It’s time to blow the dust of the blog and get back to some regular postings. What a busy, but overwhelmingly great summer! I’m excited for everything that has taken place and can hardly believe that summer is quickly coming to a close.
Two short weeks ago we wrapped up our annual camp trip, Beach Blast. This post will hopefully offer a brief insight into what we looked at during the middle school and high school side of the week. As always, I encourage you to take some of what we talk about here and ask your student about their experience with beach blast.
For middle school we looked at the topic of Grace. When I began thinking about beach blast 2013, I knew I could take the Bible studies and worship times anywhere, but when I really started looking at it talking about God’s grace seemed a great place to go with middle school students. I think some adults have a hard time explaining God’s grace and so giving students an in-depth look at it was the best place for us to go for beach blast.
For the purposes of beach blast we defined Grace as getting what you don’t deserve. This served as the reference point for all we talked about during the middle school side of beach blast.
The three Bible studies and three worship times centered around three ideas. The Bibles studies did a great job of introducing each idea and providing great avenues for me to take during our worship times.
On Sunday night we looked at the fact the Grace comes out of God’s character and there is nothing we can do to earn it.
The Bible study looked at several passages of scripture that talk about God’s character all leading to the point that our God is a generous and loving God who gives freely to us.
For worship we really looked at the fact that we don’t earn or work for God’s grace.
If I had to put the message in a sentence it would be: Grace comes out of God’s character (who He is), not by my works.
We looked at several scriptures talk about how God’s grace is free and undeserved (Romans 11:5-6, Ephesians 2:8-9) and that God created everything including us and that God doesn’t need us for anything but He chooses to love, care for, and provide grace to us (Acts 17:24-25)
Monday we talked about how in Jesus we see the best picture of grace.
The Bible studies looked at one passage of scripture that talks about our life before Christ and the way our life changes after accept Him.
In worship we looked at why we needed Jesus to come and die in our place. We talked about how God knew we would sin, even before He created us (2 Timothy 1:9). We talked about how our sin separates us from God (Romans 5:20-21, 5:15) and how God in His grace provided the way to be made right with God through Jesus (Romans 3:20-24).
Monday’s message in sentence would be: Salvation only found in Christ is the fullest expression of God’s grace.
Tuesday in Bible study we talked about how if we are Christians, we are called to be people whose every relationship is defined by grace.
Since God showed us grace in our relationship with him, we need to show that same grace to those around us. This was the most practical lesson since it was about us evaluating if/how we show grace to others.
In worship we talked about living in and showing grace. As an illustration, I asked students what are some ways we act American? I took answers from the students for a few minutes all setting up the point that being an American is something that we are and it’s the way we act. Grace should be the same way: we should know our place in grace and we should act in graceful ways.
For living in God’s grace, we have to accept Jesus death on the cross for our sins (Romans 5:8) and we live in the grace we are shown. We then talked about how we do this in the gifts we are given in Christ (Romans 12:6-17). We then talked about us showing grace, that we have been forgiven on so much, that we should forgive in the same way (Ephesians 4:31-32)
Tuesday’s message in sentence would be: We have been shown forgiveness, so we must forgive others.
For High School Beach Blast, Bart’s theme was Shift. We talked about the great shifts that happen in our lives through our faith in Christ.
High school beach blast’s format is much different from middle school. The Bible studies are much more discussion orientated and we really dig into one portion of scripture for each day.
The first Shift we talked about was From Fan to Follower-Mark 8:31-38. This is where we move from I’m with Jesus because of the things I can get from Him to I’m going to be with Jesus because He isn’t just the best option, He’s the only option. To be a follower might cost me something and I’m ok with that. In my Bible study we talked about how a fan might go see someone they like in concert once, but a follower will travel around their region or the country to see the same person in concert over and over again. We need to move from fans of Christ to followers.
The second shift we looked at was From Death to Life-Ephesians 2:1-10. This is one of our favorite passages of scripture because it tells us how we are apart from Christ and what happens when we comes into our lives. That because of our sin, we are spiritually dead and deserving of God’s wrath. But God, two words with some of the most weight in the whole Bible-in His mercy and grace sent Jesus to die in our place and rise again to bring us back into right relationship with God.
The third shift we looked at was From Slavery to Freedom-Romans 6:1-19. In our sin we are slaves. That we are controlled by it and there is no way for us, by ourselves to get away from our sin. But in Christ, the same power that raised Him from the dead is in us so we have the power to fight against our sin and break the chains of the sin in our lives.
The final shift we talked about was the shift from Religion to Relationship or from Religion to the Gospel-Luke 11:37-33. For this Bible study Bart provided a great chart that lists the difference in religion and the Gospel and our motives for our actions. I challenged the students in our group to take this chart and put it somewhere where it will remind of all that they have in Christ and to remind them of all we talked about in our Bible study times. You can find the chart below.
Bart and I feel very happy about all the happened this year at beach blast. I’m excited for all that we covered and the relationships that were built or strengthened during our time at the beach.