Youth - Lent
Youth - ENGAGE - 3.13.2017 PDF Print E-mail

 

Week Two

Discipline of Worship By Kai Nilsen

“Worship didn’t do anything for me today.” “I didn’t get anything out of it.” “It was so boring. I didn’t feel anything.” “I don’t have time to get to worship this weekend. I have so much to do.”

Notice the focus of each statement. I... I... I... Worship, properly understood, shifts the focus. Worship focuses our minds on God. “We engage ourselves with, dwell upon, and express the greatness, beauty and goodness of God.” (Dallas Willard, The Spirit of the Disciplines, p.177) In that way, worship is profoundly counter-cultural. We offer ourselves not for what we will get or feel but because God’s presence and gracious goodness is worthy of praise.

We also diminish worship when we think about it primarily as something we do for an hour a week or, in our contemporary church world, when we make a distinction between the time of singing (which we call worship) and the rest of the service. Worship is an event but it is also a posture of living. We live our lives in worshipful response to God’s goodness when, daily, we speak words of thanks and praise to God and live lives of loving service, not for what we will gain, but simply to say thank you to God.

 
Youth - ENGAGE - 3.11.2017 PDF Print E-mail

 

Saturday: Insights for the journey.

Each Saturday we hope you will gather the main experiences, the accumulated insights, and 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 study?



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



Ask God for continued guidance and encouragement as you make the journey of this season.


ENGAGE LIFE!

Last Updated on Monday, 20 March 2017 13:39
 
Youth - ENGAGE - 3.10.2017 PDF Print E-mail

Friday: A personal reflection.

Many personal trainers are pushing the principle of muscle confusion as a key for physical growth. By varying your training routines your muscles can’t adapt to one specific routine, thus they stretch and break down, and in building back up, they grow.

 

I can say that has been true in my life as well. Throughout my adolescence, I wrestled with dyslexia, reading comprehension problems and a bit of attention deficit thrown in which made for an interesting academic life to say the least. I read slower than everyone else. I had to read things several times over before I could grasped what I was reading. I even did my math problems backwards which drove my teachers crazy. My sense of frustration grew as I tried to keep up with everyone else using their same study methods.  I would just have to work harder and make it work for me, but it didn't.


After finally accepting that I needed some help, I met with some teachers that helped me discover that it was alright to do things differently, see the world differently, solve problems from a different angle.  I learned that everyone was wired differently.  This personal discovery brought me freedom from the frustration and stagnation I was feeling.   I just needed to understand what worked for me and then work it.  Just by mixing up my study habits - shorter more intense study times, using visual flash cards and rewording the questions - I was able to overcome these hurdles. This was cross-training for my mind. It allowed me to be at my best.


How can you vary your study habits?

What do you need to let go of for a season?

What do you need to engage?

Last Updated on Friday, 10 March 2017 13:36
 
Youth - ENGAGE - 3.9.2017 PDF Print E-mail

 

Thursday: How can we talk about this with others?

The themes of renewal of mind, focus for life, and connecting with a bigger story arise from our engagement with the discipline of study. As you reflect upon this experience individually, consider these questions:

Who was/is your favorite teacher or author? What have they taught you about life?


What shifts (changes) do you need to make in what you read, study, or watch that will help you focus on God’s life and character?


How are you continually reminding yourself that you are part of the larger narrative of God’s story?

 
Youth - ENGAGE - 3.8.2017 PDF Print E-mail

 

Wednesday: What do our guides say?

“What we study determines what kind of habits are to be formed. That is why Paul urged us to center on things that are true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, and gracious.” (Richard J. Foster, Celebration of Discipline, p.55)

Do an inventory of what you read, watch, or study? How is your life being shaped? Where is it leading you?


How often do you consciously reflect on what you read or watch versus simply filling your mind with more content? Tty it this week. Read or watch less. Reflect more.


What are you studying now? What can you study in the future to center your life on “things that are true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, and gracious?”

 
Youth - ENGAGE - 3.7.2017 PDF Print E-mail

Tuesday: What do the Scriptures say?

Read Psalm 1. Those who meditate on God’s word are like “trees planted by streams of water...” Reflect on that imagery. When, if ever, has that been true for your life?


“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind...” (Romans 12:2).


What worldly, cultural values are drawing you away from the mind of Christ, the way of love? What areas of your life need renewal?

 
Youth - ENGAGE - 3.6.2017 PDF Print E-mail

 

Monday: What can I do?

Ignatius of Loyola, founder of the Society of Jesus (Jesuits), invites us into study and meditation by imaginatively entering the biblical stories.


     Choose some of your favorite biblical stories. Luke 15:11- 32, Luke 10:25-37, John 8:1-11 maybe good examples.
    Read the story slowly once.
    Reread the story imagining yourself part of the scene. Who is there? What is happening? What are the sights, smells?
    Put yourself in the place of each of the characters. What would you be thinking, feeling? How would you respond?
    If Jesus spoke to you in that scene, what would he say? Focus your mind on one word or phrase that strikes you.
    Say a prayer thanking God for inviting you to be part of the story.

 
Youth - ENGAGE - 3.5.2017 PDF Print E-mail

 

Week One

Discipline of Study by Kai Nilsen

In the discipline of study we engage the written, spoken, and visual word so that our minds are renewed, our connection with the story of God deepened, and our discernment of what is good and right sharpened. Therefore, we study with expectancy in the words of Dallas Willard, “Our prayer as we study meditatively is always that God would meet us and speak specifically to us, for ultimately the Word of God is God speaking.” (Dallas Willard, The Spirit of the Disciplines, p.177)


Studying is not just reading or listening or watching. In our study we engage the material with a sense of expectancy that God is present. We reflect deeply on the words and images so that what enters the mind will shape the heart. Consequently, what we study matters. We live in a time of information overload. The mass of information at our ready access multiplies in ever shortening increments of time. But, information alone does not change anyone or anything. So, we read, reflect, pray, converse, and then repeat. By God’s grace, we will be better able to love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength; and our neighbor as ourselves.
 
Youth - ENGAGE 3.4.2017 PDF Print E-mail

 

Saturday: Insights for the journey.

Each Saturday, we hope you will gather the important experiences, the insights you have gathered, the inner promptings from the week and write them down in a journal or sheet that you put in your Bible.

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

  • Ask God for continued guidance and encouragement as you make the journey of this season.

Engage Life!

 
Youth - ENGAGE - 3.3.2017 PDF Print E-mail

Friday: A personal reflection.


 

What's best for me isn't always what's best for all. I learned that lesson the hard way during my sophomore year at Clemson. Staying up many late nights studying hard while eagerly trying to make my mark and prove myself, I managed to make the Clemson's Rowing Crew Team. I was the number two seat in an eight man rowing shell. I quickly begin to feel the wear on my body with little sleep, heavy school work and intense early morning crew practices. After one late night of studying and deciding sleep was more important than crew practice that morning, I quickly learned when you are part of a team, you don't sleep in. My boat mates came to my dorm room, picked me up out of bed, carried me to the freezing lake, and threw me in. I practiced that morning freezing and soaked to the bone. I learned the chilling lesson quickly what's best for me isn't always what's best for the team.

 

Sometimes you learn more through pain than pleasure. That was certainly the case for me. It's not easy to make decisions that work better for the body than for me. The discipline of submission has been a great teacher. The work can never be limited to what I can know, do, or control. So, I'm learning to give up control when it benefits others. It's not always about me!

 

When have you learned to give up control? What was that like? How did it affect your relationship to others, your sense of self?

 
Youth - ENGAGE - 3.2.2017 PDF Print E-mail

Thursday: How can we talk about this with others?

 

The themes of humility, give up control, and offering ourselves for the sake of others launch our Lenten journey. As you talk with a formational friend or reflect upon this experience individually, consider these questions:

 

• In what areas of your life do you struggle with either lack of control or desiring to control too much? How can you imagine those relationships differently?

• Control is often a manifestation of fear or anxiety. What are the fears underlying your desire to control or your perceived lack of control?

• God chooses to work through love not coercion. Does that change how you see yourself in relationship with God?

• What would it mean for you to submit yourself to others in love this week?

Last Updated on Wednesday, 01 March 2017 23:26
 
Youth - ENGAGE Intro 3.1.2017 PDF Print E-mail

ASH WEDNESDAY WEEK – You are about to receive your 1st devotion of the Lenten material – ENGAGE - that will aid your spiritual journey over the next forty days leading up to Easter with your Wednesday Small Group. We pray your daily practice of these spiritual disciplines may gain you a closer walk with Christ and foster habits that are life-giving that will go well beyond this Easter season.

 
SUBMISSION by Kai Nilsen

In a “me” world, the thought of submission, much less actually submitting ourselves to God and/or others, is disliked. Yet, what better way to enter this season of Lent than by engaging in the discipline of submission? The ritual action of Ash Wednesday, ashes being marked on our foreheads in the sign of a cross, reminds us of our brokenness, our mortality, and our dependence on God to work new life in us and through us. We are not in control! 


Submission reminds us it is better to be in right relationship than always having to be right. We give ourselves to one another mutually, as learners and teachers, leaders and followers, desiring only the best for all. This discipline has been horribly abused in Christian community over the centuries – religions leaders imposing their wills on their people, husbands demanding strict obedience from their wives, parents applying a heavy hand on their children as they punish “in accordance with the will of God.” Nothing could be further from the truth of this discipline.


Submission invites us into a humble, open, mutually dependent relationship with God and with one another. We accept our place as servants of God, not masters of our own destiny.


We relish being both learner and teacher, leader and follower, creators of vision and those who do the ordinary work of carrying it out.

 

 

ASH WEDNEDAY - 3.1.2017

Philippians 2:1-4 - “If you’ve gotten anything at all out of following Christ, if his love has made any difference in your life... Don’t push your way to the front; don’t sweet-talk your way to the top. Put yourself aside, and help others get ahead. Don’t be obsessed with getting your own advantage. Forget yourselves long enough to lend a helping hand” (THE MESSAGE, by Eugene Peterson).

 

• What does it mean to you to submit yourself to following Christ?

• What areas of your life are you less willing to surrender control?

• In what specific ways do you struggle with getting to the top, gaining your own advantage? Say a prayer of confession to God for those areas.

• What would it look like, in your life, to “forget yourselves long enough to lend a helping hand?”

• Think of ways to submit yourself for the betterment of others at home, at work, at school.

• How can you be less controlling of others and more loving?

Last Updated on Wednesday, 01 March 2017 23:25
 
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