Youth News for June 2017

Summer is here, the heat wave is in full force (and has been for some time), school is out, Camp Hawkins and VBS are right around the corner, and our summer Dive-Ins kick off at the Ogden’s on May 31st. With those and many other things going on, we need some extra help, and so it is with great excitement that I get to take this opportunity to introduce you to our Youth Summer Intern, Katie Rowand!  Let’s hear a few words from Katie.

Hello! My name is Katie Rowand and I’ll be the Summer Youth Intern working with Zach and the Rooted Ministry students this summer! I’m very excited about the work the Lord will be doing through me in this church and in Jesup!  I come all the way from Grayson, Georgia, so I’m certainly not used to all these gnats (but I hear that dryer sheets will be of great use to me). This upcoming year I’ll be a senior at Georgia College in Milledgeville, where I’m studying Rhetoric and Marketing. When praying over this summer, the Lord brought the word “abundance” to mind. I anticipate seeing this word used throughout this upcoming summer season, as I’ve already seen it take place with the way this church, the students, Pastor Mike, Zach and his family and my host family-the Phillips, have abundantly welcomed me in and have given me a home away from home. I’m honored to be here with you and I look forward to partnering alongside you to be used for the Kingdom of God in honor of the glory that He deserves for the gift of His Son, Jesus.

In the few short days that Katie has been here, I have already noticed a maturity and heart for the Lord that will be a great benefit to us over the next few weeks. I would encourage each of you as you find time to welcome Katie in, invite her to lunch, to your home, to Cafe Euro (she’s another one of us coffee drinkers), and more.  Let’s make her summer as much a blessing for her as I’m certain she will be for us!

As we enter the summer months, also keep this ministry in your prayers. Many of our students will be traveling, many will be out of pocket, and the summer is a great time for folks to recharge and refocus. Let’s pray that our students, and our church would take this time to glory in and find rest in Christ our Lord. Only there is water to refresh our souls that truly springs eternal!

Soli Deo Gloria!

Zach

 

Summer Dive-In Schedule:

June 7 - Camp Hawkins*                          July 5 - Teresa and Jon Scott

June 14 - VBS*                                           July 12 - Gena and Joe Ierardi

June 21 - Lynn and Alan Jones                July 19 - Sabrina and Eddie Thomas

June 28 - Margot and David Amann        July 26 - M-Fuge*

                                                                      August 2 - Joy and Lex Kenerly  

 

*No Dive-In These Weeks & All Locations Subject to Change

Youth News for May 2017

Summer time is almost here!  Let me take the space I have here to make you aware of several things we have going on through Rooted youth ministries here at FBC.  May will be a month packed with activity as we prepare for the summer months. 

May 21st we have the opportunity to celebrate our graduates!  Please note that if you know of any graduates that would like to be recognized on this date please inform us here at the church office so we can be sure not to overlook anyone.  We are also planning to have an end of the year block party to celebrate the close of the school year on Wednesday, May 24th on the back lawn of the church.  In addition to these events we are planning a celebration of our Pray for Me Campaign over a good meal, date TBD.  This will be an opportunity for all who have participated to share testimonies of their experience as God has used our prayers for our students throughout the school year.

Looking ahead to June and July we will have the chance to welcome our summer intern to Jesup and invite them to serve along-side us in the ministry here.  More details about her will come soon! We will also be shifting our Wednesday night schedule to our yearly dive-ins held at various homes of individuals throughout the church.  Be on the lookout for scheduling details regarding locations. 

Also coming in these months will be an opportunity to help once more with the incredible ministry of Camp Hawkins, June 7, 8, and 10th.  This is always an exciting opportunity to work with the students at this camp and learn service through action.  June 12-16th will be full to the brim with our Vacation Bible School.  We will be inviting all middle school students to participate in our middle school VBS (a more grown-up version of the kids’ VBS, filled with worship, bible study, and games), and our high school students to help volunteer with the children and get a taste of serving them here!

And finally, in July we will be taking our crew to Mission Fuge camp in Greenville, SC, to spend the week in missions, worship, and discipleship as we seek to grow in our relationships with God and in our understanding of His call upon our lives to fulfill the Great Commission.  Those dates are July 24-29th. 

As we approach these busy months, this ministry will be relying heavily on you!  Much is happening, and it can be easy in busy times to forget the purpose for which all of this is taking place: the glory of God and the good of this world.  We need your prayers, your encouragement, your efforts, love, and aid in order for this summer to be successful in that goal.  I am looking forward to the summer!

Be sure to mark all of these events and more to come on your calendars and to be praying for us as we prepare!

Soli Deo Gloria!

Zach

Youth News for April, 2017

As I write one week prior we had the opportunity to see a great many come out in support of our youth ministry at the incredible Pancake Supper put on by the small group of Creston and Amy Groover. Tomorrow we will be having 22 of our youth participate in the potentially life-changing Disciple Now 2017. Summer is soon to be under way with all of its activity and excitement. All of these things point to the incredible opportunity we have here at FBC to invest in the lives of young people throughout Jesup and Wayne County. I am incredibly grateful for the opportunity I have been given to serve here and be a part of what is happening.


In the midst of all of this, what has been most exciting to me is the chance to help open the eyes of students to the glory of the gospel. Over the past several weeks we have looked at six areas where the unique message the gospel offers us triumphs over all of the weak stuff of this world. Like a steak dinner is better than a pb&j, the gospel puts the world’s perspective on hope, meaning, morality, identity, satisfaction, and freedom to shame. Nothing is sweeter, more satisfying, and more powerful than the gospel we have been given.


1 Thessalonians 2:4 speaks of the apostles as those who have been “approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel.” We have been entrusted now with that same gospel. It is now our incredible privilege to share that same sweet gospel with those around us. That Christ calls us to Himself in spite of our sin, and that we can fulfill the purpose for which we were designed because of His grace as those in His kingdom, is sweeter than life.


So, then, if we have been entrusted with so sweet a gospel, what stands in the way of sharing it? There are a vast number of responses we could make to that question, but I think the ultimate reason is this: our experience of the sweetness of this gospel has not made its way from our heads to our hearts. An intellectual proposition is no substitute for an experiential acquisition of that taste. It is, as one theologian put it, the difference between knowing that honey tastes sweet because you have been told so by reliable sources, and actually tasting the honey for yourself. So how do we move from one to the other?


The answer is the subject of many books, but what it boils down to is primarily this: prayer. Prayer, in all its forms, but especially as a meditation upon the word of God and the beauty of the gospel, works the taste into our experience much as yeast is worked into bread, eventually leavening the whole loaf. I need to be better at this. I need my intellectual assent to become experiential reality. I need to be better at prayer. What about you?

Youth News for March, 2017

It has been a strong month for the youth of FBC Jesup. As the days have gone by, we have seen evidence in the lives of our students of a deepening commitment to the love of Christ and the work of His kingdom. The Spirit has been at work in teaching us what it means to be human, made for the work of serving Christ and created in the image of God as His ambassadors. Our students are taking ownership of their identity as disciples. It has been a blessing to watch.

The month of March carries with it a sense of excitement for me. It sits at the heart of the Spring semester and reminds me of the faithfulness and strength of God’s work in this place. It stands on the doorstep of the summer, the busiest time of year for youth ministry with all its challenges and all its promise. And it carries with it one of the most exciting single events in the life of this youth ministry.

This month we are gearing up for one of the biggest events of the year, Disciple Now Weekend, taking place on March 24-26th. As we gather names, assign host-homes, prepare our leaders and run final checks, one thing stands out to me as more important than anything else we can do: we need to pray. Nothing (significant) can happen without the miraculous power of God’s Spirit at work in our midst. No true change can take place in the hearts and lives of our students if God does not initiate it Himself. Over and over again the Bible makes clear that apart from Him we are a dead people, walking in darkness, blind to the truth, incapable of finding hope or freedom.

All of our planning, every aspect of our preparation, then, is approached with a deep sense of humility. But there is also hope and expectation. Nothing is possible without God at work, but we know that He desires to call His people to Himself and He wants to use us in that work. And so we can approach the throne of God with confidence! Whatever happens this Disciple Now Weekend, we can be certain that in the secret places of the heart God is doing His miraculous work of healing and regeneration. We have only but to call upon Him and be faithful to proclaim the gospel He has entrusted us with.

So let me ask you this: Will you pray with us? Will you kneel and seek the face of the Father asking Him to do what only He can, reveal where there is darkness, bring life where there is death, and create a passion within His children for His glory and His Name? Nothing else you do, nothing else I do, is more valuable than this.

Soli Deo Gloria!

Zach

 

P.S. - Registration for Disciple Now 2017 March 24-26th and Mission Fuge July 24-29th remains open. The window for Disciple Now registration will close in the first days of March, so sign up quickly!

Youth News for February, 2017

On Sunday and Wednesday nights our students are diving in to the question “What does it mean to be human?” In the midst of a culture that seems only to be concerned with the self, we are issuing a call to our students to leave the bankrupt philosophy of “be true to yourself” for the gracious call of Christ to “follow me.” But how do we face the assumptions of such a pervasive cultural narrative with the claims of Christ?

The problem with trying to combat the assumptions of our culture is that these aren’t messages we are asked to consider and make decisions about. Our culture doesn’t have a weekly meeting in which a cultural pastor stands up & preaches from the book of America and calls on us at the end to respond. Our culture doesn’t give us the choice. It simply assumes our values for us. We are surrounded by constant themes day in and day out in our media, through the advertising industry, and in the narratives of our world. The bravest thing one can do, we are told over and over again, is to find the deepest self and be true to it no matter what the world around you, and especially the authorities in your life, say. After all, you deserve it.

This is the thinking behind the phrases we so easily assume, statements like “Be true to yourself,” and “Follow your heart,” and “Nobody has the right to tell anybody else how to live their life.” When faced with these ideas outright, we might be quick of wit enough to say “Hold on a minute, that’s not quite true.” But when surrounded by it, when these things are simply assumed, they become the unconscious norms by which we operate. It’s not a decision. It’s simply an assumption.

We need to be a people more aware of the influences of our culture. We need to set the assumptions of the world up against the teachings of Scripture and show where the culture is lacking and where our faith is so much stronger. That’s exactly what we are doing with our youth.

The world says, “Be true to yourself.” Jesus says, “Crucify yourself.” The world says, “You should follow your heart.” Jesus says, “Come follow me.” The world says, “Do what makes you happy.” God says, “Delight yourself in the Lord.” The world says, “Nobody has the right to tell anyone else how to live their life.” Jesus says, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to obey all that I have commanded you.”

Want to hear more? We’re going to be talking about how this affects our understanding of what it means to be human and how we find meaning, satisfaction, freedom, identity, morality, and hope in Christ. His ways are so much better than ours.

To listen to our discussions, you can go to the youth website, youth.jesupfbc.org, and click on “Service Podcasts.”

Soli Deo Gloria!
Zach

Youth Ministry News for January, 2017

It’s the beginning of a new year, and in churches, school rooms, offices, and homes across the nation the message is clear: let’s make 2017 the best year yet! It’s a message of hope, a call to look out into the unknown with determination and good will. It’s a chance to wipe the slate clean and make the best of every moment. But where do you start?

The choices are overwhelming, the to-do-lists unending, the priorities confusing. It’s easy to get swept up in the emotion of a new year and get lost in the never ending demands of that “best year yet.” But what does Scripture counsel us in moments like this? I think if we turn to the Psalms we can find a way forward through it all.

In the midst of the chaos and confusion, the Psalms seem a constant call to “be still.” Psalm 46 speaks of wars and tribulation, troubles and the general chaos of the world, and in the midst of all of it we hear those so familiar words to “be still, and know that I am God.” To be still is to relinquish control, to acknowledge that One who is greater than I stands sovereign over our world.

When we look at the world around us and it seems the wicked are running things, that it is only they who are living the full life, we are counseled in the Psalms to enter the sanctuary of the Lord. Psalm 73:16-17 says “But when I thought how to understand this, it seemed to me a wearisome task, until I went into the sanctuary of God; then I discerned their end.” It’s in His presence that what makes no sense begins to make sense.

And when we simply don’t know what to desire, where our hearts should take us, we find the Psalms once again ready with an answer. Psalm 37:4 encourages us to “delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart.” Make Him the center of your delight, and your desire will be for Him. He will not fail to give you Himself.

This year, before anything else, above the busyness of the modern calendar, we need to make time to be still, enter the sanctuary, and set our hearts on the Lord. Before we can have our “best year yet,” we must realize whose hands hold the year, and what is truly Best in this world. Only with that perspective in place will we make any headway in 2017.

Soli Deo Gloria!

Zach

P.S. - A great opportunity to retreat and reflect on the proper perspective for our youth is coming this March 24-26. Disciple Now 2017 will focus on what it means to be a Follower of Christ. Cost is $25. We are also beginning sign ups for our summer missions camp coming July 24-29, $50 deposit to secure your spot. Sign up with me today!

UPCOMING EVENTS:
Winter Jam
January 13th