Big Idea: Humility Pleases God and Points Others to God
Ever had to eat a piece of humble pie? I know I have...in fact God had to challenge me on this last Saturday after I was cut off by someone in a convertible cutting me off about 300 yards from a stop sign while I was pulling at trailer. Then of course I was stuck behind them for a couple of miles and really wanted to pass them and swing the trailer in a little early (you know a friendly reminder that I was on the road). However, God gently reminded me of what I was speaking about this Sunday and I quietly humbled myself and realized that I didn't own the road after all. Humility is one of those tricky things in life that we all need but often find it hard to live out especially when we are wrong about something, have been hurt by someone, or when others have wronged us. The dictionary defines humility as, "Not proud or arrogant, but courteously respectful." Wow! And it's one of the most controversial passages that Paul has ever written when this whole ideal of humility comes up. 1 Timothy 2 has been passed off by some as a male chauvinistic rant by Paul and others have just dismissed it entirely. But I think when we understand the heart and context of this passage we realize that Paul was reminding a church that had lost their way a bit, that humility is the key. You see, this church had lost all sense of rooted Biblical teaching and was wandering off into all kinds of false teachings. The men of the church were no longer leading and the women of the church had taken over with many different teachings and beliefs. So Paul hits a few things in this chapter. He reminds them that there must be humility toward authority; and prayer for "kings and generals" is vital to bring about "peaceful and quiet lives marked by godliness and dignity." He reminds them to be humbled by the reality of what Christ has done in their lives. He continues by asking the Men to lift up "holy hands...free from anger and controversy," and asking women to not draw attention to themselves by what they wear, but rather by what they do. He concludes by reminding them all of the natural order that God set in motion from the beginning of time. It was time for humility to be found among all of the church members and for the men to take their place of leadership and lead humbly by example, while the women submitted to that and carried out their work as well (which by the way didn't fully exclude teaching as we later see in Timothy and Titus). It's later in Timothy that Paul even has to extend this back over to the marriage relationship. In the end...humility is all about humility toward God. Paul was addressing a church that had gone off the deep end and had to give them some pretty in-your-face, practical guidelines. It was time that humility toward God became central to them all.So...what areas of our life do we need to find humility in? Is it school? Work? Family? Friends? Church? Because when we are humble...God is pleased and people are pointed toward him.
Family Challenge: Talk about the areas that you each struggle with when it comes to humility and what you can do to become more humble in those areas.
Don't forget....Sr High Connect Weekend is this Friday and Saturday...
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Big Idea: Keep Your Focus on What Really Matters in Your Faith
This week started our dive into the Timothy Files. It will take a few weeks (or months), but we're on a journey through 1 & 2 Timothy. I was recently intrigued by these two books that are neatly tucked away in the New Testament. In fact I was in a discussion group with Floyd McClung and a few others that went through the book of 2 Timothy. It's in these two books that we find some great practical wisdom and the same inspiration that a young pastor named Timothy found. And of course who better than Paul, Timothy's mentor, to pen the words...so here goes.
Ever been driving on your way to do something and you end up at the house and then realize you never accomplished your mission? Maybe you got busy on the mobile phone with a friend or you were thinking of all the weeds that needed to pulled in the front yard; but the fact remains...you were distracted. You lost your focus. It happens to all of us. Sometimes the pettiest things that distract us and cause us to lose our focus. And when it comes to our faith Paul wanted to make sure Timothy and those he was going to lead understood how crucial focus is. Take a look at 1 Timothy 1. Focus in on verses 5-6, 14-16, and 19. Paul was challenging Timothy to not allow the false teachers that had crept their way into the church to take people's focus off of what was central to their faith. Verse 14-16 sum up what that main thing is. It's what we all need to remember...we were the "worst of sinners" but God's grace has saved us! People were so busy fighting over if Jesus really was the Messiah, if the law did or did not need to be followed letter by letter, or if they really would resurrect from the dead. However, they were all forgetting the central idea of their faith...Jesus! Don't we do the same sometimes. It's so easy to get caught up in false doctrines, screwy teachings, or just plain questioning our faith that we miss what Jesus has done in our lives. Paul encourages us all to have a pure heart, a clear conscience, and a genuine faith. Our focus must stay on Jesus. For example, if we spend time focusing on the idea that God may not exist then we will eventually prove he doesn't. But if we focus on Jesus and let him remind us that he does exist, we'll never be able to prove him differently! So take a moment this week and focus...on what matters most in your faith.
Family Challenge: Take a moment and talk about the things that keep you from focusing on what Christ has done in your lives. Write them down and then spend time together as a family praying for each other to focus on what Christ has done in your lives.
Sr High Connect Weekend :: January 21-22 :: More Details
Well...Happy New Year! Hope you are having a great start to 2011! I know I did! Me and 15 others from Streams Church returned from Rocky Point, Mexico this past Sunday. What an incredible weekend. Everything went super smooth except for the fact that both of our regular eating places were closed :-( We took down around 250 shoeboxes this year with Living Streams and passed them out on Saturday. We also fed many many people (don't really have an accurate count) on Friday and Saturday as we presented dramas, music, and the message of Jesus. On Saturday, there was an awesome altar time at Lupe's church where many people were crying and being touched by the Holy Spirit. And on top of that, it was an incredible weekend of bonding among our students. Through devotion times, worship, and just having fun we grew closer to each other and God.
Back here in Arizona, Shannon shared that following God's plan requires flexibility (something all of us on the trip lived for 4 days!). Mary and Joseph understood that first hand as they had to find a manger to stay the night and eventually had to flee to avoid Jesus being killed. You see many times we think we have God's plan all figured out, but sometimes we need to learn to be flexible because God has more perfect plan. A manger? Not me...but that was God's ultimate show of humility. Fleeing for their life? Probably not on their top ten list. But protected them and showed his faithfulness. So learn to be flexible. Maybe it's just not the way you would have done it, or God is teaching you new things. Stay tuned in to God's ways and his plans and let him lead and guide you every step of the way and let it truly be HIS plan for your life and not yours. It's just better that way!
Family Challenge: Take a moment as a family to pray that the seed planted in Mexico this past weekend will grow and develop. Then talk about in what areas you feel like you need to have more flexibility when it comes to listening to God and following his direction.
Connect Weekend is coming January 21-22...get more details
Allen is the youth pastor of T6 Student Ministries.