Why I trust the Bible: A young Christian shares why she has 100% confidence in God’s Word.

The Bible is really not your average book. For a start it is more like a library with a range of genres. There are narratives, poems, letters, songs and much more. It has also been written over thousands of years by around 40 different authors! I think it’s safe to say that the Bible is truly something special.

The Word of God

Christians believe the Bible is the word of God. You have probably heard this before but what does this really mean? Does this mean that God himself has taken pen to paper and written the Bible as the ultimate guide to life and salvation? This would be amazing but it’s not quite like that. The Bible has actually been written by people but inspired by God. The Bible itself claims that all that is written within it has come from God.

All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness. 2 Timothy 3:16

This verse is talking about all Scripture, meaning the Old Testament and the New Testament books of the Bible. So according to the Bible we should believe that everything in it has come from God. As Christians, the Bible is a key part of our faith. What is written in the Bible is important to us and it is where our main beliefs have come from. So, do Christians believe that the Bible is 100% accurate?

What does accurate mean?

I think to really get to the bottom of how accurate the Bible is we first have to know what we mean when we use the word accurate.

According to the dictionary, the word accurate can mean a few things:

  • Faithfully representing or describing the truth
  • Showing a negligible or permissible deviation from a standard: an accurate ruler
  • Without error; precise; meticulous

So in summary, accuracy is about always being as truthful as possible without mistakes.

Is this something that can be said of the Bible?

Is the Bible true?

I don’t think the Bible tells us every fact about every subject in life but I do believe that everything it does talk about is true. This has to take into account the context, like when something was written and whom it was written to.

The Bible is also one of the most historically accurate books of all time. This is not just an opinion held by Christians but also opinion by leading academics. Time and time again Biblical accounts have been closely studied in its original historical context and have been proven to be true. This gives me great confidence in the Bible.

Does the Bible have mistakes?

If you believe that the Bible is the word of God then it wouldn’t make sense to also believe that the Bible has mistakes. The Bible is inspired by God and therefore I trust it to be true.

I know all too well that the Bible is not always easy to understand but this does not mean it is full of mistakes, therefore making it untrue. The main point and purpose of the Bible is to reveal God’s salvation plan, which is fulfilled in Jesus. Sometimes things in the Bible don’t make sense right away but this should not stop us from believing. Instead we should investigate further and look for the truth in what is being said.

YOUTH GROUP WINTER EVENT – JANUARY 31

Sunday, January 31st at 5:00 pm Impact Rock Church will host the youth from local churches, including Redemption City  Church in Westminster, and Radiance Church in Commerce City, as they come together to worship and to celebrate their passion for Jesus.  Jody Romero (founder of the RISEUp! Youth Conference and Lead Pastor of Restoration L.A. in Los Angeles, CA) will be the speaker at this event which IRC will host at our new building (710 Austin Ave. Suite 200 in Erie).

All teens grades 6th through 12th are welcome.

irc_re_winter_2016

Beyond the Selfie: 5 Things to Learn from Teens

Hello Ripple Effect Youth Group – Pastor Mark here…  I just read this article and wanted to know if you agree with this and consider these five points to be true to you.  Please leave a comment or let me know.

Recently, I sat in a comfortable, overstufteensfed chair with my favorite Starbucks in hand with a brainstorm group. We worked on an exercise to come up with some adjectives that best describe teens in 2015. As a group, words like “shallow,” “self-absorbed,” and “disengaged” popped up.

I get it. Many said the same thing about my generation and me. Let’s be honest.  All one has to do is scroll through an Instagram feed and see that this generation has not only invented the “Selfie” but has also perfected the art of it.  The term “Selfie” alone could support the general perceptions and lead one to surmise what this generation is all about.

Eschenbach said, “In youth we learn; in age we understand.” I’ve worked with teens for over a decade. Society often times write off teens as the “Selfie” generation. However, I’ve learned that there’s more under the surface than meets the eye. There are some key things to learn from teens that could inspire the world to #LiveSecond.

5 Things To Learn From Teens

1. It’s O.K. To Not Be O.K.

This generation, more than previous ones in recent history, celebrates and encourages peers to admit, “I’m not O.K.” Many feel this pressure to present ourselves in a way that says, “I am O.K.” Truth is everyone has “issues.” Teens embrace this reality.

2. Justice Matters

Kurt Cobain once said, “The duty of youth is to challenge corruption.” Teens have a high sensitivity to injustice.  Whether it be bullying, racism, sexism, poverty or sex trafficking, this generation doesn’t shake its head at these challenges. Instead they leverage their voice, creativity, and efforts to address injustices in their world.

3. Value Community

Teens value knowing others and being known. Relationships matter. Teens see community as a necessity and cultivate it with intentionality, both in person and online.

4. Celebrate Uniqueness

Our society creates labels and categories for almost anything.  This generation has a strong distaste for labels and celebrates the uniqueness of an individual.  Their approach teaches others that our job isn’t to dismiss or judge those around us, but to love others for who they are.

5. Globally Minded

The definition of a movement is “a group of people working together to advance their shared political, social or artistic ideas.”  Movements are catalysts for change. While teens celebrate individuality, they have the desire to be a part of something bigger.

A look beyond the “selfies,” reveals characteristics and values in teens that inspire others to #Live Second.

By David Martin

David Martin serves as the Director of I am Second Students. To learn more about this national student movement, click here.

Think Clearly and Exercise Self-Control

HI RIPPLE EFFECTORS!

Sorry its been a while since I’ve posted. While we haven’t posted in a while, we have had a fantastic couple of months, with the Anniversary Dinner fundraiser and getting ready for our LA trip with extra meetings. Its been an exciting time for the group!

A quick exciting note before we get to an encouraging note…… WE WELCOME NEW 6TH GRADERS NEXT MONTH! I know it snuck up on us, and I don’t know how many new Effectors we are welcoming, but be thinking of new fun things to do on initiation night.

So I wanted to write a quick note and just remind everyone of the word God had for us last week. I think He’s really been wanting us to focus on Peter and his journey from a fisherman to disciple of Jesus to the foundation of the church as we know it. The key thing that we’ve kept focusing on over and over is the fact that Peter was human. We went over multiple examples last week of how Peter was a faulty, sinful dude just like we are. He was quick to speak and act without thinking. He took Jesus aside and reprimanded him for telling the disciples He would die. (He REPRIMANDED our Lord and Savior!) He cut off a dude’s ear because he thought he could foil Jesus’ death. He denied Jesus three times. He had his faults. He had his growing pains. But in the end, he learned some valuable lessons.

God of course knew that Peter would be extremely influential in building His church, and as a part of that, God used Him to write two books of the bible: 1st and 2nd Peter.

Peter starts out 1 Peter giving praise to Jesus, giving the good news that we had been born again through Christ. Then, in 1 Peter 1:13, Peter gives his first real set of instruction to us:

“Think clearly and exercise self-control.” It goes on to say “live as God’s obedient children. Don’t slip back into your old ways of living to satisfy your own desires. You didn’t know any better then.”

Think clearly and exercise self-control. That is FANTASTIC advice. We, in this crazy fast-paced world, can jut become so reactionary. When Peter was reactionary as he was in Jesus’ service, he got himself in trouble. When we let our emotions drive our reactions, they will get us in trouble.

JESUS needs to be guiding our reactions. How can we let this happen if we just react quickly and not exercise self-control? When your brother or sister irritates you, its so easy to lash out quickly at them. When your friends are gossiping, its so easy to quickly join in. When your parents anger you, your reaction may be to lash out or treat them poorly to “get back at them.”

We know that our life’s purpose is in our Father and Lord. We know better. We know there is a better purpose, we know that life is so much more awesome and full when living for Him. So let’s be slow to speak, slow to act, and quick to listen to him. The first instruction that God’s chosen disciple to build the church gave to us was simple: Think.

So this week, lets make that be our prayer…. to let God guide our reactions and that we’d be slow to react, instead letting His love drive what we do and say. That leads us to living as God’s obedient children, ready to make ripples throughout our families, schools, and world.

Have an awesome week y’all!

Brad

Encouragement for the Effectors: 2/25

Dear Ripple Effectors…..

Brad here, back with another edition of “off-week encouragement!”

Youth group has rocked these last couple of weeks. God’s had some really good stuff for us, and its been fun seeing it applied and hitting home.

Our Father wants you to draw close to him. He is going to keep pursuing you time and time again until you do. I read something tonight in “Approaching the Heart of Prophecy” by Graham Cooke that I felt needed to be heard by The Ripple Effect.

It says:

“When we exit the prison of our circumstance we are able to receive the Lord’s blessing and turn our life into an opportunity to strike back at the enemy.”

We sure can feel trapped when we focus on our own circumstances, can’t we? We’ve been talking tons about getting rid of the obstacles we put up in our life that make God feel distant. Its easy to write this out, much harder to live out, but we have to stop focusing on US. Stop focusing on ME. Stop focusing on what is going wrong in MY life. We all have sinned and live on this earth, where circumstances seem like a huge deal and we are constantly getting distracted from Him. That’s Satan’s plan.

Colossians 2:6-7 says “Therefore as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, having been firmly rooted and now being built up in Him and established in your faith, just as you were instructed, and overflowing with gratitude.”

When we start focusing on the blessing of the Lord, our circumstances don’t seem as important or distracting. Then we can take the enemy on!! Lets work on overflowing with gratitude instead of griping about the little things that we wish were different about our life, yes?

Have a great week!

Off-Week Encouragement: 2/11

To off-set the extreme, intense disappointment in the weeks that we don’t have Ripple Effect meetings, we are going to start posting words of encouragement every other week. That way you can be sure to get some Ripple Effect goodness each and every week! 🙂

Last week we talked about James 1, about how God wants us to constantly monitor our hearts and get rid of the crap that doesn’t belong. When we don’t get rid of it, we start to put barriers in-between us and God and we wonder where He is.

But later on in James, it talks about how simple it is to get close to Him.

James 4:8 says, “Come close to God, and God will come close to you.”

To get all geeky with the Greek here, when it says God will “come close to you,” in the Greek it means “to bring near, to join one thing to another.”

Our Father, Creator and Savior is always right here, waiting for you. As we talked about in our last youth group, he NEVER EVER EVER EVER EVER EVER moves away from us. Ever. Is that clear enough? 🙂

He’s always right there, wanting to embrace you and be close to you. He’s not only close to you, he is one with you. We sometimes put barriers in-between us and Him, but we need to understand that all He wants is to have us repent of any and all sin and be one with Him. Its that simple.

When we meet next week I would love to hear some examples of times where you immediately gave a negative thought to Him. Instead of letting negativity grab ahold of you and take over, just immediately pray and let Him be close to you and let Him guide your thoughts and mood. If we are quick to turn that negativity away, we are going to be able to experience His love and grace always. And in turn that will send ripple effects to everyone around us.

I hope to hear some success stories next Tuesday!

Your Joy Will Overflow

Love is War

The Ripple Effect celebrated one year as a youth group in December. We’ve grown in fellowship, worshiped together, and focused mightily on the amazing love of Jesus. For most of 2013, we studied Luke, and among other things, it was great learning about how Jesus called sinners, just like us, to get up and follow him despite our flaws. We talked about how we get so focused on our appearances and reputations, but in the end God only really focuses on our heart. It was an awesome year, and we as youth leaders have been totally blessed to get to know our students and experience Jesus with them.

But why? Why follow him? Its not always easy doing so. Life throws distractions at us constantly, and you know what, life can seem pretty alright without Him. In fact, Satan absolutely loves it if we get distracted by how ok life can be on its own without Jesus. Over the Christmas break, God convicted me that our youth needed to be able to answer the question “Why should I follow Jesus?”

Jesus came to save. He is the way, truth and the life. He is the way to the Father. Accepting His gift of salvation, His coming to earth as a man and carrying all burdens of sin in dying on that cross so that we could be saved…….. is the best decision you can ever make. Its as easy as just telling Him that you accept him. How great is the grace of God! I’m so thankful and humbled that God loved me enough to not only send His son, but to make it so easy to have access to Him.

But once you have accepted him, He is in you. The Jesus that had to go through absolute pain, temptation and rejection as a man, is with you. He had to fight for us. Jesus gave us a promise what will happen if we fight for Him and follow Him.

John 15:9-11 (NLT) says: “I have loved you even as the Father has loved me. Remain in my love. 10 When you obey my commandments, you remain in my love, just as I obey my Father’s commandments and remain in his love. 11 I have told you these things so that you will be filled with my joy. Yes, your joy will overflow!

Honestly, for a long time when I read the word “joy”, I equated it to happiness. And sure enough, if you read the definition of the word “joy” on Google, it says “a feeling of great pleasure and happiness”.

That’s not the joy Jesus is speaking of. The Greek word used in the bible here is “chara”, which means joy and gladness. The definition of gladness is “a feeling or state of well-being and contentment”.

This is God’s promise to us. That when we follow his commandments and teachings, when we walk in Him, our life will be FULL of joy. We will have a fullness of life that we cannot get anywhere on this earth. This isn’t a guilt thing. Jesus didn’t die for us so then we’d feel guilty about our sin and try to follow him. NO! He died for us as an example of perfect love, so that we can experience JOY to the fullest.

Society screws up the concept of love. It minimizes it to a flighty sense of happiness. You see so many characters on shows and in songs say “I love you”, but it’s based on the giddy butterfly feelings we get. And then randomly they have a change of heart and say “I don’t love you anymore”…. It’s focused on feelings. On the butterflies. On me, me, me, how I feel.

The love that God has for us is deeper than we could ever imagine. Jesus sweat blood in the garden of Gethsemane, knowing the pain he was going to have to endure. He had metal barbs rip into his back, He was prodded, He was spit on, He FOUGHT for us. THAT’S the love that is worth fighting for. That’s the love that allows us to have joy to the fullest.

We played the song “Love is War” by Hillsong United at youth group (video below). The song cries out to God, saying:

Turn my eyes to see Your face
As all my fears surrender
Hold my heart within this grace
Where burden turns to wonder

Is it easy? No. It’s a battle. It’s not about the surfacey feelings that we have. (Yes, I’ve decided that surfacey is a word, ha). Sin is easy. It makes us feel better for just a moment. When you are insecure about how a peer feels about you, it is easy to gossip about them. That temporarily makes you feel better about yourself right? Then what happens? You slowly realize that the insecurities get worse.

Our prayer for The Ripple Effect is that we fight to follow Him. All the time. ALL THE TIME! When we obey His commandments, focusing on His love, His desires, His vision…. we will be overwhelmed with joy.

“I will fight to follow
I will fight for love
Throw my life forever
To the triumph of the Son”

The Ripple Effect is going to be digging deeper in 2014 into the awesomeness He has for us. I can’t wait.

Brad

Christmas Party on Tuesday

All Ripple Effectors….

As a reminder, we are having a Christmas party tomorrow at the Tarrant’s house instead of normal youth group. So…. don’t show up to the church!

Come to the Tarrant’s at 6PM looking dapper with a $5 or less gift for a White Elephant gift exchange. We will see you there!

With love,
Your Ripple Effect Youth Leaders

Youth Group TONIGHT!!!

1 Samuel 16:7 says “Don’t judge by his appearance or height…. The Lord doesn’t see things the way you see them. People judge by outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”

Come tonight and lets talk about nurturing our hearts to grow and produce awesome fruit for Jesus.

See you at 7p at the church!

Excited Gif Youth