While we are not able to meet for youth group on Sunday mornings, we want to continue to provide opportunities for faith engagement and growth. Here you will find weekly videos and reflection questions.
May 24, 2020
– Have you ever had one of those moments in your life that is so beautiful you just want to freeze it? If you could freeze a moment, what moment would that be?
– What are some of the storms in your life? Is it raining now?
– Have you ever felt like God failed to come through for you? Looking back, do you still feel that way?
– “There’s a false, twisted idea among religious people that somehow you’ve got to have it all together to have a relationship with God.” Do you ever act like everything is okay even when it isn’t? Why do we do this?
– Do you have anyone in your life who you would do anything for? Do you think that’s how God feels about you?
– What do you think God is whispering to you right now?
May 17, 2020
Read Lamentations 3:14-33
Sometimes our distress and anxiety is caused by tragic circumstances that bring loss or humiliation. It is hard not to blame God, or at least get frustrated at him. The poet here grieves over the fact that God has allowed such pain to enter his life, yet he doesn’t abandon hope. Rather, he chooses to wait patiently in anticipation for God to answer with loyal love. He trusts that God’s apparent absence is not permanent but temporary.
– What are some different ways people define or understand hope? What do you think it means to hope?
– Reflect on what it means to wait patiently even without evidence that things will get better. What would that look like practically?
Read Romans 8:18-25
Paul invites followers of Jesus to see their own suffering and hardship as one expression of the groaning of all creation over death and decay. But for Paul, the resurrection of Jesus as king of the new creation means that all creation will one day be freed and restored. It is only by patient waiting and endurance that this hope becomes life-giving as we wait for the redemption of all creation.
– What stands out to you in this passage?
– God’s past faithfulness motivates hope for the future. What has God done in the world or in your own life that helps you trust and hope in him now?
– In what ways does the resurrection of Jesus provide hope for us?
May 10, 2020
Read Daniel 1:1-21
Daniel and his friends are exiled to Babylon and made to serve in Babylon’s royal court. They’ve lost everything they know and love and are forced into an unfamiliar world. Notice the balance they strike between resistance and cooperation, demonstrated by their adherence to the Israelite food-laws. Daniel is willing to serve Babylon, but not when it requires compromise in serving his God.
– In what ways do you resonate with the Israelite’s experience of losing what they knew and loved? It’s okay to be sad and grieve this loss. Take a moment to reflect on how you might honor the loss you’ve experienced during this time.
– Consider the combination of loyalty and subversion displayed by Daniel. Do you see any ways this can be a model for your own life in this time of change?
Read Jeremiah 29:1-14
Jeremiah writes a letter to a community of Israelites who were recently exiled to Babylon. He encourages them to settle in and build communities that seek the well-being of their captors. They are to seek peace and harmony not because they’ve given up, but because of their bold hope that God will rescue them and restore them to the promised land one day.
– What resonated most with you in this passage?
– Take a moment to reflect on what it means to “settle in” to this time, while still maintaining hope in the future.
– What could it look like to extend love to our leaders and the broader culture in this time?
May 3, 2020
Read Isaiah 58:1-14
In this passage, we find that God’s people are neglecting the vulnerable in their communities, while continuing in their rhythms of worship (the Sabbath, prayer, and fasting). But what God cares about most is that his people do justice and care for the oppressed in their community.
– Did anything in this passage surprise you?
– In what ways do we sometimes focus on external practices rather than what matters most to God?
– What injustice grieves you the most right now? What do you think God thinks and feels about this?
Read James 1:26-2:5
James describes genuine devotion to God as being aware of the needs of vulnerable people in our communities and doing something about it. He talks about how we are easily blind to inequality and sometimes even play a part in it. James actually sees the poor as having a privileged position because they can more easily see their need for God’s provision and grace.
– Who around you might need support in this crisis?
– Where do you find hope when there’s injustice in and around us?
April 26, 2020
Read Genesis 1:26-30
God appoints humans as his representatives to rule the world on his behalf. The image of God consists of male and female together ruling in unity over all of creation. This is a bold vision of human identity and responsibility.
– Who is created in God’s image? What does that mean for how you view yourself and others? What does that mean for how you live?
– What do you think it says about God that he invites humans to rule with him?
Read Colossians 1:13-20 and Colossians 3:8-13
In these passages, Paul identifies Jesus as “the image of the invisible God,” who is the real king of creation that humbled himself to die on our behalf (1:13-20). Paul also writes that Jesus’ followers are being “renewed…in the image of the creator” (3:8-13), which results in compassion, kindness, humility, and other godly qualities.
– What do you resonate with most when you read these passages?
– Both of these passages emphasize God’s desire to bring unity through Jesus. Take a moment to reflect on what it might look like to actively participate in bringing unity in your life or community.
April 19, 2020
Jeremiah accuses the Israelites of trusting in false gods and false sources of life, depicted as broken cisterns that don’t hold water well (and ultimately can’t give them what they need).
– Take a moment to reflect on how all of life is dependent on God’s power and generosity. Does this understanding change how you view those self-made sources of stability? What would it look like for you to choose to trust God’s generosity, rather than your own “broken cisterns”?
In the past, God delivered his people by the Exodus through the sea and then provided water in the wilderness. The “new thing” God will do to deliver his people is to provide a better water in the wilderness—his own Spirit—which will allow people to truly flourish.
– Is your current connection with God satisfying to you? Set aside some time to share your feelings about your current circumstances with God or trusted others.
April 12, 2020
For Jesus’ family and friends, the empty tomb and the risen Jesus himself were a shocking surprise. Despite Jesus preparing them for his death and resurrection, they simply couldn’t imagine how Jesus’ death fit into God’s purpose. Luke’s resurrection account shows how the only way to embrace the risen Jesus is to let go of our normal ways of viewing the world. Only then can we open ourselves to the surprising power of God’s love for our world.
– What do you think people expected Jesus to do or be like? How did he surprise them?
– What are some of the assumptions you hold about life, God, or your future, that could be keeping you from seeing what Jesus might be up to in your life?
April 5, 2020
As we enter Holy Week amidst the heartache caused by the coronavirus pandemic, we will look at the good news of God’s upside down kingdom.
Please join us Monday at 4pm for an online video discussion about the lesson! Email firstname.lastname@example.org to join.
Read Luke 19:28-48
The people expected Jesus to bring peace and rule as king in a way that they could understand. Jesus grieved over this because he knew they would suffer, and because he longed for them to see him as the true King through the suffering. Like Jesus, it’s okay to grieve over shattered expectations and suffering.
– Take a moment and express any grief you’re feeling over suffering or shattered expectations.
– Jesus is the King, despite the way the world looks right now. What questions does that bring up for you? What truths can you rely on at this time?
Read Isaiah 52:7-53:12
This passage proclaims that God himself is coming to rescue his people—and this is good news—but it will happen in a surprising way: God’s appointed one, the Messiah, will enter into the suffering and death of our world. There’s a lot of suffering and pain going on in our world right now. God enters into our suffering. He experiences it personally and is present with us and all those who suffer.
– Write down or speak out loud where you see suffering and pain in the world and your community right now.
– Now pray or speak out loud these same instances again, taking in the truth that God is present in those situations and suffers with us.
March 29, 2020
This week we will examine the theme of generosity and the importance of living out of God’s abundance, especially during this time where there are so many fears about scarcity.
Please join us Monday 3/30 at 4pm for an online video discussion about the lesson! Email email@example.com to join.
Read Luke 12:22-34
– Creation is an expression of God’s generous love. Where do you see the generosity of God in the world, your life, or the story of the Bible? What are you most grateful for?
– What are you anxious about in your present situation? Reflect on God’s love and care and how it might help alleviate your anxiety.
Read 1 Timothy 6:17-19
– In times of crisis, a “scarcity mindset”—focusing on what you don’t have—can easily cause us to cling to worldly goods. Do you experience this? What would you and others around you gain by trusting God’s generous love instead?
– This passage includes a special command to the rich to be generous. While we might not be rich in wealth, we have all been given gifts that we can share with others, whether our time, care, prayer, resources, etc. Reflect on what specifically you can share and with whom.
March 22, 2020
During this unprecedented time where we are forced to take a break from normal activities, we will start our online series with a look at the biblical theme of Sabbath. After watching the video, respond to the questions in your journal or discuss with family!
- In the video, they say that we often find ourselves working endlessly, fighting back chaos with no real rest. In what way do you relate to that?
- God wants us to experience rest. What part of your soul needs restored during these weeks off?
- While they are still in the chaotic wilderness, God invites the Israelites to start living as if they are in the promised land by resting and enjoying God’s good world. Despite the chaotic wilderness that we are in, what good things can you enjoy right now?
- Because of the resurrection, we have hope in God’s promise for future rest. How does reflecting on the resurrection bring you hope?
- Jesus asks the weary and burdened to come to him for rest. What are you burdened with that you need to give over to Jesus so that you can rest?