Learning can be hard. Sometimes it's fun. Like learning about a sport, a new game, or a musical instrument. People look forward to it when it's about something that they like or are interested in. But even then, learning takes work.
There was a time that I wanted to learn to play the drums. Melissa bought me some drum sticks (not chicken) and a drum pad for Christmas one year. I was pretty excited. This was the year I was gonna learn to beat on the drums. All my childhood dreams were going to come true. Bands would start to call me and ask me to tour with them. That year came and went. No bands called. My dreams were still just dreams. And I still don't know how to play the drums. There were plenty of times (about a bizillion) that I picked up the sticks and looked at the practice pad. A couple of times I even hit the pad and pretended that I knew what rhythm was. But even with my best efforts, and some of the right equipment, I couldn't figure out how to play the drums. Honestly, I didn't even know where to start. It was sad. (Side note: the next Christmas Melissa gave me a book. "Here. I know you can read" she said.)
Reading the Bible can be the same way. You can have a Bible, have gone to church every Sunday for your entire life, but still not know how to connect to God on your own. Can you relate? Come to Blast and Ignite this week, Oct 2nd @ 7 pm as we talk about the first step in connecting with God. You'll be surprised at how simple it can be.
For the next four weeks we are going to be talking about the Bible. Each week we are going to talk a little bit about how to read the Bible so that we can better understand what it means in our lives. So for part of the upcoming nights in small group we will do some "Bible study." Last night I challenged you guys to do two things.
The first is to bring your Bible (if you have one) to Blast / Ignite. If we are going to read the Bible, it'd be a pretty good idea to actually have one to read. Yes, we will have Bibles available to anyone who doesn't have one or forgot theirs. But there is something about using your Bible. It's familiar. It's personal. It becomes natural. You get used to it. It really becomes your Bible, not just the Bible that you own.
The second thing I challenged you to do was read the Bible and write down any thoughts, notes, questions, etc. from what you read. I suggested reading Genesis 22:1-19, Psalm 13:1-6, Mark 15:1-42, 1 John 1:1-10. This would be four days of reading within the next week. Even with super packed schedules, this is very doable. It can be done between 15 - 30 minutes.
Something like this is usually more exciting and encouraging when doing it with a group. I'd love for there to be lots of interaction/encouragement from the people who are reading. So if you are reading, let us know by posting something on facebook, especially the BlastIgniteNC3 page. Maybe post the phrase or verse the stuck out to you. Or write a question or thought about what you read. I know I'll be inspired from seeing these, and my guess is others will to.
So, what are you waiting for? Get to it.
Sometimes in school, I would sit in class and understand everything the teacher was talking about. The questions made sense. The answers made sense. I knew exactly what she was talking about. I was this genius who was surrounded by these poor fools who didn't have a clue. (Confession: I'm not a genius. I had to use spell check to spell genius. My first attempt was "jeanus." My laptop actually laughed at me. Then laughed harder when I started to cry.)
And then I'd get home and forget everything I ever knew. It's like I became a moron. And for some reason, this genius-to-moron transformation seemed to happen a lot with math. I couldn't figure out how to turn my calculator on. I was confused why there were letters and numbers all mixed together. And why did the teacher only assign odd numbered questions for homework? Did she have something against even numbers? Those were tough times.
As much as I hated when that happened with school stuff, it really bothered me when it happened with church stuff. At church I pretty much understood all the preacher was saying. I knew where to open the Bible and what to read. Sometimes I didn't even need my Bible; the verses were on the screen. It was pretty easy to follow. Then I'd get home and try to read the Bible for myself. Clueless. What should I read? How long should I read for? What am I supposed to be learning? What does that word mean? Is learning about God supposed to be this hard?
For the next four weeks we are going to be talking about the Bible. We're going to spend some time figuring out the what's and how's of reading the Bible. Join us this Wednesday @ 7 pm as we start "Understand: Making Sense of the Bible."
Last night we finished out our series about friendship. We talked about how part of the way God designed friendships were so that our friends would influence and shape us. It's God's desire that in a friendship (really any relationship) both people are helping the other to become more like Jesus. So I thought I'd share three ways that teenagers, especially the ones I work with, have helped/are helping me to be more like Jesus.
Perspective - It's great talking with students about life. Someone will ask a question or make a comment and I'll see things in a new light. All of the sudden things I thought were important no longer are as important. That's helpful. Focusing on eternal is better than focusing on the temporary.
Transparency - I am continually amazed at how open and honest teenagers are. They don't always share the most personal, secret stuff. But a lot of times they freely talk about hopes, dreams, disappointments, fears, anger, etc. This take a lot of courage. It's risky to share personal things like that. There are times I want to stay closed off, safe and guarded. But that's not like Jesus. He was a risk taker. Teenagers are helping me take some of the same risks.
Fun - Teenagers are fun. They know what fun is, where to find it, and how to have it. I laugh the most when I'm around students. Being with them helps me fight off the grumpy old man syndrome. Laughing and enjoying life is definitely like Jesus.
These are just a few of the ways that God is using the students in my life to shape me to be more like Christ. I'm glad that I can call them friends.
What makes a sport a sport? Some things are so common they are obviously a sport: baseball, basketball, football, hockey, golf, etc. There are other things that seem to be a sport every 4 years, when the Olympics roll around. Things like wrestling, gymnastics, swimming, track and field, and biking. Then there are things we see on ESPN that sometimes don't seem to fit. Fishing? Hunting? Dog tricks? Hot dog eating contest?
No matter what the sport is, there are some things that all athletes have in common, except maybe the professional hot dog eater. They all practice to get better. They all train hard to get better. And they all have people to help them get better. At a professional level, an athlete can have a team coach, team trainer, personal trainer, nutritionist, sports physiologist, and an agent. That's a lot of people all trying to help one person.
Who is helping you? Sure, you'll think of friends and family first. But how are they helping you? In sports, the goal is to make better athletes. How about in life? What are your friends helping you become?
Join us this Wednesday, Sept 11th, @ 7pm to hear more.
+Last night I think that most of you understood the main point I was trying to make; the point that the most helpful thing you can do for a friend is to point them back to Jesus. He's the one who created them. He's the one who knows them the best. He's the one who laid down His life so that we all can be forgiven of our sin. And I think that many of you really want to help your friends know Jesus more. So I want to give you some things to keep in mind while you're trying to take that next step.
My junior year of high school I had a friend I would regularly study with. We had Math, Science, English and History together. Almost everyday after school we would go to one of our houses and work on homework, projects or study for a test.
Studying together was easy since we were good friends. And it worked out great for me 'cause he also had the highest GPA in our class. That means he was #1 out of 300+ students. So yea, he brought the brains to the table. I mostly brought the chips (Doritos. Yum!)
What really amazed me was how much he said I helped him with his grades. I remember one book assignment in English that neither one of us really understood. (Ivanhoe anyone?) The main difference was that I had read the book and he had not. I paid attention in class and he was busy with games on his calculator. So when we studied for the test, he was asking questions, and I was giving answers. Well come test day, I failed miserably. He did not. Sigh.
Such is life.
And this is what friends do, right? Help each other out with everyday problems. You help me with math, I'll help you with English. You listen to my boyfriend drama, and I'll hear about your crazy dad /step mom / grandma / sister's boyfriend's best friend. If your mom can take us, my dad can pick us up. You ask my ex out, and I'll punch you in the nose. Opps. That really doesn't fit here (although it happens). But is there something more we should be doing besides helping each other with school problems, home problems, drama problems? Is there even a bigger problem that we forget? Or worse, one we ignore? (And I'm not talking about B.O. junior high boys!)
There is a big problem, and our friends need our help.
Find out how on Wed, September 4th @ 7 pm.
Each week two blogs will be posted for Blast and Ignite.