What are my kids learning anyways?!

I wanted to give you an update as to what your students are learning during our small group meetings. I currently have four girl’s groups that are following a seven-week overview of Scripture; two groups are exploring Genesis, and one group that just started looking at Ephesians. Following you will find information on all the studies.

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The students have a workbook that they are using to daily guide them through Scripture passages and questions. We meet and review what they have learned and set up the next week’s passages. It is such a joy to see what jumps out at them … some comments, “I never knew there were two trees in the Garden!” “In the Garden God covered Adam and Eve with the skins of animals, God provided an animal sacrifice for Isaac, … I think there is a link between these and the need for Jesus’ work on the Cross!” “I think God renamed Jacob because He didn’t want Jacob to continue seeing himself as a heel-grabber or deceiver … God redeemed him!”


We are using the BSF School Program materials and study questions which we go over together during small group time. Genesis is a book of beginnings. The first book of God's Word unveils the secrets of the creation of the universe, earth and humanity. It tells of the tragedy of humanity's fall into sin, of God's just judgment and of His gracious redemption. For some in these groups this is the first time they have been exposed to the entirety of Scripture!

Politics Anyone?

When I was in high school, I remember one of my assignments was to watch a debate between a prominent evangelical leader and someone (probably from Planned Parenthood) on the issue of abortion. This was probably in the late 1970s (yes, I am THAT old), and abortion had only been nationally legalized since the Roe v. Wade decision in 1973, so things were heated and intense (not much different than today).

I watched as the evangelical leader, taking the pro-life position, was getting angrier and angrier with his pro-choice opponent. His face was red from emotion and frustration, and his language became nearly as colorful as his complexion (without swearing, of course).

I looked at my mom and said, “I know that what he is saying is true, about abortion being wrong and the taking of an innocent human life, but I sure don’t like the way that he is treating the other person.”

My mom looked at me and simply said, “Then you do it better.”

Living in Uncivil Times

I can’t say that I have always had a love for politics. I got “burned out” by the constant debates and fighting amongst my peers in college. It seemed to me that there were two choices … either agree with the issue of the day or remain quiet. I opted for the latter.

My love for politics grew when Joshua was in college. He was “into” it and I wanted to engage with him … so I started following issues and candidates. I loved the discussions we had. We didn’t always agree but we did respect each other’s opinions. And frankly, I enjoyed him talking with me!

I have noticed a change in political discussions these last ten years. As I meet and talk to teens and follow them on social media, I continually hear statements that concern me. It seems that they are categorizing people by who they agree or disagree with. Almost as if their personhood is based on who they support or often … who they definitively don’t support. What jumps out to me is that if someone disagrees, they can’t be a friend.

Scripture has the Answer

With the above as a backdrop, I decided to journey with several of our youth small groups as we looked at Scripture for guidance on how to deal with division and conflict.
Some principles we discussed and acknowledged we needed to do:

  1. Educate ourselves on the issues…don’t just follow what the loudest voices are saying. Proverbs 19:2 reminds us that “zeal without knowledge” is not good. We don’t need to be experts on the topic, but we do need do our best to make sure that we have a well-informed opinion.
  2. We need to spend time in the Word so that you we are better equipped to engage the world with God’s wisdom.
  3. We need to learn to listen to arguments from those who do not share our particular viewpoints on issues. James 1:19 reminds us to be “quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry,” and that’s solid wisdom when engaging in these controversial conversations.
  4. And we need to learn to disagree without being disagreeable.

Then we began our study of Paul’s letter to the Ephesians. I am using the BibleProject At Home study on Ephesians.  In this letter he is speaking to Jews and non-Jews, two groups that were divided by so many factors it would have taken an act of God to unite them. It wasn’t hard for students to come up with two groups in our community that disagree with one another at this time!

I’m excited to journey with these groups further as we will see that:

  • that the Ephesians didn’t have much in common, yet Paul clearly shows that in the family of God, all are equal recipients of God’s grace through Jesus.
  • societies have always categorized people into different hierarchies of value, but Jesus came to create a new humanity that is unified across all dividing lines.

We will also explore:
  • What happens when truth is not spoken in love or when love is spoken without truth?
  • What it means to be a new unified humanity in a culture where followers of Jesus can be found on both sides of many controversial issues?
  • How can our allegiance to Jesus compel us to have patient and meaningful dialogue with those whose views differ from our own?

I’ll report back next month where this study took us!
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