success, social status, and popularity. Maybe that’s why it’s so hard to go to church sometimes. The gravitational pull of performance-based identity can be so strong in our culture, that admitting we are not the person social media presents us to be is like shooting ourselves in the social foot. We are gathered to worship by the Holy Spirit not so that God can fix us or so that others can see how holy we are.  The Holy Spirit gathers us in worship, so that we can encounter and re-encounter a God who says, “There is nothing you can do to make me love you more, and there is nothing you can do to make me love you less.”  God’s up to something . . . go to church.

Adam’s Devotional – September 20-26, 2018

From Adam…

It’s actually difficult to quantify the pivotal, formational, and all around ontological (who you are deep down) role parents play in your life. The lack of parents, the “too much” of parents, the “just enough” of parents, the amount they work, the amount they play, the way they talk, the way they fight, the way they believe, the list goes on and on.  When a therapist sits down with a client, one of the first things they talk about is family of origin and relationships with parents. You know what they don’t talk about? How popular you were in middle school and high school. They don’t talk about whether or not you made the varsity team. They don’t talk about your GPA or standardized test scores.  All those things matter and are important, but they are not as important as parents and family. That’s why our youth ministry mission statement says “In partnership with families,” because we know the most formative relationships in your life are the ones you have with your family. Here’s the deal, we don’t pick our families.  They are just given to us. Good or bad, present or absent, adopted or biological, or simply guardians, they are gifts. Honestly, at times they really blow it, and at other times they knock it out of the park. The question is, how are you investing in your relationship with your family? If your family is a gift from God, how are you doing at receiving it? What if you made a goal to learn something new about your family members every day this month or this year?  What if you asked them how you could pray for them and then intentionally prayed for them on a weekly basis? God’s up to something. Be a part of it!

Adam’s Devotional – September 13-20, 2018

From Adam…

I was recently talking to a graduated senior who was heading off to freshman year in college.  I asked what this student was hoping for this first year in the new chapter of their life. What was said moved me.  They thought for a moment, looked at me with incredibly clarity and said, I don’t want to follow, but I want to be led. They didn’t just want to follow the crowd, but they wanted to be led by God.  They didn’t want to follow other people’s expectations, but they wanted to be led by Jesus.  They didn’t want to blindly follow the norm, but they wanted to be led by the wild unruly call of the Holy Spirit.  Led by the Holy Spirit . . . that’s the opening line of our youth ministry mission statement.  As this school year gets underway, are you following or are you being led?  Who are you tempted to follow? Where are they going? What would it look like if you allowed yourself to be led by the Holy Spirit?  Maybe you would spend more time in prayer around decisions instead of doing what comes naturally or easily to you. What if you repeated that college freshman’s statement, “I don’t want to follow, but I want to be led”, every time you got a text message?  Or what if you wrote it at the top of your class notes throughout the day?  May we all be encouraged not to follow blindly where everyone else is going, but to take the risk of fidelity to be led by the Holy Spirit.  God’s up to something . . . be a part of it.

Adam’s Devotional – September 6-12, 2018

From Adam… 

Which comes first, love or grief?  Do we love more because we’ve grieved, or do we grieve more because we’ve loved?  Could it be that good grief and good love actual create hope and gratitude? Is there such a thing as generative grief? Could it be that mourning leads to richer, deeper, fuller, more awake life? It rarely feels good to wake up in the middle of a delightfully restful and deep sleep, but when we’re sleeping, we are not awake. We are less aware of life around us. Is the grief of tragedy some kind of alarm clock for our soul? Could grief be waking us up for something more alive, more aware of pain, and also with greater potential for more joy? Recently Todd Jones shared this idea. We cannot control when, where, or what form tragedy will take, but we can have an impact on how we respond. How does God want us to respond when things don’t go our way? How does God hope we interact with tragedy– regardless of how grand or minuscule? What does our faith have to say to our grief? Maybe that’s what the Apostle Paul was talking about in Romans 5 when he writes “suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us.” God’s up to something . . . be a part of it.

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