Good morning parents!
Last night our middle schoolers ate spaghetti, put ice cream in fruit roll ups, and talked about how we can trust Jesus more!
After some fellowship and food we settled down for prayer requests and prayer. The lesson for the evening centered on Thomas, and his doubt of Jesus’ resurrection. and Jesus’ response to his doubt. With such a strong theme of trust, we took a moment to do a quick trust exercise with some of our students.
I had four volunteers sit arranged in a circle, so that their backs faced another student's knees. If that is hard to picture, don’t worry! We took some pictures!
If this activity is done carefully, every chair can be removed, and each person will be supported by the legs of the others. If even one link in the circle falls, the entire circle crumbles. Each person is required to trust not only the person they are leaning on, but every other person in the circle as well.
After that we spent some time talking about how much we trust people, why we trust them, and what makes someone trustworthy. It's fairly easy to trust someone who you know well, or when the stakes are low, but it's very hard to trust someone who you don’t know or the stakes are higher.
We turned to John 20, where Jesus appears to ten of his disciples - all except Thomas. Thomas is a lot like us, and he struggled to believe his fellow disciples when they told him that Jesus had appeared to them. Maybe he thought they were hallucinating, or playing some kind of cruel prank. His response was that he would only believe if he were able to put his fingers in Jesus’ hands, and his hand in Jesus’ side.
We can be a little like Thomas sometimes, and doubt is something that often causes young believers to feel shame. Just a few verses later though, Jesus responds to Thomas’ doubt with incredible grace. Jesus does not shame Thomas, but immediately invites him to touch his hands and his side. Jesus wanted Thomas to be able to trust him, and took the time to prove himself trustworthy.
We broke into our debrief groups, and spent some time reflecting on how we trust Jesus in our day to day lives. Trust is something that is very hard to describe, but you know it when you feel it. We challenged students to recognize that Jesus was trustworthy, and think of ways that they can put their trust into action this week.
Next week is our last official youth group of the program year! We will have pizza, play games and reflect on what we liked and didn’t like this year!
There are still some summer events in the works but those should be on the calendar soon, and I will make sure to update the website with those dates once they are finalized!
Thanks for stopping by and have a wonderful week!
Happy Monday parents!
Last night the middle schoolers ate some pizza, met some new friends, and talked about how Jesus is alive!
After our usual food and hangout time, we gathered for prayer requests and prayer, and dove into our lesson for the week!
I began by asking if anyone had ever been surprised by something on a hike. There are loads of things in nature that have the potential to catch us off guard. Students shared some interesting stories about stumbling across deer skulls, roadkill, and all sorts of other things that surprised them in nature. I took the time to share a story about my friend Danny, who was the quintessential “snake guy.”
When I was about 14, Danny and I were walking through some woods at a campground, and I stumbled across what I thought was a dead snake. It was upside down, coiled in an unnatural position, and smelled quite badly. I went to move the snake off the trail we were on with a stick, but Danny saw what I was doing and called out to stop me.
He ran up and to my horror picked this snake up. He started to try and tell me that this was a hognose snake, but I only heard about one word before I properly screamed. The snake was very much alive, had fanned out its neck like a cobra, and was making a sound that my brain interpreted as a rattlesnake’s rattle. Danny giggled, and put the snake back on the ground where it dramatically flipped onto its back, and stuck out its tongue again. You can imagine my surprise, and subsequent embarrassment.
This story has an interesting parallel in Luke 24, where the disciples were certain that Jesus was dead. A group of women come and tell them that the tomb is empty and Jesus is alive, and the 11 struggle to believe them. Our lived experience tells us that dead things stay dead - this is simply a fact of life. Despite all of Jesus’ reassurance that he would rise again, the disciples couldn't shake their unbelief. Peter finally goes to the tomb, but even then we read that he leaves wondering what could have happened.
We know the answer, and we celebrated it just 8 short days ago! Jesus is risen! Like Eric said, we know that is true because he didn’t do it in a corner. We hear this good news every year around Easter, but it’s not just good news once a year - it’s the best news, all the time. I encouraged students to remember that Jesus is alive, and that if we truly believe that, it changes everything.
We broke into our small groups, where my boys compared Jesus defeating death to a fortnite match, and talked about how our lives might be different if we were more conscious of the reality that Jesus is Alive!
Next week, we will spend some time in the book of John to talk about how Jesus can be trusted!
Have a wonderful week!