Youth - Lent
Youth - ENGAGE - 3.27a.2017 PDF Print E-mail

Week Four

Discipline of Service By Kathy Nycklemoe


Do we really need each other? And if we do, why? Can't I live my solitary life, with my individual rights as most important? Today our consumer culture encourages such thinking, and puts the "self' in the center. We can easily see others as worthy if they are like us and benefit us, and less than worthy if they do not. Yet this thinking is a deceptive illusion. God is in the center of all life and all people are of shared value and worth. Jesus showed us that truth many times, and in the divine design of God we are created to see others as worthy AND to simply help one another along the way.


God has created us to be in community and we are most "alive" when we live into this reality in humble service to one another. True service is alive when we share our gifts with joy, as well as when we allow others to share their gifts with us. True service leads to God and not to self. True service is much more than something we do - it is who we are created to be. It is more than an activity, it is a way of life. Any time we love, listen to, or lift up others, we serve. "True service is a life-style. It acts from ingrained patterns of living. It springs spontaneously to meet human need." (Richard J. Foster, Celebration of Discipline, p. 129)

Last Updated on Monday, 03 April 2017 13:00
 
Youth - ENGAGE - 03.25.2017 PDF Print E-mail

Saturday: Insights for the journey.

 

Each Saturday, we hope you will gather the noticeable experiences, the accumulated insights, the inner promptings from the week and write them down in a journal that you can bring to your Wednesday Small Group.

 

How have you experienced God's presence this week?

 

How has your connection with yourself with others deepened because of your intentional work with the discipline of celebration?

 

What about this discipline will you continue to build into your life?

 
Youth - ENGAGE - 03.24.2017 PDF Print E-mail

lent 

      Friday: A personal reflection by Marcus Mims

 

 

 

lent2

As an artist and minister I have always struggled with the way the Church over the years portrayed who Jesus was visually. Growing up the painted images and drawings I saw of Jesus were always of a pale and broken down man with long hair and a beard who seemed to be full of great love, yet also great sorrow.  He usually had scared hands and feet and a crown of thorns penetrating his forehead from his crucifixion.  There would also be a glare in his eyes that seemed to penetrate straight through to my soul beckoning the question, “Who do you say that I am?”  The influence these renderings of Christ had on me when I was young left me wanting to know more about this Jesus, especially because crowds seemed to follow him.  Why would anybody want to hang out with someone who is not fun or full of life?  Then I found some images of Jesus that answered that question.  He came that I may have life and have it to the full. - John 10:10b

 

 

Take a moment to think about if I can't celebrate in this life, how will I do it in the next?

 

How can I celebrate today? God IS Good! 

Last Updated on Friday, 24 March 2017 13:42
 
Youth - ENGAGE - 03.23.2017 PDF Print E-mail

Thursday: How can we talk about this with others?

 

The themes of joy and delight permeate the discipline of celebration. As you talk with a formational friend or reflect upon this experience individually, consider these questions:

 

What did you celebrate as a family when you were growing up? What did those celebrations say about what your family valued?

 

Have you ever been or encountered a joyless Christian? How can the discipline of celebration inform your/their journey?

 

Celebration is not just for grand events or significant movements of God. How can you celebrate small successes in your day?

 
Youth - ENGAGE - 03.22.2017 PDF Print E-mail

Wednesday: What do our guides say?

 

Dallas Willard states, "Certainly this will seem far too hedonistic to many of us. But we dishonor God as much by fearing and avoiding pleasure as we do by dependence upon it or living for it. Celebration heartily done makes our deprivations and sorrows seem small, and we find in it great strength to do the will of our God because his goodness becomes so real to us." (Dallas Willard, The Spirit of the Disciplines, p.180-181)

 

Richard Foster says, "Celebration is central to all the Spiritual Disciplines. Without a joyful spirit of festivity the Disciplines become dull... celebration brings joy into life, and joy makes us strong... God's normal means of bringing his joy is by redeeming and sanctifying the ordinary junctures of human life." (Richard J. Foster, Celebration of Discipline, pp.191, 193)

 

Reflect deeply on the insights from these two wise mentors. There is much for us to pray, seek, and to act upon in these words. You might want to write down how these words are speaking to you in a few simple paragraphs.

 
Youth - ENGAGE - 03.21.2017 PDF Print E-mail

Tuesday: What do the Scriptures say?

 

Let's begin with Jesus! Jesus's first miracle was at a wedding celebration in Cana (John 2). He seemed to create and enjoy meals often with religious leaders (Luke 7:36-50), disciples (Luke 22:8-20), large groups (Matthew 14:13-21), and small groups (Luke 24:13-32). There's just something about eating with others that brings about a climate for good celebration!

 

We see again and again portraits of unabashed celebration and delight from God's people in the Scriptures... why do we (you) have a difficult time celebrating?

 

Can we (you) celebrate the goodness of God in others?

 
Youth - ENGAGE - 03.20b.2017 PDF Print E-mail

Monday: What can I do?

 

A key component for practicing celebration is remembering . . .

 

• To cultivate "remembering" one must take time to slow down. Ponder your life, not what is wrong, but what is right. Where have you seen God at work in you, in your family, friends, neighbors, or co-workers, not just the big things, but little in-breakings of God's grace? And celebrate!

 

• As you consciously slow down, go on a walk or hike, perhaps at a park, through your neighborhood, or a local walking trail. Reflect on God's creation, its variety, its beauty, its intricacy, its wonder. And celebrate!

 

• Plan a dinner with a few close friends... go all out! Good food, conversation, and have some fun. Celebrate God's goodness through mutual love and support. Share what they mean in your life (be specific). And celebrate!

 

• Share a family "communion" experience... bread, wine (or grape juice). Remind everyone that "this is a celebration meal"... Jesus's presence will never leave us! And celebrate!

 
Youth - ENGAGE - 3.20.2017 PDF Print E-mail

Week Three

Discipline of Celebration by Keith Matthews

 

Dallas Willard comments that the discipline of celebration is "one of the most important disciplines of engagement, yet most overlooked and misunderstood. We engage in celebration when we enjoy ourselves, our life, our world, in conjunction with our faith and confidence in God's greatness, beauty and goodness."

 

We remember the gift of our life and world, and seek to celebrate God's gracious action towards us and others.  While this discipline might begin in private reflection, it typically involves others who know God and mutually celebrate with us. It involves eating and drinking, singing and dancing, and sharing of stories of God's action in our lives. Celebration recognizes that there is an appropriate and much needed time for this to be engaged in our lives. Many Christians find this hard to do, perhaps because it may seem self-indulgent, yet it IS important and necessary in our life with God. Let's celebrate!

 
Youth - ENGAGE - 3.18.2017 PDF Print E-mail

Saturday: Insights for the journey.


Each Saturday we hope you will gather the significant experiences, the accumulated insights, the inner promptings from the week and write them down.


How have you experienced God's presence this week?


How has your connection with yourself, with others deepened because of your intentional work with the discipline of worship?


What about this discipline will you continue to build into your life?

Last Updated on Monday, 20 March 2017 15:22
 
Youth - ENGAGE- 3.17.2017 PDF Print E-mail

Friday: A personal reflection ...by Marcus Mims

 

In my early school years, the classes I liked the most were usually the ones that allowed me to do some sort of visual art. Art helped me conceptualize whatever I was learning. Expressing it through form, lines, and color always helped me understand and remember things better.  At the beginning it was about me controlling whatever medium I was using - pencil, paint, charcoal, metal, or pottery.  Later I learned that art doesn't have an "I" in it. Art shouldn't be just about how you see things, but that you are a part of a larger community, respectfully considering the audience, as well as, its meaning.


One particular day I began to grasp this concept on a deeper level during a drawing class exercise. With easels surrounding a small table baring a still life of pottery and what-not, the class was given five minutes to draw what they saw. When instructed, everyone passed their drawings to the person on their right giving each person two minutes to draw what they saw. This continued till everyone had time with your initial work of art. By the time it returned to you it had changed completely and was not what you had originally envisioned.


My initial reaction was feelings of anger that the other students had messed up my drawing. After thinking about it for a moment I begin to see a more important life lesson learned – that I was not alone! That as an artist I had a responsibility to the greater community. I was not alone in searching for life's meaning. My peers were also apart of this journey.  That day I learned my value did not come just in honing my craft, but in using it in relationship to those I found myself, inspiring others to think, grow, and celebrate this shared life. That day I praised God and thanked Him that I would never be alone!


Take a moment to think about experiences of worship you have had (weekly or daily) when all you could say was, "Thank you, God."

Last Updated on Monday, 20 March 2017 15:21
 
Youth - ENGAGE - 3.16.2017 PDF Print E-mail

Thursday: How can we talk about this with others?


 

The themes of praise and wonder shift our focus from ourselves to God. As you talk with a formational friend or reflect upon this experience individually, consider these questions:


In what ways have you made worship all about you and not about praise of God?


When we offer ourselves to God in worship we also open our hearts to receive. Talk about a time in worship when you sensed God's presence.


Worship is not just a weekend event but also a life posture. How can you order your days, your life in such a way that you are consistently offering small utterances of praise throughout?

Last Updated on Tuesday, 14 March 2017 09:05
 
Youth - ENGAGE - 3.15.2017 PDF Print E-mail

Wednesday: What do our guides say?


 

"Worship is our responding to the overtures of love from the heart of the Father." (Richard J. Foster, Celebration of Discipline, p.138)


Think about a time in your life when you responded to someone's overture of love (love song). What was that like?


Now, imagine that love, and more, being poured out for you each day by God. How will you respond?


Spend time today responding to the wonder of God's love. What do you need to thank God for today?

Last Updated on Tuesday, 14 March 2017 09:03
 
Youth - ENGAGE - 3.14.2017 PDF Print E-mail

Tuesday: What do the Scriptures say?


 

"You are worthy our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things and by your will they existed and were created" (Revelation 4:11).


What, in your mind, makes God worthy of our honor and worship? Say or write the things that come to your mind and then thank God for them.


"For I desire steadfast love and not sacrifice, the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings" (Hosea 6:6).


Sometimes we focus only on "doing worship" and not on what the act of worship can produce in us by God's grace. How does your worship enhance your desire to experience and express God's steadfast love?

Last Updated on Tuesday, 14 March 2017 09:02
 
Youth - ENGAGE - 3.13b.2017 PDF Print E-mail

Monday: What can I do?


Weekly:

•   If you are an inconsistent participant in worship make a commitment for more frequent worship this season.

•   Choose to think of worship as an offering of praise and thanks to God first, rather than entering with the mindset of "What will I get out of it?"

•   Prepare for worship by reading the appointed Gospel text for the day or by arriving early and sitting quietly in prayer.


Daily:

   Each day this week, keep these words on your lips, "Thank you, God!" When you wake in the morning, thank God for a new day. When you experience the beauty of creation or laughter or holy tears, say "Thank you, God." Challenge yourself to find multiple ways every day to offer thanks to God.

Last Updated on Monday, 13 March 2017 13:20
 
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