- How can you best use social media to connect with Generation Z?
- What can this statistic tell you about what your Generation Z students value in an online experience?
As we end our Middle School Series talking about Social Media and how it impacts our real lives, I came across one of the most RECKLESS and FOOLISH Social Media stunts I have ever seen that happened this past week!
We have been talking about how God created us in His Image and referenced Ephesians 2:10 in the NLT:
“10For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.:”
We focused on how being God’s Masterpiece is a greater place to find self-worth, than from the likes we get on Instagram or Snap Chat.
We also looked at the fact that it is so much easier to tear down, rather than build up, especially when we are thumbing through pictures and reacting in the moment. The challenge is to make an impact by being confident in Christ and turning the tide from negativity online to positive encouragement.
This last week in our series, we are looking at a Proverb from chapter 14:
Bring your gift-filled shoebox to a Drop-Off Location near you, open during National Collection Week, Nov. 14-21.
Joanna’s family in Paraguay was going in separate directions, all pointed away from God. A shoebox gift introduced her to Jesus. Then, she began leading family members to Him.
Joanna’s family was about to break apart.
The Paraguayan family hadn’t lived under one roof for some time. Joanna’s mother, Martha, was working in Uruguay, located south of Paraguay in South America.
Estranged from her husband, Martha was considering making her move permanent because she didn’t see any reconciliation to her marriage in sight. That meant the children were going to have to choose where and with whom they would live.
That’s when Joanna received a shoebox at age 13. That day, the girl who felt so much uncertainty decided to place her faith in Jesus Christ and the direction of her family in His hands.
“I wanted to follow Jesus, so I decided to become a Christian right then,” said Joanna, the youngest of four children.
Finding Her Heart in San Francisco
“Receiving a shoebox was the way Joanna received the Gospel,” said Maria Vera, who along with her husband, Victor, formed a church called Centro Christian Fuente de Vida (Foundation of Life Christian Center). The church meets on a plot of land in an area of Paraguay called San Francisco.
After receiving Christ at the church’s Operation Christmas Child outreach event, Joanna began taking The Greatest Journey classes and attending Sunday school, which the Veras taught underneath a tree.
When Joanna told her mother the news of her salvation during a telephone conversation, Martha decided to come home and began attending church services with Joanna. Martha now teaches The Greatest Journey discipleship classes and plays the tambourine in the church’s praise team.
“God has used Joanna to work in our family, starting with me,” Martha said.
Joanna’s influence spread to her older sister, Jessica.
“At home, she was always singing all the songs she had learned in Sunday school,” Jessica said. “‘Sing it again,’ I would ask her. I started coming to church and learning all the songs myself.”
Their brother, Adam, was withdrawn. Joanna repeatedly encouraged Adam to come to church. Adam finally gave in to see why she was so persistent.
“She wants all of us children to come to God,” Adam realized.
More Blessed to Give Than to Receive
During the church’s Operation Christmas Child outreach event this past June, Joanna, now 16, helped hand out boxes like the one she received three years ago.
Observing Adam at the event, Pastor Victor Vera said, “It’s a miracle to see him here, talking and laughing openly with the people here, because back then, he wouldn’t say anything.”
Joanna, Martha, Jessica, and Adam now attend church together.
“I am very happy that my family is almost whole,” Martha said about her husband and other son being closer to accepting the Gospel.
“I’ve learned to never say no when Joanna’s telling me things about God,” said Joanna’s father, Gilberto, a recovering alcoholic.
“I’m very grateful and very touched that God has used me in this way,” Joanna said.
- For Joanna to continue to grow in her faith in Christ as she approaches young adulthood.
- For wisdom for Joanna, Martha, Jessica, and Adam as they invite other family members to church and talk with them about the importance of having a personal relationship with Jesus.
- For Victor and Maria Vera as they lead the Foundation of Life congregation in purchasing a plot of land to expand the church’s outreach in the San Francisco community of Paraguay.
Prayer Devotional from Know God – A 28 Day Devotional for Students
Did you know that octothorpe is the name of the # symbol on a phone? It doesn’t quite have the same ring to it as “hashtag.” Ladies, did you have a Barbie growing up? Did you know her full name is Barbara Millicent Roberts? So regal. Did you know there’s a town in Georgia named Santa Claus? A Monkey’s Eyebrow, Kentucky? And a No Name, Colorado?
Names are a big deal. Branding companies make millions of dollars every year helping businesses come up with the right name. Expectant parents spend countless hours debating potential names for their kids. Imagine a world where no one had a name. Boring, right? And confusing. It’s almost as if our names carry the weight of who we are.
When Jesus talked about prayer during His famous Sermon on the Mount, He gave us an example of how our prayers should look. We creatively call this “The Lord’s Prayer.” In this prayer, Jesus began with God’s name:
“This, then, is how you should pray: ‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed
be your name’” (Matthew 6:9).
This introduction to The Lord’s Prayer tells us two things:
- Start by calling God, “Father.”
Just as a child can freely approach a good father, we can approach our perfect Father in heaven. The way we think about God affects how we approach Him. And the way we approach God is so important that Jesus began His prayer by mentioning it—approach God as your loving Father. It doesn’t mean you have to literally call him Father every time you pray. It means you simply acknowledge that God loves you and will respond to you like a loving father would respond to his children.
- Continue by honoring His name.
Prayer should start with God—not with us. God’s name carries a lot of weight. He deserves to be recognized and admired. Spend some time thinking about who God is before you starting telling Him everything you need. Prayer shouldn’t just be about us and our wish lists. Prayer reminds us who God is.
Let’s take a few minutes and turn our attention to God.
READ PSALM 96 OUT LOUD TO HELP YOU FOCUS ON GOD. WRITE DOWN THREE THINGS THAT ARE TRUE ABOUT GOD:
Today, when you spend some time in prayer, thank God for how awesome He is and for all the great things He has done. You might want to talk to Him about the things you wrote down, or read Psalm 96 back to Him.