Saturday, February 20, 2010

Jasper Speaks:

It is hard to believe how much hurt is in our students' lives. We have students dealing with divorce, death of parents, death of siblings, suicide, illness, inadequacy issues, cutting, verbal, physical and sexual abuse, homosexuality, lust and the list can just go on and on. It is so overwhelming. The series we are currently doing confronts those hurts and asks students to drop their masks and be real. They are starting to do that. I am praying that we will have godly wisdom and help them move past these things. I want us to help them embrace the grace of God.

At times like this I feel less than wise. I know that Christ is the answer. I struggle with just how to relate that to them where they are. The amazing thing is, our God is faithful. I don't have to have the words to say. The Spirit speaks for me. So often I have no idea what I can do to salve the wounds of our students, the Spirit comes and gifts me with what He knows they need to hear.

I would ask that you would pray for us. The lies of the enemy are being broken down. Please pray that we, as leaders, will be sensitive to the Holy Spirit as He tells us what word these hurting hearts need to hear.

When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears and delivers them out of all their troubles. The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.
Psalm 34:17

Friday, February 19, 2010

Jasper Speaks:

My theology class is really challenging my thoughts about God and the way He acts. I guess that is good. I have to do a one page double space paper each week on a topic in the text. I think I might try and post most of them here to get your input. After writing the first one, I am realizing one double spaced page certainly is not a lot of space to get my ideas across. So please keep that in mind as you read this, my first ditty for Theology I:

Ditty 1: Is Natural Revelation Enough to Save a Person?

Natural revelation encompasses three general areas. These are nature itself, history and the constitution of the human being. As we look to Scripture to answer the question of whether or not these elements are sufficient for one to come to salvation the answer is not immediately clear. A perusal of Psalm 19 or Romans 1 seems to suggest that these elements in and of themselves reveal God to humankind. They speak of the heavens proclaiming the existence of the creator and of God revealing His existence to people. The question remains are they adequate to bring a one to a saving knowledge?

There is a disparity between knowing there is a God and actually knowing Christ. Although the heavens declare the glory of God, it is necessary to embrace the cross to find salvation. The Bible is clear that we must go further than acknowledging a higher being to gain eternal life. We must acknowledge our sin and find our way to the one who has paid the price for those sins. Jesus was clear when He said, “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life. No man comes to the Father except through Me”. To embrace the idea that natural revelation alone can bring someone to the cross is a giant leap in logic. Although, the beauty of creation, the Godless void in the human spirit, and the way God has worked throughout history speak to His greatness, it is Christ and Him crucified that brings us to salvation. The elements of natural revelation do not suffice to bring one to true repentance and life change. Natural revelation can begin the journey to salvation but one must be exposed to special revelatory elements to truly embrace Christ and follow Him with their entire life.

What do you think?

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Jasper Speaks:

Reality Check went really well last night. I think God spoke. After Saturday night and the powerful service where our students prayed for each other and got a glimpse at the joy that comes with being the church, I decided that God was truly leading us to do the To Save A Life followup study. One of the things I like about it is the encouragement element in that each week we implore students to write encouraging notes to their friends in our group. I love the idea that they can take some time each week and just stop to tell others how great they are or to let them know that they are praying for them. I love this aspect of being the church.

I also like the weekly challenges for our students to take what they learn outside of the walls of our youth room and try to affect the world. This week's challenge was simple, just say "hi" to ten people you would not normally speak to. I hope that this shows a little of the love of Christ to the kids they go to school with.

Last night's study was exceptionally well timed. A student in one of our local high schools hanged himself at the end of last week. As I showed the scene from TSAL where Chris and Jake were talking in the car, there were some sobs as some of that kid's friends were overwhelmed a bit. We stopped and prayed for them. It was a moment of tenderness where we lived out what we were studying there and then.

I pray that this can continue every week.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Jasper Speaks:

Disciple Now 2010 is behind us. I learned a lot this weekend. One thing is a lesson I keep being taught but never seem to completely get. I have to let go. I was a bit stressed and upset quite a bit. Things were not going well in my mind. A lot of bumps in my plans. I was scared that this would be a really bad D-Now. I was crazy even up to Thursday night.

Then on Friday morning, the spirit just calmed me. I felt myself let it all go to God. There were several other mishaps throughout the day. I handled them way better. It was amazing. I just gave up and God took care of my attitude.

I know this directly affected the rest of the weekend. The spirit really moved. Our Saturday night worship service is always the time that God seems to do the most. This year was no exception. Still, the whole weekend went very smoothly. The students actually seemed to get into the fun aspects of the weekend in ways I hadn't seen this group do before. It was just a really great time together.

I left the day with this quote on my Twitter: "Great D-Now! Great students whom I love! Great leaders whom I appreciate! Great God whose love & grace I don't deserve!"

That sums it up.