In this series, Never Give Up, we’re encouraging students to see that resilience is a part of their DNA. Middle schoolers may struggle in the face of challenges, as many of them will find themselves navigating difficult circumstances, rejection, or loss for the first time in this phase. That’s why encouraging them to know that God doesn’t give up on them and doesn’t want them to give up on themselves or others is so crucial to encourage them to keep going and keep growing in resilience.
“The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth.”
Psalm 145:18, NIV
ENGAGE IN EVERYDAY MOMENTS TOGETHER
As your middle schooler starts their day, surprise them with a breakfast treat.
At a meal this week, have everyone share about how they’ve seen another family member or someone they know never give up—even when things were tough and they wanted to quit.
While on the go this week, ask: “What is something I can I help you with this week?”
Pray for your middle schooler to have wisdom to know when to keep striving for something and when to walk away.
Direct Message is a Wednesday Night Talk to help students understand the way prayer connects them to God. This can be an abstract idea for students in this phase. Because they can’t physically see or hear God, it can be easy to think they aren’t connected to God when they pray. The goal is to help them understand that God is there, God is listening, and God wants to connect with them through prayer.
Prayer connects you to God.
“Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.”
Philippians 4:6, NLT
ENGAGE IN EVERYDAY MOMENTS TOGETHER
As your middle schooler starts their day, encourage them with this reminder: “You are enough just the way you are.”
At a meal this week, have each person share how/when they like to talk to God.
While on the go this week, ask: “Who is someone in your life that you are concerned about and why?”
Pray: “God, thank You for listening to me when I pray. Thank You for being bigger than anything that might challenge me and loving me more than I can understand.”
“Listening is a very active awareness of the coming together of at least two lives. Listening, as far as I am concerned, is certainly a prerequisite of love. One of the most essential ways of saying “I love you” is being a good listener.” – FRED ROGERS
We are ending our I AM A WORSHIPER CHALLENGE with a night to focus on Jesus and all that He has done for us.
‘But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.” ‘ John 4:23-24
Our OSM GAME NIGHT before Spring Break involved a simple game called IMPOSSIBLE SHOT. We went “big time” with the huge logo print out and a board backing to set up the target. The prize?
One full year of all OSM EVENTS paid!
Check out the Video Below
The simple game involves a nerf bow and arrow, a long distance, and the perfect shot… that’s why it’s called IMPOSSIBLE SHOT!
We tied in IMPOSSIBLE SHOT with MISSING THE MARK referenced in Romans 3:23.
23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus,”
Romans 3:22-24 ESV
We can literally insert the greek word hamartía into the text to pull out the word picture presented and end up with:
“for all have [missed the mark] and fall short of the glory of God,“
Reality is, we have all missed it. The accuracy required to perfectly hit the target of the Godliness expected from the Father is unobtainable or IMPOSSIBLE.
Take the Rich Young Ruler that encountered Jesus and seemed to have a successful life with wealth to back up his claims. He seemed to hit the target with resources and following the guidelines setup by the Ten Commandments. You could say he was a “good guy.” However, Jesus challenges him to give up all his wealth. It seems that the ask to follow Jesus went deeper than outer appearance. Jesus was going for the Rich Young Ruler’s heart.
Even the disciples questioned Jesus about eternal things. It seems that they could not wrap their minds around what Jesus was aiming at. What they saw with their eyes and heard with their ears seemed to make salvation itself… IMPOSSIBE.
Jesus comes back with a key statement that we can all take to heart:
Reality is, it is IMPOSSIBLE for humankind to reconcile with a Holy God.
That is why we need Jesus to take the bow and arrow, line up the shot for us, and nail it right in the target. PERFECT SHOT!
As fully God and fully man, Jesus aimed at the target of the cross. He lived as a perfect example and died in our place on the cross to pay for the overwhelming debt of sin that makes eternal salvation impossible. What seems to be impossible for mankind to pay, Jesus took care of by not only dying, but raising again to give us hope for eternity.
Will You Allow Jesus To Do The IMPOSSIBLE for YOU?
The man we know as St. Patrick was born around 389 AD in England. His father was a deacon and his grandfather a priest.
The Roman Empire was still in titular control of Britain, but their demoralized armies were unable to protect the island from Irish invaders. Farms were pillaged and teenagers enslaved. Patrick was taken at age sixteen. An Irish farmer bought him as a slave and put him to work tending sheep.
Somehow Patrick came to personal faith in Christ in the midst of his tribulations. He later wrote, “The Lord opened to me a sense of my unbelief, that I might be converted with all my heart unto the Lord.”
Patrick received a vision from God when he was twenty-two, a clear signal to run from Ireland for his home. Risking his life, he was able to evade his captors and return to his family. But his heart was heavy for the spiritual condition of his Irish captors.
Following another vision, Patrick devoted himself for seven years to Bible study, then he returned to Ireland as a missionary. The Irish were almost completely without Christ, worshiping the elements and spirits in trees and stones and engaging in magic and even human sacrifice.
Patrick got to work.
When his career was done, he had established some two hundred churches in Ireland and led more than one hundred thousand people to faith in Christ, despite more than a dozen attempts on his life. He is today the patron saint of Ireland. His death on March 17, 461 is remembered each year as St. Patrick’s Day.
However, there’s even more to his story.
In the following century, Irish Christians who were spiritual descendants of St. Patrick’s ministry sailed back to Britain, where they evangelized the heathen who had overrun the country. They established monasteries and copied books being destroyed elsewhere.
According to Thomas Cahill’s How the Irish Saved Civilization, these men “single-handedly refounded European civilization throughout the continent.”
You could make the argument that St. Patrick deserves to be on anyone’s top-ten list of all-time most influential Christians. But you’d have a hard time getting Patrick to agree.
In his Confessions, Patrick wrote, “I am greatly a debtor to God, who has bestowed his grace so largely upon me, that multitudes were born again to God through me. The Irish, who had never had the knowledge of God and worshiped only idols and unclean things, have lately become the people of the Lord, and are called sons of God.”
He closed his memoirs by explaining the secret to his history-changing ministry:
“Do you judge, and let it be most firmly believed, that it was the gift of God. And this is my Confession, before I shall die.”