Adam’s Devotional – October 19-25, 2017

“Led by the holy spirit . . .” what in the world does that mean?  Our youth ministry mission statement begins with those five words.  The Holy Spirit is the wild and mysterious member of the Trinity (traditionally: the Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit).  Theologians try to nail the Holy Spirit down but the Holy Spirit is as wild as the wind. If you take a walk with the wild side of God there is no telling where you will end up. That’s what it means to be led by the Holy Spirit, to enter into the wild uncharted possibly uncomfortable territories of your soul and life.  Where are the wild places that God could be leading you?   Are there spaces, relationships, or communities where you hear the call of God’s wild voice? What would it look like if you followed that call?  God’s up to something . . . Be a part of it.

Adam’s Devotional – October 12-18, 2017

From Adam

It’s Homecoming season.  That means people are asking and getting asked to Homecoming Dances.  The process of getting a date can be nerve wracking.  Inevitably, every Homecoming season some people will have to say “No, I’m already going with someone else.” Some people will be rejected.  It’s risky to get a date.  The fear and reality of rejection or of being overlooked can be overwhelming.  Jesus teaches his disciples, knock and the door will be opened, seek and you will find. You never have to be fear that God will reject or overlook you. You already have a date when it comes to God, because God has already risked and lost everything to dance with you.  When was the last time you knocked?  When was the last time you sought?  How often have you rejected God’s invitation to dance? What do you think of the idea that God has risked all of God’s Self to dance with you? God’s up to something . . . be a part of it?

Adam’s Devotional- October 4-11, 2017

From Adam

Youth have been reading scripture every Sunday morning at the 8:30 and 11:00 services. Braden Ziegler read Habakkuk 3:17-19 this past Sunday.  Considering current events, it is an incredibly appropriate reading for today.
“Though the fig tree does not blossom, and no fruit is on the vines;though the produce of the olive fails, and the fields yield no food; though the flock is cut off from the fold,and there is no herd in the stalls, (Though 1000’s suffer from the mass shooting in Vegas), yet I will rejoice in the Lord; I will exult in the God of my salvation. God, the Lord, is my strength; God makes my feet like the feet of a deer and makes me tread upon the heights.”  
How do we praise God? How do we choose gratitude in times of such pain, confusion, and despair?  What would it even look like in your life if you did that?  Is it even possible? How can the light shine in the darkness?
God’s up to something . . . be a part of it.

Adam’s Devotional- September 28- October 4, 2017

From Adam

We live in a world today not too dissimilar from the world of Jonah.  It is a world with rampant segregation and dehumanization.  If someone doesn’t look like us, live like us, vote like us, believe like us, love like us, or go to school like us, then we are all too happy to passively dismiss, discount, or ignore the validity of their experience.  We love to get angry at ideas and opinions that are not our own.  God asks Jonah, “Is it right for us to be angry about me saving the Ninevites?” That’s how the book of Jonah ends.  We are left with an open question from God to Jonah, which is also from God to us.  God basically says to Jonah, “They are real people! They are humans!  They are made in my image just as you are.  Can’t you see that?  Look for me in them, and you will find me.  Look for differences and reasons to hate them, and you will find it.”  Who are the people in your life that you too quickly discount?  Who are the people that you love to discredit and dismiss?  Who are the people that you dehumanize . . . in whom you refuse to see the image of God?  God’s up to something . . . be a part of it.

Adam’s Devotional- September 21-27, 2017

From Adam

The foundation of so much pain, brokenness, and sin in the world is entitlement.  The idea that we deserve all that we have and more. When we suffer from entitlement, we see ourselves as victims of a system or of our parents or of our job or of our school.  As victims, we behave in ways we think are justified because we deserve better. This is exactly how Jonah felt. While he sat outside Nineveh, God causes a bush grow up to offer him shade. Jonah iss grateful for the shade, but before sunrise the next day, a worm eats the roots of the bush, and it dies.  The sun beats down on Jonah, the wind blows, and the dead bush offers no relief.  Jonah is filled with anger about the bush. He thinks he deserves to be treated better.  He suffers from entitlement. How often is your faith dependent on what God gives you or does for you? How often do you suffer from entitlement?  What are the things in your life that you think you deserve: school, car, phone, friends, family, money, fun, etc.? How would your life look if you replaced entitlement with gratitude?  God is up to something . . . Be a part of it.  

Adam’s Devotional – September 12-20, 2017

From Adam

Do you ever feel like God says no to the thing you want most of all? This is how Jonah felt.  He wanted God to destroy Nineveh.  They were evil, and they were Israel’s enemy.  But God didn’t destroy them.  God forgave them.  It’s possible that Jonah felt betrayed by God–like it was God who was supposed to be on Jonah’s side and not the other way around.  Romans tells us that if God is for us, then who can be against us? Jonah was operating out of an us vs. them mentality. When God forgave Nineveh, God was expanding the definition of the word us. Jonah couldn’t bear the thought of God also being for Nineveh.  How is God saying no to your prejudice? Who are the people God is challenging you to invite into your us? Who are the people that you refuse to let in to that group?  Is one of them Jesus?  God is up to something . . . Be a part of it.  

Adam’s Devotional- September 7-13, 2017

From Adam

When was the last time you were really, really angry?  What about the last time you were ticked at God? When God decides not to destroy Nineveh, Jonah is enraged.  He yells at God saying, “I knew you were a gracious God . . . abounding in steadfast love, and ready to relent from punishing.” In general we think about God’s grace as a good thing.  We are grateful for a God who loves us.  But here, Jonah isn’t.  Jonah wants a God who is for him, a God who is on Jonah’s side.  How often do we do that? How often are we more comfortable with God’s grace for us but not for others? God invites Jonah and God invites us to increase our capacity for grace: the grace God offers us and the grace God offers others. How might you join in God’s forgiveness for you and God’s forgiveness of others?  God’s up to something; be a part of it!

Adam’s Devotional- August 31 – September 6, 2017

From Adam

When is the last time you changed your mind about something? When is the last time you changed your mind about someone? Maybe you made some assumptions about someone that turned out to be wrong.  When is the last time that somebody changed their mind about you? In the story of Jonah we read that God changed God’s mind.  God had decided to punish the people of Nineveh, but when they listened to Jonah, God’s mind changed.  If God’s mind can change about the Ninevites, who can your mind change about?  Who are the people in your life that you have judged?  Who are the people God could be calling you to forgive or to give a second chance?  God calls Jonah, and God calls us to be able to change our minds about people that we have rightly or wrongly judged.  God’s up to something . . . be a part of it.

Adam’s Devotional- August 24-30, 2017

From Adam

Pets wearing clothes. We’ve all seen it.  Penguins wearing sweaters, cats wearing boots, and corgis dressed for a black tie event are hilarious.  It’s funny because it’s absurd, and it’s been funny for a long time.  Even all the way back in the book of Jonah, people were dressing up their animals.  When the Ninevites repented, they put on the ceremonial cloths of repentance called sackcloth which we call it burlap.  Something about wearing really irritating scratchy clothes symbolized repentance.  Glad we don’t do that anymore.  But the people were not the only ones to put on the sackcloth;  they dressed all their animals up in the repentant garb as well. Imagine cows, goats, chickens all wearing the clothing of repentance.  It’s pretty funny, weird, and ridiculous.  Have you ever thought about the Bible being funny?  Have you ever thought about God having a sense of humor?  When’s the last time you and God shared a good laugh? We know God is with us when we cry, but God is also with us in our laughter.  God’s up to something . . . be a part of it.

Adam’s Devotional – August 17-23, 2017

From Adam

God does not need us to be perfect.  God does not need us to earn God’s call.  God calls us even though we aren’t put together and even though we don’t have it all figured out.  Just look at Jonah.  God keeps calling him even after he ran away.  If that doesn’t disqualify you, what does? Then when Jonah finally does what God wants by going to Nineveh he doesn’t even finish the job.  Nineveh is a three day walk and he only goes one day.  He did ⅓ of what he was called to do.  The great news is that God receives our meager attempts at faithfulness and even our deliberate disobedience and he works with us.  What excuses do you make to not be a part of what God is up to?  In what ways do you run the other way?  How have you responded to God’s call by just giving a half hearted effort?  God’s up to something . . . be a part of it.

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