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Fuel Wrap up

25 Jun

Tonight was my last night of Fuel at The Rock. So cool to hang out with all the students, even some faces we have not seen in a while. I know that God has huge plans for this ministry, and will bring up new leaders to take His ministry to a whole notha level. Yes I am stealing that from Ed Young… I am really excited to see what the future holds at AliveChurch.com everyone I have met has been so welcoming and encouraging. They really know how to make someone feel at home.
Sunday will be my last day at The Rock. The pastor has invited my family and myself to say goodbye to the congregation during the services. So many great friends. Thank you all for your support, encouragement, and prayer. You will not be forgotten!

In Him,

Chris

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Last Night of FUEL

22 Jun


Wednesday will be the last night of FUEL for me. We are going to have a fun night at a students house. Food, video games, pool, and some reminiscing. Ready to begin the next chapter in my life. Great memories, and some solid students! Youth leaders how do you assimilate into a new church and group of students? Have some good ideas, but would love to hear from some pro’s!

FUEL Recap

4 Jun

Great night last night! We did a Straight Talk format, in which students were give 3×5 cards to write whatever questions they had regarding the Bible, relationships etc. They then dropped the cards in anonymously into our question box. We then read, discussed, and looked up the answers to the questions. They ranged from “Why are there so many cliques?” to “Why does it hurt so much when you breakup?” to “Why are parents annoying, and why do they try to control everything?” Great discussions.

The last question of the evening proved to be one that would take more than 5 minutes. The question was “Why is it wrong to be gay?” I told the students I would blog on this one.

I figured rather than it be from me, I thought I would give you some links to check out:

www.gotquestions.org

www.exodusyouth.net

What bothers me is that we forget that we are all sinners. God hates the sin, but loves the sinner. If we are followers of Jesus, it does not mean that we are not tempted. It means that we choose to not partake in the sin. It’s not the feeling, it’s the action. That’s what repenting means, not just saying in prayer that you have sinned and you are sorry. But actually turning away from the sin.

Many Christians forget that Jesus hung out with the sinners, and although He did not agree with what they were doing, He loved on the person.

I would encourage you, as a follower of Jesus, to truly follow HIM. Love the sinner, hate the sin. Remember YOU are a sinner too, and that Jesus loves you, forgives you, and wants your relationship with Him to be a strong one.

If you are in a homosexual relationship, and want out. Please contact me. We have Christian counseling available, and it will be discreet.

Who do you say I am?

20 May

We had some great conversations tonight about Did Jesus claim to be God? Was He a lair, a lunatic, or God? Jesus asked His disciples who do they say I am? Then He asked, who do you say I am? Read the following, and answer in the comments the question at the end.

John 1

The Word Became Flesh

1In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2He was with God in the beginning. 3Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. 4In him was life, and that life was the light of men. 5The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it. 6There came a man who was sent from God; his name was John. 7He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all men might believe. 8He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light. 9The true light that gives light to every man was coming into the world. 10He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. 11He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. 12Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God—13children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God. 14The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. 15John testifies concerning him. He cries out, saying, “This was he of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.’ “ 16From the fullness of his grace we have all received one blessing after another. 17For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. 18No one has ever seen God, but God the One and Only, who is at the Father’s side, has made him known. John the Baptist Denies Being the Christ 19Now this was John’s testimony when the Jews of Jerusalem sent priests and Levites to ask him who he was. 20He did not fail to confess, but confessed freely, “I am not the Christ.” 21They asked him, “Then who are you? Are you Elijah?” He said, “I am not.” “Are you the Prophet?” He answered, “No.” 22Finally they said, “Who are you? Give us an answer to take back to those who sent us. What do you say about yourself?” 23John replied in the words of Isaiah the prophet, “I am the voice of one calling in the desert, ‘Make straight the way for the Lord.’ “ 24Now some Pharisees who had been sent 25questioned him, “Why then do you baptize if you are not the Christ, nor Elijah, nor the Prophet?” 26”I baptize with water,” John replied, “but among you stands one you do not know. 27He is the one who comes after me, the thongs of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie.” 28This all happened at Bethany on the other side of the Jordan, where John was baptizing.

Jesus the Lamb of God

29The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! 30This is the one I meant when I said, ‘A man who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.’ 31I myself did not know him, but the reason I came baptizing with water was that he might be revealed to Israel.” 32Then John gave this testimony: “I saw the Spirit come down from heaven as a dove and remain on him. 33I would not have known him, except that the one who sent me to baptize with water told me, ‘The man on whom you see the Spirit come down and remain is he who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.’ 34I have seen and I testify that this is the Son of God.”

Jesus’ First Disciples

35The next day John was there again with two of his disciples. 36When he saw Jesus passing by, he said, “Look, the Lamb of God!” 37When the two disciples heard him say this, they followed Jesus. 38Turning around, Jesus saw them following and asked, “What do you want?” They said, “Rabbi” (which means Teacher), “where are you staying?” 39”Come,” he replied, “and you will see.” So they went and saw where he was staying, and spent that day with him. It was about the tenth hour. 40Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, was one of the two who heard what John had said and who had followed Jesus. 41The first thing Andrew did was to find his brother Simon and tell him, “We have found the Messiah” (that is, the Christ). 42And he brought him to Jesus. Jesus looked at him and said, “You are Simon son of John. You will be called Cephas” (which, when translated, is Peter).

Jesus Calls Philip and Nathanael

43The next day Jesus decided to leave for Galilee. Finding Philip, he said to him, “Follow me.” 44Philip, like Andrew and Peter, was from the town of Bethsaida. 45Philip found Nathanael and told him, “We have found the one Moses wrote about in the Law, and about whom the prophets also wrote—Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.” 46”Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?” Nathanael asked. “Come and see,” said Philip. 47When Jesus saw Nathanael approaching, he said of him, “Here is a true Israelite, in whom there is nothing false.” 48”How do you know me?” Nathanael asked. Jesus answered, “I saw you while you were still under the fig tree before Philip called you.” 49Then Nathanael declared, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God; you are the King of Israel.” 50Jesus said, “You believe because I told you I saw you under the fig tree. You shall see greater things than that.” 51He then added, “I tell you the truth, you shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.”

Who do you say that I am?

After reading that who do you think Jesus is?

What happens after we die- Fuel Wrap up

14 May

Many really good questions were brought up last night which made me go back and look to see if my understanding, and what I had been taught growing up were true. I found some really cool stuff that explain things like: What happened to those who believed in God before Christ? When do we face Judgment? When we die are we with God immediately? I learned some things through my investigation, and I hope that this will clarify some things to you. www.gotquestions.org is a great place to start when you have questions.

Here are some of the questions that were asked.

Question: “When will the Resurrection take place?”

Answer: The Bible is clear that resurrection is a reality and this life is not all that there is. While death is the end of physical life, it is not the end of human existence. Many erroneously believe that there is one general resurrection at the end of the age, but the Bible teaches that there will be not one resurrection, but a series of resurrections, some to eternal life in heaven and some to eternal damnation (Daniel 12:2; John 5:28-29).

The first great resurrection was the resurrection of Jesus Christ. It is documented in each of the four Gospels (Matthew 28; Mark 16; Luke 24; John 20), cited several times in Acts (Acts 1:22; 2:31; 4:2, 33; 26:23), and mentioned repeatedly in the letters to the churches (Romans 1:4; Philippians 3:10; 1 Peter 1:3). Much is made of the importance of Christ’s resurrection in 1 Corinthians 15:12-34, which records that over five hundred people saw Him at one of His post-resurrection appearances. Christ’s resurrection is the “first fruits” or guarantee to every Christian that he will also be resurrected. Christ’s resurrection is also the basis of the Christian’s certainty that all people who have died will one day be raised to face fair and even-handed judgment by Jesus Christ (Acts 17:30-31). The resurrection to eternal life is described as “the first resurrection” (Revelation 20:5-6); the resurrection to judgment and torment is described as “the second death” (Revelation 20:6, 13-15).

The first great resurrection of the Church will occur at the time of the rapture. All those who have placed their trust in Jesus Christ during the Church Age, and have died before Jesus returns, will be resurrected at the rapture. The Church Age began on the Day of Pentecost and will end when Christ returns to take believers back to heaven with Him (John 14:1-3; 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17). The Apostle Paul explained that not all Christians will die, but all will be changed, i.e., given resurrection-type bodies (1 Corinthians 15:50-58), some without having to die! Christians who are alive, and those who have already died, will be caught up to meet the Lord in the air and be with Him always!

Another great resurrection will occur when Christ returns to earth (His Second Coming) at the end of the Tribulation period. After the rapture, the Tribulation is the next event after the Church Age in God’s chronology. This will be a time of terrible judgment upon the world, described in great detail in Revelation chapters 6-18. Though all Church Age believers will be gone, millions of people left behind on earth will come to their senses during this time and will trust in Jesus as their Savior. Tragically, most of them will pay for their faith in Jesus by losing their lives (Revelation 6:9-11; 7:9-17; 13:7, 15-17; 17:6; 19:1-2). These believers in Jesus who die during the Tribulation will be resurrected at Christ’s return and will reign with Him for a thousand years during the Millennium (Revelation 20:4, 6). Old Testament believers such as Job, Noah, Abraham, David and even John the Baptist (who was assassinated before the Church began) will be resurrected at this time also. Several passages in the Old Testament mention this event (Job 19:25-27; Isaiah 26:19; Daniel 12:1-2; Hosea 13:14). Ezekiel 37:1-14 describes primarily the regathering of the Nation of Israel using the symbolism of dead corpses coming back to life. But from the language used, a physical resurrection of dead Israelis cannot be excluded from the passage. Again, all believers in God (in the Old Testament era) and all believers in Jesus (in the New Testament era) participate in the first resurrection, a resurrection to life (Revelation 20:4, 6).

There may be another resurrection at the end of the Millennium, one which is implied, but never explicitly stated in Scripture. It is possible that some believers will die a physical death during the Millennium. Through the prophet Isaiah, God said, “No longer will there be in it an infant who lives but a few days, or an old man who does not live out his days; for the youth will die at the age of one hundred and the one who does not reach the age of one hundred will be thought accursed” (Isaiah 65:20). On the other hand, it is also possible that death in the Millennium will only come to the disobedient. In either event, some kind of transformation will be required to fit believers in their natural bodies in the Millennium for pristine existence throughout eternity. Each believer will need to have a “resurrected” type of body.

It is clear from Scripture that God will destroy the entire universe, including the earth, with fire (2 Peter 3:7-12). This will be necessary to purge God’s creation of its endemic evil and decay brought upon it by man’s sin. In its place God will create a new heaven and a new earth (2 Peter 3:13; Revelation 21:1-4). But what will happen to those believers who survived the Tribulation and entered the Millennium in their natural bodies? And what will happen to those who were born during the Millennium, trusted in Jesus, and continued to live in their natural bodies? Paul has made it clear that flesh and blood, which is mortal and able to decay, cannot inherit the kingdom of God. That eternal kingdom is inhabitable only by those with resurrected, glorified bodies that are no longer mortal and are not able to decay (1 Corinthians 15:35-49). Presumably, these believers will be given resurrection bodies without having to die. Precisely when this happens is not explained, but theologically, it must happen somewhere in the transition from the old earth and universe to the new earth and new heaven (2 Peter 3:13; Revelation 21:1-4).

There is a final resurrection, apparently of all the unbelieving dead of all ages. Jesus Christ will raise them from the dead (John 5:25-29) after the Millennium, the thousand-year reign of Christ (Revelation 20:5), and after the destruction of the present earth and universe (2 Peter 3:7-12; Revelation 20:11). This is the resurrection described by Daniel as an awakening “from the dust of the ground … to disgrace and everlasting contempt” (Daniel 12:2). It is described by Jesus as a “resurrection of judgment” (John 5:28-29).

The Apostle John saw something that would happen in the future. He saw a “great white throne” (Revelation 20:11). Heaven and earth “fled away” from the One sitting on it. This is evidently a description of the dissolution by fire of all matter, including the entire universe and earth itself (2 Peter 3:7-12). All the (godless) dead will stand before the throne. This means they have been resurrected after the thousand years (Revelation 20:5). They will possess bodies that can feel pain but will never cease to exist (Mark 9:43-48). They will be judged, and their punishment will be commensurate with their works. But there is another book opened—the Lamb’s book of life (Revelation 21:27). Those whose names are not written in the book of life are cast into the “lake of fire,” which amounts to “the second death” (Revelation 20:11-15). No indication is given of any who appear at this judgment that their names are found in the book of life. Rather, those whose names appear in the book of life were among those who are blessed, for they received forgiveness and partook of the first resurrection, the resurrection to life (Revelation 20:6).

Question: “What does the Bible say about soul sleep?”

Answer: “Soul sleep” is a belief that after a person dies, his/her soul “sleeps” until the resurrection and final judgment. The concept of “soul sleep” is not biblical. When the Bible describes a person “sleeping” in relation to death (Luke 8:52; 1 Corinthians 15:6), it does not mean literal sleep. Sleeping is just a way to describe death because a dead body appears to be asleep. The moment we die, we face the judgment of God (Hebrews 9:27). For believers, to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord (2 Corinthians 5:6-8; Philippians 1:23). For unbelievers, death means everlasting punishment in hell (Luke 16:22-23).

Question: “What does the Bible say about when God will judge us?”

Answer: There are two separate judgments. Believers are judged at the Judgment Seat of Christ (Romans 14:10-12). Every believer will give an account of himself, and the Lord will judge the decisions he made—including those concerning issues of conscience. This judgment does not determine salvation, which is by faith alone (Ephesians 2:8-9), but rather is the time when believers must give an account of their lives in service to Christ. Our position in Christ is the “foundation” spoken of in 1 Corinthians 3:11-15. That which we build upon the foundation can be the “gold, silver, and precious stones” of good works in Christ’s name, obedience and fruitfulness—dedicated spiritual service to glorify God and build the church. Or what we build on the foundation may be the “wood, hay and stubble” of worthless, frivolous, shallow activity with no spiritual value. The Judgment Seat of Christ will reveal this.

The gold, silver and precious stones in the lives of believers will survive God’s refining fire (v. 13), and believers will be rewarded based on those good works—how faithfully we served Christ (1 Corinthians 9:4-27), how well we obeyed the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20), how victorious we were over sin (Romans 6:1-4), how well we controlled our tongues (James 3:1-9), etc. We will have to give an account for our actions, whether they were truly indicative of our position in Christ. The fire of God’s judgment will completely burn up the “wood, hay and stubble” of the words we spoke and things we did which had no eternal value. “So then, each of us will give an account of himself to God” (Romans 14:12 ).

The second judgment is that of unbelievers who will be judged at the Great White Throne Judgment (Revelation 20:11-15). This judgment does not determine salvation, either. Everyone at the Great White Throne is an unbeliever who has rejected Christ in life and is therefore already doomed to the lake of fire. Revelation 20:12 says that unbelievers will be “judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.” Those who have rejected Christ as Lord and Savior will be judged based on their works alone, and because the Bible tells us that “by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified” (Galatians 2:16), they will be condemned. No amount of good works and the keeping of God’s laws can be sufficient to atone for sin. All their thoughts, words and actions will be judged against God’s perfect standard and found wanting. There will be no reward for them, only eternal condemnation and punishment.

Question: “Where did Old Testament believers go when they died?”

Answer: The Old Testament teaches life after death, and that all people went to a place of conscious existence called Sheol. The wicked were there (Psalm 9:17; 31:17; 49:14; Isaiah 5:14), and so were the righteous (Genesis 37:35; Job 14:13; Psalm 6:5; 16:10; 88:3; Isaiah 38:10).

The New Testament equivalent of Sheol is Hades. Prior to Christ’s resurrection, Luke 16:19-31 shows Hades to be divided into two realms: a place of comfort where Lazarus was and a place of torment where the rich man was. The word hell in verse 23 is not “Gehenna” (place of eternal torment) but “Hades” (place of the dead). Lazarus’s place of comfort is elsewhere called Paradise (Luke 23:43). Between these two districts of Hades is “a great gulf fixed” (Luke 16:26).

Jesus is described as having descended into Hades after His death (Acts 2:27, 31; cf. Ephesians 4:9). At the resurrection of Jesus Christ, it seems that the believers in Hades (i.e., the occupants of Paradise) were moved to another location. Now, Paradise is above rather than below (2 Corinthians 12:2-4).

Today, when a believer dies, he is “present with the Lord” (2 Corinthians 5:6-9). When an unbeliever dies, he follows the Old Testament unbelievers to Hades. At the final judgment, Hades will be emptied before the Great White Throne, where its occupants will be judged prior to entering the lake of fire (Revelation 20:13-15).

Why bother?

7 May

Last night at Fuel(our High School Small Group) a question was brought up. If God knew Adam and Eve were going to sin, why did He even bother creating everything He did. Why did He create them when He already knew they were going to let Him down? To my surprise many students were also struggling with this question.

We went around the room and allowed the students to wrestle with this thought. One analogy was brought up about architect who builds a building. It’s a beautiful building, yet he does not know who will move into it and what will become of it. Will the tenants trash it, will they knock it down and build something else? That’s not what the architect is concerned with. His concern is creating a building.

I thought that was pretty good for the creation of the world. But what about people? God created us to be with Him and He gave us free will. But if He knew we would let Him down why even bother? This is where they got stuck. No one could figure out why God would create someone knowing that they would let Him down, or sin against Him.

It’s amazing how the Holy Spirit works so quickly. I began to think of my own relationship with my kids as their father. I love my kids, but they don’t always honor me in everything they do. They don’t always love me the way I would like them to. Our relationship is not exactly how I envision it to be(kinda like the Brady Bunch). However, I love my kids, even though they are not perfect. Even though we do not have a perfect relationship all the time. Even knowing this now, I would not change the fact that I chose to have them. It would not keep me from having other children.

I think it’s the same with our relationship with our Father in Heaven. We are not perfect. Even as believers, we let Him down. We fail, we sin, we don’t love Him with all of our heart, mind, soul, and strength. He knew that we would not be perfect, but He chose to create us, and love us anyway. If He had wanted perfection, He would have created robots. What He wanted was relationship, so He created us.