Week of October 22nd

Good Gifts

*Attention parents: please note the following information which I have purposefully placed ahead of the summary of our most recent time together.*

Hello, this is Pastor Asa. I just wanted to take a moment to apologize for not having prepared well enough in advance for the intended teaching topic this past Friday. When we decided to do a series called Good Gifts which would cultivate a biblical perspective on moral-neutral issues students face every day, it was our intention to include the topic of sex. I realized last week that it would be best to postpone such a lesson until sometime in November, when we do our Big Questions series. There are two reasons for this.

ONE: the topic of sex deserves more of my time in preparation and study with the goal of giving students the most effective teaching possible. My hope is to encourage an ongoing conversation about sex and sexuality between our students, parents, and church leaders.

TWO: in giving parents more advanced notice, you can be better prepared to dialogue with your student/s at home. When the lesson is 2 weeks away, we will give a better idea of what to expect and how to engage with the lesson. This heads up will also enable students to prioritize attending that evening since this is such an important topic that rarely gets discussed in church, and a topic for which many students honestly wish they could get more Biblical guidance.

So with that in mind, here’s what we ended up focusing on instead last Friday…

Matthew 6:25-34

With the arrival of my first child, I’ve been reminded of the mix of blessings and challenges that come with many things in life. Particularly, I have found myself going in and out of times of worry. I worry about my circumstances and I worry about the future, often for very silly reasons when you think about how powerful and lovingmy Heavenly Father is. It was my desire to refresh all the students’ memory when it comes to what Jesus tells us about worry.

In one of the simplest teachings on the issue of worry, Jesus reminds us that we are much more important to him than birds or flowers, which do not worry at all, but are fed and clothed. This is important for us who tend to worry not only about what we’ll eat or drink or wear, but many other things as well. Things like wealth, success, popularity, affirmation, pleasure, significance, identity, performance, etc. There are many things that threaten to steal our joy by throwing us into a swirl of worry.

Jesus also tells us that our worrying won’t add a single hour to life. The best thing we can do is identify what makes us worry, and then give those things over to God in prayer so that he can deal with them in his way. All of this while trusting in his goodness and love toward us as a Father who cares for his children. Are you not more important to God than birds and flowers?

We took a few minutes as a group identifying some of our shared sources of worry. We threw many words and phrases up on a big sheet of paper and reflected on the weight of it all on everyone’s hearts and minds. This is the first step toward being free from worry: identifying the obvious. After that, we know how to pray for ourselves and each other.

Once we’ve surrendered these things to God, he asks us to simply do two things: seek his kingdom and seek his righteousness. What does this mean? This means putting God and his ways above everything else in life. It means spending our time, energy, and resources doing whatever we can with the help of the Holy Spirit to see more people trust in God and have their lives transformed into the image of Jesus. It means valuing holiness over happiness, and trusting that God will fill in all the details.

What worries you, my friends? Have you taken the time to bring these things before your Father who cares so much more about you than you could ever imagine? Do you desire God’s kingdom and righteousness in your life and in this world more than anything else? Maybe you can echo along with me the words of a very normal human father in Mark chapter 9 who cried out to Jesus, “Lord, I believe. Help my unbelief!”

Coming Up…

  1. Join us Friday as Emmanuel DeJesus teaches on social media and entertainment in the continuation of our Good Gifts series.
  2. Our next Special Event is scheduled for November 9 at the MacDonalds’ home in Abasand. Invite a friend for a bonfire, hot drinks, and the testimony of a surprise guest from our church. More details will be included in next week’s blog post.

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