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Matthew 7:24-26 “Everyone then who hears these words of mine and acts on them will be like a wise man who built his house on rock. The rain fell, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on rock. And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not act on them will be like a foolish man who built his house on sand.”

Volume 1, Issue 1 May 2011

Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a 20th century martyr and theologian talks about ‘CHEAP GRACE’… “Have we built ministry on theological bedrock, or on the shifting sand of cultural relevance?” (Kenda Creasy Dean in the book Starting Right) Friends, these ‘theological rocks’ will help you to understand why I do youth ministry the way I do, or at least how I try to do it! It’s all about what I believe about God and how that plays out in my life and my ministry as a disciple of Jesus Christ. “ the preaching of fo r giveness witho ut requiring repentance, baptism without church discipline, Communion wi tho ut co n fe ssio n, absolution without contrition. Cheap grace is grace without discipleship, grace without the Cross, grace without Jesus Christ, living and incarnate.” - The Cost of Discipleship

Theological Rock #1: GRACE
20:1Read Matthew 20:1-6 “The Laborers in the Vineyard”
It’s not fair! You’ve worked for months on this project and while, yes, you did get an ‘A’ so did your friend who only put in two days of work. All you can say is...It’s not fair! That’s how the laborers in the vineyard were feeling. Jesus’ parable makes little sense economically and many would not consider it fair. But that was his point exactly. Jesus is teaching us — his disciples — about grace, although he never uses the word. We can’t calculate the grace of God like we can a day’s wages or time spent working on a project. We receive grace as a gift from God, not as something we work hard to earn. GRACE is a divine gift, given to us by our God, completely undeserved. St. Augustine calls grace an “unmerited divine favor.” So what does the theological rock of GRACE look like in youth ministry? To begin with it is making sure that EVERY young person knows this: “You are a child of God and God loves you for who you are and what you are!” This means that you are loved simply because you are a child of God, not because you won the track meet or cleaned your room or got straight ‘A’s. In this competitive world, grace might be a hard thing to swallow. However, at St. James grace means playing non-competitive games and not having the latest newspaper clippings of which youth won what award, for that shows our young people that they have to ‘do something’ or achieve to earn our love and support. And that’s not what we’re talking about. Still, it does not mean that you can hurt others time and time again and cry ‘grace’! It does mean being responsible for our actions. It does mean practicing forgiveness and acceptance and supporting every member of the group while inviting others into the circle….but that brings us to our next rock!

Check out the wording on these two slabs of theological rocks! EXODUS 20: 1-17

being patient with one another and never giving up on any one. .” (Starting Right 156) God loves now what? So what do the theological rocks of SPIRITUAL DISCIPLINES and CHRISTIAN PRACTICES look like in youth ministry? It’s the realization that we’re not just about entertainment.. what have you learned from today and how you want to change and grow. It’s about exploring contemporary worship. Bible Study. People do so in a variety of ways — prayer. Aren’t we all desperately hoping for that good news? What is evangelism? Some define it as ‘verbally’ sharing the good news of God’s universal rule over all creation.Theological Rock #2: EVANGELISM Read Deuteronomy 4:6 and Isaiah 52:7 As he explained various laws to the Israelites. As he got nearer I gasped to realize that it was Jesus in Blue Jeans. That’s the first step. on a regular basis.. shares with her readers. Moses often appealed to their unique calling as a nation. sports. with all our strength. It’s also about worshipping in ways that are ‘spirit-full’ and ‘truth-full’ but may not be the norm. both young and old. It seems as if other things get in the way — money. God had chosen them as a ‘priestly kingdom’ and a ‘treasured possession. Theological Rock #3: INCARNATION 1:1Read Matthew 1:23 and John 1:1-14 Theologian Shirley Guthrie states.. and meditating on God’s Word are some of them. James our goal is to give our young people opportunities to learn the language of faith so that they are comfortable sharing their stories of faith — their faith journeys so that they feel comfortable sharing them with others. engraved on that stone that Moses brought down that mountain for all to see. It’s not just talking the talk but walking the walk! It’s telling and LIVING the good news of Christ’s salvation. “Why are you surprised? I came to them wearing robes because they wore robes. One of our goals is to worship together with the entire congregation. your soul and for God. with the highlight on community! Theological Rock #5: SPIRITUAL DISCIPLINES / CHRISTIAN PRACTICES 295:1Read Mark 12: 29-31 and Ephesians 5:1-2 Mark tells us what we need to practice. each other’s joys and pains. It’s about worshipping God in all that we do and serving God only. “many years ago I dreamed that I was standing in a meadow. in her book Jesus in Blue Jeans. Jesus. Jesus speaks to us today in our languages. Aramaic. At St. Theological Rock #4: WORSHIP 20:8Read Exodus 20:8-11 and Matthew 4:10 Too often in our culture we worship things other than God but yet there it is. but while we are there are we thinking about what we’ll be doing in an hour or are we loving and worshipping God with all our heart. Isaiah portrays the incredible joy of carrying good news to those desperately hoping for it. to show us the way! Incarnation is the fact that God actually became a human and dwelt among us in the person of Jesus of Nazareth. willing to listen to each other’s stories.’ The Deuteronomy passage describes yet another benefit to keeping the law: what we today call evangelism. Simple huh? Not! What are spiritual disciplines or Christian practices? It’s inviting young people into a particular way of life. not only as acolytes but as LEMs and LEVs and as preachers and as readers. Are we doing that? Sure we might be going to church every Sunday. It’s going beyond our home comfort zones and engaging in mission work in the world. says that . I come to you in blue jeans because you wear blue jeans. author on spirituality and youth. The faithfulness of the Israelites would serve as an example to the nations around them. It’s also really being ‘present’ with one another. It happened! John also tells us that it happened when he says that the “Word became flesh and lived among us” (Christian Doctrine 234). It’s about being a community of faith. they’ll know we are Christians by our love. Mark to love God and our neighbor. It’s about giving our young people the opportunity to lead and participate in worship services. A way of life with God where one makes time for your self. Christ came into our communities so that we might know him. “Christian practices are the means through which Christians seek to respond to God’s invitations of love.. school. So what does the theological rock of EVANGELISM look like in youth ministry? To begin with it is making sure that EVERY young person knows that they are welcome. “the birth stories of Jesus emphasize that the Christian belief that “God is with us” is not just a beautiful idea or an abstract theological truth. Suddenly I saw a man approaching me. Laurie Beth Jones. and with all our mind? Christ calls us to worship “in spirit and truth. So what is worship? It can be defined as giving reverence or honor to God. Just remember the song. It’s taking time when we’re together to ask each other what God wants from you today. even family obligations take precedence over worship.” Just as Jesus spoke to his disciples in his native tongue. At St. When he saw the expression on my face he said. It’s about creating rituals and traditions together of prayer and worship. God gave us the incredible gift of God’s Son. who would then be attracted to the true God. So what does the theological rock of the INCARNATION look like in youth ministry? To begin with it’s the realization that we are Christ’s hands and feet and body in the world today.” So what does the theological rock of WORSHIP look like in youth ministry? Our faith is a communal faith. James we learn to look at one another and see the face of Jesus and build our relationships from there. and the writer of Ephesians tells us that we need to imitate God and live in love. Augustine described the Incarnation as God’s accommodation to human limitations.