|Clash Night at Momentum 2012|
We had another great night with our students on Wednesday as we continued our series on the Bible. I shared an illustration about something that happened to me in youth ministry in 2003. We went on a mission trip to inner-city Philadelphia to a place called Urban Hope. It's a fantastic ministry in a very dark part of the country. The West Kensington area of Philadelphia is one of the most difficult and dangerous places in the country to live but Urban Hope is a light in that area sharing the love of Jesus. That's why we partner with them. Anyway, in 2003, I took a group of middle school students to Urban Hope. When we arrived, I was sharing with the students how wise we need to be in that area. It's a dangerous area, so we need to use common sense ... don't go out at night alone, if you see a drug deal don't go up and say "How ya doing?" ... stuff like that. Anyway, one student who came from a very difficult home talked to me afterwards and said, "I'm not afraid." I asked him what gave him his bravery. He said, "Well, if anyone tries to start anything with me, I'll get 'em with my 'shiv.'" He then pulls out a fork wrapped in duct tape and filed off at the end! Well, you can imagine my surprise to see him with an actual "shiv." I think I said two things ... first, "Give me the shiv." Don't think I had to ever say that to anyone before. Second ... they use automatic weapons here. Your "shiv" isn't going to be much use to you. Dude, think about what you're doing here!
Anyway, that event got me to thinking about the spiritual battle we are in that is talked about in Ephesians 6:12. And, how often we are under prepared for our spiritual battle. We often use a "shiv" when the enemy is equipped with automatic weapons. In other words, the battle for our soul is serious business and we need to be equipped with the right weapons of defense AND offense. We talked through the spiritual armor of God and how we can fight the most powerful weapon of the enemy (his lies) with the most powerful weapon of all ... the Word of God! The best way to fight Satan's lies is with God's truth. The Bible will always tell me the truth ... when I like and even when I don't like it.
Hebrews 4:12 says "For the Word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart." There is no other book that can be described as living and active ... alive and full of power. I don't fully understand it all, but when you combine the words of God with the spirit of God living in us you get something alive, you get something powerful, you get something that is meant to transform us! God has not preserved the Bible for centuries just to allow us to have something nice to read. He has preserved it to allow it to change our lives!
In my life that plays out when I focus and meditate on the truths of the Bible instead of the lies of the enemy. So, for instance, if there is a time I feel inadequate and like I have nothing to offer, I'm believing a lie. The Bible says "We are God's masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus so we can do the good things He planned for us long ago." (Ephesians 2:10). If there is a time when I feel my past mistakes creeping up and I wonder if God truly does forgive me, I'm believing a lie. The Bible says "I will forgive their wickedness, and I will never again remember their sins." Jeremiah 31:34. If I feel like I'm not good enough, I'm believing a lie. The Bible says "I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength." (Philippians 4:13). So, it's a matter of taking ownership of my thoughts and weeding out the negative (the enemies lies) and meditating on the positive (the truth of the Bible).
We then broke up in to our Chat Groups and gave kids the opportunity to address some of the lies that teenagers often believe about themselves and how the Bible addresses those specific lies. It was a great night for us!
We also had some fun. Check out this video from our new game called "Will It Smash?"