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!

Discipleship

Hey all. Several guys asked me to post my notes from the message I shared on Discipleship at the last Grubfest. Here they are. Sorry for the delay. It was great to hang out with you all.

Andrew

Discipleship

Let’s start by talking about what a disciple is. I found two words in the Bible for disciple.

One is
mathētēs

It’s a noun and its definition is…
a learner, pupil, disciple

The other is
mathēteuō

This one is a verb and its definition is…

to be a disciple of one
1. to follow his precepts and instructions
to make a disciple
1. to teach, instruct

Pasted from <http://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=G3100&t=NASB>

Now let’s look at who is responsible for Discipleship. In Eph 4:11-12 is says this…

Now these are the gifts Christ gave to the church: the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, and the pastors and teachers. 12Their responsibility is to equip God’s people to do his work and build up the church, the body of Christ.

Pasted from <https://www.bible.com/bible/116/eph.4.nlt>

So it’s the apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers jobs right. Well, hold on a minute. Let’s read verse 12 again…

12Their responsibility is to equip God’s people to do his work and build up the church, the body of Christ.

So to equip God’s people, that’s all of us right.. To do His work and build up the church the body of Christ.

To do his work… What is his work? Well in part it is The Great Commission

Matt 28:18-20

18And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19Go therefore and make disciples (mathēteuō,teach,instruct)of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, 20teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

Pasted from <https://www.bible.com/bible/100/mat.28.nasb>

Notice it just says Go. Not apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers go. The great commission is for all of us. To make disciples of all nations. To teach/ to instruct others of God. A good start is within our body.

Now let’s go back to Ephesians for a minute and pick up where we left off. Verse 13

13This will continue until we all come to such unity in our faith and knowledge of God’s Son that we will be mature in the Lord, measuring up to the full and complete standard of Christ.
14Then we will no longer be immature like children. We won’t be tossed and blown about by every wind of new teaching. We will not be influenced when people try to trick us with lies so clever they sound like the truth. 15Instead, we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church. 16He makes the whole body fit together perfectly. As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love.

Pasted from <https://www.bible.com/bible/116/eph.4.nlt>

He wants us to be mature, be able to discern God’s truth from lies, speak that truth in love, and do our own special work to help the other parts of the body grow. He wants us all to be disciples, and make disciples. He wants us to do our own special work to help the other parts of the body grow into maturity and be more like Him.

We have all been tasked with this. This is not something only for the 5 fold ministry. These “gifts to the church” are offices not activities. All apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers are disciples, but not all disciples hold the office of an apostle, prophet, evangelist, pastor or teacher. However you don’t need to hold an office to operate in a gifting. You don’t have to be a prophet to prophecy or an evangelist to evangelize. We are all called to teach others and operate in the gifts that He decides to give us. Each of us has something to contribute no matter where we are in our walk. If you have walked with the Lord a long time you likely have many things you could teach another brother. Likewise if you have only known the Lord a short time you still have something to offer. The Lord may have shown you or given you revelation of something that another brother has never seen. Or perhaps you will ask a question that another brother can’t answer. In that situation there is opportunity for both to grow. There are several things we can do to be a better disciples, both students and teachers.

1. Spending time with Jesus

We need to all be spending time with Jesus, building our relationship with Him. Being filled up by Him. If we are full, then we can pour out and into others. We can’t give others something we don’t have. We can’t be running around on empty. If we are full to overflowing from spending time with him then pouring into others becomes a natural occurrence.

2. Spending time in His word

We need to be spending time in his word. In 2 Timothy 3:16-17 It says…

16All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; 17so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.

Pasted from <https://www.bible.com/bible/100/2ti.3.nasb>

3. Ask for and practice operating in the gifts of the spirit.

These gifts are part of the equipping for the work of ministry and building of the church that we are all called too.

1Cor 12:7-11

7But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. 8For to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, and to another the word of knowledge according to the same Spirit; 9to another faith by the same Spirit, and to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, 10and to another the effecting of miracles, and to another prophecy, and to another the distinguishing of spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, and to another the interpretation of tongues. 11But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually just as He wills.

Pasted from <https://www.bible.com/bible/100/1co.12.nasb>

Acts 1:8 Says this…

but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.”

Pasted from <https://www.bible.com/bible/100/act.1.nasb>

We will receive power when the Holy spirit has come upon us…. We need this power to do His work. I don’t see this as optional. Jesus told the disciples to wait for it…

Acts 1:4

Gathering them together, He commanded them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait for what the Father had promised, “Which,” He said, “you heard of from Me; 5for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.”

Pasted from <https://www.bible.com/bible/100/act.1.nasb>

The gifts of the spirit are needed to do his work. To disciple his people, to share His good news… Jesus said it was better that He should go so that the Holy Spirit should come. We all need these gifts and to be effective at operating in them.

So, If we are building our relationship with Him, spending time in His word being ” trained in righteousness“, and “equipped for every good work“, empowered with the gifts of the spirit, we can do these things he has called us too. Not in our own strength, or wisdom, or power, but partnered with Christ. With His strength and His wisdom, and His power.

Let’s be quick to challenge, encourage, and pour into each other. We are in this together and each of us has something to bring to the table. As Iron Sharpens Iron so one man sharpens another. We all need to be spending time with Jesus, spending time in His word, growing in Him, being filled by our source, and then helping to sharpen and encourage each other to do the same. Let’s all be good disciples both Students and Teachers amen!

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!

Be Bold in Sharing Gods Love

Never under estimate the power of a simple word or prayer. People desperately need to know how much God loves them. For some it needs to be revealed to them, for others a reminder. Be bold my brothers! When it comes to sharing Gods love don’t do it sparingly, but in excess. Be bold and share the love of our King Jesus for His people. His saved and His lost.

Arise Brunch Coming Up!

Hello IRC ladies!
At the January Arise Breakfast we drew numbers to be matched up with a girlfriend for February, until the next Arise Breakfast on Feb. 16th. The objective of this is simple: spend time with the Lord and the girlfriend you’ve been matched up with, and then we’ll discuss at the Arise Breakfast on Feb 16th.
There are only three requirements to participate in this Match-up:
1. Pray for your friend and read the Word on her behalf
2. Meet with your friend at least once, in person (or as many times as you’d like).
3. Give your friend you’ve been matched with one prophetic word (whatever the Lord speaks to you during prayer or in the Word for her).

If you weren’t at the breakfast but would still like to come, you are welcome to join us!

We are really excited about this, as it’s a time to draw closer to the Lord and get to know another IRC woman better as we continue to work to developer stronger relationships with God and our girlfriends.

For everyone who’s already participating, thank you! I think this is going to be amazing.
For the February Arise breakfast (on Sunday, 2/16 at 9:30am at my house we will share about our experience of being matched up with another IRC girlfriend and discuss how it went, with spending time with the Lord on their behalf and getting to know that person better.

Thanks and it’s such a pleasure serving our King with you!

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

What is MOPS?

MOPS is a movement of women who are practicing becoming more brave, kind, and honest. Together, because together is always better.

Becoming a part of MOPS means that you’ll find a community of women who get you. Being a mom is beautiful and hard, and finding hope in the midst of colic and no sleep is life-giving. To say thanks for joining in the fun, you’ll receive MomSense, our fun quarterly magazine filled with articles by women who totally get you. In addition to that, you can be on the lookout for your welcome package that has the cutest reusable bag and other fun swag.

We invite you to check out MOPS of Erie. MOPS groups are the best part about our community. Mommas are always ready with open arms to welcome a new friend.

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

Book of James

If you haven’t been studying in James as we go along though our current sermon series I encourage you to do so. There is some powerful and challenging stuff in there. Not a feel good book, but the words within are truth. Dig in and let the Lord challenge and stretch you a bit.