Last night in Youth Group we had 2 separate tracks: Amplify (6th & 7th graders & high schoolers) and Confirmation (8th graders). Here’s what we talked about at each:
Amplify Week 2: “Yesterday & Today”
Our main goal in Amplify is to own our doubts and questions so that we can amplify our faith. Last night we hit upon the fact that the way we feel about God and our faith is often dictated by our circumstances: when we are #blessed, it’s easy to love God and follow Christ. But when things are tougher, it’s easy to feel like God doesn’t care or isn’t there.
On the other side of that is the fact that there are stories of Christians who have demonstrated an incredibly strong faith in God in the absolute worst circumstances. In order to understand that we turned to the story of the Exodus and how God delivered the Hebrew people from slavery and then commanded them to remember that rescue every year. Jesus would pick up that same thread as he shared the Passover meal (that celebration God commanded) and told the disciples to continue to share this meal “in remembrance of me.” Why? Because when we focus on ourselves we tend to lose sight of where God has come through for us before. But when we make a practice of remembering God’s rescues, we realize that what God has done in the past can amplify our faith in the future.
So, we have to look back (remember our stories of God coming through) and look around (find out the stories of people whose faith inspires our own). And when we do that we can be assured that God cares about our past, present, and future very much.
Conversations at Home:
- What are stories from your past of where God has come through for you?
- What are stories from others’ lives that inspire your faith?
- What can we do as a family to remember our important God-coming-through stories on a regular basis?
Confirmation: “I believe in God the Father almighty”
Throughout history humanity has sought to understand an infinite, eternal being (God) with finite, temporal brains. There is sometimes a disconnect then between the names and images we commonly use for God and the vast scope that scripture gives us for understanding the different roles and images that are all a part of who God is. For instance, we don’t want to refer to God as “it” and that’s why we most often hear God referred to as a “he.” But the male image doesn’t encapsulate the images of God as a mother that we find in Isaiah or Matthew. That’s why we need more than just one image or name for God. Different images of God help us to grasp God’s presence and power in our lives more fully.
One way to live this out is to prayerfully focus on the different names and images of God. Pick one and take this name of God with you into your week. Repeat this name over and over softly to yourself when you wake in the morning, when you change classes or go through other activities in your day, when you go to bed. Let your awareness of the name sink gradually down into the region near your heart. As you experience these moments, let go of your thoughts and simply let the name lead your heart to the heart of God. This is the One in whose presence you are now enfolded and who knows you through and through.