Merge Recap-October 26

NEW series WS.001


Series: NEW: What does it mean to be made new? (week 4 of 4)
Message in a sentence: As Christians, the Holy Spirit produces fruit in us much different than our sinful nature.
Key Scripture: Galatians 5:16-26

Last night we ended our discussion based series called NEW, and I think it was my favorite of all four weeks.

We talked at length about the difference between our sin nature and the nature of the Holy Spirit. These natures are completely opposite from each other and are constantly warring inside of a Christian.

I think my favorite question what we wrestled with last night was: Do you think Paul is saying that Christ-followers who get angry or have sexually impure thoughts or actions won’t go to heaven? 

The students had a great grasp on the fact that a Christian is forgiven of all sin, but if the sins committed are a repeated sin pattern and a person never feels bad or convicted of that sin, that person might not be a Christian after all.

As Christians we do not have a license to sin. As Christians are goal is to live a life like Christ, who was sinless. We need to be real and know we will sin, but we should not use that as a excuse to sin.


Merge Recap-October 5

NEW series WS.001


Series: NEW: What does it mean to be made new?
Message in a sentence: Our God reveals Himself to us in a variety of ways.
Key Scriptures: Psalm 19:1, Matthew 18:20, John 14:25-26

On Sunday we began a new series called New: What does it mean to be made new? In this series we will being looking at what it means to be a Christ follower, how to accept Christ, and how to live in the new life that we find in Him.

Our approach to this series will be different than what we’ve done so far. This series will be very discussion oriented, with my role as guiding the conversation students have in their groups. I think this type of teaching will work well with our students.

To kick off the series we talked all about how our God is a knowable God. That He is not distant or Someone we can’t understand. There are parts of Him that we can’t understand this side of eternity, but there are things about His character, His likes and dislikes, how He loves and provides for us, and other things we can know about Him.

We then broke into groups to talk about the scriptures listed above. We had great conversations about how God reveals Himself through nature, the heavens (skies, stars, and planets), through our relationships with other believers, and how the Holy Spirit draws us closer to the Father.

This series fits so well in the overall vision for the Middle School Ministry at Riverland Hills, where we look to lay the foundation that students will build on in high school and college.

Check back each week to see what your student is learning about their walk with Christ.

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.

Fall Calendar

fall calendar postcard final option 2


While the leaves on the tree haven’t started changing yet, fall is coming. This the coming season brings a start back to our weekly activities we do as a student ministry.

Our fall calendar lists all of our weekly activities and highlights our Fall Retreat. More information about each can be found on our website,

Also in the coming weeks, I will be posting weekly a recap of what has being happening in the middle school ministry.


5 W’s or Praise-Merge Recap



Sunday night it was great to be back at Merge! Because of our January schedule with various trips and last week being the Super Bowl, we’ve had a series of stops and starts. We are back on track now for the several weeks.

We have a special guest with us last night. Josh Dry, our worship leader at our modern service (Worship East), was with us to play a couple of songs and talk with about how we worship. In keeping with the theme, I spoke about the 5 W’s of praise. I was a good night as we talked about worship, shared in worship, and looked forward to worshipping as the student ministry at Disciple Now in a few weeks.

We are very familiar with the 5 W’s, Who, What, When, Where, and Why. Using this framework we get a very clear picture about praising or worship God.

For the Who? We looked at Hebrews 13:8 and talked about how in a world where nothing stays the same our God and His love are constant!

With What? we went to Luke 1:68 and talked about Christ coming and dying for our sin and raising again conquering death.

For When? we talked about when should we worship. We looked at Hebrews 13:15 and talked about we need to get a proper mindset if we are going to have a constant attitude of praise.

With Where? we look at the early Church from Acts 2 and how they met in formal and non-formal settings and how we should do that as well. We talked about the need to for personal worship was well as private. One of the things we celebrated was that our God is everywhere and we aren’t tied to one specific place to worship Him.

We landed on Why? One of of the most important questions. Why should we worship? Revelation 5:12 provides our answer. God is worthy of our praise. My definition of worship is praising God for who He is and what He has done. He is our Creator, our provider and He is one who who died in our place, bringing us back to God. This is why He is worthy!

Last night was a great night was we focused on worship.

How do you encourage worship in your home?
What emphasis do you place on it with your student?

2014 MS Winter Retreat

Winter retreat


On the weekend of January 24-26, the middle school will be heading to Myrtle Beach for our annual Winter Retreat. This trip is so different than any other because of all the share experiences we have as a group. 

I want to quickly talk about the 5 reasons listed above so you can get an idea about why your student should go.

1) The Polar Bear Challenge-for the 6th year in a row we will be getting into the ocean for the challenge. Every year I’m amazed by the number of girls that get in and the number of guys that opt out of the challenge.

2) Merge at the Beach-Each week at Merge, we try to create an inviting and fun environment for middle school students. At Winter Retreat we take this goal and move locations. Every game and group activity are designed to bring the group together.

3) Everyone going gets a zipper hoodie-The MS ministry of RHBC has never had it’s own shirt design, so for the first ever MS design I thought we would step it up and get a zipper hoodie. It is winter after all.

4) All your friends will be there-One of the main goals for this trip is to bring students together. This means deepening friendships and creating new ones. Retreats are one of the best places to do this.

5) We are going to the Pirate Voyage show-A dinner show again provides an opportunity to have a share experience as the group. It provides us all with memories and is something we will talk about long after we have come home.

We will do all of this and have some great times of Bible study and group discussions. I’m more excited for this year’s trip than any other.

To get more information you can click here.

To register you can click here. 

To get the parent pack you can click here.

If you have any questions feel free to email me at or