This may be the most important year of your spiritual journey. It’s really important for us to talk about this, you are at a phase in your life where you decide who you want to be. The decisions you make now determine your tendencies, your attitude, your personality, and your interests for the rest of your life.
Okay, student circles, 2021, here we go
Guys it is a new year and do this with me before we go any further, I want you to stand up, take a big stretch, and shake it out. You’re back at school, getting back in the rhythms of things, new year, new revelation, new relationships, it’s going to be a good year. Sit down.
You are at student circles at Valley Creek Church. Student circles are THE most important thing that we do as Valley Creek Students because it’s here that we discuss the weekend message, read the bible, and pray together. It’s here that you can actually get face to face with other people that love Jesus and actually follow him together. This is a big deal…& I’m really glad you’re here.
This weekend, Pastor John said this *insert clip of this is the most important year of your spiritual journey* It’s really important for us to talk about this specifically because not only is that true of everyone, but you are at a phase in your life where you decide who you want to be & the decisions you make now, like scientifically, determine your tendencies, your attitude, your personality, your interests, for the rest of your life. & it’s at this point in time that we have to take a look at the past year of our life and make the decision on if this is who we want to stay being.
I’ll tell you, if over the past year, you’ve been leaning in, you’ve been coming to church, and connecting with friends, and reading your bible, and keeping up with school, and staying active – you are setting in motion health both physical, relational, and spiritual that will continue on for the rest of your life.
But you know how if you are in a conversation with someone that their posture communicates a lot about how engaged they are with you? (Chair please) If we are at a coffee shop and you are telling me about your day and I’m like this (sitting down, leaned in, eye contact) – I am communicating to you that I care, I’m present, I’m active in what you are saying. But if you were talking and I’m like this (leaned back, foot on knee, arms crossed) – I am communicating to you that I am not engaged, I am waiting for this to be over, and what you have to say isn’t all that interesting. Big difference, right?
Okay, my concern today is that a lot of us have used this past year, and all of the very legitimate disappointments that came with it, as an excuse to lean out. And that this (leaned back) is the posture of our hearts. Towards school, towards our family, towards our friends, towards church, and even towards God.
Eh, school is whatever. Yeah, my family is fine, I don’t really engage with them. My friends hurt me last year so I’m just going to do my own thing and not really get invested. Yeah maybe I’ll come to student circles, but I’ll probably be texting the whole time. Reading the bible? Eh. Maybe if I have time.
(lean forward) Today is the day for you to decide who you want to be and what you want your life to look like and actually do something about it. (Push chair back)
Where do you need to engage again in your own life? Where do you need to take back authority in your own life instead of just letting things happen to you? Dream with me for a second – What do you want your relationship with Jesus to be like? What kind of friendships do you want to have? What dynamic do you want to have with your family? I can’t tell you what the answer is, but I do know that you are in a circle of people right now who all have the Holy Spirit inside of them and can help you ask those questions, have a conversation with the Lord for yourself, and then actually do something about it.
& if you don’t know where to start, what I do know to be true is that we all need 3 things. Everybody say 3 things.
We all need a church to be planted in, a people to walk with, and a mission to engage with.
A church to be planted in (because Ps 92 those who are planted in the house of the Lord shall flourish), a people to walk with (because Prov 13 whoever walks with the wise will become wise), and a mission to engage with (because Mat 28 Jesus tells us to go and make disciples of all nations).
So, let me ask you- Are you planted here? Do you see this place as vital to your life as soil is to a tree? Because it doesn’t say those who are planted in their sports will flourish, it doesn’t say that those who are planted in their friend group will flourish, those who are planted in the house of the Lord will flourish. So, have you planted yourself here?
Second thing – are you walking with wise people? Look at this *insert clip of pastor john talking about the people in your life* Now is the time to make some decisions about who you want to be and one of the clearest reflections of who you are going to be is who you are hanging out with now. Do you have people who truly want God’s best for your life? Who will pray with you, and hold you accountable to getting off the sidelines and back into the game? & if not, that’s okay. My senior year of high school I realized that my best friend since Kindergarten was going down a path that I didn’t want to go down & becoming someone that I didn’t want to be. Nothing against her, but if I take the bible at its word that if I’m allowing someone to speak into my life that is going down the path of partying, boys, and constant drama that is who I will eventually become. So, I needed to get new friends and I found them here at Valley Creek, and you can too. Who are you walking with?
& lastly, do you have a mission to engage with? We were not created to live our lives all about ourselves and honestly, most of the problems you will face are because you are thinking too much about yourself, but if we begin to live on mission Jesus promises that we will experience him there because he is always drawing us into the lives of people.
& maybe the first step for you to engage in mission, is to start inviting someone that you know that has disengaged, to engage again. Let me ask it like this – Who do you know that has disengaged that you need to invite to circles next week? I have a friend who this year, has disengaged from the church she was planted in, the people she was walking with, and the mission she was engaged in & I text her multiple times inviting her to different stuff, and I’ll tell you, most of the times I don’t get a text back. She has yet to accept one of my invitations, but you’ve got to get to this place of who cares about being rejected when someone’s destiny is on the line. And I’m going to keep texting her because I believe that one of these days she is going to say yes. Who is that for you? Bc more than they need to be invited, you need to invite because that is you engaging in the mission of Jesus.
Last thing is this, because circles is where your life is going to change the most if you will lean into them, I’ve got a few quick thoughts for you on how you can get the most out of student circles this semester.
We’re always talking about the weekend message and so you’re not going to have a lot to say unless you engage it for yourself. So, engage in the weekend experiences. Come early, sit in the student section, meet somebody new, take notes, plant yourself in the house of the Lord.
& when you are here, don’t just come if your friends are coming, don’t just sit with people you already know, and decide to meet someone new every time. If there is always more in Jesus then that means that there are more relationships for you, but we have to actually go and introduce ourselves. We need a people to walk with. Bonus points for you if you actually get to know your leader because they literally have so much Jesus wisdom to share and already love you enough to show up here every week.
Decide in advance that you will be here every week if you are in town. There are going to be days you don’t feel like coming. I get it, there are days that I don’t feel like coming. I know, shocking. But if you can just decide that no matter how I’m feeling, who is going or not going, what they are talking about or not talking about, coming into an environment of faith on a regular basis to apply what I’m learning, read the bible, and pray with others is a good thing for my life so for the next 5 months, I’m here, no matter what, you’re going to be a completely different person in the best way by the time summer rolls around.
So come on, Valley Creek Students, let’s shake off this past year, it’s time for something new, and it’s time to engage again.