Summary: Understanding God’s heart for the world has begin by understanding what God thinks about each of us and how he asks us to live.
I am really excited this year about our theme which is “God’s Heart for the World.” Most everyone knows John 3:16 in that it says, “For God loved the…world…so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that…everyone…who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.” As much as so many people know that verse, I think we tend to overlook those two very important words that tell us that God’s heart isn’t just for you and me but for every single person in the entire world; which has, or should anyways, have HUGE ramifications on how we choose to live our lives.
Throughout the school year, we’re going to split our time together into three parts, each of which exploring a different aspect of God’s heart. We’ll start with a look at God’s love for each of us and slowly broaden out to focusing on what God wants to do in the world. Let me quickly break down each section.
Part I: God’s Heart for You: September – December
This span will function very similarly to last year and focus on a topical approach of how God’s wants us all to live. God loves each and every one of us so much and has given us guidelines in His Word, not to ruin our fun or be mean, but to help us with getting the most out of the life that He has given each of us. Some of the topics we are already planning to discuss dating and sexuality but we’d really like to get your ideas as we continue to put this first third of the year together. (Suggestion cards)
Part II: God’s Heart for our Neighbor: January - March
This part is going to include a few things and will focus on God’s heart for us to be serving the people around us.
First, we will kick off this discussion with our weekend trip in January which will be a service weekend to either Boston or New York. (Check out the table)
Second, the teaching this month will actually be a DVD series called Faith Journey Maui. The series follows 9 high school students through a week long experience in Hawaii as they discuss questions like, "Is There a High Power?", "Why is there Suffering in the World?", and "Who was Jesus?" The catch is that all nine students have a different faith background which allows for some fantastic dialogue. We really want to encourage you to invite friends to these meetings as we will break into small groups afterwards and carry out the same dialogue in person.
Third, we will have at least two group meetings as well as some opportunities at other times for community service projects.
Part III: God’s Heart for the World: April - June
This section will turn back to discussions based on God’s heart for the world as a whole. We will be looking at topics like missions, going green, our purpose and part in God’s plan, how to share Jesus with people and more. This section will also culminate in our two mission trips being offered this summer.
For the rest of our time together tonight, I want to briefly just explain a couple of things and then I want to introduce this sections theme, God’s Heart for You.
1. Explain the Bible Readings – our desire is not that would leave Sunday nights believing anything we talk about because myself, any of our leaders or any of your peers “said so.” We want to help you wrestle through the issues of God, Jesus, the Bible and want to help you make a decision that you can defend and own. That is why we give you Bible Readings, so that you can take home the conversation we started and continue searching with what God says. Also, as we did last year, we will include a profile of a Nation who needs prayer that they will not only hear about Jesus but also that they would find food, medical supplies, water and more.
2. Prayer Request – we really want to be praying for each of you all throughout the year and at the end of each meeting we’ll be asking you guys for prayer requests. They can be for whatever you want – an upcoming test, problems in a relationship, an illness, anything! We also want to provide each of you with an adult in the church who will commit to praying for you each an every week. The only people who will see the prayer requests you submit are myself, Leah and then your prayer partner.
3. T-shirts – We are getting t-shirts for this year again. They printed on Friday and we should have them for you next week. There are two options…and they’re pretty cool.