Monthly Archives: October 2019

“A Church Raised by Grace”

The following outline was presented to small group leaders for possible discussions on Thursday, October 31, 2019.  

Small Group Questions

Southside Christian School

Thursday, October 31, 2019

“A Church Raised By Grace”

Ephesians 2:1-10

And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body[a] and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.[b] But[c] God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

Footnotes:

[a] Ephesians 2:3 Greek flesh

[b] Ephesians 2:3 Greek like the rest

[c]Ephesians 2:4 Or And

Starting Off:

1. I highly recommend doing an icebreaker or game to start this week off. These open the door for relationships.
2. Highlights/lowlights since we last met?
3. What is something challenging you are working through right now?
4. What is one-three words your best friends would use to describe you?

Discover (Head):

1. Read Ephesians 2:1-10 together out loud together.
a. Ask your students how they would put this passage in your own words.
b. What do these verses tell us about ourselves?
c. How do you define/understand “grace”?
d. Brainstorm who we are apart from Christ?
e. Brainstorm who we are in Christ?
f. Why has God done what he has done?

Nurture (Heart):

1. Where in your life do you feel like you’re getting what you deserve? Where do you want to earn it?
2. Do you ever feel like you have to earn God’s grace? Why would we do this?
3. How does the concept of earning love, affection, grace, and mercy impact your relationship with God and/or others?
4. Have you ever experienced God’s grace? What did that look like?
5. Where are you struggling to receive God’s grace?

Act (Hands):

1. Leader Note: “In the conclusion of this passage, Paul says we are God’s masterpiece created for good works that God prepared for us to walk in. The gospel has raised us from the dead and given us a new identity.  What would it look like to live your life knowing your identity is a “masterpiece”?

“The Kingdom of God on Earth”

During the Open House program at Southside Christian School on Tuesday, October 22, 2019, SCS Student Body President (and recently crowned Homecoming King) William DeVaney delivered words which can only be described as thoughtful, intelligent, spiritually insightful, and Christ-honoring.  I would like to open a window to the heart of a young man who has been impacted by SCS and who is impacting so many students in our school.  His comments follow, unedited:

Hello, my name is William DeVaney and I am a Senior here at SCS.

I am currently the Student Body Chaplain here at SCS and something we are really focusing in on this year is the most talked about item of the Gospels: the Kingdom of God.

To give form to the Kingdom of God as we have been and will continue to teach about it and focus our energy on it, the Kingdom of God is the spiritual realm over which God reigns as King. Here on earth, we see this fulfilled through the Rule of Jesus Christ, the blessing and advantage that flow from living under Christ’s rule and the subjects of the Kingdom of God (i.e. christ’s bride, the church).

Over this past summer SCS provided me with one of the greatest opportunities I have ever experienced of any kind: an experience called J-term. Now as you may have heard since you have been around SCS this evening, J-term is a week long experience either during the first week of 2nd semester in January or over the Summer. This past year I participated in the Summer J-term which included a trip to the Dominican Republic. The purpose of the trip was to spend a week partnering with and serving our sister school, a  non-profit organization operated by missionaries, Freedom International Ministries.

When we arrived, they lead us through the front doors of the half-finished, octagon shaped compound and with sweat dripping down our foreheads from the brief minute long walk from the bus to the room we would be staying in, all sorts of questions and remarks were made. Take for instance one of the more far-fetched and hysterical comments: “no one has ever drowned in sweat but I think I might be the first.” However there was also a very pointed question offered that brought all of our laughter back into focus as the proposal of the question cut deeper than anticipated: “wow, can you guys believe this is where they go to school?”

“This” is referring to more than the unfinished octagon building, referring also to the jungle type patches of trees and sugar cane farms growing taller than a corn maze. A still quiet weight over the group as we all began to process through what exactly that entailed. And throughout the duration of the week we were able to see more and more of what they actually did to be able to attend Freedom International ministries.

However, in the face of this reflection there was something else tugging at the hearts of myself and my peers. It was the fact that over the course of the week we were able to witness and participate in how a like-minded group of people dedicated to furthering the Kingdom of God not only interact, but thrive.

Based on my conversations in the DR, in the recent weeks after we returned home, and even to this day when I check up on some of my fellow students; we grew in 3 major areas: our call to stewardship & generosity, our innate desire to show compassion, and our sense of gratitude & appreciation.

And the crazy part. And this is what really gets me. The part that sticks with me to this day is how I have seen everything carry over into the everyday lives being lead by the members of that team all over this school we are so blessed to attend. It is because of SCS creating that opportunity for me that I can confidently say that they have been instrumental in discipling me and walking through life with me.

And that’s not to say that without that opportunity I would’ve turned out rotten, it is simply to offer the high praise I believe they have earned as they diligently work to further the Kingdom of God here on earth through the outlet of Christian education and discipleship.

Thank you SCS and thank you all for your time. I hope you enjoy the rest of your evening here at SCS.

“When Your Child Looks at Porn: What Should You Do / Not Do?”

The age of “onset” with first-time sexual experiences, including the use of pornography, is 10 years of age.  Such is frightening for parents and grandparents.  We should not be naive to think that this scourge will not affect our children or grandchildren.  Harvest USA is a Christian organization which filters sexual issues through a biblical worldview, and the following resource is a valuable one for parents of students in elementary school, middle school, high school, and post-secondary education.

“When Your Child Looks at Porn”

By David White

Harvest USA

When Your Child Looks at Porn

“A Church Belonging to Jesus”

Middle School and High School small groups met on Thursday, October 17, 2019.  If you would like to have access to this week’s questions, read on. . . .

Small Group Questions
“ A Church Belonging to Jesus ”

Thursday, October 17, 2019

Ephesians 1:15-23

15 For this reason, because I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love[a] toward all the saints, 16 I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers, 17 that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, 18 having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, 19 and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might 20 that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, 21 far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. 22 And he put all things under his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church, 23 which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all.  (English Standard Version)

Footnote:

[a] Ephesians 1:15 Some manuscripts omit your love

Starting Off:

1. I highly recommend doing an icebreaker or game to start this week off. Icebreakers can open the door for relationships.
2. Highlights/lowlights since we last met?
3. What is the best compliment you have ever received? Why did that mean so much to you?

Discover (Head):
1. Read Ephesians 1:15-23 out loud together.
a. What do these verses tell us about God?
b. What stands out to you as you read this?
c. What does this tell us about what God did and still does through Jesus?
d. What does this passage tell us about the Church (v. 22-23) and its role?

Nurture (Heart):

1. Leader Note: This passage tells us Jesus is over all things. He has authority and is King over everything! If that’s true, how does this change how we view our lives?
a. Where in your life do you feel out of control? Why?
b. Where do you feel like you need to make a name for yourself? Why?
c. When do you struggle with Jesus’ authority? Why?
d. Think about your own story and this passage, how have you seen the power of God having authority over everything?

Act (Hands):

1. Leader Note: Paul prays for the Church so they might “know the hope they have and the immeasurable greatness of His power towards us.”
a. What would it look like to have this posture and motivation toward SCS, your home, church, community, and friends?
b. Where do you need to give up control/authority to Jesus?

“What Must I Do to Inherit the Kingdom of God?”

The theme for the Middle School and High School of Southside Christian School for the 2019-2020 school year is “The Kingdom of God.”  During Middle School Chapel and High School Chapel on Thursday, October 3, 2019, Pastor Chandler Davis of The Church at the Mill in Moore, South Carolina passionately offered excellent commentary on the theme, and I draw your attention to the major passages of Scripture and his points in his chapel message.

“What Must I Do to Inherit the Kingdom of God?”

By Pastor Chandler Davis

Southside Christian School

Simpsonville, South Carolina

Thursday, October 3, 2019

Summary of and Editorializing by Dr. Bob Stouffer, High School Principal  (All errors are mine alone.)

Mark 10:17-31

17 And as he was setting out on his journey, a man ran up and knelt before him and asked him, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” 18 And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone. 19 You know the commandments: ‘Do not murder, Do not commit adultery, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Do not defraud, Honor your father and mother.’” 20 And he said to him, “Teacher, all these I have kept from my youth.” 21 And Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, “You lack one thing: go, sell all that you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.” 22 Disheartened by the saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.

23 And Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How difficult it will be for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God!” 24 And the disciples were amazed at his words. But Jesus said to them again, “Children, how difficult it is[a] to enter the kingdom of God! 25 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.” 26 And they were exceedingly astonished, and said to him,[b] “Then who can be saved?” 27 Jesus looked at them and said, “With man it is impossible, but not with God. For all things are possible with God.” 28 Peter began to say to him, “See, we have left everything and followed you.” 29 Jesus said, “Truly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands, for my sake and for the gospel, 30 who will not receive a hundredfold now in this time, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions, and in the age to come eternal life. 31 But many who are first will be last, and the last first.”  (English Standard Version)

Footnotes:

[a] Mark 10:24 Some manuscripts add for those who trust in riches

[b] Mark 10:26 Some manuscripts to one another

 

Money is not the root of evil.  THE LOVE OF MONEY is the root of evil.  [Wealthy people are furthering the Kingdom of God all over the world.]  This young man was wealthy, influential, courageous, spontaneous, humble, and open to Jesus’ teaching on the Kingdom.  He seems legit.  But there’s something wrong.  [His worldview was wrong.]  It’s not about what we  can DO.  It’s about WHOSE WE ARE.

Jesus challenged this young man in his frustration, immaturity, and independence.  Some students here are spiritually frustrated.  Students can have positive experiences at a retreat or chapel, but they may not be following Jesus as a lifestyle.  Most of us are spiritually mature, including students in a Christian school.  Christian school students grow up in a bubble.  I understand that.  I was a Pastor’s son who seemed to have it all together, until my life came crashing down  when I was 18.  We are not good.  We are all sinful, and, more than likely, we are spiritually immature.

Jesus essentially said, “Go and sell.  Come and follow.”  But this young man wanted his stuff more than the Kingdom of God.  He wanted to operate independently from God.  We do not need to be independent.  We need to depend on the Creator!  We need to be spiritually dependent upon God!  God owns everything, including me!  Most Christians believe God owns them, but they own their possessions.  And the worst state is believing that I control myself, and I control my possessions.

Psalm 16:11

You make known to me the path of life;
    in your presence there is fullness of joy;
    at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.  (ESV)

Pleasures can be good, but earthly pleasures can distract us from God.  Fulfillment is found in Jesus alone.

John 4:14

Jesus said to the Samaritan woman at the well, “. . .whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again.[a] The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”  (ESV)

Footnote:

[a] John 4:14 Greek forever

 

Drink the living water, our source of everlasting life!  Exalt and glorify God!  Hunger and thirst for things that matter!  Give all that you have to God!

Matthew 6:19-21, 33

19 “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust[a] destroy and where thieves break in and steal, 20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. . . .33 But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.  (ESV)

Footnote:

[a] Matthew 6:19 Or worm; also verse 20

 

Seek Christ’s righteousness.  Jesus says life will not be easy in the Kingdom of God.  We give up everything, and Jesus will give us one hundred fold in return.

It may seem like we have it all together.  But we can be all messed up.

What are you focusing on — the Kingdom of God [or another kingdom]?

How will you respond?

This young man responded.  I pray you do not respond like this young man.

What is your response?

“Stress Is Crippling Our Teens — What Can Parents Do?”

Dr. Jessica Ruzicka, Academic/College Guidance Counselor at Southside Christian School directed me to a seminal article today —

“Stress Is Crippling Our Teens — What Can Parents Do?”

By Kari Kampakis

Copy and paste the following URL into your browser, and read this article NOW!

If you are a parent or grandparent, this is a must-read article!

Generation Z students are being adversely impacted by so much pressure in their lives.

We “elders” must encourage these students and their parents to PASSIONATELY PURSUE Kari’s solutions to the problem of debilitating stress in their lives.