Tonight we spent some more time in Paul’s prayer for the Ephesian church (Ephesians 1:15-23) considering wisdom. I used an illustration tonight about how a coach I had in college who exposed to me all that I had been doing wrongly my whole life in hitting, and how to hit correctly. Ask your students if they can remember enough to walk back through the illustration and how it relates to Paul’s desire for believers in his Ephesian prayer. I only gave one question for them to wrestle with in their small groups: What would it look like for me to “lay out through” the three spiritual realities Paul desires for me to know in the prayer? (The 3 realities are:  what is the hope to which he has called you,  what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and  what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward those who believe)
FYI: We are very close to finalizing information about a local camp we are going to have this summer. We are going to partner with My Life Matters and hold the camp out at the schoolhouse in Virgilina that they are currently renovating. We will spend the mornings working out there, doing whatever tasks they need us to do. Then we will have some fun stuff planned for the afternoons and worship out at the lake each night. Look for that information sometime this week!
Hey parents! It was so good to be back together after our break last week! Tonight we talked about wisdom. We did that by taking a closer look at Paul’s prayer for the Ephesian church (1:16-23). Over the next couple of weeks we will also look at Paul’s prayers for believers in Philippians and in Colossians.
I want our students to see wisdom as the work of the Spirit to align our lives with the reality of God’s grand redemptive story. I want them to see that Paul’s desire for believers is not just mentally affirming gospel truths as true and good, but, through a growing personal relationship with him, coming to live in light of their reality. Tonight we saw how that is what Paul prays for in his Ephesian prayer.
Ask your students to walk back through the prayer with you in the coming week and share with you what they learned. Also, here are some reflection questions that you can use for deeper discussion:
- How does this passage help you understand what spiritual wisdom is?
- How does this passage present a personal pursuit of knowing God as necessary to gaining spiritual wisdom?
- Have you thought much about our need for revelation by the Spirit? How should we pray for this?
- Have you ever experienced your heart being enlightened in a specific way? If so, how?
- Of the three things Paul prays that believers would know, which one would you say you are most prone to forget?
- How much would you say you think about your hope in Christ? What all does that entail? Why is it important to have it as a focus in your life? What does it mean that you have “been called” to this hope?
- What does it look like for a believer to “lay out” in these truths, or begin to live “from” them? What would that look like for you?
- As a prayer for you (and all believers), how does this passage encourage you?
As always, I love you and am praying for you this week!
Hey all! I apologize for not making an announcement for last week. I have been in a FOG as I have wrapped up writing my dissertation. I actually hit submit on my final edited copy last Tuesday to the professors on my defense committee. And it. felt. so. good! But I just wanted to write to say that we will pick back up NEXT Tuesday night (April 20). We just have a few sessions left in our Truth Project series. We will plan to meet at the church for those, 8pm, on the Tuesday nights we meet.
After that, I’d like to begin meeting at our home again. We can meet out by the fire and share in some Bible study together. Elijah is beginning baseball, and his schedule (we believe) will include some Tuesday night games. So we will assess that to see if we need to make any other changes, but we’ll cross that bridge when we get there. I am beginning to think through what we will study together, as well. If you have an idea of something you’d like to study together, let me know!
I would appreciate your prayers this upcoming week. My oral defense is on this Thursday at 1:30pm. I am quite anxious. This is my final step. If all goes well and I successfully defend my dissertation, I will graduate in May! For now, I am glad to be finished writing, as I already feel so much more freedom to begin to give more attention to all the things…including this group.
Hope you all have a great week!
Hey all! Here are two important things you need to know for our student ministry gathering tomorrow night (3/29):
- Tomorrow is the last Sunday in March, which means we will have FAMILY WORSHIP NIGHT! That means that parents are urged to come and join us! After a game and some singing together, parents will join me for a conversation about spiritual disciplines and some prayer together. I hope you will join us!
- Secret Church is coming up on Friday night, April 23. This will take place at Westwood from 6pm until midnight on that night and feature a telecast of teaching by David Platt. The cost will be $10 a person, which will provide a study guide for the evening and some snacks. I need to order material ASAP for this, so I need to have a final number by Sunday night. You can sign up HERE. We can talk more about this event on Sunday night, if you have questions. Or you can shoot me a message.
It was so good to be back upstairs with the students tonight! After a fun game and singing some songs, we began considering together what it is to have wisdom. And we did that in a very unique way. We had some experts come and tell us about their vocations. Daniel, Charles, and Michelle participated in an interview about their particular vocations. They talked about what it was like to work in their vocation at the very beginning and the learning curve they experienced. They then talked about when it was that they came to be more comfortable in their vocational roles. They spoke about what wisdom looks like in each of their contexts.
Afterward, our students broke up into their small groups to talk about their thoughts on wisdom. I urged them to reflect on the interviews they heard and to consider what insight they may gain about what wisdom looks like in our spiritual life. What does gospel wisdom look like?
I would urge you to follow up with them and ask them what they learned and what they discussed in their groups. Ask them about wisdom, and begin to have a discussion about the difference between knowledge and wisdom. How do we move beyond the mere accumulation of knowledge about God and into walking in wisdom as believers and gospel people?
I’m praying for you this week as you discuss together!
Our next scheduled spiritual retreat is this Saturday beginning at 9am. Due to the Mom2Mom sale going on, we will plan to meet in The Well (Student Ministry room) upstairs to begin our time. Please use the outdoor stairs up to the upstairs hallway to enter the building, if you don’t mind. We will plan to eat lunch together to wrap up our time. If you are planning on helping clean up after the Mom2Mom sale, we will be finished in time for you to do that.
Also, we are planning to transition back up to The Well this Sunday for our weekly worship gatherings (for the large-group worship portion). After we wrap up with the spiritual retreat, we may need some help setting that room back up, if you’d want to stick around. Our retreat and lunch will be over by noon. If you stay to help we will plan to wrap up at 1pm.
As always, this event is for BOTH students & parents alike! So, parents come and join us!!
Hope to see you there!
Hey parents! Tonight we continued our #thisistheway series by looking at courageous rest as a mark of those who embody the Kingdom. Although those terms seem paradoxical, they are actually mutually dependent. We cannot respond to difficulties in life with courage before we first rest in the Lord. And it takes rightly aimed courage to go to him for rest!
We walked through Psalm 3 together. In that Psalm, David faces an increasing threat that is currently surrounding him and taunting him. Ask your students to share with you his response, the result, and the resolve that the Psalm reveals. You can also use the following reflection questions to dig deeper into these truths this week in your home. There are some REALLY good opportunities for honest reflection in these questions, especially in light of the difficult 12 months we have all just faced. Don’t miss this opportunity to have good, honest conversations!
- How have the events and situations of the last 12 months affected you? In what ways have you been made to feel anxious, weary, or fearful?
- How do you believe that God has used this time to draw you to himself, or reveal the reality of who he is to you?
- What is a truth or promise from Scripture that you have leaned into during this time?
- How does trust yield rest? How have you seen this proven true in your own life?
- Read v. 5 again together. Just like David was able to meet his difficult situation by reaffirming who he knew God to be, what are some truths about God that we can affirm as we face the difficulties of our own day?
- How does this passage reveal to us what true courage looks like? How is that courage different than how the world often views it?
- How is each difficult situation we face an opportunity to experience God’s goodness? How is each an opportunity to grow in gospel resolve? What are the keys in NOT missing these opportunities?
I’m praying for you this week!
Parents, I hope you will join us for our next scheduled Family Worship Night, coming up on this Sunday! Our intention is to hold this on a monthly basis on the last Sunday of each month. We are asking parents to come and join their students for some initial fun and singing together. After this, parents will follow me to a different location where I hope to encourage you from the Word, discuss relevant topics, and get your talking and praying together.
I am REALLY excited about this, and hope you will make it a priority to be here! So come and join us this Sunday night! If you have any questions, please feel free to shoot me a message.
This Sunday I’d like for us to talk a little bit about how to help our students navigate the sexual revolution that is currently gripping our culture. How do we guide those conversations? What should we be aware of? How do we go deeper than just pointing out right and wrong to actually helping them develop a theology of sex? How do we help them understand how to view others that think differently than they do, or even are caught up in this revolution? Extremely important conversation for our time, and I look forward to sharing in it with you!
Hey all! Our next scheduled spiritual retreat is coming up on this Saturday, February 27. We will meet at Westwood at 9am in the FLC. Remember, our church is also scheduled to participate in the prayer event at the Warehouse from 7-9am. So, you can plan to time that to transition beautifully into our spiritual retreat!
We will gather together for an initial read of our passage and prayer, then spread out individually for an extended time of solitude and time in the Scripture. Students should bring their Bible, a journal, and a writing utensil. We are asking that students do not have their cell phones with them. If with them, though, we will have a designated place to put them before we spread out.
This event is for EVERYONE, by the way! Parents are absolutely invited to come and participate! We’d love to have you!
We will wrap up with lunch at around noon, with a pick up time of 12:30. We are looking forward to sharing in this time together, and hope to see everyone there!
Hey parents! We continued our series called #thisistheway by looking again at the concept of Radical Love as a mark of the one who embodies the Kingdom. Tonight we took a look at the story of the Good Samaritan from Luke 10:25-37.
In attempting to understand the point that Jesus was making in answering the lawyer, I challenged our students to re-cast and re-tell this story for a modern audience, as if Jesus were answering the same question from a “good, southern baptist, church-going” person seeking to justify himself.
Ask your students this week to share with you insight they gained from participating in this activity. You can also use the following questions for reflection to cultivate further conversations in your home in the days ahead:
*What did you learn through doing this activity? How did it help you better understand this very familiar parable?
*In what ways are you convicted to respond to the truth that Jesus presents?
*How are you prone to try to justify yourself? What is the proper response when we identify these areas?
*How does this passage of Scripture help you to understand how you should view people? Are there any people in your life or sphere of influence that you have failed to truly see because of their “label?”
*How does the question “how would I want to be treated” guide the way we treat others? What is one way you can keep that question constantly before you as you interact with others?
*What are the greatest hindrances to treating others in the way that Jesus calls you to in this passage? How can others pray specifically for you in these struggles?
I’m praying for you this week! Look for a few important announcements in the next couple of days about events happening very soon!