Fusion Wednesdays: ALPHA

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Fusion Wednesdays are going ALPHA.

What is Alpha?  Alpha is a video series that focuses on the basic questions of our faith

alphajohn14and gives students that ability to explore and ask questions about their own personal faith in small groups.  As we move toward Spring, I see many Middle School students begin to question their faith, life habits, and personal mission.  This is a timely series that will give a Middle School student the ability to ask pointed questions in a safe place on Wednesday Nights.

Join the Insurgent – Soul Fuel

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Join the Insurgents!

Deep down, I think we all would like to be insurgents. Perhaps that’s why 97% of us want to see the much-anticipated sequel to the smash hit Divergent??? (Source: rottentomatoes.com)

And why wouldn’t we want to join in this Chicago-gone-really-bad-post-apocalyptic adventure that pits Tris and Four against the Evil Erudites and their titanic-sized power grab?

Going to a movie like this gives us two or more hours of escapism and the chance to imagine what it feels like to fight in a cause that really matters. We love to watch the newly barbered Tris overcome challenges and seek out the truth. We revel in the defeat of Jeanine and her followers and grieve when good men and women go down.

But then the movie is over, and as we clean up our trash and head toward the exit, we sometimes struggle with a low-grade feeling of dissatisfaction with the mundane redundancy of life in the real world, right? And we are super-bummed that we have to wait another year or two for the conclusion! (Thanks a lot, Harry Potter/Lord of the Rings/Twilight/and Hunger Games!)

However, I have good news for you. Life for those who have trusted Christ was not designed to be commonplace, humdrum, or defined by a monotonous routine. You are placed in a specific time and place with a custom-made set of gifts and talents that can’t be tested, measured, and categorized as conveniently as they are in the divergent world.

And because of that, your life is destined to be extraordinary. Or, you can choose to ignore this destiny and fritter away your time, talents and treasures on largely insignificant and ultimately meaningless pursuits, but deep down, you hunger for more.

But please…do not just take my word for it. My words are the musings of a mere man, but the words I am about to share with you come from the God of the universe, the Creator of all things and the One who knows you better than you know yourself. This passage is your calling and your connection to THE Cause of all causes—the cause of Christ. And if you take these words seriously and apply them consistently, your life will take on an element of significance that you have never before experienced.

Listen carefully:

Finally, brothers and sisters, draw your strength and might from God. Put on the full armor of God to protect yourselves from the devil and his evil schemes. We’re not waging war against enemies of flesh and blood alone. No, this fight is against tyrants, against authorities, against supernatural powers and demon princes that slither in the darkness of this world, and against wicked spiritual armies that lurk about in heavenly places.

 

And this is why you need to be head-to-toe in the full armor of God: so you can resist during these evil days and be fully prepared to hold your ground. Yes, stand—truth banded around your waist, righteousness as your chest plate, and feet protected in preparation to proclaim the good news of peace. Don’t forget to raise the shield of faith above all else, so you will be able to extinguish flaming spears hurled at you from the wicked one. Take also the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. (Ephesians 6:10-17, The Voice)

You may think that your battles are with your parents or teachers or people at school who are mean, but God has revealed to us that the real battles and dangers we face are not against flesh and blood. The evil forces of Satan stay strategically hidden from view, but the effects of their assaults have messed up the world way beyond what any movie could portray. There is racism, genocide, trafficking, and a host of other oppressive strongholds that we must fight against.

And our weapons are not physical, either. In this epic and eternal fight, we must be fully covered by the armor of God, or we will be mowed down by the army of darkness.

So if you find yourself wanting more out of life, then take on the challenge Jesus is calling His followers to—helping His kingdom come and His will be done. Join the insurgency against the schemes of the Evil One to keep people in bondage to sin and despair. Wake up each day with a prayerful commitment to be used by Jesus to push back the territory that Satan strives to take from you and your friends. Don’t think of yourself as a bystander; rather focus on being a soldier in a cause that really counts.

Put on your armor and join THE Cause!

 

Every Christian is called to be an insurgent against the devil and his plan to steal, kill, and destroy the very souls of the human race. The question is: are we an active insurgent or a doomed bystander?

 

PRAY: Father, please give us the power and focus to fight in this battle against Satan and his army of darkness. Remind us to suit up in the full armor of you’ve given us, so we can stand against him.

READ: 2 Corinthians 10:4. We use God’s mighty weapons, not worldly weapons, to knock down the strongholds of human reasoning and to destroy false arguments.

GET: Fearless…Unleashing God’s Fierce Love In Your World. To learn more about the armor of God in Ephesians 6, check out this powerful new student devotional from Greg Stier based on the book of Ephesians.

Want to share this with your students? Copy and paste the following text message: “Do you sometimes see yourself as a bystander? As a Christian, you are way more than that! Check out this week’s Soul Fuel on joining the Insurgents: http://hubs.ly/y0CfLq0

LEADERS: Be sure to check out the Discussion Guide for this week’s Soul Fuel – Join the Insurgents!

Donate now to support Soul Fuel!

 

 

Parent Cue: Once Upon A Time Xp3 Series

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Think About This:

What was your teenager’s favorite story when he or she was little? And how many times did you read that story to them? A hundred? A thousand? Sometimes as parents of older children, we are tempted to look back nostalgically at storytime and think, those were the days, assuming they’re long-gone. But in the book, Losing Your Marbles: Playing for Keeps, Reggie Joiner explains that the power of stories, especially stories over time, may make storytelling a practice that is too important to abandon.

Experts have analyzed, theorized, and evangelized about the power of story. Everyone seems to agree. It’s as if our minds are hardwired to engage in the way information fits together in the context of
a narrative. One specialist in this area puts it this way: If you ever need a little more proof that God exists, consider the magical,
mystical,
imaginative, compelling way
 kids, teenagers—and everyone else for that matter—connect to stories. It seems obvious that God created your imagination; then created stories to ignite it. Have you ever considered that without imagination, you can’t . . .

see past what you already know?
care how someone else feels?
hope beyond your present situation?

That’s what the gift of imagination and story does for a child or teenager.
 It enables them to think their way into other people’s lives.
  It compels them to feel the sentiments of other people’s emotions. It invites them to venture into other people’s places.

Maybe that’s why research actually indicates the more stories you read to a child over time, the greater their empathy. Because stories have the potential to make you feel what someone else feels. Stories can collectively work to build a child’s emotional,
relational,
and moral intelligence.

Think about what happens when a child imagines . . .
fighting Smaug, the dragon, with Bilbo on the Lonely mountain, joining Annemarie in the Danish Resistance during WWII, 
traveling with Lucy through a mysterious wardrobe into a frozen land.

They see more. They care more. They hope more.

Try This

A good story doesn’t have to be found in a children’s book. This week, try enjoying a story that your student is already interested in by going to…

 See a movie together.

It doesn’t have to be a spiritual or “family” movie. It doesn’t have to have a G-rating. It doesn’t even have to have some great moral to the story. Just see a movie your student is interested in and then, on the ride home or while enjoying a snack after the show, ask them one question:

Which character in the movie do you identify with most?

Really listen to the answer. Don’t correct them if you disagree. Just use this as a time to learn about your student and enjoy hearing where they think they fit in the story.

 

Get connected to a wider community of parents at www.orangeparents.org.

 

 

Do You Believe In Theatres Friday, March 20

Do You Believe
Do You Believe

Viewers Calling Do You Believe? “Best Christian Film

I was able to see and early viewing of the film and found that I was engaged by a story of the cross intertwined with many real life situation fleshed out through each character.  I think it is a great step toward the cross during the season quickly approaching Easter Sunday. 

Pastor Brandon

Middle School Pastor

This Friday, March 20 is the opening of DO YOU BELIEVE? in more than 1,200 theaters across the country and Canada. Word on the street is this compelling and inspiring story is a can’t-miss movie. But don’t take our word … check out what people are saying who have already seen early screenings of DO YOU BELIEVE?

Watch Now

The Time is NOW

Don’t Stop Believing!In DO YOU BELIEVE?, we meet twelve different characters, all searching for something more to life. That’s a reality we all face—if we’re following Christ, we long to make our lives matter for Him. If we’re searching for faith, we long to find purpose. And if our faith is wavering, we need encouragement to stay the course.Check out and then share this fun mash-up to encourage your friends to keep believing—and to invite them to see DO YOU BELIEVE? with you when it opens in theaters next Friday, March 20.

Don’t Stop Believing

Life Imitates Art

Charlie Daniels Singing Movie’s PraisesDO YOU BELIEVE? is one of the most true-to-life Christian movies I’ve ever seen—believable characters facing believable situations. It’s about people being all-too human, miracles, and the everlasting love of Jesus Christ.”
Charlie DanielsIn addition to being a beloved entertainer, Charlie Daniels heads up The Journey Home Project, a great organization that helps our military members and their families. Learn more about the organization in this video.

The Journey Home Project

In Theaters Spring 2015
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Credits

Fusion March Series: Once Upon A Time

XP3: Once Upon A Time

March Sunday Series –  We’re Teaching This:

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Everyone loves a good story. Even if you hate reading, you probably don’t mind movies, TV shows, or a great musical.  There is just something about a story, a good story that we can’t resist. When we were little, all the great ones started with “Once upon a time”. They were tales of heroes and villains, evil queens, noble princes, and fairy godmothers.   And while the characters in our favorite stories look different now, not much else has changed. We still love to see the good guy win, the bad guy lose, and the couple live happily ever after. Maybe it’s because, no matter how old you are, great stories have the power to pull you in and make you feel like you’re a part of them. Jesus knew that and He often told stories, called parables, that worked the same way.  His stories may not have involved princesses or evil villains, but as we take a look at four of these famous parables we may just find that the characters look more familiar than we could have ever imagined.

 

  • March 8 Session 1: God never stops running after you
  • March 15 Session 2:  Nothing values humanity like humility
  • March 22 Session 3: When it comes to prayer, don’t quit because it’s quiet
  • March 29 Session 4:  Before you pay back, remember you were paid for

“Though no one can go back and make a brand new start, anyone can start from now and make a brand new ending.” – Carl Bard