With everything happening in the world, social issues took a strong shift towards the pandemic in the past two years. However, after collecting data, surveyors have recently found a shift to issues away from COVID. So what are students passionate about when it comes to social issues? According to Y-Pulse, things have really shaken up. Racial issues have come out on the top of the list, and while COVID is still in the top ten, issues such as gender equality/sexism, healthcare reform, and sexual harassment have either recently joined the top ten or jumped up the list. Knowing what our students care about is an important tool to better understand and walk with them in life. There are always biblical principles to life's problems, and it's our responsibility to show our students how to approach the issues in their lives in a way that points to God.
Church of the City has released a new EP titled Jesus is Risen. It features some covers of classic worship songs such as How Deep the Father's Love with some of their newer songs like He Lives and Alleluia. It's a beautiful picture of the way that contemporary worship music is embracing hymns in its own unique, modern style while also continuing to make its own style of music. One awesome feature to this EP is that the song Alleluia features some of the students that they have at the church's worship school, and it's cool to see them giving young adults the chance to step into the ministry in that capacity.
A great game for younger groups is Jump In, Jump Out. The game is played by having students stand in a circle together, holding hands. One person, the leader, will be calling out one of four instructions for the group to follow: jump left, jump right, jump in, and jump out. It's a simple game to start with, but it gets students moving. In the first round, the students not only follow the instructions, but they also have to repeat the leader. In the second round, students follow the leader's instructions but have to say the opposite of what they've called out. If you want to do more rounds, have students do the opposite of what the leader is calling out while repeating after them. This game does not necessarily have winners or losers, but you can have students eliminated if they don't follow the instructions correctly. Playmeo has a great video with a visual walk-through of how the game is played.
At this point, everyone has heard about the conflict involving Russia and Ukraine. Unprovoked, Russia invaded Ukraine on multiple fronts, causing numerous deaths and countless amounts of destruction. The silver lining in the situation, though, is how literally the entire world has rallied around Ukraine's cause offering whatever support they can. Even the ever-neutral Switzerland imposed sanctions on Russia.
Without trying to minimize the suffering of the Ukrainians, there are seasons in which we can feel like life is coming at us from multiple sides. We did nothing to deserve it, but we're still stuck with this persistent feeling of defeat. Oftentimes, though, people will rally around us if we allow them to. Some will share their faith, others offer their resources, others give of their presence/time, and still, others offer endless prayers on our behalf. While they can't fight the battles for us, they will support us and cheer us on until we are on stable ground again.
Gal. 6:2 - Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.
A poem I read recently was "The Orange" by Wendy Cope. The poem describes enjoying the small things in life like completing your to-do list or sharing a laugh with friends. Often, we get so caught up in our busy lives with work, school, our plans for the future, and so on. But if we take the time to slow down and appreciate the small things in life, we can see all of the little blessings God has given us. He blesses us big and small, don't let the work of life distract you from the tiny miracles of sunny days, sharing lunch with a friend, or good music.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 - "Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus"