Friday, March 4, 2011

Axis Wrap Up 3/2/11 - Faceless

We started our new series at axis Wednesday night and I couldn't be more excited. We are calling our series FaceLess, as you could probably tell by the photo above. We're calling it that for two reasons: 1) We often can ignore the needs around us because there's not a face to any of the suffering. It doesn't touch us personally. I hope to change that with this series. 2) If we get involved, we can help people face less hurt and suffering.

Wednesday I spoke a little differently to middle school and high school. My plan was to talk about the story of Nehemiah and how his passion to finish the wall in Jerusalem came out of knowing that his people were hurting and suffering and when he found this out God just broke his heart. He was so broken that he just had to do something about it. (Nehemiah 1 and 2). God used his passion and it became contagious and other decided to join the fight. (Nehemiah 2:17 - 18). This story is such a good example of how God can change a person's heart and give them a purpose and that passion becomes contagious. I challenged our middle school kids to open their eyes and see needs around them. And, my prayer for them is that God will instill in them a purpose, a cause, something they just have to get involved in because it's what we are called to do as followers of Jesus Christ. The story seemed to connect well with our students.

I had planned to do the same thing for high school, but felt led during our worship time to switch things up a bit. I wasn't exactly sure where this was going to go, but really tried to follow the lead of the Holy Spirit with this and just say what came to mind instead of following my original notes. I shared James 2:14 - 17 about how if we claim to follow Jesus but don't show that by helping those in need then our faith is dead ... its useless. We ran out of Monster energy drinks in our cafe and I shared how some of our kids were more angry over not getting a Monster than they were about the injustices going on around us every single day. I told them that I have been praying that God would bother them ... that they would get so angry about something we talk about in this series, that they just say "I have got to do something about this." I honestly can't remember all I said but our kids were incredibly engaged and really seemed to walk away challenged.

During this series we have several ways that we are trying to get our kids to put their faith in to action. Here are a few of the things we'll be doing

Millions of kids around the world simply do not have shoes. When I was in Nicaragua last year, we spent time in a garbage dump that over 1000 called their home. You can read more about it here. While there I saw kids walking in the garbage with no shoes ... walking around broken glass, needles, excrement ... with no shoes. All the while I have shoes in my closet that are just lying there. On April 13th we'll be partnering with an organization called Soles4Souls and doing a shoe drive at axis to try to help out with this. We'll also challenge our kids to come to axis in their bare feet that night. More info on that to come.

On March 23rd we'll be having a special offering at axis for Charity Water, an organization that helps provide clean drinking water for millions around the world. 1 in 8 people drink water every day that makes them sick. My hope is to raise over $500 from our youth ministry to give to Charity Water.

Faith Mission is a local homeless shelter and we'll be going there two different days to serve lunch to the homeless.

Feed My Starving Children is an organization that provides food for starving people in third world countries. We took a middle school group to a packing plant last year and over spring break we'll be taking a group of senior highers there to pack meals for starving kids. We also hope to visit a homeless shelter in the Chicago area while we are there.

We also have 14 of our kids who are running in the Sunburst half marathon in order to raise money for Asia's Hope, orphanages that our church supports and, honestly, those kids are a part of our church family. 14 kids and a few of our adult volunteers (including myself) will be running this and trying to raise money with all of the proceeds going to Asia's Hope.

Lots of cool stuff happening this month in our youth ministry and I'm excited to see our kids understand what it means to serve and be involved.

Next Week: We're looking at sex slavery

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