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November 4th to 10th (Suggested Passage: Ephesians 3)

on Mon Nov 05, 2018 12:56 am
Hey guys really encouraged from last week's devos, keep on going with it - I know that as God reveals His glory onto us more and more that we'll grow in richer in faith (especially in light of today's sermon). There were 34 postings last week. How many can we get through this week?!

Recommended passage this week is Ephesians 3.

Here's a template/example (don't feel restricted in following this, just a guide);

1. Pray. Ask God to reveal Himself onto you through Scripture. Ask God to give you an appetite for his Word (Just like how we always pray before we eat - you are essentially praying before you eat spiritually
2. Read maybe 2-3 times
3. Interpret the passage, see what verses, terms, and key phrases stick out to you.
4. See how you can apply the passage - knowledge is amazing, and to know God is essentially our focus. Even better if you can find ways to apply it.
5. Share your prayer requests. Seriously. Everyone is able to read what you flesh out and we are a Church that will pray on your behalf - also an opportunity for you to pray for others as well.
-You can always share praise songs that has spoken to you as well, maybe throughout your devotional/quiet time.
6. Pray to end off your devo, trust God that He is working through this initiative.

Please do a devotional reflection on Radical Chapter 2 and please read chapters 17 and 32 from Leadership Axioms <3
To be blunt, I feel as though our prayer requests are really surface level requests. What are you struggling with that you would want others to pray for? Not just school, time management, and sleep - but what is it that you're ACTUALLY struggling with? How we can pray for you? How can we service you through our prayers?
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Re: November 4th to 10th (Suggested Passage: Ephesians 3)

on Mon Nov 05, 2018 4:09 pm
Radical Chapter Two: Too Hungry For Words
David Platt shares his experience at an underground house church where they were just so hungry, thirsty, and zealous for Scripture. Surveying through the entirety of Scripture and going deep into the night reveals how desperate the people were. Could we see ourselves spending eight to twelve hours a day for the next ten days just like them?

He continues to share his own experience in hosting a 3 hour bible study at his own church, where many people show up until past midnight in order to examine the Scriptures and to seek out for the glory of God. Further expressing the fact that we must understand the Gospel in its truest form, he shares that the American dream so easily influences our theology. "Yet in the American dream, where self reigns as king (or queen), we have a dangerous tendency to misunderstand, minimize, and even manipulate the Gospel in order to accommodate our assumptions and our desires. As a result, we desperately need to explore how much of our understanding of the gospel is American and how much is biblical."

It's so easy to make up our own version of God, who in turn, would serve us. Yet the Gospel calls us to understand our depravity, our delight in sin, and the failure to please God in the midst of our flesh. We are spiritually dead people without God, and we were born into sin. Living in a culture of self-sufficiency, it's hard to imagine that we 'need' God every day. But it's imperative that we rely upon Him for everything. As the author and sustainer of all things, we cannot grow apart from Him. He is our True Vine, He is our all in all. The due wrath that was destined for us was laid on Christ. It's such an unimaginable truth that seems so easy to articulate yet it's so difficult to see the gravity of this truth.

How I came to reflect upon chapter two is understanding what I understand about God. We're always in need of constantly sharpening up our theology, in order that we can come to a closer understanding of God. These days, I'm finding it difficult to find joy in the Gospel. That there is tremendous joy in salvation. I feel as if this book helped challenge the emotional components in my faith, because often times I lack the emotion even though the knowledge is there. Passion and emotions are great, God has created us with them in order that we can magnify God in all of His glory through our emotions. Though it could be a problem to just have emotion and no knowledge about who in which we're so passionate about, I believe that I fall into the category of knowing who God is, yet not being excited for Him. I desperately want this to change, in order that the Gospel shudders my bones in awe of who God is.

Please pray for greater patience in my character. I'm struggling to be patient as I interact with others and I hope that I won't respond in such a way that isn't honoring to that person or God. I'm also feeling very complacent when it comes to these devotionals as well, and I want to have greater joy in doing them, as a spiritual discipline.
-My mom will undergo surgery soon for her thyroid back home. Please pray for God's will to be done through the process and that we can trust Him and His timing.


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Re: November 4th to 10th (Suggested Passage: Ephesians 3)

on Mon Nov 05, 2018 4:27 pm
Yesterday I read Luke chapter 16-18 and it really sort of spoke of something I have been worried for, that has been in my heart for a long time. As someone who is at the age to have a job and to be worrying about what I should do with my life, I believe that a lot of the times I look and expect for many of the worldly riches. I want a big house, nice car, a beautiful family, and just repay everything to my parents for what they sacrificed for me, and I do not believe these things are necessarily evil or sinful, But it sometimes does get in the way to truly loving God as we should be. Luke 16:13 says, “No servant can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.” Luke 18:22-25, “When Jesus heard this, he said to him, “One thing you still lack. Sell all that you have and distribute to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.” But when he heard these things, he became very sad, for he was extremely rich. Jesus, seeing that he had become sad, said, “How difficult it is for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God! For it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.” These verses really spoke to me because a lot of the times I imagine having just all this money living a comfortable life yet I should be more focused on my spiritual life, of how I can use my life to really serve God even through discomfort. I have been very anxious of what is to be with my life but reading these chapters really put some perspective in what I should pray for and really trust God to lead the way

Prayer Requests:
- To be less anxious, it really puts me in a lot of stress just fighting just the resentment of how others are a lot more successful than I am, but I should be more content with God that one day he will provide me with whatever he wants me to do
- Retreat, just to have the right heart as I go in, that God could really just use me to just help the younger brother and sisters that are going, that I would put aside having fun and being comfortable but to really just serve with a righteous heart. To pray for the other leaders who are graciously putting in their time and effort to help serve
- To learn to let go, there are some people that I became very attached to and as much as I miss them, they are not very good for my spiritual health. That I can maybe lead them back to church but not to be so emotionally attached to them, that God can really just lead me in what I should do.
- School, Friends, Family, Church
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Devotional

on Tue Nov 06, 2018 12:26 pm
Psalms 55
I did my devotional on Psalms 55 and it stuck out to me a lot. Specifically, Psalms 1-3, which says, "Listen to my prayer, O God, do not ignore my plea; hear me and answer me. My thoughts trouble me and I am distraught because of what my enemy is saying, because of the threats of the wicked; for they bring down suffering on me and assail me in their anger." (1-3) As going through Psalms, everything seems to be clicking with each other and everything seems to be going along with many things that I have been going through. Crying out to God for these pleasures around me, and wanting some circumstances to go my way. However, it has not been going that way entirely. Even through that, I still rely on God for strength because it is necessary. It is the one thing that I have to rely on during this time. When it says "what my enemy is saying, because of the threats of the wicked; for they bring down suffering on me and assail me in their anger." It really brought me home because it has happened time and time again because it is a reoccurring theme around my worldly desires. Wanting these people to change around me and dropping a lot of them along the way, has been hard, but not impossible. Even through people around me are not helping me the same way I would have liked it, it is still something that has been helpful along the lines because it is a growing pattern for myself. As people around me are not the best influences it still helps me grow by not doing certain things and only doing things the way I would have liked it.
Also in verse 9, it says the same thing, "Lord, confuse the wicked, confound their words, for I see violence and strife in the city." When it says to confuse the wicked, it really helped me to see many things around me going that way. As things around me are not the most beneficial for my own growth. As I believe I am not going to be able to grow with wickness around me. Throughout everything going around, making myself grow first is the most beneficial thing as that is the only way for myself to help other people grow by showing even through the hardest times. Even through everything around I came to the realization that I am growing more and more throughout everything around myself.

Prayer Request
- Growth spiritually and people around me
- Retreat that everyone serving and the students will be able to grow more and more.
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John 11

on Tue Nov 06, 2018 10:11 pm
The passage that I read today was John 11 and while it is a chapter I have often heard preached upon, in my own quietness, God spoke to me through this passage with unprecedented meaning. First, I never seemed to notice how many shifts of scenes there were in just this one chapter: from the death of Lazarus to the plotting of Jesus' death. As a reader looking into the thoughts and intention of Jesus, I was in awe of how often and how much he did in order to lead us into the right mindset and direction. While Martha believed in the power available to Christ, it seems as if she was missing the point in that Jesus didn't want her to just have a theology, but much rather something deeper: a personal belief. Jesus asked, "Do you believe this?" (v.26) Guiding her into her declaration of her belief. In verse 42, he says " Father, I thank you that you have heard me. I knew that you always hear me, but I said this on account of the people standing around, that they may believe that you sent me." Here, what I finally understood was just how much Jesus slows down for us and his willingness to help us through our incapability of coming to Him on our own. On a divergent note, I love this chapter in how it brings Jesus down to a human level where we see his emotions, attachment, and really just how much his heart breaks for us. We do not worship a God who is distant and off in the cosmos, but an interpersonal, loving God. Lastly, I was actually kind of shocked at the response of the Jews in how some were open-minded enough to believe in Him and that those who wanted to kill him did so in fear of having the nation taken away by the Romans.
I feel like God is asking me to leverage more trust unto him as I have frequently been worrying and pondering about my future. Not worrying about how prestigious my future college is, or what the world defines success as, but to really look at life through a God-centered lens. God is guiding me, humbling me, and teaching me so that my personal belief would withstand the degeneracy of the world.
My prayer requests:
- I've been really trying to change my work ethic and elevate/correct my motivation levels, but obviously, this is no easy task.
- I feel like I've almost lost myself in terms of optimism and thanks, please pray that I might see opportunity and God's beauty in every duty, every person, and every day.
- To stop validating my worth on merits that society acknowledges, but to truly translate my understanding that Jesus is my worth into my heart.
- Please pray that God would mend the broken relationships within my family.
- I sprained my ankle today and am behind on school.
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Re: November 4th to 10th (Suggested Passage: Ephesians 3)

on Tue Nov 06, 2018 11:37 pm
Ephesians 3:1-21;

I felt as if this passage was quite fitting with our Gospel-themed focus these days, opening with the identifier that Paul is a prisoner for Christ on behalf of the Gentiles. And in light of our 'one-ness in Christ' shared in Ephesians 2:11-22, Paul is sharing that the mystery of the Gospel was brought through the Holy Spirit, to him and to the rest of the world. In the mystery of the fact that Gentiles are now eligible to be fellow members of Christ's body, Paul shares that he is a minister of this Gospel, according to the grace and power that He has received from God. Just seeing the vocabulary he uses really goes to show that he delights in His calling, that he is ecstatic to express the unsearchable truths of the Gospel. That though it was once hidden - it is now being revealed. It is now being proclaimed. That Christ has defeated and conquered death, to be the atonement for sins on behalf of many, in order that they can be reconciled to God.

Referring back to Radical chapter 2, God did not die on the cross in order that we can define our own comfortable Christianity, rather He paved the way for obedience, in order that we can live and model a life that Christ once lived. We are now eligible, not only to be with God but to finally be able to praise God for who He truly is.

v.13, "So I ask you not to lose heart over what I am suffering for you, which is your glory."
-This verse expresses Paul's concern over the church in Ephesus. It seems as if they are losing heart over the Gospel, yet Paul is encouraging them to be strengthened in the glory in which they now participate in. Paul is essentially stating that the Gospel is now their glory. That one should find delight in it - to know the true and living God.
-Huge relatability here, especially with our youth group. Our hearts are slowly being stirred up in order that we can truly know God, but I'd want for us to continue on strong, knowing that God is now our glory. That whatever He loves ought to be our love and His hate ought to be our hate. He is our all in all.

v.14-19 is huge. This is Paul's prayer for the Ephesians, that they may know the breadth, length, height, and depth of God's love. Not just to skim over God's love and to reduce it to the fact that someone died for you and know you're cleansed from all of your sins (though this is still an unimaginable truth), there is so much more to delight in God's love. The Gospel, the saving good news is only our starting point. It must draw us near.
But I feel sometimes that the Gospel that we understand isn't the Gospel that is revealed in Scripture. We've rationalized God's love. We've reduced it to be a very soft sunday-school love. We've created our very own Gods for our very own purposes. Our hearts are so far from God... we need to revert back to square one. If we are not falling in love with God's Gospel daily, then that must ultimately mean that we are not seeing God's Gospel. We're seeing our own versions of God's Gospel, and have become complacent for the very own true Gospel.

v. 20, In light of the fullness of God's love, Paul is stating now that He is able to do far more abundantly than whatever we may even conceivably ask Him for. God knows what we need even before we ask of it. And when we do ask of God's help, He is able to do so much more than whatever we request.
There is so much more that we're forgetting. There is so much of the Gospel that we're missing. And we need to renew our minds and press that restart button in our spiritual lives in order to remove the former improper ways of thought and living. As a youth group, we desperately need God...

I've been struggling with lust recently and I would love prayer on behalf of it in order that I may conquer it. I need to be reminded of how strong and redeeming Christ's power is, as it is able to destroy any habitual sins that linger within us. Especially in light of Ephesians 3, I want to know the breadth, length, height, and depth of God's love. I want to know that His love is not only comforting, yet it is also the power in which we can stand on to trample any sin.

Oldie but a goldie.

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Re: November 4th to 10th (Suggested Passage: Ephesians 3)

on Wed Nov 07, 2018 1:03 am
Today I read Luke 19-21, and something that stood out to me was Luke chapter 21: 34-36 which says, "But watch yourselves lest your hearts be weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and cares of this life, and that day come upon you suddenly like a trap. For it will come upon all who dwell on the face of the whole earth. But stay awake at all times, praying that you may have strength to escape all these things that are going to take place, and to stand before the Son of Man.” I feel like I live with a mindset where tomorrow will always come, that life moves on but there will be that day where my life may end whether by death or the return of Jesus. So this made me think am i really living my life out for Jesus. Going through the same cycle every week, hoping that my life may become better. However this passage tells me that I should use every single day to really just spend time with him, praying, reading the word and just really putting all the worldly stuff behind him. Just to really focus on what is important and as I continue to live my life that I truly showed throughout my life that I truly lived my life for Jesus.

Prayer Requests:
-Winter Retreat, Just praying that God can really use me, just give the students the hearts to come to retreat and to really just wanna learn and to have a blessing time, strength for the leaders who are giving up their time to serve the youth group, PJ that God can really use him to teach his word and to give him strength
- Nursing School applications are coming up, that I really trust God and just do what he wants me to do
- School, Family, Friends, Church
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Re: November 4th to 10th (Suggested Passage: Ephesians 3)

on Wed Nov 07, 2018 4:00 am
Romans 10 - The Message of Salvation

Today during my devotional I read Romans chapter 10 which talks about the road to salvation. One part in the chapter that really stood out to me was verse eight and nine which says “But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith that we proclaim);  because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” This part really stood out to me because the word of God is reflected through our mouths and hearts. You confess with mouth that Jesus is the Lord of lords and you believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. The past few days at work have been a real struggle for me physically, mentally, emotionally, and especially spiritually. Working in an environment where I can’t say anything back to patients even when ninety nine percent of the time its not my fault but their own, I still have to take the blame. In these moments I just have to bottle up my frustrations and put on a smile to try to serve them as best as I can. I feel like in moments like this, God is really testing me to see if I am a hundred percent devoted and willing to serve his people even if they treat me like a tool. Its easy to serve others when they respond positively back to to you, but in moment when others don’t listen and don’t cooperate is the really test of faith. I believe the mouth and heart go hand in hand, they are full when together but totally unless without the other. At work its easy to serve using my mouth by trying to make patients experience at the pharmacy an easy one but in my heart I would feel anger or hurt. By only serving with my mouth and not my heart I’m not serving God to the best of my ability. There are many stories of Jesus Christ spreading the word of God and would get hate for it, but Jesus never gave in always had faith and love even to those who hated on him. This week no matter how bad I get treated I will try my very best to love them both verbally and internally.

Prayer Requests
- I might not show it but I struggle a lot with anxiety and self confidence. Take over youth group on my own at a young age I had to fake a lot of my self confidence to make sure the youth group could run smoothly or as smooth as possible. I remember I would be so scared to lead worship and I would shake even after we finished the set. I also built a lot anxiety in heart because I’m worrisome person. I would worry for everyones future like if you guys will be okay after you graduate youth group. Because of this I would build a lot of stress to myself and would look tired or get physically sick. To some this might be stupid and I should just get over it but its something I’ve been struggling with ever since grade school. I think that why I talk about my track days a lot because in the moments when I ran I truly felt what confidence was like. This led me to be really prideful and cocky but even in those moments I was helpless and scared. My self confidence has grown a lot since then but I still definitely struggle especially loving myself. My anxiety is still up and down always feeling guilty or worrying about someone. If you guy can pray for me in moments I feel worthless or anxious that I would depend on God

- Winter Retreat - That this retreat wouldn’t be just another spiritual high but be a stepping stone for this youth group to grow spiritually in away even if we’re not at a retreat we’ll still grow. That this retreat would help everyone individually grow if that’s though the sermons, worship, prayer time, or through fellowship.

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Devotional

on Wed Nov 07, 2018 2:19 pm
Psalms 56, verses 1-3 says, "Be merciful to me, my God, for my enemies are in hot pursuit; all day long they press their attack. My adversaries pursue me all day long; in their pride many are attacking me. When I am afraid, I put my trust in you." In verse 3, it says "When I am afraid, I put my trust in you" it's something lately I have been residing on that. Trusting in him with everything that I am doing especially when I am afraid. My testimony itself was when I was alone there was no one to talk to in 2013. I was afraid with everything around me because I was alone at home most of the time seeing my brother go to school and my parents working all day long. This verse has always stuck with me because it is something that is one of my biggest struggles. It has been and it still is one of my biggest fears in school and at home. Even through everything, I still had bitterness saying why I can't have everything the way I wanted to and it was with a single verse that I learned in 5th grade in my bible class which was Philippians 2:14. That reads, "Do everything without grumbling or arguing". That hit home to me because it is something that I always and a lot of people should read through and evaluate in their lives. I have been really looking through this and been trying to live without complaining about things around me because that's not how God wants me to live my life out.
Prayer Request
- Winter Retreat, leaders so they can pour out everything
- School, it's been tough lately
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Parable of the Wedding Banquet

on Wed Nov 07, 2018 10:59 pm
Matthew 22: 1-14
Parable of the Wedding Banquet

Like the previous parables, Jesus tells this parable to send a message to the Pharisees. In this parable, there is a king who is hosting a wedding banquet for his son. The king represents God and the son represents Jesus. Back then wedding banquets were one of the most joyous events in Jewish culture, and so in the same way God intended to have Jesus's descent down to Earth a very happy time for Israel. However when the king sent invitations to the Jewish people, a lot of them refused to come because they were busy with their jobs (farming and business). Instead of acknowledging and celebrating Jesus's birth, many people were still more concerned with their own lives, and they made no effort try and follow Jesus. This represents the people who choose to pursue the worldly things instead of Christ. As a result of many people rejecting the king's invitations, he decides to invite random people on the streets. The people on the streets end up coming to the wedding banquet, however there is one man that came to the wedding not wearing wedding clothes. Even though it was required by the king to wear a wedding garment, the man refused to do so. As a result, the king kicked him out of the banquet and had him suffer in the darkness. This action is significant because it represents the fact that God will not allow us into his kingdom if we are disobedient. When God orders us to so a certain thing, he expects us to carry out that order. From this parable there are two things we can learn about God's character. One, when we invites us to his kingdom, we should right away accept his invitation instead of making up excuses to pursue other things in this world. And two, when we do decide to be a follower of God we need to be obedient servants.

Prayer Requests:
-to not be quick to anger - whenever someone is or does something annoying, I tend to act aggressively towards that person even if he or she is being annoying in the smallest way
-to not lose hope in God even when I am struggling in life
-to decrease the amount of lust I have

Song/Lyrics: Hills and Valleys - Tauren Wells



When I'm standing on the mountain
I didn't get there on my own
When I'm walking through the valley
I know I am not alone!
You're God of the hi-hi-hills and valleys
Hi-hi-hills and valleys
God of the hi-hi-hills and valleys
And I am not alone
I really enjoy this song because it talks about how we should respond to God in different situations. When we are feeling happy and satisfied, we need to thank God for helping us get to that state of happiness, and when we are depressed and hopeless we need to realize that God is still with us and watching over us.
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Re: November 4th to 10th (Suggested Passage: Ephesians 3)

on Thu Nov 08, 2018 12:50 am
11/8/18
Romans 8:18-39  -  Present Suffering and Future Glory; More than Conquerors

This second half of Romans 8 is a passage that I really enjoyed reading because I feel like this is something that I really needed this week (specifically today). The passage starts with verse 18, which says, "I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us". This single verse alone made me feel a lot better because it reminded me that no amount of earthly suffering can equate to the glory that will come. I should face my sufferings with the mindset that everything happens for a reason, and that I should take these experiences and learn to grow from it. Later in the section, verse 28 says, "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose". This encourages me as well because it reminded me that although I may not feel it all the time as long as I love God, he will bring good and eventually relieve the suffering from my life. The next paragraph talks about how we are eagerly waiting for our adoption to sonship and redemption of our bodies. It was a little confusing to understand, but I think that Paul was saying that we should not hope for this because why would we have to hope for something that we already have?
The next subsection is something that really touched my heart and is a passage that I remember reading multiple times in my life. The basic concept of this entire portion is that nothing can separate us from God's love. Verse 32 says, "He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all -- how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?". This was really encouraging to read because it talks about how God if willing to give his Son, then what can he possibly not give up for us? In the same way, I realized that we should be living for him with this same mentality. I should be ready and willing to give anything that he asks me to. Reading this made me recall a Sunday morning devotional when Pastor James talked about how Jesus told someone to follow him without saying goodbye to his family and another without burying his father. Although it may be hard, if God calls for it, we should be willing to give up everything to follow him.

Prayer Requests:
- I've been struggling to keep myself mentally sound through the stress that school and family poses... Please pray that I will be able to ask God for strength and look to him for help first.
- I've kind of lost motivation to do anything, so please pray that I'll be able to push through till at least Thanksgiving Break

Song:
"All the worries of this world
I will lay them at Your feet
Surrender every anxious thought
For perfect peace, Your perfect peace"
I think this song fits very well with this devotional as well as my life. It actually coincidentally came up in my playlist, and I thought it connected really well to the meaning of the entire passage. I shouldn't be afraid to go to God for my struggles, for he is my strength and is the Lord of all.
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Re: November 4th to 10th (Suggested Passage: Ephesians 3)

on Thu Nov 08, 2018 1:16 am
Today I Finished Luke and something that always will remind me of just how loving Jesus was for us was shown in Luke 23:34-38. "And Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” And they cast lots to divide his garments. And the people stood by, watching, but the rulers scoffed at him, saying, “He saved others; let him save himself, if he is the Christ of God, his Chosen One!” The soldiers also mocked him, coming up and offering him sour wine and saying, “If you are the King of the Jews, save yourself!” There was also an inscription over him,[b] “This is the King of the Jews." Through this verse it really shows how much the people condemned him by mocking him, even in the passages before it was described that he was found innocent yet the people wanted him to be punished so badly they even released Barrabus, who was a murderer, just so they can crucify Jesus. They beat him, took a murderer over him, mocked him and eventually crucified him and in verse 34 he says, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” There was so much hate towards him and had to go through all that crap and while it was happening he asked God to forgive us. This really speaks to my heart because a lot of the times I believe something I did was too sinful so I was ashamed to think of God and ask for forgiveness. Where I will go through long periods of times with the cycle of sinning and trying to fulfill myself with worldly things. Yet here it shows us as an example that, we may mock him, betray him, beat him but he will still forgive us because of how much he loved us and I find that so amazing.

Prayer requests
-Winter Retreat, Just praying that God can really use me, just give the students the hearts to come to retreat and to really just wanna learn and to have a blessing time, strength for the leaders who are giving up their time to serve the youth group, PJ that God can really use him to teach his word and to give him strength
- Nursing School applications are coming up, that I really trust God and just do what he wants me to do
- School, Family, Friends, Church

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Re: November 4th to 10th (Suggested Passage: Ephesians 3)

on Thu Nov 08, 2018 7:15 pm
Mathew 19😃
I enjoy reading Matthew, because it’s straightforward. Even though I’ve read the chapter like two times already, reading it again brings new thoughts and refreshes me in a way.
So today as I was reading this one verse stuck out to me. One of the passages was about a man who followed almost every commandment, and asked Jesus how he could be saved. Jesus tells him to give up his possessions and give to the poor, but the guy was so wealthy he didn’t. Verse 24 says, “Truly I tell you, it is hard for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of heaven. Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.” As I was reading this I laughed, because I remembered a skit we did about how we shouldn’t hold possessions on earth, because you will have treasures in heaven. It seems so simple, yet it’s so hard to follow. The American dream is to be wealthy and successful in life, and we are influenced by that every day. Money and materialistic possessions hurt me everyday. I feel better and cooler, but deep down it’s hurting me. This connects with pruning our unhealthy vines or cutting off anything that’s making us sin. I shouldn’t be holding onto the ideals of the American dream, but it consumes my thoughts a lot. I feel like I need to go to a good college, find a good paying job, make a lot of money, build a family, and be comfortable. But that’s not it. By reading this, I remembered that it’s not about what we store down here on earth. It’s not about being successful in terms of the American dream. It’s about being successful in my relationship with God, and following his commandments.
I think a lot of times lately I’ve been worrying about my future too much. College talk has been happening a lot and it’s not that my parents pressure me into going to a big name school, but I feel pressured. I don’t know why. Maybe it’s because I’m so stuck on the American dream. Also, the passage about divorce came up in Matthew 19, and it got me worrying again about my future. Sometimes I wish I could know what the future would be like for me, so I don’t have to worry so much. I really need to stop worrying, because I’ve been worrying too much lately. Another reason behind my worrying is probably because I don’t have a strong relationship with God and enough faith. By doing these devos more I hope I can acquire that faith.
Prayer requests
-help me to stop worrying so much about every little thing and to have faith in God
-help me to be loving to this girl who started all this unnecessary drama, and not stoop down to her level pleaseee(it’s hard not to) and not gossip about her with other friends who are annoyed with her too(help me be more understanding)
Songggggg
One step away by casting crowns

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Re: November 4th to 10th (Suggested Passage: Ephesians 3)

on Thu Nov 08, 2018 11:31 pm
Proverbs 20
This chapter emphasizes full reliance on God and the recognition of our faults and weaknesses in comparison to God's absolute, ultimate authority. Various verses point towards certain faults of our identities as humans, indirectly highlighting the contrast of these weaknesses with God's perfection. Verse 6 says that while people may claim that they will always love, there is not a truly faithful person. Inevitably, people cannot be fully faithful; their hearts and minds are too prone to be led astray by the temptations that may face them. However, God is always, has always, and will always be faithful to us, His children and disciples. Recognizing this will help us realize how much we desperately need God and his pure, unchanging nature in order to save our broken lives. Verse 22 goes on to expand a different point by commanding us to not seek to take revenge on those that wrong us, but instead trust that the Lord will avenge us. This also is developing the idea to rely on the Lord to pay back those who wrong us instead of being blinded by one's fury, which would be straying from the righteous path that God calls us to. This can be applied to other areas of our life, for example when a person is tempted to spit out an inappropriate joke to get a laugh from others, but instead decides to trust that God will provide them with friends who are suitable for that person without the need to say those wicked words. Finally, verse 24 talks about how God is the one who directs one's steps, and so there is no way that any one person could understand their own way. This suggests that only through God somebody is able find their way, and this path is fully set out and led by Him. The second point further develops the idea from earlier that people themselves have inherent flaws and cannot be perfect. This verse says no individual can understand their own way, because humans are incapable of directing themselves. For this reason, it is important that we realize how incapable we are of trying to lead our own lives successfully, and instead learn to rely on God and His perfection and righteousness with every one of our words, actions, and thoughts.

Prayer Requests:
- I'm struggling with feeling a true connection with God at times especially in the middle of the week. I want to be always meditating His word and worshipping Him every moment of my life instead of being completely lost in my secular affairs and disconnected from God.
- To set a good example and be a good role model for others around me, and to lead others in God's path.

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Re: November 4th to 10th (Suggested Passage: Ephesians 3)

on Thu Nov 08, 2018 11:41 pm
Matthew 22:1-14 The Parable of the Wedding Banquet

Summary: Jesus speaks in parables and tell a story about a wedding. He compares the kingdom of Heaven to a wedding banquet. The king sends out invitations for his son’s banquet. The people who were invited refused to come. The king sends his servants again saying that he has prepared his oxen and fattened cattle. They pay no attention and seize, mistreat and kill the servants sent from the king. The king was enraged at this at sends an army to destroy their cities and kill those who murdered his servants. Then the king sends his servants to invite people from the streets, including the good and bad. He spots a man who was not wearing wedding clothes and askes, “How did you get in here without wedding clothes, friend?” The king then tells his servants to “Tie him hand and foot and throw him outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” Jesus ends the parable with “for many are invited, but few are chosen”

Application: I feel like there are so many layers to this story that I couldn’t comprehend all of it but this is my interpretation of it. The people who were invited to the wedding are like the Pharisees or like us. People who know the word of God but chose to live their own lives. The king sending his servants out to the streets and inviting everyone feels like it represents the switch from Judaism to Christianity. Before, the word of God was only for the Jews, but when Jesus came, he spread his word to everyone, including the Gentiles. One part that caught me off guard was when the king called the man not wearing wedding clothes “friend” but still chose to banish him for the banquet. I guess that just shows God’s holy nature, where he can’t accept people who are unholy. God shows his two sides, which are the complete opposite. One side is mercy, where he forgives us for all the sin/invites us to the banquet. Then there is righteousness, where he banishes the one who didn’t come prepared for the wedding. So basically what I got from this passage is that, yes God is merciful and he will forgive us for our sins, no matter how many times we commit them. However, he is righteous and when judgment comes, he will judge us fairly.

Prayer Requests:
I feel like I’ve been in a slump recently so please pray for me to get out of this ditch.
Please pray for our Winter retreat
Please pray that everyone keeps up their devotionals and readings!

Song of the Day:
“No power of hell, no scheme of man,
Can ever pluck me from His hand
'Til He returns or calls me home
Here in the power of Christ, I'll stand.”

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Re: November 4th to 10th (Suggested Passage: Ephesians 3)

on Fri Nov 09, 2018 1:03 am
Keeping this one pretty short but I started John today and one of the verses that stood out to me was John 3:30, "He must increase, but I must decrease." This stood out to me because a lot of the times I don't look at the big picture. A lot of the times I only care for myself, I don't look at why these things happened to me and become very resentful. However, I realized through this verse that a lot of the times as one failure ends for me, it always leads me to follow something greater. As some of you know I got rejected by UIC nursing school but because of that my habits for church have changed. I used to go only go to the service and dip but now I serve and just spend time fellowshipping with you guys and it really shows that God provided. He took away my worldly desire to give me the opportunity serve him therefore that a lot of my worldly desires must decrease so that he can increase.

Prayer requests
-Winter Retreat, Just praying that God can really use me, just give the students the hearts to come to retreat and to really just wanna learn and to have a blessing time, strength for the leaders who are giving up their time to serve the youth group, PJ that God can really use him to teach his word and to give him strength
- Nursing School applications are coming up, that I really trust God and just do what he wants me to do
- Just have this one person in my prayer that God may use me or whatever way to have them become a believer
- School, Family, Friends, Church
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Re: November 4th to 10th (Suggested Passage: Ephesians 3)

on Fri Nov 09, 2018 2:31 am
Decided to focus on a smaller portion of Scripture tonight, specifically from Jeremiah 2:1-5;

"The word of the Lord came to me saying, "Go and proclaim in the hearing of Jerusalem, Thus says the LORD, "I remember the devotion of your youth, your love as a bride, how you followed me in the wilderness, in a land not sown. Israel was holy to the LORD, the first fruits of his harvest. All who ate of it incurred guilt; disaster came upon them, declares the LORD." Hear the word of the LORD, O house of Jacob, and all the clans of the house of Israel. Thus says the LORD: "What wrong did your fathers find in me that they went far from me, and went after worthlessness, and became worthless?"

To be honest, today I felt somewhat anxious on reflecting upon our youth group's future. Where are we heading right now? Maybe more importantly, where are we right now? How are we growing in our love for Scripture? How have we abided in God on a more intimate level? How can I help make things better? How am I shepherding these youth kids to become more like Jesus, let alone follow Him?

Often times, though it may not seem like it, I get really nervous, anxious, and almost scared for what is to come for us. I'm worried and concerned if our devo meetings are enough, if our praise songs are enough, if our bible studies are enough, if our lock-ins are enough, and if our retreats are enough. But I was just hit really hard with God's grace reflecting upon His character and His faithfulness to form me into the person I am today. There were just so many blessings that God had provided in a particular given time but specifically, God reminded me of the time when I was in youth ministry myself, back home in Toronto. Though I can never remember a singular particular instance of a sermon, a bible study, or even a retreat - I just remember God's faithfulness. Though my faith fluctuated so often in youth ministry, God remained the same.

And the passage in Jeremiah 2:1-5 was a reminder to the Israelites when they were in rebellion to God, as God asks them rhetorically, "What fault did your fathers find in me that they went far from me?" Likewise, there were countless instances where I chose other things above God. There was a certain phase in my life where I chose video games over God, I chose to concern my own popularity over God, I chose my career above God, I chose my relationship at that time with a girl over God, the list goes on, etc. And though I've been so unfaithful, God is faithful. Not to take His grace for granted, but His grace had been so abound during my time in youth ministry that it just kept drawing me closer to Him whenever I strayed away.
As I thought back to youth ministry, I'm comforted to know that God still works in the midst of the flawed bible studies, He still speaks through the misguided sermons that are written at 5am the morning before, He is still faithful if things go awry, and always will be. It's in His character. And for me to worry about how we grow? Illogical. And for me to concern as to where we're going spiritually? A good reflection, but there's no reason to be anxious over something where I'm not even in charge of it. It is God who makes all things grow.

Continuously, habitually, repetitively, and consistently, we must repent. We must realize in our hearts that we've chosen second place whenever we choose anything above God. Tonight was a refreshing reminder as it was a comforting thought to remind myself how good God was, is, and forever will be. God is good. There are so many implications and ramifications to this truth...

-My mom will be officially going through surgery on Nov 27th, please continue to pray for her.
-Please pray for our youth group, that we can learn to honour one another and to respect each other on the basis of Christ's love for us.
-I feel like it's crunch season for everything right now and I feel somewhat overwhelmed - school, planning for the retreat, projecting the annual budget for church, etc, etc. I want to uplift everything that I have been entrusted with back to God and offer them as a form of worship. I don't want to just perform well, but I want to dedicate them well, offering it as my response of gratitude.

Guys, please know that others are praying for you. Keep up with the devos, they are really a delight and encouraging note to read, almost seems as if I'm doing my own devo as I read over them, haha

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Re: November 4th to 10th (Suggested Passage: Ephesians 3)

on Fri Nov 09, 2018 4:37 pm
Galations 1.
In this passage it talks about how Paul was brought into Christ. Once a person whom would slay Christian and bash on all of Christianity, is now praising the word. Something out of the ordinary as someone can just rapidly change their entire mindset of a certain thing, and then come into Christianity. Coming to know Christ and now preaching the good word little after He was slaying those were doing the same thing he was doing. In verses 23, 24, it says “They only heard the report: “The man who formerly persecuted us is now preaching the faith he once tried to destroy.” And they praised God because of me.” I feel like that’s a lot of what I have done. Not to that extreme but something that I do on a daily basis. Basically coming into a judgment of things that I don’t think is correct without giving it a try at all. Looking down upon those who don’t like the same things I do, or who do things differently compared to the “social norm”.
Paul is coming off as a person someone would fear because of his past. His past is something that will always be there and may not change the views upon people, but God wash’s away all of sin. Living in the past is a dreadful desire of mine as well. Something I never want to look back into, but is necessary for me to see how much i’ve grown. To see how much God has changed me. To see that God has a way to change the most broken person such as I in my past. I now, can happily go out and say I go to church, am proud to say that I am a Christian, and no matter what happens, I know God will be by my side.
Prayer Request
- I was telling one of my friends about this the other day, but right now, I am heavily relying on God for just wisdom and guidance.
- Health, as everything is going on, I want everyone to stay healthy without any setbacks and no one to be getting i’ll.
Song of the Day
What a Beautiful Name
Such a powerful song. What a powerful name it is, the name of Jesus.
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Luke 17:1-10

on Sat Nov 10, 2018 12:42 am
Jesus starts his teaching right off the bat with saying how there are going to be hardships and obstacles in life, but they may come in the form of people. Jesus even says it's better for them to be thrown in the ocean than to even cause an obstacle in the first place, and Jesus just says to be careful, and watch yourself of people in life. Then for Jesus' second message, he tells his disciples to always forgive their brother or sister. Always. He further tells his point with saying that if your brother sings against you 7 times and repents 7 times, you still have to forgive him. I think Jesus here is telling us to increase our patience with people. I know for one that I can have a grudge against someone for a sin they commit, and not let go of that sin for a while. Jesus tells us that we should be patient, and forgiving towards our brothers and sisters in Christ. I think that this message can be applied to everyone in CCYG, with any drama that occurs within our church. The next 2 verses Jesus talks about faith, and he says “If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it will obey you" (Verse 6). Jesus here is telling us about our faith. Some background context, a mustard seed is extremely small compared to other seeds in the world, about 16 oz. So when Jesus says our faith is as small as a mustard seed, our faith is really lacking. However, Jesus then says that we can say to a mulberry tree, one much greater than the mustard see to be uprooted and planted in the sea and it will obey. I think Jesus here is saying that even though our faith may be little, if we have the faith in God, it can do great things through Christ. If our faith is somewhere else, but much greater, it won't even have the same power as having a mustard sized faith in God.

The next few verses is a mini parable. It starts with a servant and a master, regrouping after a long day's of work. Jesus then asks the disciples if the master will be kind, and ask the servant to come eat with him? No, but rather that the master would say to prepare his supper, and rather wait for me to finish eating before you eat. Now the servant should reply to this as we were only doing our duty, nothing else. I think that Jesus here is combining the two past messages together: Patience and Faith. The first dialogue, with the master telling the servant to come eat with him, is telling us that that would never happen in the kingdom of God. We won't be able to just go and do great things with God just by having a strong faith alone, or in this case of the parable, eating. However, that we should both have patience and faith in order to do great things, or eat. The second message, with the master telling the servant to do all these things before he eats is how we should act. Before we "eat", we have to be patient and labor hard to earn that right to eat. With both good faith and patience, we can do great things with God, not regarding only to eating.

Prayer Requests: Just be less stressed with school, and just to be really manageable of my time.
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Luke 17:1-10

on Sat Nov 10, 2018 12:44 am
Jesus starts his teaching right off the bat with saying how there are going to be hardships and obstacles in life, but they may come in the form of people. Jesus even says it's better for them to be thrown in the ocean than to even cause an obstacle in the first place, and Jesus just says to be careful, and watch yourself of people in life. Then for Jesus' second message, he tells his disciples to always forgive their brother or sister. Always. He further tells his point with saying that if your brother sings against you 7 times and repents 7 times, you still have to forgive him. I think Jesus here is telling us to increase our patience with people. I know for one that I can have a grudge against someone for a sin they commit, and not let go of that sin for a while. Jesus tells us that we should be patient, and forgiving towards our brothers and sisters in Christ. I think that this message can be applied to everyone in CCYG, with any drama that occurs within our church. The next 2 verses Jesus talks about faith, and he says  “If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it will obey you" (Verse 6). Jesus here is telling us about our faith. Some background context, a mustard seed is extremely small compared to other seeds in the world, about 16 oz. So when Jesus says our faith is as small as a mustard seed, our faith is really lacking. However, Jesus then says that we can say to a mulberry tree, one much greater than the mustard see to be uprooted and planted in the sea and it will obey. I think Jesus here is saying that even though our faith may be little, if we have the faith in God, it can do great things through Christ. If our faith is somewhere else, but much greater, it won't even have the same power as having a mustard sized faith in God.

    The next few verses is a mini parable. It starts with a servant and a master, regrouping after a long day's of work. Jesus then asks the disciples if the master will be kind, and ask the servant to come eat with him? No, but rather that the master would say to prepare his supper, and rather wait for me to finish eating before you eat. Now the servant should reply to this as we were only doing our duty, nothing else. I think that Jesus here is combining the two past messages together: Patience and Faith. The first dialogue, with the master telling the servant to come eat with him, is telling us that that would never happen in the kingdom of God. We won't be able to just go and do great things with God just by having a strong faith alone, or in this case of the parable, eating. However, that we should both have patience and faith in order to do great things, or eat. The second message, with the master telling the servant to do all these things before he eats is how we should act. Before we "eat", we have to be patient and labor hard to earn that right to eat. With both good faith and patience, we can do great things with God, not regarding only to eating.

Prayer Requests: Just be less stressed with school, and just to be really manageable of my time.
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Luke 17:20-37

on Sat Nov 10, 2018 12:58 am
This part of the chapter talks of Jesus with the coming of the Kingdom of God. It starts off with a Pharisee asking Jesus when the kingdom will come, and he simply replies “The coming of the kingdom of God is not something that can be observed, nor will people say, ‘Here it is,’ or ‘There it is,’ because the kingdom of God is in your midst". I think Jesus here is simply telling us that we don't have to wait for the kingdom of God, because the Kingdom of God is already with us. Yet, I think Jesus add's the in your midst part because people don't realize it, but Jesus is the Kingdom of God, its just that people don't even realize or recognize that yet. The next few verses Jesus is telling the disciples of his leaving, and how they want to see some one like Jesus again. However, Jesus tell's them to not be fooled, for the Son of Man will "Be like Lightning", meaning he will be there and then disappear within the next day. He then says that the Son of Man has to suffer and be rejected by his generation, kind of like how Jesus was rejected by the pharisee's and the church. Jesus then compares the days of the Son of Man to Noah, where it will be doing sinful thing sin God's eyes, and then there will be a disaster to destroy them all. Same thing with Lot and Sodom, how the people there were wicked and then destroyed by the Heavens. The Jesus says that on day's like Noah's or Lot, is the day when the Son of Man is revealed, and at that point no one should go back for their possessions or their sinful desires. Rather just give them up and follow the Son of Man. Jesus then tells them the story of Lot's wife, how she looked back at her desires and sins, and immediately turned to salt. Jesus then says that whoever wants to keep their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life will keep it. I think Jesus here is saying that if you hold onto your sinful desires, you'll never be able to have that life again afterwards. Yet, if you give everything up for God and lose your "life", then God will grant you eternal life in his Kingdom.

Prayer Requests: Just be not stressed again, try to be manageable, I have a lot of intense school stuff coming up and I just pray God will be with me throughout the whole time.
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Re: November 4th to 10th (Suggested Passage: Ephesians 3)

on Sat Nov 10, 2018 2:01 am
Matthew 23:1-12 A Warning Against Hypocrisy

Summary: Jesus gives a warning to the crowds and his disciples about hypocrisy. He speaks about the Pharisees and tells the crowd to be careful and follow everything they say but not follow in their actions because they are hypocrites. He continues and says that their actions are influenced how people view them. Then Jesus explains that they only have one Rabbi, and everyone else are brothers, one Father, who is in heaven, and one Instructor, who is the Messiah. Jesus ends with those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.

Application: Jesus first warns us about our intentions on which we perform deeds. The Pharisees were doing things in front of crowd so that they can look holy in others eyes and get recognition from it. As leaders in the church, it is important that we take time to reflect on why we are doing the things that we are doing. What are the real intentions on which we come early to practice, or plan events? Is it to serve the congregation or is it because we were pressured into doing it? If it is the second one, I don’t think that’s necessarily bad. I believe by doing God’s work, you are forced to be closer to God. When we start something, our hearts may not be in it but through daily walks with God, through these devotionals, we can become real disciples of Jesus. I found it paqulir that Jesus went through the trouble to emphasize that there is only one Rabbi, one Father, and one Instructor.  It’s almost like Jesus is saying that no one else really matters. Don’t listen to anyone else expect for these three. Jesus makes it diamond clear on how to follow him, even two millennials later.

Prayer Requests:
I think I'm a little lost in what I’m doing with my life. I pray that God may guide me in his plan
Please pray for the Winter Retreat. I believe that the winter retreat will be a monumental moment where it will shift the culture of our youth group.
Please pray for the leader as they continue to serve the youth group throughout their busy schedules
Please pray for the youth group, that they be able to grow in God through their own walks with him and stay strong in school.

Song of the Day:
“I believe in God our Father
I believe in Christ the Son
I believe in the Holy Spirit
Our God is three in one
I believe in the resurrection
That we will rise again
For I believe in the name of Jesus”

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Re: November 4th to 10th (Suggested Passage: Ephesians 3)

on Sat Nov 10, 2018 2:29 am
omans 11 - Foundation

This past week I was preparing a worship set to lead on Friday before we started our skit activity. While I was pulling the set I was preparing a reflection to share after our last song. In my reflection I basically shared no matter what level of ministry you are learning the message is always the same. If the message is taught through children VBS videos or lead by a college pastor the word is always the same. No matter where you are, who you are, or how broken and sinful you are God will always forgive us with open arms. Always lend a hand out for us to grab and have room in his heart for us. This is how great his love is and the only thing he asks in return is our hearts and faith in him. I feel lot of people think youth group is going well because everyone is having fun. Yes, it is good to have fun but I feel as a youth we lack the part of giving our hearts to God and believing the faith. It’s so easy for us to receive but so hard for us to give even a little, always asking God for all theses demands but why is it so hard for us to spend even a little time with God? We have have the body but lack the foundations and as great as the body might be, without a solid foundation the body will crumble. Romans 11:16-18 “If the dough offered as firstfruits is holy, so is the whole lump, and if the root is holy, so are the branches. But if some of the branches were broken off, and you, although a wild olive shoot, were grafted in among the others and now share in the nourishing root[a] of the olive tree, do not be arrogant toward the branches. If you are, remember it is not you who support the root, but the root that supports you.” When things go the way you want them to go I think we forget it’s all God’s work and not our own. Like verse 18 says “If you are, remember it is not you who supports the roots, but the roots that support you.” God is our solid foundation and without him at the center we are nothing.

Prayer Request

- To as yourself “where do I stand in my relationship with God? To really ask yourself and find where you are in that relationship. With that answer you move forward to continue the journey with God even if you’re really far away. God doesn’t have a timer on us, he is always waiting until we come to him.

- Our winter retreat is coming up pretty soon, if you guys can pray for our leaders and for Pastor James as prepare to build the retreat program

- My Health hahaha I’ve been having a hard time sleeping and I haven’t been eating lately so I lost a lot of weight. If you guys can pray my body will become normal again before things get worse.

Song of the Day

- I Am by Groupmusic
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Re: November 4th to 10th (Suggested Passage: Ephesians 3)

on Sat Nov 10, 2018 10:33 am
Romans 13- Fulfilling the Law Through Love

I think one of the hardest things to do in youth group is loving others with a genuine heart and mind. For example do you love your brothers and sisters for the sake of loving them? or do you love them with a deep fire in your heart? Especially in youth group we spend so much time with each we start to notice things that bothers us about the other person. If that’s something they say, something they do, or just how their personality are build. Through this flaw instead loving them we turn to judgment, gossip, anger, pride, and the total opposite of what love should be. This isn’t something only CCYG struggles with, I promise every youth group in the country struggles with this as well. As sinners we desire a lot and through that desire it builds an ego and with that ego it makes it hard for us to be wrong or be told we’re wrong. This is why we’re broke people and without loving every fellow youth group member we won’t be following God’s law. I said “every member” not just the people you like, but even the people you’re not close with or annoy the life out of you. Romans 13:8-9 “Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. For the commandments, “You shall not commit adultery, You shall not murder, You shall not steal, You shall not covet,” and any other commandment, are summed up in this word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Like it says in the text “…love your neighbor as yourself. Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.” Loving everyone is hard and it shouldn’t be easy because then we’ll be considered perfect and only God is perfect. Even if it impossible to love everyone that doesn’t you should give up because loving others or trying to love other is follow the law of God. This next week I’m really going to try to love everyone around me at CCYG and at work.

Prayer Requests

- To try to love others around me even when they say stupid things that trigger me
- To not be so quick to judge others but give them the benefit of the doubt first
- Winter Retreat

Songs of the Day
- Saviour King by Hillsong United
- None but Jesus by Hillsong United
- Fire Fall Down by Hillsong United
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Luke 19, The Parable of the Ten Minas

on Sat Nov 10, 2018 2:17 pm
In this passage, Jesus tells a parable of a king and his servants. The parable starts with a a man of noble birth going to a country to be crowned king. AS he left, he gave his servants ten minas, which was the currency, and told them to use the money for work, and then he left. Yet, some of his subjects hated him and didn't want him to be king. However, he was made king and when he returned he called for his servants. The first servant made another 10 minas, and he was praised by his master. The second servant made 5 more minas, and again was praised. However, the last servant hid the minas away and didn't do anything with them because he was fearful of what the king would do if he didn't make enough minas. However, the servant's reasoning backfired, and the king was furious. The king tells him that the servant knew the king was a hard man, and therefore didn't do anything with the money. He tells the servant he could have put the money in deposit for interest and made some more minas. The king then takes away the last servants minas and give it to the one with 10. When the servants complain why give it to him, the king responds with how those who have made the money will be given more, yet those who don't do anything, their money will be taken from them. He then tells his loyal servants to round up those who hate him and rebel against him like the 3rd servant, and execute them.

Jesus in this parable is the noble man turned king. He is the son of man, and soon will be the King of Heaven. We are his servants. Jesus tells us to be faithful to him when he is gone, and when he returns as king, we should be more faithful to him than we were before. Jesus tells us that when he leaves, we should be working for his return as king. When Jesus comes back, we should be like the servants, giving him everything we have, and in return for our faith, he will assert his own faithfulness onto us, like the king and his servants. However, if we are like that last servant, and not do anything to prepare for his return, we will be stripped of our own faith. Jesus tells us that we have to always be faithful to him if we want to gain Jesus' faith onto us. Furthermore, if we do betray him and not do anything, he will destroy those who rebel against him like the King. I think Jesus here is referring to the Jews in this part. They see Jesus, yet they don't do anything to prepare for his next return. They even reject and rebel against Jesus being the next king. We should always be faithful and ready for Jesus' next return, and when he does return we will be granted his faith in us.


Prayer Requests: This whole week has really just like merked me hard, like litterately. I had to write my 3 devos in less than 24 hours, which I should not have done. I've gotten less than 5 hrs of sleep every night due to tests and studying, also projects. I just want God to really be with me, and just let me go through all these things without too much stress and that I can just be efficient in my work and still be faithful towards him. I just want to be more focused on school and God, and try to be responsible of my time with school and God.

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"You make all things new"

on Sat Nov 10, 2018 2:51 pm
11/10/18 - 1 John 4:7-21

To be honest, I’ve been feeling pretty empty. I have been chasing after the worldly things around me, but in the end, I feel more empty and just want to do more worldly things. I remember when I used to be on fire for God, but now I feel like a “good church person” who goes to Sunday service who’s far away from God. I go to church and try to be “put together” but I feel like I’m missing God in the inside. I go on with my day mostly overwhelmed with homework and college apps that I lose my focus on God like forgetting to pray and to read the Bible. I just want God to feel real to me. I believe that this feeling I have is my first step for me to find my way back to God which is “There’s got to be more.” When you are looking for love that is vast and satisfying, when you seek answers for the deepest questions, and when you want to give yourself for something to make a difference in your life, that is when you are truly seeking for God. In 1 John 4, it talks about God’s love and how it relates to our love. It talks about if one loves God, he would not hate his brothers or sisters. And that anyone who abides in love, abides in God. And it all began because “We love because he first loved us” - 1 John 4:19. Our longing for real love goes all the way back to how the human race was made in the first place. God intended that we experience his love both directly from him and through others, we relate to in a healthy way. What we long for, God doesn’t just have but actually, God is. He is love and he pursues us with love. With this in mind, I think this is an important point in my life where I’m seeking God. The disappointment of my substitutes makes me wonder where I can feel satisfied and love. Now I need open myself up to God to fill my longings for love.

Prayer Request:
Prayer that senioritis wouldn't hit me so hard because not really doing any work in class.
Prayer that I can be a loving older brother
Prayer that I can glorify God at my school and that I would not be ashamed.

Song recommendation:


"We found our hope in you
You make all things new, new life found in you
You restore the years that we have wasted
You make all things new, your love breaking through
There's healing in your wake and we are changed
You leave healing in your wake and we are changed
There is healing in your name for us to change"
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Re: November 4th to 10th (Suggested Passage: Ephesians 3)

on Sat Nov 10, 2018 5:14 pm
Proverbs 21
The main point of this chapter was that God focuses on one's heart and their true intentions over all else. Verses 2 and 3 say that people may think that their ways are right but God weighs the heart, and to do what is truly right and just is more pleasing to Him than sacrifice. Both verses show the idea that God doesn't care for certain actions that people may take if they are without a truly good intention. Rather, God is pleased if a person's heart reflects that of God and their actions are done righteously. This is why we must focus on first making our hearts and minds aligned with God and purified before simply taking certain actions to try and "prove" that we are God's people. This can apply to devotionals; at times I feel as though my heart isn't fully invested in the reflections that I'm writing out, but this passage is revealing to me that despite any "Christian-like" action that I might do, without focus on God it is for nothing. For this reason, I will make sure that my heart and thoughts are fully with God before I start doing devotionals so I can truly experience growth with God. Another verse that develops a similar concept is verse 21 which says that whoever seeks righteousness and love will receive life, prosperity, and honor. This reinforces the same point that God focuses on one's intentions and heart but adds depth by clarifying that we should be specifically seeking righteousness and love in our hearts. What this might look like in the context of our own lives is helping somebody not to receive any gratitude or for them to feel indebted to you, but simply with the intention to exemplify God's righteous and good character and share His love with others. Any feeling of appreciation from the individual should be looked as a byproduct of this, not the primary focus. In taking these kinds of actions with these pure intentions, the verse also talks about certain rewards. This shows that in doing what is right and just, one will not have to worry about themselves for God will have already taken care of and be caring for those people and satisfying all of their needs.

Prayer Requests:
- To have a pure, righteous, loving heart in all that I do in my day-to-day life and especially while serving.
- To not concentrate on the actions but the intention.
- Motivation for my spiritual growth and for my duties.
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Re: November 4th to 10th (Suggested Passage: Ephesians 3)

on Sun Nov 11, 2018 12:04 am
roverbs 22
This chapter highlights the relevance of money and the distinction between the rich and poor. There are three main points that it presents throughout the chapter relating to these topics: first, money is meaningless; next, those who are kind to the poor will be rewarded; and finally, those who are wicked to the poor will surely be punished. From the beginning verse the Scripture reads, "A good name is more desirable than great riches; to be esteemed is better than silver or gold". This reveals to us as disciples of Christ that our focus shouldn't be on money, but on the dignity and respect in our name. How is this respect achieved? Through prudent adherence to God's Word and teachings which allow us to live righteous, God-fearing lives. In living out this kind of life, people will be able to recognize the goodness in one's words and actions and be in awe of God's spirit and His perfect character being embodied through that person. This verse calls for this kind of dignity to be prioritized over mere riches, meaning that wealth should be considered irrelevant. Later on, verse 9 talks about how those who is generous will be blessed because they share food with the poor. This verse is urging us to always be generous in our actions by saying that those kinds of people will be blessed themselves. Essentially, doing good deeds for others is rewarded with blessings for yourself. The next part of the verse mentions a specific action: sharing food with the poor. It's very easy to simply ignore a homeless person sitting at the side of the road, but God is calling us to share our food with them. Not to simply give it to them, but share with them. This idea can apply to different areas as well. If there is a person who is figuratively "poor" in spirit, it is our duty to share our spiritual food, the Gospel, with those people. Finally, verse 16 says that both those who oppresses the poor and those who give gifts to the rich come to poverty. This introduces the last point which was that those who are wicked towards the poor and supportive of the wicked will both suffer punishment, which in this case was poverty. This call emphasizes the command to be kind and generous to the poor; they too are God's loved children and yet are frequently looked down upon for their low economic status. The same metaphor can be used from the last point; these poor people can represent the people poor in spirit. Instead of bashing on them and rebuking them, it's important that we show God's love and compassion to them.

Prayer Requests:
- To embody God's character by showing love and compassion towards those who are poor in spirit, and to share with them spiritual food.
- To have a truly generous heart behind my actions and be willing and even happy to give rather than being reluctant

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Re: November 4th to 10th (Suggested Passage: Ephesians 3)

on Sun Nov 11, 2018 12:44 am
1 Thessalonians 3
Paul in this chapter is writing to the church of Thessalonica after receiving the good news that the members there were following the Lord faithfully. In verses 3 and 4, Paul once again reminds us that Christians are destined to go through sufferings. To me, this has always been a struggle in that God doesn't call us to live the American Dream: to live in a nice two car garage house, with a Lexus and a Mercedes Benz, with two kids, and going to church weekly. God calls us to abandon our personal ambitions and plans, and simply trust His goodness. I want to further digest this idea and live this out to the full extent; to stop seeking careers and success with the wrong mindset, convincing myself that "God has called me for this". As long as any part of me longs to pursue my own interests, I can't completely align myself with God's interests. I must learn that the purpose of my life belongs to God, and God solely. The moment where I can stop telling God what I want is when God can work through me without any hindrance. In verse 7, Paul talks about how in spite of all of the difficulties he faces he is comforted and encouraged by their faith. This serves as evidence that God never intended for our walk to be one of independence, but that people would build upon each other and work to perfect their faith in unity. While the idea of church is built upon this foundation, I feel as though the modern day church fails to function in this way. Lastly, Paul ends with a prayer that God would their love for each other and for all increase. It baffles me how time and time again I have overlooked the importance of this prayer. I think this is something we need to ask for more often because if we can't even love each other, it seems just laughable for us to try to love strangers or enemies.
Prayer Requests
- To fully let go of my ambitions and reinvent my mindset so that I can be at full disposal for the Lord.
- For full recovery of my ankle by the time Gobbowl comes around.
- To love those around me abundantly and without holding back.
- To be able to find peace within the Lord and that I can stop worrying so much and trust in Him more.
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Re: November 4th to 10th (Suggested Passage: Ephesians 3)

on Sun Nov 11, 2018 2:06 am
Matthew 24:1-35 The Destruction of the Temple and Signs of the End Times

Summary: Jesus was on the Mount of Olives when he answers his disciples’ question of how everything will end. Jesus first warns about people who will try to impersonate him. Later on in verse 24, expands on this say, “For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect”. Back to verse 7 where Jesus says, “Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of birth pains.” (Some people speculate that verse 7 refers to World War II and Jesus’ second coming is in motion).  Lastly, he shines light to what we have instore for our lives as he says, “Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me. At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved” (v.9-13). Then Jesus share the scenery of the end as he recites a passage from Isaiah “‘the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from the sky, and the heavenly bodies will be shaken” (v.25).

Application: I found a lot of my time rereading verse 9 to 13 and the second portion of this chapter. The section “The Day and Hour Unknown” is a parable of a servant not knowing when his master will come back and being caught treating the other servants horrible when he didn’t expect his master coming. Verses 37 to 39 scare me as it says, “As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man”. It really put my life into perspective. Our lives as Christians will be a tough one full of turmoil and at some point, it might get too much to handle and we might fall off the path. As verse 38 tells us, we might be in the middle of our lives, studying for an exam, driving to church, or grabbing a meal with friend and the trumpets will sound us to the start of the end. It really shows how tiny our lives can be in the timeline of it all. The lesson I took away from this chapter is this life is suppose to be challenging and will want to make you give up. That is exactly the reason why we must push on. If that’s not enough motivation, know that God will be coming back when you least expect it.

Prayer Requests:
Please pray for my sleeping schedule. It's been pretty merked recently.
Please pray for me so that I don’t procrastinate devotionals and reading our books.
Please pray for the Winter Retreat and the leaders who are planning it.

Song of the Day:
“Then on the third at break of dawn,
The Son of heaven rose again.
O trampled death where is your sting?
The angels roar for Christ the King

O praise the name of the Lord our God
O praise His name forever more
For endless days we will sing Your praise
Oh Lord, oh Lord our God”

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Re: November 4th to 10th (Suggested Passage: Ephesians 3)

on Sun Nov 11, 2018 2:08 am
Genesis 22
After reading this chapter, I am overwhelmed by the realization that one, my faith is weak despite how much I may think I know of God and two, the more I understand God, the more I cannot fathom the extent of his goodness and intelligence. I am in complete admiration over the extent of Abraham's obedience and his absence of hesitation. More often than not, when God asks us to give up something, he means now. Albeit, many of us, myself included, find this so difficult to do when, seemingly, we could give it up a bit later. We tell ourselves just a couple more times, or when we feel like it. We blatantly take advantage of God's forgiveness and patience, finding any excuse for not doing it immediately. However, by doing this we miss out on God's blessings and his divine plan. As we see in Genesis 22, Abraham, who was willing to give up his only son, was promised as many descendants offspring as the stars of heaven and the grains of sand. Yes, God takes away but blesses us in ten folds. On a different note, I love how God in his ingenuity weaved in this story as a foreshadowing of Christ's crucifixion and sacrifice. I am reminded that everything points back to Christ, as my life should as well. Although I am far from there yet, I pray that God would build me up to be like Abraham and Jesus: a man willing to give up anything for the Lord. That starts with my repentance and dedication. However, first I pray that the good news would not become old news but an abiding excitement in my life. Having lost that passion, sinning has become easy and frequent. In Philippians 3:8, Paul says, "Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake, I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ". Let this be my anthem and may my life reflect so.
Prayer Requests:
- Clarity in what I am supposed to do from here on out.
- I would spend even more time seeking God and meeting him.
- Self-discipline
Song:
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Re: November 4th to 10th (Suggested Passage: Ephesians 3)

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