Okay, so the Verizon guy… wait the Sprint guy… whoever he is with, gave us a simple phrase that sticks out in my mind all the time. Our family totally changed services here in New Braunfels in order to HEAR ONE ANOTHER. From where we live currently to where we go out and about, we continuously found certain areas where our calls were dropped. Then, as we moved out of the “dead spot” we magically connected again. Needless to say, we made a move TO BE HEARD.
That same question, “CAN YOU HEAR ME NOW?” seems to come up as we focus on prayer as well.
The BEST example we have is JESUS HIMSELF, as he preaches His first (and need I say LONGEST) sermon that cuts to our hearts, even today. In this Sermon, presented on a mountain, he directs His people to think about the “WHY” when it comes to prayer.
“Don’t be like the hypocrites, for they love standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full” (Matthew 6:5 NIV).
“But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then, your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you” (Matthew 6:6 NIV).
WHAT IS THE REWARD?
When we create a space and a place to CALL ON the Lord, we get more than an instant download code for 20% off on a flash sale. When we make time to focus on the person of JESUS and call out to HIM, we get more than three wishes for all our dreams to come true. Our REWARD is far greater than a “good day” or a material possession.
OUR REWARD IS A DEEP RELATIONSHIP WITH JESUS.
Isn’t that what our hearts truly call out for? I believe we are moved to choose a payment plan and upgrade to a new cell phone because we value the close relationships in our lives. We desire to connect with others on a deeper level, and we want to guarantee a secure connection.
How does the value with our Father translate to our daily lives?
I believe that an intentional TIME and PLACE builds a foundation for a deep encounter with the God of the Universe through Jesus Christ. How have you created an intentional time and place this week to connect? How have you seen the ultimate reward work out in your own daily walk with Jesus?
“Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”
Luke 2:14, NIV
THINK ABOUT THIS
Best Christmas Ever is a series designed to help students recognize that the best things about Christmas aren’t the things we typically tend to remember first during the season. They’re the things God did for us thousands of years ago. Though encouraging students to embrace abstract concepts like the fact that God is with them and wants to know them may be difficult for some middle schoolers to grasp, it’s important to help them recognize these key elements of what Christmas is all about. These are things they can celebrate and understand as they grow in maturity and relationship with God.
Take time to celebrate the person who spends a lot of their time with your middle schooler: their Small Group Leader! Write them a card, shoot them a text, give them a call, or put together a little Christmas gift for them to show your appreciation for how they invest in and care about your kid.
Let each member of your family share what activity would make their Christmas the best Christmas ever! Maybe it’s a Christmas movie marathon, a drive to see holiday lights, a special treat made at home, or a chance to serve someone else. Whatever it is, let each person choose their best Christmas ever activity and then, make an effort to do each one this holiday season.
Make an effort to bless others this holiday season. Choose a day to make Christmas cookies, cards, candy, or another holiday treat together as a family. Then, deliver them to your neighbors to spread a little Christmas cheer to those around you this week.
Read the Christmas story together as a family this week (Luke 2:2-20). After you read, discuss some of what you read as a family. Talk together about what this story means for you today and how you can remember it during the holiday season.
Oakwood Middle School Family Movie Night @ Stars & Stripes Drive-In Theatre.
All Middle School Families are invited to this FREE EVENT for a night of laughs and celebration to start off the Christmas Season. MOVIE NIGHT SIGN UP LINK
Movie Time 7pm – Running TIme 1hr 37min
WE HAVE PLENTLY OF ROOM FOR YOU AND YOUR FAMILY AND YOUR FRIENDS AND SOME OTHER PEOPLE!!!! Watch in the comfort of your car, bring some lawn chairs to sit up front, bring your own food or buy at the concession stand.
Sometimes we go about our week, do the daily thing, and forget to stop, take a breath, and fill our hearts up with gratitude for all that we have been given. Maybe this pandemic has forced subtraction in your life, so you are grateful for the addition as it may have come back to you. Then, as the days of HYBRID have brought back a busy schedule, that addition came back in a landslide. Take a moment and stop, read Psalm 103, and reflect on all the great attributes of God and His hand on your life.
‘ Bless the Lord , O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name! Bless the Lord , O my soul, and forget not all his benefits, who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy, who satisfies you with good so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s. The Lord works righteousness and justice for all who are oppressed. He made known his ways to Moses, his acts to the people of Israel. The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. He will not always chide, nor will he keep his anger forever. He does not deal with us according to our sins, nor repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us. As a father shows compassion to his children, so the Lord shows compassion to those who fear him. For he knows our frame; he remembers that we are dust. As for man, his days are like grass; he flourishes like a flower of the field; for the wind passes over it, and it is gone, and its place knows it no more. But the steadfast love of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear him, and his righteousness to children’s children, to those who keep his covenant and remember to do his commandments. The Lord has established his throne in the heavens, and his kingdom rules over all. Bless the Lord , O you his angels, you mighty ones who do his word, obeying the voice of his word! Bless the Lord , all his hosts, his ministers, who do his will! Bless the Lord , all his works, in all places of his dominion. Bless the Lord , O my soul!’
Take the Family Challenge and Download the Student Guide above. Read Psalm 103 as a family and reflect on all that God has given you. End the time crafting your own “Family Psalm 103,” and use it as a reminder to stop and THANK GOD for all HE has given you.
This is our Retreat/Disciple Now Event geared for Middle School and High School Students.
Rather than cancelling one more event, we have decided to ask the question,
WHAT CAN WE DO?
#1 WE CAN meet on the Oakwood Campus with regular Covid gathering guidelines for main sessions geared for Oakwood Students as they grow in their faith in Jesus.
#2 WE CAN break out into small groups after each session for real life discussion.
#3 WE CAN provide FUN ACTIVITIES during the weekend that may happen both inside and outside the Oakwood Campus.
WHAT IS DIFFERENT?
#1 WE ARE NOT coordinating HOST HOMES or any overnight activities. Due to the Oakwood Policy during Covid, we have held back from overnight retreats, camps, events, in order to walk wisely in the midst of the pandemic spread.
#2 WE ARE meeting THURSDAY NIGHT, FRIDAY NIGHT, and SATURDAY AFTERNOON/EVENING. This will include main sessions with Speaker, Stuart Hall and the Gladsome Light Band + a few random games and surprises.
#3 WE ARE thinking creative about outside HANGOUTS and FUN EVENTS that look like AFTER PARTIES EACH DAY. So if you are looking to hang with your friends and enjoy outside games, we are working to make them cautiously FUN.
#4 WE ARE thinking about what snacks and food may be appropriate for the AFTER PARTIES and a DINNER SATURDAY.
WE BELIEVE GOD has a word for this generation, and that is based out of John 15. He calls us to BEAR FRUIT and prove to be disciples of Jesus. …Somehow that looked like a Panda in a Pineapple suit, but you get the point. No matter the circumstance, we have the ability to walk in the Fruit of the Spirit and Love like Jesus calls us to Love.