Nov 21: Gratitude at iMPACT

Nov 21 I had the opportunity to lead the evenings youth group message. As most of you know, I work part-time at Immanuel Church as the Student Ministries Coordinator. I love my job. In fact, there is not one thing, after 4 years working in youth ministry that I would change. THAT is hard to say about any job, but it is true about mine. My wonderful boss, Josh Petersen, has been amazing about letting me be a team player and letting me grow in my gifting. That being said, HE is the gifted speaker, not me. Now, I don’t mind talking in front of people, I am even to the point I don’t mind praying in a mic. (I have come al long way 🙂 But, Josh has some pretty big shoes to fill.

That being said, I really was pressed. I had been thinking about what I could talk about and prayfully asking God to make it about Him and not me. I only had about 1 hour to actually sit down to “write” it and when the time came, I was paniced. All I had were a bunch of ideas.

Well, I gave the Lord my small window of time and my heart and he came up with a great idea. He led me to the book of Colossians. It is 4 chapters and each chapter addresses being thankful. Perfect for my “thanksgiving” message. And, instead of talking, I would invite students to participate in as many “stations” as they felt led. It was amazing to watch high schoolers participate in their faith and be moved by the Holy Spirit.

Below is an outline of the stations. I hope I can always focus on finding the blessings in the darkness and in the light.

Hx of Col.
Paul writing from prison in Rome
Why? To argue against errors in the church (Christ and…)
And show believers have everything they need in Christ alone.

Col 1:3-5 Thankful for other believers (Christ in the flesh)
“ 3 We always pray for you, and we give thanks to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. 4 For we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and your love for all of God’s people, 5 which come from your confident hope of what God has reserved for you in heaven. You have had this expectation ever since you first heard the truth of the Good News.”

Be thankful for their faith and changed life. (1:3)
Ask God to help them know what he wants them to do. (1:9)
Ask God to give them deep spiritual understanding. (1:9)
Ask God to help them live for him. (1:10)
Ask God to give them more knowledge of Himself. (1:10)
Ask God to give them strength for endurance. (1:11)
Ask God to fill them with joy, strength and thankfulness. (1:11)

Col 2:6-7 Altar of Remembrance with your life
6 And now, just as you accepted Christ Jesus as your Lord, you must continue to follow him. 7 Let your roots grow down into him, and let your lives be built on him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness” NLT

6-7My counsel for you is simple and straightforward: Just go ahead with what you’ve been given. You received Christ Jesus, the Master; now live him. You’re deeply rooted in him. You’re well constructed upon him. You know your way around the faith. Now do what you’ve been taught. School’s out; quit studying the subject and start living it! And let your living spill over into thanksgiving.” MESSAGE

Commit you life and submit to Christ (Romans 12:1-2)
Seek to learn from Christ, His life and His teachings (Colossians 3:16)
Recognize the Holy Spirit’s power (Acts 1:8 and Galatians 5:22)

Col 3:16, 17 Give thanks with your life
16 Let the message about Christ, in all its richness, fill your lives. Teach and counsel each other with all the wisdom he gives. Sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs to God with thankful hearts. 17 And whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through him to God the Father.” NLT

1-2 So if you’re serious about living this new resurrection life with Christ, act like it. Pursue the things over which Christ presides. Don’t shuffle along, eyes to the ground, absorbed with the things right in front of you. Look up, and be alert to what is going on around Christ—that’s where the action is. See things from his perspective.
3-4Your old life is dead. Your new life, which is your real life—even though invisible to spectators—is with Christ in God. He is your life. When Christ (your real life, remember) shows up again on this earth, you’ll show up, too—the real you, the glorious you. Meanwhile, be content with obscurity, like Christ.
5-8And that means killing off everything connected with that way of death: sexual promiscuity, impurity, lust, doing whatever you feel like whenever you feel like it, and grabbing whatever attracts your fancy. That’s a life shaped by things and feelings instead of by God. It’s because of this kind of thing that God is about to explode in anger. It wasn’t long ago that you were doing all that stuff and not knowing any better. But you know better now, so make sure it’s all gone for good: bad temper, irritability, meanness, profanity, dirty talk.
9-11Don’t lie to one another. You’re done with that old life. It’s like a filthy set of ill-fitting clothes you’ve stripped off and put in the fire. Now you’re dressed in a new wardrobe. Every item of your new way of life is custom-made by the Creator, with his label on it. All the old fashions are now obsolete. Words like Jewish and non-Jewish, religious and irreligious, insider and outsider, uncivilized and uncouth, slave and free, mean nothing. From now on everyone is defined by Christ, everyone is included in Christ.
12-14So, chosen by God for this new life of love, dress in the wardrobe God picked out for you: compassion, kindness, humility, quiet strength, discipline. Be even-tempered, content with second place, quick to forgive an offense. Forgive as quickly and completely as the Master forgave you. And regardless of what else you put on, wear love. It’s your basic, all-purpose garment. Never be without it.
15-17Let the peace of Christ keep you in tune with each other, in step with each other. None of this going off and doing your own thing. And cultivate thankfulness. Let the Word of Christ—the Message—have the run of the house. Give it plenty of room in your lives. Instruct and direct one another using good common sense. And sing, sing your hearts out to God! Let every detail in your lives—words, actions, whatever—be done in the name of the Master, Jesus, thanking God the Father every step of the way.

Col 4:2 Pray-Thank Him.
2 Devote yourselves to prayer with an alert mind and a thankful heart.

Have you ever grown tired of praying for something or someone? Paul says we should “devote” ourselves to prayer and be “alert” in prayer. Our persistence is an expression if our faith that God answers our prayers. Faith shouldn’t die if the answers come slowly, for the delay may be God’s way of working his will in our life. When you feel tired of praying, know that God is present, always listening, always answering-maybe not in ways you had hoped, but in ways he knows are best….even if it doesn’t “feel” best.

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