Merge Recap-September 21



Series: The Red Stuff
Message in a sentence: As followers of Christ, we should look different and make a difference
Key Scriptures: Matthew 5:13-16

Last night we concluded our series The Red Stuff by looking at what Jesus says about His followers. It was probably my favorite of the three weeks. Our passage of scripture was rich with imagery and application for myself and students.

We talked about how we as Christians are to display Christ. That we aren’t supposed to look like everyone around and our lives should be marked by Christ.

We talked about how we can look different on our sports teams, at home with our parents and siblings, and at school. We also talked about how we are not alone when we look different. There are other Christians with us and Jesus promises to be with us.

The second point we looked at was how we are supposed to look different. We talked about some of the uses for salt. In my research I found that there are 14,000 uses for salt like preserving food, cleaning, and some health applications.

Jesus calles us the salt of the earth and we really dove into the idea about what flavor are we as Christians bringing out to the world around us.

We talked about how some of our student’s friends don’t go to church or own a Bible, so whatever our students show about Christ is all their friends know about Him.

The same is true for adults. What flavor are we bring out of those around us? How are we displaying Christ to our co-workers and even our children?

The beauty about this series is that it’s not just for students or adults, but all of us who want to follow Jesus as closely as possible.


Merge Recap-September 7



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

True Story BKG


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.