Week 6- Make The Little Things Matter

By Schemeefy Boy

 

Sunday intro

Patience. We all lose it and become frustrated when others don’t have it. I don’t invest in stocks partly because I am a broke college student but mostly due to my lack of patience. The topic of “Making the Small Choices Count” is more than monetary choices; for me it’s recognizing that what I do today will affect me tomorrow. Just like prioritizing, it takes planning and a consistent practice of your planning.

 

Monday meat

 

Have you ever heard the phrase “don’t sweat the small stuff”? Well, I think there’s good intentions behind this saying can be misread as the small things don’t matter. Really it means don’t overreact about little things–it doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t put forth effort in seemingly small tasks. Some of the greatest opportunities in life may come from something that seemed small and unimportant. Think of a full-grown tomato plant in a garden. It was once a small seed and I am no gardener but assuming that it was properly taken care of for some time it then produces a tomato. The gardener invests in the seed and knows what will result if he is consist in his seemingly small actions. We’re different in most cases. We don’t know the end result of a small act of kindness or on the other hand, a small act of neglect or negativity. We may never know.

Another idea or concept of the importance of small actions is the butterfly effect. The most common explanation is along the lines of; if a butterfly in Germany flaps its wings today, a month later it may cause a hurricane in Mexico. It seems unlikely that the two are related but it’s impossible to prove that they aren’t. *insert mind explosion here* Hopefully that’s a good enough example to explain it. In other words, it’s the happening of an insignificant event or decision made that has a significant result. Pretty crazy to think that this is true, especially when it comes to history.

 

Tuesday talk it out with someone

Talk with a parent about a decision they have made that seemed small but resulted in something big.

 

Wednesday research it

 

You may already know some but research a couple parables in the Bible that could relate to our topic this week. Mark them down so tomorrow we can reflect on them. Also, since we’re already looking to the Bible, find some passages that show Jesus having patience and some that show Him being impatient.

Thursday reflection

Read the parables you found yesterday. How are they similar? How are they different? Think of how the parable would be told today instead of 2000 years ago.

Now read the passages about Jesus being patient/impatient. Same first two questions; similar? Different? Is impatience a sin? Why/why not? Look back at the passages.

 

Friday live it out

During the school year Fridays are the best but in the summer they can lose their glamour and excitement. Bring it back and live out what we’ve looked at this week. I’m not saying think about every little decision you make because there’s a lot (like 30,000) of decisions made daily by you. However, take the time to slow down and recognize that God has given you the ability to make small choices, big choices, and everything in between. There’s a reason for this; any choice can lead to a significant result.

Saturday You Recap it

Week 5- Everything Is Meaningless…

Sunday Intro

“What’s the meaning of life?” An age old question that some might think will never be answered. But fear not, we have Scripture. Want to figure out how to impress your friends into believing you’re a philosophical genius? Read on.

Monday Meat

 

My favorite book in the Bible is Ecclesiastes, and I’m aware that this could be a pretty weird statement. If you have one of those Bible that has titles for big chunks of verses, you’ll notice that the title for Ecclesiastes might be something like “Everything is Meaningless.” Later we read things like, “Wisdom is Meaningless,” “Pleasures are Meaningless,” and “Toil is Meaningless.” Pretty uplifting, huh?

The thing is, sometimes I totally get this. We work, we try to find enjoyment in things, we stuff our brains with information. Then at the end of the day I find myself thinking, well, I have to do all of that stuff again tomorrow, and what’s the point? I feel like that guy Sisyphus who was condemned to pushing a boulder up a hill just to let it roll down and do the whole thing over again. This sentiment is reflected in Ecclesiastes when Solomon writes, “So I hated life, because the work that is done under the sun was grievous to me.

Have you ever thought about the meaning of life? The first few times I did it made me dizzy. But here’s why I love Ecclesiastes so much; it gives us an answer, and maybe you already know it.  “A person can do nothing better than to eat and drink and find satisfaction in their own toil. This too, I see, is from the hand of God, for without him, who can eat or find enjoyment? To the person who pleases him, God gives wisdom, knowledge and happiness, but to the sinner he gives the task of gathering and storing up wealth to hand it over to the one who pleases God. This too is meaningless, a chasing after the wind.” (Ecclesiastes 2:24-26)

Soren Kierkegaard, known as the father of Existentialism (a philosophy centered around existence), held that humans needed to consider their need for God in order to have a truly fulfilled human existence. I think this is what Solomon is talking about in Ecclesiastes. Without considering God in pondering our meaning of life all of those things, wisdom, pleasures, toil, everything is meaningless.

So I ask you, where do you find your meaning? Maybe if you’re feeling like you’re constantly pushing a boulder up a hill and watching it roll down again, you can look up to God at the top of that hill and say, “I’m doing this for you. I find meaning in this work because of you. Thank you.”

 

Tuesday Talk it Out

 

I think this would be a good week to talk with some peers your age, who might look for meaning in things similar to yourself. Discuss the places where you might be placing too much meaning, and ways in which you can redirect that to God.

 

Wednesday Research It

 

Sometimes I just open up my Bible to a random page and try to find random inspiration from whatever is written. In doing this, I don’t think much about the context or about who has written the words I’m writing. Uh, I guess God wrote the whole thing so it doesn’t matter, right? In this particular scripture referenced this week, King Solomon is believed to be the speaker in Ecclesiastes. To me, King Solomon is kind of one of those names we hear in Scripture and don’t think much of. Today, do a little research on King Solomon and why he might have written from the perspective he did in Ecclesiastes.

 

Thursday Reflection

 

Think about the meaning of life!!! Next time someone tries to stump you by asking you what the meaning of life is, you’ll blow them away with an answer.

 

Friday Live it Out

 

Live today with the mantra of God being your reason for living. In every task you complete think, thank you God for allowing me to do this in your name.

 

Saturday Recap

 

Look over your studies and conversations from this past week. What has been the most meaningful thing you’ve learned? What have you learned about yourself? What has this meant for your relationship with God?

Week 4- Celebrate Well!

Celebrating Well by Joel Dunn

                                                                      

Sunday-  We all love to be celebrated. Even though the thought that probably first creeped in to your mind was “I don’t like being celebrated’. [Yes I’m a mind reader] Well I’m just like you. My first thought was I don’t like being celebrated because it’ll be awkward* [*like what are you supposed to do while a bunch of people sing at you and you’re not even allowed to join in… yes I am talking about Happy Birthday] or sometimes celebrations can bring up mixed emotions. I know for me, my birthday always brings up weird emotions [and you can ask me about that in person]. So I want to ask you, do you “Celebrate Well”? I mean do you celebrate others and do you let others celebrate you? We know our God celebrates you with shouts of joy! Zephaniah 3:17. So this week let’s dive a little deeper into “Celebrating Well”.

 

Monday- Psalm 145 is a special psalm. A special song of David. It was written in an acrostic format, meaning each line starts with a letter of the Hebrew alphabet. If it were in English it would be something like:

A is for apple.

B is for ball.

C is for celebrate

D is for David

E is for Excellence

F is for Florida tried

G is for Georgia won

H is for Hurry up and get to the point!

 

Before I do, GO READ PSALM 145! So what does it mean to celebrate? Webster’s dictionary tells us to celebrate is “to perform a sacrament or solemn ceremony publicly with appropriate rites, to honor someone or something by refraining from ordinary business, to observe a notable occasion with festivities.”

 

Although millions of people celebrate the holidays, most people do not know what the celebrations really are about. Some people view holidays as just another day to party. The definition says a celebration is to refrain from ordinary business. In other words, we are to put aside school work and take a day off work to enjoy ourselves, to take a rest from the norm. For some people, celebrating is the norm. All they do is party. They constantly talk about a party they went to, a party they are going to attend or a party they are planning. So when someone says, “Let’s celebrate,” it has no significance for that person. But what if we could bring back the significance of celebrating all God has done for us? Not just on Sundays… but what if we celebrated in all the actions and interactions we have in daily lives? Like not becoming numb to celebrating, but living in such a way people think you are kind of a freak with just how excited you are about celebrating not just the big things…but the everythings!

 

 

 

Tuesday- If you want to change how you could “Celebrate Well” then go find someone to talk to about the way you/we/us can celebrate better in this world! Have you and the person you’re talking with make a list of you how you want to celebrate others better, celebrate yourself better, and most importantly how you want to celebrate God more!

 

Wednesday- Who was Psalm 145 written for? What is the history and the bigger picture behind Psalm 145? [Yes you can use Google]

 

Thursday-  Write out below your most favorite celebration you have ever been a part of. Why was it your favorite?

 

Friday- Go and celebrate someone for no other reason than to just celebrate them! Buy them a cake, or a balloon, or a llama. Go!

 

Saturday- What did you learn about your relationship with God this week?

Week 3- Some Stuff To Read and Do: Community

COMMUNITY  AKA: Common Unity

By Schmeefy Boy (Matt)  

 

Sunday intro

If your life were a TV show, who would be in it? The best friend, your crush, the  random person who appears in every fifth episode? You get the idea. This week is not just recognizing your community but why it is your unique community.

 

Monday meat

 

Church is more than just Sunday service and Bible study, I think we can all agree on that. But why is it? It’s important to have your own reasons but one that I encourage to explore more in depth is the idea of church being a community. When I think of a community, I envision a web of people that are connected by a shared job, location, activity, the list goes on and on and is not limited to really anything. Your family, friends, and neighbors are usually who we usually think about as our community because that’s who we interact with the most in our everyday lives.

As the imperfect people we are, we need all the support and encouragement we can get to live the Christian life that God has intended for us. God never says ‘you must endure this alone’ instead He calls us to lift one another up and rely on our brothers and sisters in Christ for guidance. Ephesians 4:11-14 talks about us belonging to the body of Christ–i.e. Church or the community–and not being like infants tossed back and forth by ungodly things. Our community is our support and we are called to be the support for the community too.

Having a community is so important and I was lucky to find a community at Malibu Presbyterian when I started college at Pepperdine University three years. I still consider my family to be a big part of my community–especially my mom, even though we’re a thousand miles apart. At Pepperdine, I am surrounded by lots of other people my own age who have also left home to attend college. Some of you may be looking to the future (aww scary) and seeing where you may go to college but something I almost lost when choosing a college was my faith. Not in the way you may be thinking though. I still fully believed in God, yet I did not fully accept and have faith that He would lead me in the right direction of my future.

All that to say, God has chosen every person in who we call our community for a purpose and that person could play a significant role in shaping who we are or a not so significant role, we may never know. What we do know is: God works in mysterious ways and through people we least expect Him to.

 

 

Tuesday talk it out with someone

Discuss with someone 25 or older how their view of community has changed since they were your age.

 

Wednesday research it

Visit the internet and make a list combining the most positive traits of a strong community from 3 different sites.

 

Thursday reflection

Does your community show these traits? Some more obvious than others? Now think how you can contribute to these traits because believe it or not, people in your community probably consider you a part of their community. Are you going to positively or negatively impact your community?

 

Friday live it out

We all get up on the wrong side of the bed some days or something puts us in a bad mood. Notice these things today and instead of a single bad thing making you negative–choose positivity! Definitely easier said than done but Joel, Alyssa, and I believe in you!!!!

Saturday You Recap it

Week 2- Fruits: The Other White Meat

Sunday Intro

 

To be honest, I am no expert on loving myself. I know for me it has been a lifelong journey on how to love myself better. In my research and quandary, I always come to the same conclusion; love God. This week we will be focusing on how to love ourselves as creatures created by our Father, and how that is enough, how it is satisfying.

 

Monday Meat

 

I’m going to talk a little bit about something in The Bible that we probably all at one point or another have thought is pretty awkward; circumcision. We can talk about something else first to ease into it.

 

During the past few months in youth group, we’ve been discussing the fruit of the Spirit. Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. I was impressed by the students who upon hearing the subject were easily able to recite said fruits from memory. Meanwhile, I had never really looked much into the topic. Even though I was easily able to recognize that these very all very obviously great qualities, I didn’t really get why so much focus was being put onto them.

Have you ever read the rest of Galatians 5, where the fruit of the Spirit comes from? Well, just so you know, about the fourth sentence in there talks about circumcision. Again, we can wait on that, for now let’s talk about the fruit. I really appreciate how in these verses and through much of Scripture, metaphors are presented in terms of nature, and I think that was on purpose. Those who wrote the Word down could have written in metaphor pertinent only to that time, but instead wrote in a way that is still relevant to us today.

Consider fruit, for instance. Consider the apple of the tree. The tree acts as a foundation, and its branches bring forth fruit. The apple makes no attempt to be an apple, it just is, the apple trusts that the tree on which it relies which lead it to be a full and whole apple.

Think again, then, to the fruits of the Spirit. The point is, they are fruit of the Spirit. It is not fruits that make the Spirit. We can try as hard as we can to be more loving, more patient, more kind on our own accord, but I think maybe where that’s we get stuck.

Walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh (Galatians 5:16). Through the metaphor of the fruits of the Spirit, God isn’t asking us to try to be that list of virtues, He is asking us to be of the Spirit. He is asking us to be as we were created to be.

“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me You can do nothing.” (John 15:5) Our God is the perfect gardener. He prunes and cares for us in such a perfect way, that we can do nothing else but remain in Him to better ourselves. “For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything, but only faith working through love.” (Galatians 5:6) That’s all I really had to say about circumcision. The point of it all is, there is nothing we can do as humans to make ourselves our best and most lovable selves. All we can do is engross ourselves in the Spirit and the fruit will grow forth. The love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control will become natural, if we return to our nature of loving God.

 

Tuesday Talk it Out

 

Meet with the people you love the most and look at them as beautiful creations of God. Tell them the reasons why you love them, and don’t forget to mention one of the reasons being because God made them exactly as they are.

 

Wednesday Research

 

Look back into the years of your life. Instead of looking at moments with regret, look for moments where you can celebrate yourself. You are invited to look especially into those moments that you often meet with regret and find reasons to celebrate them.

 

Thursday Reflection

 

Think of the reasons you have been told this week that you are lovable. Think of the moments in your life that have made you strong and lovely. Think of who you are today and why you absolutely deserve to be loved. Think of the wonderful ways in which our God loves you and those around you.

 

Friday Live it Out

 

Do something nice for yourself today. You deserve it. Do something nice for someone else. They deserve it too.

 

Saturday Recap

 

Look over your studies and conversations from this past week. What has been the most meaningful thing you’ve learned? What have you learned about yourself? What has this meant for your relationship with God?

Some Stuff To Read and Do… [And Listen To] Week #1: ADVENTURE

This summer at Build we are bring the devotionals to you!  So just in case you aren’t around a bunch this summer… you still be able to Build with us!

Adventuring by Joel Dunn

Sunday- When was the last time you truly went on a real adventure? Are you thinking about it right now? What made it a “real adventure” for you? You see, I LOVE to adventure! And to be honest I think that’s an understatement. I love going to new places and I love experiencing new things. To be honest though I would try [almost] anything once, it’s the getting me to do it a second time that’s the challenge. I want to invite you this week to go on a an adventure, to try something new, and to experience Gods creation in such a way that all you would want to do is Adventure with Jesus.

Monday- On the TV show Jeopardy, they had a category called “Oxymorons”. An oxymoron is a combination of words that seem to contradict each other. For example: Old news, Work party, Hot chili, Peace force, Same difference, Bad luck, Dull shine, New tradition, Harmless sin, Loose tights, Dodge Ram, Bitter sweet, Jumbo shrimp, Pretty ugly, Icy hot, Confirmed atheist, Feather weight, Freezer burn, Mandatory option, Postal service, Military intelligence, Ill health, Microsoft Works,

You might say, “Joel, where are you going with this??” Well from a non-Christian point of view, who would put “adventure” and “Christianity” together. What could be adventurous about sitting in a church, singing songs written 200 years ago, and listening to a boring sermon from the Bible.

Go open your bible right now to Acts 9:1-16.

 Now that sounds like an adventure! Sir Ernest Shackleton was a British explorer. He was born in Ireland on Feb. 15, 1874. He was educated at Dulwich College and served in the merchant marines. He was also a lieutenant in the Royal Navy. But he is known primarily for his expeditions to Antarctica. He established all kinds of records in exploring this continent at the bottom of the earth. On one occasion while he was there, he ascended Mount Erebus, a mountain covered with ice, 13,120 feet high. On January 16, 1909, he determined the position of the south magnetic pole. On another expedition his ship, The Endurance, got caught in the ice pack and sank. He had to leave 22 men behind. And with 5 companions he made a 1200 mile journey in a 22 foot whale boat through the stormiest ocean in the world to South Georgia, an island off the coast of Argentina, for help. After four attempts, the stranded men who had been left behind were rescued more than ten months later.

On his return trip to the Antarctic, Shackleton had a sudden heart attack and died at sea. His life was a life of exploration, of pioneering, of adventure, and of challenge. Before taking one of his trips to the Antarctic, he assembled his crew by putting the following ad in a London newspaper. “Men wanted for hazardous journey. Small wages; bitter cold; long months of complete darkness; constant danger; safe return doubtful; honor and recognition in case of success.” The ad was signed – “Shackleton” Hundreds responded instantly to the call. They were ready to sacrifice all for the elation of adventure and uncertain honor.

My question to you is should Gods children do less? Where do you go to find adventure as Christian?

 

Tuesday- I heard a story about a reporter who came to a construction site and found three men at work.

He asked the first man what he was doing. – “Hauling Bricks” was his reply

He asked the second man what he was doing. – “Earning a living” was his reply.

He asked the third worker what he was doing. – “Building a skyscraper” he replied.

Christians who live a life of adventure see themselves as builders. – They have a vision of Gods Kingdom. So go text someone, call someone, or better yet sit down with someone and ask them about their greatest adventure they have ever had.

 

Wednesday- Who was Acts 9:1-16 written for/about? [Use Google]

 

Thursday- Down Below “Write Out” your favorite adventure You have ever been on.

 

Friday- Put down this Devo and go on an adventure today. GO!

 

Saturday- What did you learn about your relationship with God this week?