Starting a few weeks ago I began writing a weekly devotion for our youth group to be posted on our MySpace Blog. We also used the following one for small group. I think it went well, and our youth pastor also said that it was a good evening. I was so excited! I am hoping that he will continue to like them and that they will be useful for more small group discussions.
I will be double posting my devotions. I will post them on our myspace blog, but I will also be posting them here, so that I can keep all my bloggy material together.
Is Jesus There?
"When two or three of you are together because of me, you can be sure that I'll be there."
Matthew 18:20 (The Message)
Do you ever head to activities or meetings because of who will be there? Are you more excited about the people that will be there or the activity you will be doing than with experiencing the presence of Jesus and glorifying God?
In Matthew 18:20 Jesus lets us know that there is a very important rule for his presence in our activities and meetings. We have to be doing it for him. When we get together to do good, to serve others, or to study scripture, but our main reason is the people we will be hanging out with, or the way the leader speaks, or the expectation of being included by other people, we have completely missed the point. Without Jesus being the reason for us to gather together, we are glorifying our status and position with our peers, elevating speakers and activities to the status of gods and idols in our life, and worst of all, missing an opportuinity to grow in our relationship with Christ.
Imagine you're at a really great party. Great food, great music, all your friends are there and you're having an amazing time. Now, if you haven't invited Jesus to be the guest of honor, he is still there. He is just looking in the window, wishing he could share this time with you. It's no different at youth group. Just because you are in "church" doesn't mean that Jesus is included. You have to make him the guest of honor. Invite him in. Spend time with him. Talk to him and make plans with him. Make a point of making him the center.
Jesus clearly states that we should meet with each other because of him, but he also states that if we do, he WILL be there. When you feel distant in your walk with Christ or feel like you aren't growing like you think you should, ask yourself these questions:
What is my real purpose for going to youth group?
Do I attend activities because they are fun and my friends are there, or because I want to serve others for Christ?
When I am with my "church" friends, do we talk about scripture, struggles and hold each other accountable to living a Godly life?
Do I step outside of my "core" friends and make others feel welcome at activities, youth group and in my group of friends?
If any of your answers show that Jesus is not the reason you are getting together with your friends, what needs to change?
1. Get Focused: Get together with your friends and take spiritual inventory of your relationship. Are you glorifying God or just "hanging out"?
2. Get Purpose: Start thinking of ways to put Jesus in the middle of every activity.
3. Get Wise: If you don't know how to center your friendships around God, open your Bible and ask God to show you how. Hey, open your Bible even if you already know!
4. Get over it: It really is possible to have a blast when Jesus is the center of everything you do. As a matter of fact, it's usually a lot more fun and a lot more interesting!