Music Video of the week:
This week at Emerge we launched into our new series (UN)conformed. This is a series walking through the book of 1 Peter in the new testament. We value reading the Bible, knowing the Bible, and seeing God’s BIG story as it unfolds into our lives. Last year we successfully walked through the book of Colossians in our Stolen Affections seriens and we are praying that God does the same through this one (if not more).
Half of our time together this past week, from a teaching standpoint, was unpacking Plinko and why we do it. If you haven’t already, please read the separate post explaining Plinko in 2012. This was important because we are looking to grow this year in how we do Plinko. Though at the front end this may seem like just a fun game or an extravagant giveaways but it is so much more than that to us. We are encouraging students (are rewarding them) for getting into God’s word. Our leadership is working hard at how we are engaging our students, reminding them about the challenge of Plinko, and giving them opportunity to show what they have learned. We gave every student that came to Emerge this past week a journal and we are encouraging them to do our weekly devo that we are putting up on the blog each week. The devo will either correlate with the previous week or look to the week coming. It our goal to get students in the Word and help them make sense of what their reading.
Then we launched into 1 Peter with an encouragement to see God bigger than we ever had before.
The series title of (UN)conformed comes from the idea that we are to live radically different than the world around us. This is what this book is going to be continually pushing us back towards. This book is going to unpack where our salvation comes from and where we are going in our lives with Jesus. It’s my prayer that we lean why we need to live radically different and that God would give us a bigger heart towards Him.
This past week I made the claim that I think we have such a small view of God because we compare how He engages us with how we engage in our social circles. What do I mean by this? If we don’t know the God of the Bible then we automatically want to compare Him to what we do know. If we’re told that God wants to have a relationship with us then what does that look like. When we don’t know the God of the Bible then we compare Him to what we do know…the relationship we already have.
I contended that most of our students fit into one of three categories. Our social circles function in one of three ways:
1) We are so tied to our friends that every decision we make centers on them. They function like a pack. It’s hard to let anyone else in and it’s hard to get out (without pain anyway).
2) Our circle of friends can be an extremely fickle group (changes frequently). We could be best friends with a new person each week.
3) We could struggle with not having close friends.
These three categories could happen for a number of reasons…some out of our control and some by our own decision making. One could move around a lot. One could be a little socially awkward. Someone else could find their identity if a boyfriend while the other looks to have a new girlfriend each week. I don’t think these categories are to far of a stretche and many of them are part of growing up. Please don’t hear me say they are wrong or bad.
The problem with them is when we try understand GOD in the way our social circle functions. If this is what we do then our idea of God goes something like this:
1) My circle is so tight how can God fit in the way I do life. I can not let Him change me because if I change then those around me my not like it and then boot me out out of the circle. If that happens, my identity is lost.
2) If I can bail on my friends anytime I want then God has the opportunity/right to bail on me. If I really like Him then I have to work real hard at keeping Him around. On the flip side, if He does something that I don’t approve us, I can bail on him.
3) If people around me struggle with being my friend then there is no way the God of the universe will want anything to do with me.
When we compare God to what we know we fail at seeing how great He really is. Our greatest imaginations still fail to explain God. This is why His Word is so important. 1 Peter 1:1-2 tells us that God chose us…He knows every part of our life,good and bad, and still chooses us. Not only did He choose us, he invest so much in us that He sets us apart from the rest of the world through His Holy Spirit. He make us radically different…He changes us. He reveals how different our lives are by commanding us to be obedient to Jesus.
We are called to be (UN)conformed for the sake of His name sake and this start with a right way of knowing how God thinks about you!