Adam’s Devotional – May 25-31, 2017

From Adam

Hannah Hayes preached on Philippians 3 a few weeks ago at Youth Sunday.  She shared with the congregation that we “can’t take shortcuts when it comes to deep relationship with God.” Paul uses the word strain in reference to the way we pursue deep personal connection with God. Hannah pointed out the shortcuts and straining are pretty much polar opposites. When you think about the way you pursue intimacy with God, does the word strain come to mind?  Prayer, Bible Study, and participation in the church were three ways that Hannah offered for us to strain toward God.  What is your prayer life like right now?  When was the last time you strained toward God in prayer?  Are you a part of a Bible study?  When was the last time you strained toward God through wrestling with scripture? Hannah said that being part of a community that strains toward God together has had the biggest impact on her faith life.  Who are you straining with? Hannah pointed out that when we avoid shortcuts and strain to take hold of God for ourselves, we realize that God has already taken hold of us.  That’s good news.  God’s up to something . . . be a part of it.

Adam’s Devotional – May 18-24, 2017

From Adam…

When is the last time you heard someone say something like, “man, they are so wild”? Who are the people in your life you call wild?  What kind of things do wild people do?  When is the last time you saw the way someone was loving God and loving others and said, “they are so wild”? On youth sunday, Baker Blevins charged the congregation to be wild and adventurous in their faith. He assured the congregation that there’s a reason we long for full, passionate, sometimes wild and adventurous lives.  He reminded us that we are made in the image of God and God is wild.  We long for passionate relationships because God is passion.  We long for full life because God is full life.  How often do we think of God as tame?  Have you been trying to tame God or are you being transformed into a wild participant in God’s adventurous mission in the world?  What’s one wild thing you could do for you faith this week.  How wild would it be if you defended someone that people were ripping on?  How wild would it be if you got your family to be hosts for a refugee family in Nashville?  How wild would it be if you spent 5 minutes every morning talking with God? How wild would it be if you read a Psalm a day in the lunchroom or courtyard of your school? How wild would it be if you asked your parents, friends, teachers, or pastor how you could be praying for them?  Baker charged the congregation to bold as lions in their faith. What would it look like if you lived out your faith in way that other people would see it and say, “man, you’re wild.” God’s up to something . . . be a part of it.

Adam’s Devotional – May 11-17, 2017

From Adam…

On Youth Sunday this past week,  Helen Riley Lazenby preached on Philippians 3. She invited the congregation to think about what it means to be an enemy of God.  Paul writes “For many live as enemies of the cross of Christ.”  Helen Riley asked, “What would it mean for us to be enemies of God?  As if God were Alabama, and we were Auburn?”  She shared Paul’s description of Christ’s enemies, “their God is their belly.”  She interpreted this wisely, saying, “When God is in our bellies, we are serving ourselves, not the Lord . . . They delight in things they should be ashamed of.” Helen challenged all of us, pointing out that when we idolize things like success, possessions, and influence, we become enemies of God.  She argued that we will be enemies of Christ so long as we think we do not need God.  Using Paul’s language, she shared that we need to be transformed from enemies of Christ to citizens of Christ’s kingdom. “We alone are not enough. All power rests in God, and nothing on earth can come close to matching it. As soon as we realize these things, our transformation has begun.”  Have you made that first step?  Have you recognized that you can’t do this life and faith thing on your own? Have you put that realization into practice?  Are you living as an enemy, or are you being transformed into citizens of Christ’s Kingdom?  Helen Riley shared, “The good news is that God has the power to transform us.”  God’s up to something . . . be a part of it.

Adam’s Devotional- May 4- May 10, 2017

From Adam

I handed them sheets of paper and asked them to write down a question that they wanted to ask God.  They all thought for a moment and then silently wrote their question at the top of their paper.  I told them to take the paper home, look at it every day, and pray the question to God every day.  . . . A week later, we gathered back together, and they all brought their questions with them.  We spent a few moments in prayer, and then I asked them to write down what they thought God was saying.  This was my question: “God, are you really there?”  This was the response I got: “No. . . . I’m right here– with you.  Stop looking for me out there, and see me right here with you.”  The students had equally if not more profound responses from God.  Do you recognize, do you remember, that God is with us? Where are you looking for God? Have you looked right there with you?
God’s up to something . . . Be a part of it.

Adam’s Devotional- April 27-May 3, 2017

From Adam

According to Matthew, on the first Easter, a few female followers of Jesus don’t find him in the tomb and are told by an angel that He is risen. Upon hearing the news and seeing the empty tomb, they are terrified and filled with joy.  They run to tell the disciples.  As they sprint back to town, the risen Jesus shows up.  Jesus says, “Greetings.”  Imagine the women running past him at first, hearing him, doing a double take, almost crashing because they turn around so fast, and then falling to their knees in delightful disbelief and worship.  If you think about it, when the women left the tomb, they were on completely new faith footing.  The world had literally been rocked by the unbelievable reality of the resurrection.  That’s why they are filled with fear as well as joy.  They are afraid of this new reality.  The women encounter Jesus on the way when they are apprehensively, but courageously, rushing out on this new faith footing. Jesus isn’t waiting for them in the tomb, but he surprises them on the road. Could it be that when we venture out into territory that is unfamiliar, into territory that we may be apprehensive to enter, that we find ourselves bumping right into the risen Savior?  Where is the place in your life that is new territory in your faith– the place that you might even be afraid of?  What would it look like for you to venture out into the reality of the resurrection there?  How might you take steps in the direction of new faith footing this week?  God’s up to something . . . be a part of it.

Adam’s Devo- April 20-26, 2017

From Adam

In the 28th Chapter of Matthew’s Gospel, we read an account of the first Easter morning.  Women (that’s right not men) went to the tomb.  They were, as we can imagine, grief stricken.  They wanted to go to the tomb to mourn . . . to find Jesus where they left him.  But they are in for an earth shaking surprise.  Jesus is not where they left him.  When they arrive at the tomb the earth shakes and an angel comes and rolls away the stone revealing an empty tomb. The angel tells them that Jesus is risen and on the move!  Jesus doesn’t wait around for them in the place of the dead, he’s on the move in the land of the living.  How often do you think you can just leave Jesus somewhere and he’ll stay put? You ever think you can keep Jesus safely sealed away in places like church on Christmas and Easter, or just on Sundays, or just with other christians?  The scary good news is that Jesus reveals a wild untamable God that won’t stay put.  Where are the places in your life that you’ve left Jesus?  Where are the places you don’t expect to run into him? Do you ever find yourself wishing you could go back to the way things were?  Could it be that God has something better for us than what used to be? God’s up to something . . . be a part of it.

Adam’s Devotional- April 13-19, 2017

From Adam

The temptation during Holy Week is to skip Maundy Thursday and Good Friday and jump to Easter.  This may also be the great temptation in life as well.  We know about Jesus’ betrayal, and we know about Jesus’ crucifixion, but it can be tempting to jump to resurrection and forget about death.  When we, or people we know, experience painful emotions or experiences, we can be tempted to push those feelings away or try to fix others by saying some version of “everything is going to be okay” or “just count your blessings”.  When you really stop and think about it, it’s a guarantee that those experiencing the first Holy Week felt as though their entire worlds were crashing down upon them.  They may have felt like their greatest nightmare was coming true.  On Holy Saturday (the day between Good Friday and Easter when Jesus is in the tomb) you can bet they were not looking forward to an Easter egg hunt the next day.  The point is, you have to go through Good Friday to get to Easter– you have to go through death to get to resurrection. What is the figurative death in your life that you are avoiding?  What are the painful emotions that you or your friends are dealing with that you are trying to avoid, ignore, or fix?  Matthew’s gospel records these last words of Jesus: “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”  Is there any place in your life where you need to pray that same prayer Jesus prays?  Good Friday reminds us that God is with us, even when we feel God-forsaken.  God’s up to something . . . Be a part of it.

Adam’s Devotional – April 6-12, 2017

From Adam

Jesus told his disciples to take up their cross and follow him.  For those of us who want to follow the way of Jesus, this is a challenging teaching.  Its challenging because it’s two fold.  “Take up your cross.”  In other words, you can’t pretend that you don’t have any issues; you can’t leave them and never deal with them.  “And follow me.”  We expect Jesus to say this.  If we’ve paid any attention in sunday school at all, we’re not surprised when we here Jesus ask us to follow.  However, It’s tempting to do one or the other of this twofold teaching.  We either allow our issues and stresses to distract us from following Jesus or we think that following Jesus means we can leave all our issues and stresses behind us.  Jesus is carrying his cross and asking us to carry ours.  On the eve of holy week, it’s helpful for us to be reminded that Christ didn’t suffer so that we would be freed from suffering.  We are going to suffer, we are going to have our own cross to bear, but we do not have to bear it alone.  Which way are you tempted to go?  Are you tempted to focus on your personal problems and issues allowing your cross to eclipse Jesus?  Have you confused running away from your pressures and stresses with following Jesus?  How can you intentionally take up your cross and follow? What does that even look like?  God’s up to something . . . be a part of it.  

Adam’s Devotional – March 30- April 5, 2017

From Adam

This past week 30 high school students and a great group of adult leaders went to Waco, Texas on our spring break mission experience.  We spent the whole week reading through the gospel of Mark.  We were all surprised by Jesus.  Many of us weren’t anticipating his quick wit, his blunt honesty, and his sometimes harsh challenge.  Most of us expected to read about a quiet and wise teacher who said some pretty cool and philosophical statements about love.  Throughout Mark’s gospel, people who encounter Jesus are confused, unsettled, and even angry.  People are amazed by Jesus in Mark, and they respond to that amazement by following him or kicking him out.  When is the last time you allowed yourself to be surprised by Jesus? When was the last time you were amazed enough to be offended and or inspired? If we’re not careful, we turn Jesus Christ into a person who agrees with everything we think and do instead of being the God-with-us who transforms everything we think and do.  Either we transform Jesus to look like us, or the Holy Spirit transforms us to look like Jesus. What’s something you can do this week to open yourself up to being transformed?  What can you do to allow yourself to be surprised, amazed, and even challenged by God?  Maybe you could read Mark.  God’s up to something . . . Be a part of it.

Spring Break Mission Trip – Waco, TX 2017

This year, students traveled Waco for a spring break full of mission work, fellowship, and worship.  The group stayed at World Hunger Relief Farm and partnered withMission Waco.  Throughout the week, the group had opportunities to work on the farm, on home sites, and even lead a devotional for a group who was staying at a homeless and transitional housing ministry, My Brother’s Keeper.  During their devotional time, students read the entire book of Mark and learned that “our faith is personal, but it is not individual,” through daily check-ins with their accountability groups.  Check out the pictures below to see more of what the group joined in what God was up to in Waco!

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