random thoughts and things from all saints youth cell groups

Saturday, August 06, 2005

Jesus at School

I have two phobias. Number one, Frogs. They freak me out. Don’t know why. It must be the way they jump. The other thing is alarm clocks. You know what I’m talking about. That horrible piercing sounds that makes you pull the covers up over your head. Especially when it’s Monday morning. When I was at school, it was a case of dragging myself out of my bed, and to the bus stop, putting on a smile, finally getting to school, finishing off that homework, then falling back asleep in Chemistry. What does God have to do with any of this? What difference does being a follower of Jesus Christ make to my work, teachers, friends, bullying, cheating, peer pressure and all that?

To find some answers, look at Romans 12:1-2. The first 11 chapters of Romans have spelt out for us exactly how God has shown us mercy. He kicks off by telling us how all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. We’ve rejcted God, decided to run our lives and the world our own way. But sin is deadly and has hellish consequences, the Bible tells us, "the wages of sin is death" and our greatest need whether we realise it or not, is to be forgiven and put right with God. How? The greatest news that the world has ever heard, is news about the greatest person who ever lived, the Lord Jesus Christ. He healed the sick, made the deaf to hear, made the lame to walk, made the blind to see, calmed storms with a word, taught radical things about love, forgiveness, sin and judgement, made unbeleivable claims about himself, that he was God come to Earth as a person, who was going to put our broken world right and deal with sin. At just 30 years he was executed on a Roman cross, but this death was unlike any other in that HE, Jesus, died the death that me and you deserved to die to pay for our rebellion against God, so that we could know forgiveness and life eternal instead of eternal death. For three days Jesus lay in tomb. But on the third, he was raised by God, having defeated death on the cross, and to live and reign as the worlds true and rightful King. And by trusting in all that Jesus has done for us, by his life, death and resurrection, we can be forgiven our sin, set free from fear of death and know God and his love, as we were made to and enjoy life in all its fullness that Jesus offers with him at the very centre. Good, eh.

Paul urges us in light of all that to respond. Now, we can’t pay God back. There is only one right response to this amazing love and mercy from God.. That is "to offer our bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God" and by that he means our whole selves, our money, our time, our mind, our hands and feet, our leisure time, our work, our school, our studying.. you name it, to surrender everything to him in utter thankfulness and gratitiude and love, for all he’s done. And Paul calls this our "spiritual act of worship". Worship is not just about what we do in a Church, but about how we live our lives. We can sing songs, "I will offer up my life.." and all that, but if our lives don’t match up, then our words are pointless. Following Jesus is a radical way to live. It’s a dangerous way to live. You may lose friends. You’re family may think you’re odd. Taking "religion" a bit too seriously. Paul says don’t be "conformed to the pattern of this world". Don’t let the world squeeze you into its mould. He doesn’t mean, the actual planet we’re standing on, that’s a good part of God’s good creation affected by sin though it is. What he’s talking about is the attitudes, way of doing things, way of thinking that are distortions of what God wants. The world looks down on the outcasts and the failures. Jesus gives them hope. The world scorns people with the wrong trainers or the wrong clothes. Jesus looks at the heart. The world strives after money and fame. Jesus says seek first the Kingdom. The world applauds the successful and powerful. Jesus blessed are the meek. And so on. Jesus Kingdom stands in direct opposition to the values and attitudes of the world, and He calls us to swim against the tide, and to be "transformed by the renewing of our minds" by the gospel, to become more like Jesus himself.

What does that mean practically? Don’t go wiith the crowd when the lad with the old trainees and the bad haircut is getting ripped to pieces. Start loving people in school. Show them kindness. Commit to getting alongside the loners. Spend time with people who need to chat. Help them with work. Go out of your way. Have you got a Christian union? Get involved! If you haven’t got one? Start one! Scared? Pray about it! Get the Christians in your school together, pray and see where God takes you. I started our St. Mags Christian Union. It was very scary. Took me lots of prayer. Thought I might get laughed at. People might think I was weird. But God equipped me. He wanted me to trust him, and to step out in faith to do something for him. Maybe you could get involved in promoting justice issues in your school. Campaign for fair trade stuff, ask for a slot in an assembly to talk about Make Poverty History. God hates injustice and calls us not to be conformed to the pattern of this world and to do something about it. Go the extra mile. Get into a cell group to help you study the Bible and to live for Jesus, get stuck into Church and serve with your whole heart, read your Bible. Pray like mad. That’ll help you in school. The great missionary and cricketer, C.T. Studd said this "If Christ be God, and died for me, then nothing is too great for me to do for him".
Lets be the sort ofpeople, who are able to test and approve what God’s good, pleasing and perfect will is, who give ourselves completely to serve the purposes of God in our generation, to the glory of God!


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