Adam’s Devotional – January 18-24, 2018

From Adam

Wake up people! Nobody has it all together. No matter how put together we look on Sunday morning or on social media, we are all a mess.  All have sinned and fallen short of the Glory of God. We are united by our common need for God’s grace, and for each other. We actually can’t do this thing called life, nor can we do this thing called faith, alone. Our youth ministry is committed to being a Christ Centered community marked by brokenness. What does that mean?  That means that the love of God calls us to be courageously honest and vulnerable about not having it all figured out. Perfection is not a prerequisite of being a part of our community, brokenness is. Where are you afraid to fail? . . . the places you think you need to be perfect?  What are the ways you try to hide your brokenness?  Where are the places and who are the people with whom you can be vulnerable? What do you think about the idea that God wants YOU along with your shame? How have you been a vessel of God’s grace by providing a judgement-free space for others to be authentically vulnerable? God’s up to something . . . be a part of it.

Adam’s Devotional- January 11-17, 2018

From Adam

To quote Wesley from The Princess Bride, “Life is pain; anyone who tells you differently is selling something.” Our youth ministry values statement starts like this: We are committed to being a Christ Centered community marked by compassion. What do we mean by compassion?  Compassion literally means suffering together. We just celebrated Christmas, the season where God reveals the divine self as the WITH US God, Emmanuel. We suffer together and rejoice together because that’s what God does with us in Jesus Christ. Aren’t those the type of friends you long to have? Isn’t that the type of friend you long to be?  the friend that doesn’t try to fix you . . . the friend that doesn’t belittle your pain or distract from your joy . . . the friend who sits with you in hell and walks with you into heaven (no matter how long it takes).  What a friend we have in Jesus! Who are those friends in your life that suffer with you?  Who are the people in your life with no other agenda than being with you on your journey? Who are those people that God has placed in your life for you to sit with, for you to suffer with, and that need you to point to and embody Emmanuel?  God is up to something . . . be a part of it.

 

Adam’s Devotional – January 4-10, 2018

From Adam

Our youth ministry values statement starts like this: We are committed to being a Christ Centered community marked by compassion, brokenness, grace, worship, mission, and play. What does it mean to be Christ Centered? It means we depend upon God to hold us together in the same way we depend upon gravity to hold us to the earth.  When we are Christ centered we remember that through Christ we have been reconciled to God, reconciled to ourselves, and reconciled to others.  When we have our center somewhere else we forget that we are loved, forget that we are called to share that love, and we allow our differences to cause of separation rather than celebration.  To be Christ centered means to live in the reality of Christ’s reconciling love. What is at the center of your life right now? What things do you place at the center that separate you from other people; politics, race, popularity, or maybe even social class? What would it look like in your life if you lived the reality of Christ’s reconciling love?  Who would you judge less?  Who would you listen to more? God’s up to something . . . be a part of it.

Adam’s Devotional – December 28, 2017- January 3, 2018

From Adam

What words come to mind when you think of judgement?  What about when you think about God’s judgement?  Words like fire, brimstone, or consuming fire?  According to scripture, God’s judgement is powerful and frighteningly awesome. Here’s the funny thing, though.  Scripture also tells us that Jesus Christ is our judge. At Christmas, we celebrate God’s birth into the world through the baby Jesus. That means that God’s judgement comes to us in the form of a helpless babe. What could be further from fire and brimstone than a helpless babe? From the very beginning, Christmas is a story of God’s grace.  How have you experienced judgement this Christmas? How have you experienced grace?  What stories of shame are you listening to in your head about how you are a failure?  What stories of shame are you telling others about how they are not enough? What would it look like if you received the gift of God’s grace being born in your life?  What would it look like if you offered it to others?  God’s up to something . . . be a part of it.

Adam’s Devotional – December 21-27, 2017

 From Adam

How many “Keep Christ in Christmas” signs have you seen on the road recently?  There is a very real fear out there that consumerism and commercialization have captured Christmas . . . that Christmas is more about a boost in the economy than the birth of Jesus Christ in the world. However, there really isn’t any fear about consumerism holding advent hostage. Why? Because Advent is about waiting.  As Christians, we actually celebrate and practice waiting. A consumer culture is driven by the on demandspirit.  Advent is driven by a spirit of slow down and wait for it. Waiting is hard though. Waiting reminds us of what we don’t have yet. The good news of Advent is that baby Jesus is worth the wait. What are the places in your life where you are frantically allowing the on demand spirit to drive you?  What would it look like if you slowed down and practiced the spiritual discipline of waiting? Be forewarned, waiting can be dangerous. If you slow down, you might have fewer presents under the Christmas tree. You might not please as many people.  But, maybe the extra space under the tree is the place where Jesus will be born.  Maybe letting go of feeling responsible for other people’s happiness will make room for God’s pleasure. God’s up to something . . . wait for it.

Adam’s Devotional – December 14-21, 2017

From Adam

Nativity scenes are beautifully depressing. Think about it. The only reason Jesus is in a manger is because no one made room for a young woman in labor. The Nativity scenes we put around our house, on our lawns, and in our church are memorials to the victims of injustice The story of Christ’s birth convicts and encourages us to not turn away from the hungry, the poor, and the stranger. Have you believed the lie that there is only a finite amount of compassion you have to give? Have you numbed yourself to the pain of injustice around you by deceptively fortifying your soul with fear? What would it look like if you made room for compassion this Christmas season? What’s something you can do as a family to expand your capacity for compassion? Isn’t it ironic that the God we refuse to make room for makes room for all of us?
God’s up to something . . . be a part of it

Adam’s Devotional – December 7-13, 2017

From Adam

Surprise! You’re pregnant.  During the advent season we remember a teenage girl who found out she was pregnant.  But she was not just pregnant with any baby, she had the Messiah, the Christ, the son of the most high forming inside her.  On December 25th, we celebrate that baby’s birth into our world. God comes into the world through her.  During advent we don’t just remember Christ forming inside Mary; we remember Christ forming inside us.  That’s right, you’re pregnant.  How might God want to enter the world through you this season?  What is God forming inside you that you could give birth to? Does it seem crazy, unbelievable?  Mary probably felt the same way. It will take a Christmas miracle.
God’s up to something . . . be a part of it.

Adam’s Devotional – November 30- Dec 6, 2017

From Adam

When was the last time you were at a middle school dance? It often begins the same way.  All the guys are on one side, and all the girls on the other. Eventually, one brave soul walks across the dance floor to ask for a dance- much like emperor penguins who push each other into the water see if there are sharks. If the water’s fine, they all jump in. If the two begin dancing, then eventually the room is transformed from awkwardness incarnate to the whip and nae nae.  Something similar takes place in our relationship with God.  We stand fearfully and awkwardly away from God, and God boldly and bravely walks across the dance floor in Jesus Christ and invites us to dance.  This dance transforms us from being separate and alone to being in fun and loving transformative choreography with Christ. This is why our mission statement strives for sending out young people “who will join in Christ’s transforming work”– it might as well say “dance”.  What would it look like if you danced with God this week?  What would it look like if you joined in the transformational power of being caught up in the loving joyful movement of the Holy Spirit?  God is dancing . . . be a part of it.

Adam’s Devotional – November 23-29, 2017

From Adam

What’s the why behind what you are doing?  Seriously, why do you go to work? Why do you go to school?  Why do you play sports? Why do you make money?  Why do you have a phone?  Why do you use snapchat?   Why do you work out?  What’s the core reason behind all that you do?  What is the why?  The why of the youth ministry at First Pres starts with this phrase: “to send them out as Godly women and men”. The reason we want young people to come to church, the reason we want people to go on ski trips, mission trips, and go to Bible studies is so we can send them back out. The Christian community is the sent community. The why of our youth ministry is for all of us, youth, parents, volunteers and pastors to recognize the core of our identity as one who is sent.  You have been sent by God for God’s purposes. Do you believe that God sent you to your school?  Do you believe that God sent you to your family?  Do you believe that God sent you to your job? What would change . . . what would be different if you did?  God’s up to something . . . Be a part of it.

Adam’s Devotional- November 16-22, 2017

From Adam

Professional athletes and artists talk about being in the zone.  Others talk about being in the flow. It’s that moment when you’re at play or at work, and you’re on fire.  You have hyper-focus, hyper-awareness and you’re just crushing it. That ever happen to you? There is a phrase kind of like that in our youth ministry mission statement: being “in Christ.” Being “in Christ” is kind of like being in the flow of our faith. “In Christ, is an incredibly profound prepositional phrase with deep theological significance. Scripture attests that the “fullness of God was in Christ” and “in Christ we are a new creation.” When we are in Christ we are who we are called to be; we are the people God is forming us to become; and we are simultaneously able to receive and offer God’s grace and love for ourselves, others, and then back to God. When was the last time you were filled with God’s grace?  When was the last time you were aware of your shame and at the same time aware of your deep worthiness in God’s love?  When’s the last time you saw someone you typically judge, and you were able to step into the flow of God’s already forgiveness of you and them? When’s the last time you were surprised by being in Christ. God’s up to something . . . be a part of it.

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