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in Youth

Who am I? The Identity of a Middle School Student

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Middle school is a time of life like no other. When so much of life is devoted to school, some might be surprised to find that most of the academic information that middle school students hear has either already been taught in elementary school, or will be taught again in high school. 
 
So what does this mean? 
 
Some say that middle school is just a place where three years worth of the most emotionally unstable students are held in captivity. Of course, there is certainly some truth to that, but to say that middle school is a waste of three years could not be further from the truth. 
 
In reality, this system of educational repeat is done very purposefully. While middle school students are sure to learn a great deal academically, the real lessons that middle school is designed to teach are respect, responsibility, and collaboration. In essence, middle school students are learning how to function as one part of a whole. As they are learning all of this, a fierce need for independence and individuality is built in middle school students. With that in mind, these three crucial years are designed specifically to help students learn who they are; to help them learn their identity.

In Galatians 2:20, the apostle Paul states, “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.”

Paul is saying that when we give our lives to Christ, this becomes our primary identity. We are loved by the creator of the universe and we live to know Him and to serve Him. That’s it. Our identity is that simple. 
 
It is misplaced identity that leads to so many struggles that middle school students face. When students, so desperate to find out who they are, place their identity somewhere other than in Christ, the results WILL be damaging. It is from misplaced identity that complex issues like bullying, gender confusion, and even racism can arise. 
 
It is only when our middle school students are able to see that their identity is found in Jesus and His love for them—not in athletics, academics, popularity, gender, or race—that they will find stability. 
 
When we ponder who we are and our definitive answer is to declare that we belong to Christ, we can find hope in every school assignment, every fight with a friend, every heartbreak, every challenge, and every up and down of middle school life.

 

in Church

The 82% of the 92%

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92% of our neighbors, coworkers and people all around us are disconnected from a relationship with God. Many of them have simply decided that church isn’t relevant to their life or they have more important things to do with their time.

When we show up to something like Easter and see a ton of people we assume that we’re reaching new people. But unless we’re inviting the 92% we may just be shuffling the deck of Christians that come to church infrequently. God longs to connect with people that are far from Him, it’s why He sent Jesus.

God spoke through His prophet Ezekiel to say that very thing, “And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh (Ez.36:26).” There is no one so far gone that God can’t soften their heart and change them from the inside out.

And actually—it may be way easier than you think. Did you know that 82% of people who identify as “unchurched” say they would be “somewhat likely” to attend church if someone just invited them?! That’s amazing.

We think it’s going to be so difficult and we allow our fear to paralyze us against the backdrop of something like an invitation to easter but more than eight in ten people you ask are at least “somewhat likely” to come. There are very few risks we take in our life that have that good a chance of success and the stakes of this invite could be eternal.

The power of invitation has personally changed my life many times. I had a friend from my neighborhood invite me to his Cub Scout troop when I was a little boy and it eventually led to new leadership skills, an Eagle Scout rank, and a medal of heroism (but who’s keeping track?).

God used that invitation to shape me; and God wants to use your invitation to shape the future of people so close to you but so far from God this Easter. So invite someone. You’ve got great odds ;).

Posted by Phil EuBank with 0 Comments
Tags: easter, invite

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