Session 3 Summary: Distance
Do you have a friend who is easily distracted? Like really easily. One minute you’re walking through the mall together and the next thing you know you’re by yourself because your friend got sidetracked. Or maybe there’s a little more to it than. The two of you were really close, but then they got pulled away by a new hobby, a new relationship, a new group of friends. And as you start moving in two different directions, the distance between you grows. In the same way, when we start to pursue other things more than God, without even realizing it we can move in another direction—one that leads us further away from Him. This isn’t a new problem. In fact, Paul spent a lot of time in the Bible talking to some of the earliest churches about the very same thing. As we look at what Paul has to say about chasing the wrong things, you may find yourself with a desire to turn back and pursue Him—the best thing.
Pick what you pursue.
Romans 2:1 New Living Translation (NLT)
God’s Judgment of Sin
2 You may think you can condemn such people, but you are just as bad, and you have no excuse! When you say they are wicked and should be punished, you are condemning yourself, for you who judge others do these very same things.
Romans 2:4 New Living Translation (NLT)
4 Don’t you see how wonderfully kind, tolerant, and patient God is with you? Does this mean nothing to you? Can’t you see that his kindness is intended to turn you from your sin?
Hebrews 12:1-2 New Living Translation (NLT)
God’s Discipline Proves His Love
12 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. 2 We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne.
God, thank you for being kind, patient, loving and tolerant with us. Remind us to focus on you in our daily lives. Help us to see where you are guiding us and to turn away from the things which hurt us. In your name we pray, AMEN.
(NAME), you are a child of God!
Chances are there are some interests and hobbies your son or daughter enjoys that completely baffle you. This month, try to take an interest in what interests them.
Maybe for you that means:
• Asking what musical artist they’re into and why they like them.
• Going to a sporting, musical or theater event together.
• Watching a TV show together that they really like.
• Visiting a museum together that celebrates what they’re into and asking them to show you around.
No matter how different you are, you can always value their interests by asking questions and paying attention to the things they care about. In doing so, you’re modeling the way for them to take an interest in the interests of others as well.
Copyright 2015 The reThink Group, Inc. All rights reserved. XP3HS.com
By Tim Walker
As I stood at the entrance to the gym, I saw the coach walking with my teenage son, and heading straight for me. I took a deep breath and prepared for the words that would come next.
“Your son did awesome today in practice. He just needs to work on his shots. When you are at home shooting, make sure he works on how he’s positioning his hand.” I nodded in agreement, as my son and I gave each other a knowing glance.
We got in the car and on the drive home, I said, “that was funny. He actually thinks you and I are going to practice basketball together.”
“Yeah, I know,” my son replied.
It happens all the time. I have three sons and every single one of them is a good athlete—at least that’s what numerous coaches have said.
I’m not athletic. At one of my son’s baseball’s games, I threw a foul ball back on to the field. It hit the first baseman.
My sons are not mini versions of me—and that’s okay. As my children have grown, I have seen firsthand how God has uniquely created them to be individuals. So it’s an ongoing, ever changing challenge for me to find ways to connect with them.
Here are few things I’ve learned along the way:
Be realistic, not frustrated. Don’t let the frustrations of their differences trip you up. Your differences give them room to grow. At some point, being around someone different from you is always a little unnerving—even if it’s your own kid, but try not to let it frustrate you. Instead, think of understanding them like putting together a puzzle—one piece at a time. and if you feel adventurous, even try something new.
Be a student, not a poser. You don’t have to be good at something to be interested. Let your kids teach you about what they enjoy—whether it’s cooking, sports, filmmaking or repairing cars. Only occasionally will I actually make a shot in basketball. But there is a blissfulness in ignorance, as you can learn something from your son or daughter that is completely new to you. And they’re sure to appreciate you taking an interest, even if it isn’t traditionally “your thing”.
Be resourceful, not guilty. Don’t feel like a failure if you can’t be everything for your kid. You were never meant to be—that’s God’s job. But even if you don’t understand how to build your own computer or can’t catch a football, you might know someone who does. An aunt or uncle, a small group leader, a grandparent, a neighbor. I had two neighbors who loved to throw a football to my boys, and my boys enjoyed it. And it was a great opportunity to widen the circle of influence for my own students.
I want to be connected with my sons. I want to have a relationship with them, but that doesn’t mean that we have to enjoy all the same things. Sometimes it means we just focus on what we do have in common—like a love of pizza. But other times, it means that I intentionally look opportunities to show them that I care about the things that matter to them.
Copyright 2015 The reThink Group, Inc. All rights reserved. XP3HS.com
In the next couple days, we will be introducing our new series CLOSE with a couple of posts to think about before we start this weekend! Take some time to encourage your youth to attend this series, to connect with some friends in a safe and fun environment. We encourage you to take some time to think about your relationship with God, how close are you to God? How close would you like to be? Is there anything you can do to connect? This is not meant to be a guilt trip, but a chance to think more about our relationship with God and to propel us forward!
WE'RE TEACHING THIS
Do you have any close friends? Ones you feel completely comfortable around? Friends you can talk to for hours? If so, you’re lucky. Friends like that are awesome. But chances are you have other friends too. Maybe you grew up around each other. Maybe you work at the same job or go to the same school. It’s not that you don’t like them. They’re great. You just aren’t that close. For most of us, our relationship with God feels like it swings between those two extremes. Maybe you can remember a time, after a retreat or a church camp, when God felt super real and personal. You were BFFs. But then, somehow, things drifted in the other direction. There was distance. And, while you’re definitely not against God, you wouldn’t describe yourself as “close” anymore. We all go through times when our relationship with God seems more “far” than “near”, but what do we do about it? Why does it feel so complicated? And is there anything we can do to keep the drift from happening? Thankfully, in God's word, God makes it super clear that God's desire is to be close with us. And as we journey back toward God, we may just find God running in our direction as well.
Copyright 2015 The reThink Group, Inc. All right reserved. XP3HS.com
God always loves you as you already are.
GOAL OF WIRED:WEIRD:
To encourage youth to love themselves by realizing how much God loves them.
What do you think other people think about you?
What do you think God thinks about you?
What do you think about yourself?
Matthew 22:37-39 New Living Translation (NLT)
37 Jesus replied, “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’
1 John 3:1 New Living Translation (NLT)
3 See how very much our Father loves us, for he calls us his children, and that is what we are! But the people who belong to this world don’t recognize that we are God’s children because they don’t know him.
The “Great Commandment” says: Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself. Why do you think Jesus said we should love God AND love ourselves?
I John 3:1 says, “See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God!” If you know that God “lavishes” God's love on you, how does that help you love yourself?
Creator God, thank you for your love. Thank you for creating everything good. Help us to see the good in ourselves. Help us to love our selves because you lavished your love on us. In your name we pray, AMEN.
Use this simple blessing with your family, while you bless one another, mark the cross on the forehead of each member as a reminder of your baptism.
(Name), you are a Child of God.
What is this?
Each week we will post one or more blogs related to our ministries for High School youth and families. Check back often and leave a comment!