Each year we start off by going back to the basics of who we are as a student ministry. We stand 4 core principles that influence the way we craft our messages, plan our trips, and everything else that we do. Those values are Every Student, Every student is welcome and wanted here at Deeper. I want us to embody that value, I want us to be known by that value. I want Deeper to be a safe haven for the outcast, just as Jesus is a safe haven. Let’s follow Jesus in this core principle, watch how Jesus embodies this in John 4,
4 He had to go through Samaria on the way. 5 Eventually he came to the Samaritan village of Sychar, near the field that Jacob gave to his son Joseph. 6 Jacob’s well was there; and Jesus, tired from the long walk, sat wearily beside the well about noontime. 7 Soon a Samaritan woman came to draw water, and Jesus said to her, “Please give me a drink.” 8 He was alone at the time because his disciples had gone into the village to buy some food.
9 The woman was surprised, for Jews refuse to have anything to do with Samaritans. She said to Jesus, “You are a Jew, and I am a Samaritan woman. Why are you asking me for a drink?”
Things to consider here:
He went to the Samaritan village. Jews didn’t go to Samaria, they looked down on Samaritans, but Jesus made a point to not just be open to, but Jesus went to the Samaritan woman!
We can’t just be content welcoming students who are different than we are, we must be proactive in doing so. Go to the outcast at your school. Go to the student who doesn’t have many friends. Go to the students who might look different than you. Go to the students that other people “don’t associate with” Why? Because Jesus did. And Heaven is going to be a diverse group of people, not just a bunch of people who look like you! I want you to think about a verse that has been on my heart for some time. It’s 1 Peter 2:9,10:
you are a chosen people. You are royal priests, a holy nation, God’s very own possession. As a result, you can show others the goodness of God, for he called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light.
10 “Once you had no identity as a people;
now you are God’s people.
Once you received no mercy;
now you have received God’s mercy.”
When you identify with this verse, you identify as God’s people, a holy nation and in the Kingdom, all people are welcome!
Our next value is, The Bible Is Our Source. When I tell you that the Bible is my source, it goes beyond, “It’s my source for preaching material”, beyond, “Its the source of my favorite bible verse that gets me through a tough time.” All the way to, “I need the words in this book in the same way I need the oxygen I breathe” Without oxygen, the body dies and with out the word, our spiritual life dies.
So let me ask you a really tough question, do you need the words in this book like the air that you breathe?
Does a day that goes by without time in your word negatively affect your day, or is it not that big of a deal.
If this is the case, the Bible isn’t your source, its just a vitamin, something that helps, but if the rest of your diet is junk, isn’t going to help you all that much.
Read your Bible & Meditate on the Word.
When I say meditate, I mean think about it, chew on it, process it, ask questions, study it. Let it weigh on your mind and in doing so you’ll find your relationship with God begin to deepen and grow. Look at what God told Joshua,
Study this Book of Instruction continually. Meditate on it day and night so you will be sure to obey everything written in it. Only then will you prosper and succeed in all you do.
The next principle is Build Strong Families.
Of all of our four pillars in Deeper, this one might seem the most out of place or even random. But the fact is that the family unit is something that God and the Bible place great emphasis and significance on. Deeper Student Ministries exists to reach high school and middle school students. We are a targeted ministry and with that we have a specific set of circumstances that we deal with. In order to build a strong family unit, it takes a team effort. One good parent cannot be successful in building a strong family, one good son or daughter cannot build a strong family. It takes every part of the family to build a strong family.
This being said, you can only do what you can do. So with today’s message we are going to explain how Deeper exists to build strong families and how you can work towards a stronger family within your own household.
Now before we get into this principle, I want to offer this disclaimer. I know that not every family is a healthy one. The unfortunate reality is that there are situations of abuse, neglect and that for some, this topic is a sensitive one. Some of you may not have been raised by your biological parents, but as we look at the word, let’s see how we can honor those who have raised us.
Hopefully this message and this pillar will offer you some practical steps to either improve your family situation, as well as begin to lay the ground work for your own household down the road.
So let’s look at the foundations of this pillar in the Bible. If you’ve been listening to the Deeper Podcast and going through the Bible reading plan then on Monday we crossed into the first chapters of the Mosaic Law where God gave His people the standards by which they were to live. We might know a few of these standards as the 10 commandments. Commandment number five, in Exodus 20:12 says, “Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long in the land that the Lord your God is giving you.”
What does it mean to honor?
Essentially it means to hold them in high respect, or esteem. When you honor someone, you respect and consider their opinions and their values. It doesn’t mean that you become a doormat or that you excuse abuse.
When you honor someone, you don’t slander them or disrespect them in any way. Culture today often sends the message that parents are stupid and don’t understand or they “just don’t get it”. That they’re old and out of touch. Theres a misconception that parents just want us to be miserable, they don’t want us to be with friends and people we want to hang out with. And the best way to deal with parents is to avoid them as much as possible, talk negatively about them at any given opportunity, never show affection and bide your time until your 18th birthday when you can ceremoniously move out.
The relationship between parents and children is not just a one-way street. It takes both parents and children to be committed to a successful and a healthy relationship.
In Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, he addressed the family unit
“Children, obey your parents because you belong to the Lord, for this is the right thing to do. ‘Honor your Father and Mother.” This is the first commandment with a promise: if you honor your father and mother, ‘things will go well for you and you will have a long life on the earth’. Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger by the way you treat them. Rather, bring them up with the discipline and instruction that comes from the Lord.”
Practical steps for building a strong family within your home.
Pray for your parents, they need it.
Look, being a parent is hard. There’s so much anxiety and fear that comes with just watching your children walk out of the door every day. Since April 2, 2017, the day my daughter Brooklyn was born, not a day has gone by that I haven’t prayed, been concerned about, and
2) Have grace
Your parents aren’t perfect. They make mistakes just like you do. Offer them the same grace that you hope to receive from others. Jesus taught in Matthew 6:14, “If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you.”
There have been several times that I’ve had to go to Brooklyn, my daughter and apologize. I can think of one time in particular when I got upset with her and scolded her for something I later found out that she didn’t do. I felt terrible. I sat down with her and I apologized. I’m not perfect, your parents aren’t perfect, none of us are, but most of us are just trying to do the best that we can. Lets be people who have and share grace with one another.
3) Share life with your parents
Initiate family time.
Communicate with your parents, tell them how your day went or even better, ask about how their day went.
Take an interest in the things that interest them, TV shows, music, their job.
Put down things that interest you for awhile like your cell phone, computer or video games and give time to your parents.
Some of you in this room need to make some immediate changes, some of you need to go to your parents tonight and apologize for your actions and commit to doing and being a better member of your family. My hope is not to guilt you into submission, but to encourage you to strengthen your walk with Christ and your relationship with God.
The final Principle its one of my favorites to say, and its Teamwork Makes the Dream Work.
So why is this such a big deal? we live in an increasingly isolated world where individuals can do and accomplish more than ever before probably in the history of the world, given the fact that we have so much information at the tips of our fingers. Communication has been streamlined and it’s easier than ever before to communicate with people all over the world. There is endless amounts of entertainment that we can absorb, and truth be told, you can easily go days, weeks and even months with little to no human interaction.
No joke, I had a friend in college who was our suite mate, he was one of the four of us who lived in our dorm room, when Skyrim came out on Xbox 360, he was done for the next 3 weeks. Literally we had to bring him food from the cafeteria because he wouldn’t have eaten otherwise, so I guess you could say that I’m a hero because I saved his life.
The point is, it’s easy to get isolated, but just because something is easy doesn’t mean that it’s good for us. God created us for relationships.
Genesis 2:18, Then the Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper who is just right for him.”
It’s not good that we are alone
Teamwork makes the dream work in Friendships & Relationships
Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble.
Proverbs 27:17, As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend.
Marriage is definitely a team effort, and if marriage isn’t, then having children certainly is! Lauren and I have to be teammates or else we would never accomplish anything!
Teamwork makes the dream work in The Church
1 Corinthians 12:20-25,
“Yes, there are many parts, but only one body. The eye can never say to the hand, “I don’t need you.” The head can’t say to the feet, “I don’t need you.”In fact, some parts of the body that seem weakest and least important are actually the most necessary. And the parts we regard as less honorable are those we clothe with the greatest care. So we carefully protect those parts that should not be seen, while the more honorable parts do not require this special care. So God has put the body together such that extra honor and care are given to those parts that have less dignity. This makes for harmony among the members, so that all the members care for each other.
You have a place in Deeper Student Ministries and in the body of Christ, because Teamwork Makes the Dream Work.
When the church isolates itself and only promotes certain talents and gifts, then the church begins to slide backwards. Let’s accomplish Gods will and plan by using the gifts that He has placed within you! Let’s work together! You’re on the team!
The truth is, We’re better together! We can do more working together as a team than any one of us could do on our own. Which is exactly why God said it wasn’t good that man be alone!
This year, above these 4 core principles, we’re going to take a closer look at discipleship. We’re going to start a series next week called Discipleship 101. This will be a different kind of message. It’s going to be a message for students, leaders and anyone else that hangs out in Deeper. I’m excited to see how we as a youth group will grow and develop over the course of this new year!