- In January 2013, our middle and high school students read Romans 7:14-8:4 together as a group. Then students were asked to write down at least two sins they need forgiveness for, and to write a prayer to God in response to what we just read. There were many sins confessed by the students, however two areas clearly stood out from the rest. 71% of students confessed to dishonesty, and 57% confessed to unkind language and thoughts. Here are some of the prayers from our students:
- "Dear Lord, I've been sinning consistantly lately, but I guess you already know that. Lying and gossiping every single day, and I know it's wrong, but it slips out before I can even consider the bad that will come for it. I will ask for forgiveness but you and I both know I will just keep doing it. However, this time I also ask for your help in stopping these things because the only way I will combat this is with your help. Be with me everyday and when I start to lie or gossip, please remind me of this. Amen."
- "Dear Jesus, Thank you for another good day on this Earth. Thankyou that we can come here to church to serve and worship you. Jesus, I'm sorry for the bad things I've done in life. I feel like school and lother things like my xbox and my phone keep me seperated from you and I'm sorry for that. And help me and my friends to love you more each day. In your name, amen."
- "Dear God, I'm sorry for all the sins I've done. Most of the time I can't help it. You're probably thinking (or not, idk), "Well, aren't you control of your body?" But it's like my brain is already set on getting out of trouble for failing a test by lying, saying "I was in the bathroom when she was teaching that," or something. While my brain is like "Okay, let's go!" my thought center is like, "Wait! No no no!" Can you please help? Please forgive me and I'll try my best. Amen."
- "Dear God, I am so sory for doing what I have done. It must be horrible to have done everything for someone and them just toss it in the trash. I have had a lot of bad things happen in my life and I start to wish I had everyone else's "perfect" lives. I then start to lose track of the thought that You are always there and everything happens with a purpose. Amen."
Who's comin' with me?!
- A recent graduate from our youth ministry encouraging his church members to make a difference this summer.
My first mission trip I ever did was back in 2006 when we went to New Orleans, LA. That week will never be forgotten from the former short little 15 year old [me]. So many things remind me of it with the upcoming trip this summer to New Jersey. It is World Changers, it's a hurricane relief project just months after a devastating event, and going to a state I have never been to. That trip to New Orleans will go down as my favorite not because of who went or what we did, but because it was my first trip and opened my eyes to the world. If you have never been on a mission trip, youth or adult, I strongly hope you consider of going on this one. It's going to be a memorable week and you will grow closer to God and create strong bonds with people you may not have thought you ever would. To sum it all up, I hope the bus is slam packed when we pull out July 6. Not for my cause or [the youth pastor's], but for yourself and for the great, unforgettable week you will have with God.
Not a Fan
- One 7th grade student shared this with the congregation during a Sunday Morning Worship Service in July of 2012.
Hey, as most of you know [me], and I just recently got back from a Christian camp called TVR. I've been so many times, I consider it my home away from home. I came up here to give you a glimpse of what we learned, gospel-wise. So, from the beginning. As we were driving to TVR, I kept thinking, the preacher this year is going to say the same thing they do every year. Jesus is the Messiah, and is the only one that can save you from your sins. I know and believe that, I've just heard it so many times it gets kinda annoying. So I wasn't to excited about the preachings. But on Monday night, one of the first things that Scott Burnes, the preacher of the week said was, "I'm not going to tell you something you've heard a million times over. I want to teach you something new." Then on Tuesday, he brought in a really long rope, with a small piece of Duct Tape on it about this big. (show size with fingers) He picked up the Duct Tape and said, "this is about the size of your life on Earth." then he picked up the part that was about a million times bigger than the tape part, and said, "and this is your life on Heaven. So if you do a good job of following Jesus, and serving in his name now, then it will all pay off in heaven." Then on Thursday night, he explained about Fans of Jesus, and Followers. He used Matthew 8: 18- 22 and Matthew 4: 18- 22, as examples of Fans and followers. In Matthew 8, two men come up to Jesus. One would be called a Professor nowadays. So the Professor said, "Teacher, I will follow you where ever you go." Jesus replied saying, "Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head". Which basically means, "I'm homeless." The next guy said, "Lord, let me bury my Father, then I will follow you." Jesus answered, "Follow me, and let the dead bury there own dead." translated as, "it's now or never." Those guys were never heard of again in the Bible, so I don't think they followed. In Matthew 4, Jesus comes up to Peter and Andrew and says, "Come follow me and I will make you fishers of men." And immediately they got up and followed him. There's the difference. A fan isn't ready to give up everything and follow. But a follower, like Peter and Andrew, drop everything and go with Jesus. There's a difference between being a Christian and being a follower of Christ. And that's just a little bit of what we learned at TVR!
Reflections on Psalm 107
- The following are journal entries from students and adults in response to their reading of Psalm 107. They wrote these on our bus ride for our ski trip in January 2011.
- "God in this passage shows his strength and forgiveness to everyone. He is
almighty and we need to alwasy trust in him. Through everything, His love is
always there and we need to come back into it."
- "Lord you are holy, you are kind, gracious, mercyful, faithful, glorious,
righteous. You are the vine that fills the cup of Glory. Lord you are good."
- "God can do anything and this Psalm shows that. We should also rejoice in
everything He has given us and give Him a lot of praise. (Student drew picture
of three crosses on a hill under the sun.)"
- "Thank you Lord for you unfailing love and wonderful deeds for mankind. Bring
all your troubles to the Lord and trust in Him. He will deliver! Love endures
forever. (Student drew picture of a neverending chain of hearts.) Thank you Lord
for you love. Give us wisdom and understanding to follow your word. Trust in
Him! (Student drew picture of a cross.)"
No Regrets at Camp
- a 13 year old girl's testimony after spending a week at a Christian camp (2008)
[Camp] was the best thing that has happend this summer!!! I don't even know where to start. We had soo much fun! I wish I could go again! I learned that God is the best thing in my life, and that when I'm with God everything is possible. And I also learned that God made me for a reason, and how ugly I might think I look that its not true cause God made everything beautiful. Also I learned just to be myself, its no fun when you're somebody else, they are already taken! I dont know what I would've done without that week of Camp!!!
My Best Friend Jesus
- written by a 13-year-old student of Wake Chapel's Youth Group after a spending a week at TVR Christian Camp & Retreat Center (June, 2005)
Wow!! I had so much fun at TVR! I know I will always have special memories of June 20-25, 2005! I can't believe I didn't want to go because I thought I'd be homesick. Even though I didn't break the zip line record...I still had a great time...But even more important than the awesome time I had there I became closer with my best friend, Jesus!! While I was at camp I learned that Christianity is not just about going to church and saying you are a Christian...it's about applying what you learn at church. It's about telling Jesus you love Him...about making Him happy. It's about spending time with Him. After all, He gave His life for us so why don't we live our life
for Him. This life isn't for the money, for the fame or for the fortune, this life is for Jesus!! I know that I still need to work on these things and will never be perfect...but I am sooooo glad that I went to TVR to RENOVATE my life with Jesus!! If you have never been to Teen Valley Ranch I encourage you to go...I promise that you will have a blast!
My Eyes and God's Eyes
- written by a 15-year-old student of Wake Chapel's Youth Group
When I look at myself in the mirror I see someone desperate. Desperate to understand. Someone who takes for granted all that she's been given. Someone who accepts the unacceptable. Someone who doesn't trust easily. Someone who wishes she could understand her faith more. God sees me as his child. He loves me through all that I've done. He forgives me for all that I do. He sees me as who I really am ... even if I don't.
A Prayer of Desperation
- after reading Psalm 55, this student wrote
God, sometimes I feel like I'm trying so hard to reach you and I can't find you! I just get distracted or I don't know, but then when I feel so down you show me that you've been there the whole time. Lord, why do I feel so far away from you sometimes? I want to be close to you all the time. Why can't I stay near you? Help me to be the Christian that I need to be and give me an undying love and passion for you!
The Road To Redemption
- a 16-year-old student from Wake Chapel shares their testimony
I have grown up in church all my life. And I always heard about God, but I thought that since my parents were Christians that I was too. Well, finally in 5th grade, my teacher told me about Jesus and it really made since this time. So I "committed" my life to God. Two years later on a youth trip thing I started talking to some guy about God and I told him I didn't think I was saved. So he went through all the verses he was supposed to (Half of them I pointed out to him.) and I "committed" my life again. So like 2 more years went by and I was still confused and I was on the internet just surfin' and chatin' when I noticed my friend's link on her buddy profile, "My Rock." I read it and it was about God's awesome power. And she spoke so passionately about it that I knew something was different, so I read it over and over again, went back to all the verses about God's salvation and accepted Christ. Since then my life has been awesome. Sure, I've had some pretty low lows, but the highs are always higher.