Merge Recap-September 14

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Series: The Red Stuff
Message in a sentence: Jesus made some amazing claims and we have to make a decision on whether we believe them or not.
Key Scriptures: John 14:9, Luke 19:10, John 14:6

We are off to an amazing start to our semester at Merge! The energy going into each night has been really high and it’s been a blast to be with our middle school students.

This week we continued in our series The Red Stuff, where we are looking at some of the things Jesus said and how they apply to us. This week we looked at What Jesus said about Himself?

We looked at 3 statement:
1) Jesus said He was God
2) Jesus said He was Savior
3) Jesus said He was the only way to heaven

We spent a lot of our time with the last statement. Jesus being the only way to heaven is a very controversial thing in 2014. Lots of people think that Jesus is one of many ways to heaven. The only problem with this is what Jesus actually said. He said I am THE Way, The Truth and THE Life.

We ended our night by talking about the fact that we have to do something with the statements. Believe them, dismiss them, ignore them, we have to make so sort of decision about them. In-decision is a choice against believe Jesus.

I  really wanted to stress to students that they have to make a decision about Christ for themselves. Their parents, their friends, and myself cannot accept Christ for them, it is a personal decision.

Next week we end the series by looking at What did Jesus say to His Followers?

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Merge Recap-September 7

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Series: The Red Stuff
Message is a sentence: Unlike religion, Jesus was focused on our hearts and not our actions.
Key Scriptures: Luke 18:10-14, Matthew 23:25

Last night we started back our weekly middle school large group called Merge. We had a packed house and it was great to see the familiar faces of our 8th grade students and welcome our 7th graders to Merge.

Our first series is called The Red Stuff and we are looking at several passages of scripture, seeing what Jesus has to say, and then applying that to our lives.

We had two main points as we looked at what Jesus had to say about religion.
1) Religion focuses on the outward appearance, but Jesus focuses on the heart
2) Religion focuses on what we need to do, but Jesus focuses on what He was going to do

We needed to get a common definition for religion and came up with this working one for our time: What you have to do to get to God.

Jesus had so much conflict with the religious leaders of His day because they kept burdening people with rules and regulations to be more Godly. Jesus came with a completely different message: trust in me. Forget the rules and regulations and what you do on the outside. Jesus was and is focused on our hearts-the part of ourselves that we can’t clean up or fake.

The challenge for us is not that much different than those in Jesus day. It’s far easier for us to approach our relationship with Christ as a check list instead of checking our hearts to make sure they are lining up with Christ. We are all challenged by this fact, no matter what our age.

I think this series is going to take us to some good places and challenge students and myself to examine how we approach our relationship with Christ in light of what He tells us.

True Story wk 2-Merge Recap

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Series: True Story (week 2 of 2)
Message in a Sentence: When Jesus comes into our lives, he completely rewrites our story.
Main Scripture: Titus 3:3-8

 

Last night to wrap up our True Story series, I wanted to bring in another voice for students to hear. As I’ve mentioned before, I like to do this because it exposes students to other people, and sometimes it take someone different to drive home the message.

Our speaker last night is a product of the Student Ministry at Riverland Hills. His name is Robert Tompkins and he’s a junior at Anderson University. He did a great job of speaking to how Jesus comes in changes our story when we accept him into our lives.

His main passage of scripture is becoming one of favorites. The passage clearly lays out what our lives looked like before Christ (verse 3), and then it takes a look at how Jesus came to save us in our rebellion against God. Jesus did this not because of anything we had done–but because of who he is!

There were several things that stood out to me about what Robert said and I hope the students took away as much as I did.

Here are some of my notes:

1) Apart from Christ, our story ends in hell
2) Jesus came despite my sin and saved me-this becomes my story
3) In Christ we move from the person described in verse 3 to an heir of the kingdom of God
4) Jesus brings us into a right relationship with God
5) Our hope firmly rests on what Christ has done
6) The verses urge us to do good, and that doing good means sharing Christ with other people

The good thing about this series is it is not just for students. Everyone who calls themselves a Christian, has a story to tell. We are commanded by Jesus to take this story out. This message served as a great remind of what Jesus has done for each of us and how we need share it with others.