How to prepare to hear youth champion choosing love?

Youth Worship 2017 LogoThis weekend, the Youth in grades 7-12 will lead worship at both Greenwood on Saturday evening and downtown Sunday morning. Why should you make sure that you and the kiddos attend one of these services?

Three reasons:

  • Little kids need to espy big kids in action. (Hey, I get to do that some day!)
  • The viewpoint the Youth will promote is wise: Choose Love.
  • There will not be any Cool Disciples workshops for grades 1-6 this weekend!

Do you suppose the “open door” in their logo, parodies to a degree, that old TV show Let’s Make a Deal – where contestants picked either door number 1, 2 or 3?  (The Bible story the Youth will reference does have three characters making choices about showing love.)

But choosing love is not random. And it is more than just choosing to love and care for someone else – it also involves choosing to allow God to love us!

This door opens two ways: to receive God’s love and to show love to others.

A little preparation for worship may be helpful. (And certainly a debriefing afterwards!) How about using three ways – all involving stories and song. (Something I’m sure that we’ll hear lots of in worship!)

the number one  The Parable of The Good Samaritan is depicted in artLet’s start with a review of a familiar Bible story: The Good Samaritan.

Read the story in Luke 10:25-37.

Which of the three in this parable that Jesus taught – the priest, the Levite, or the Samaritan – chose a loving response to the beaten man by the side of the road?

What were the risks that each person faced? Why do you suppose the Samaritan chose love?


the number two  The cover of the book Forever Young by Bob DylanNext, how about a storybook based on a song? Forever Young by Bob Dylan (yes, THAT Bob Dylan) for ages 5 – 10, is about a young boy who is given a guitar by a street singer; his story shows how a gift to another can impact countless lives. (Ann Arbor District Library has this book. See if it is available!)

Do you suppose a simple act of giving (and loving) can still have an impact in today’s world?
Do you think it is better to give love or to receive love? Why?

the number three  And the third choice is a song by Pete Townshend: Let My Love Open the Door. The Youth have been learning this song and we’ll hear it this weekend.

Consider how these words could be God speaking to us, reaching out in love.
“I have the only key to your heart
I can stop you falling apart
Try today you’ll find this way
Come on and give me a chance to say
Let my love open the door
It’s all I’m living for
Release yourself from misery
There’s only one thing gonna set you free
That’s my love
That’s my love
Let my love open the door
Let my love open the door.”


The Youth from FUMC at Soulfull Retreat 2017
Youth at Soulfull Retreat at Lake Louise Retreat Center, 2017

Come experience the youth as they share their faith in music, drama, and liturgy. Members of the senior class of 2017 will share their journeys with the congregation. (Always a tear-jerker for me!)

a blue line

Photo credits:
Choose Love logo designed by Wendy Everett. Group photo of youth at Soulfull Retreat at Lake Louise Retreat Center, by Peter DeHart, © 2017. Used by permission.
An icon of The Good Samaritan, photo by Ted, licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-SA 2.0). Orange Numbers in the Public Domain via

When you discover who Jesus is, what will you do?

Wherever Jesus went, crowds generally formed and miracles turned up. He healed the sick, cured the lame, calmed a storm, turned water into wine, and brought the dead back to life — to name just a few.

A collage of miracle stories

Why did Jesus do miracles?

The last thing Jesus would have wanted was his miracles to be seen as some sort of “magic.” His ambition was not to have people follow him around just to see him do miracles. Perhaps this is why he often told those cured to, “see that no one knows about this” (Matthew 9:30.)

Jesus had compassion for those who congregated before him. He saw their needs and helped them. But on the hillside that day, with over 5,000 people gathered… many of them could have been hungry, yet…

No one would have starved.

Why did Jesus choose to feed them all so miraculously?

He wanted everyone to discover who he was.

Jesus had said that he was the Son of God. He showed people that he came from God by doing many wonderful works. On this particular day people seemed to get the message. Afterwards (perhaps spurred by what Moses had told them) a long time ago, they all said:

Open quote markSurely this is the Prophet who was to come into the world! (John 6:14)

Jesus’ miracle had made people think: Could this be the one? The Messiah? The one we’ve been waiting for?

It appears that Jesus had accomplished what he’d set out to do: to teach who he was.

So these days, how does Jesus show you who he is?

And this stimulates more questions…

  • Are we ready to see more?
  • Do we have the same sort of “is this the one?” reaction when we encounter daily miracles?
  • Are we prompted to want to follow Jesus?
  • Do we seek to desire to know more about Jesus, to live like he did, to perform miracles in our own way, by bringing God’s love to others?
What result will this miracle produce in our hearts and minds?

a thin blue line

Photo credits:
Various miracles of Jesus, depicted in stained glass. I created this collage from images shared under various CC licenses. Images on either end by H. Zell. Windows in Iglesia de El Salvador, Santa Cruz de La Palma, Canary Islands, Spain, via Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 3.0).
2nd image from left by: Nheyob. Windows in Chapel of the Immaculate Conception (University of Dayton), via Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 4.0).
3rd from the left by: Fr Lawrence Lew, O.P. Window in Leicester Cathedral, UK, via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0).

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