The mental health problems caused by the lockdowns are no secret at this point. However, now that schools are beginning to reopen their doors across the country, students aren't able to pick up where they left off. Mary Pflum has published an article laying out stories and statistics about teens' struggles to adjust to the new normal. Many have regressed in their social abilities and are struggling to adapt to the academic demands of in-person classes again. Unsurprisingly, moving to in-person schooling again didn't fix everyone's problems. Data shows that the majority of students are silently sinking under the weight of all of the things going on in their lives. Keep this in mind as you walk the halls of your school again this year or reach out to students of any age; the new "normal" for most students isn't actually normal in their eyes.
God Is Love is a new single released by a group called North Point Worship. The band is based out of Alpharetta, GA, and they come from the church of the famed pastor and leadership guru Andy Stanley. Their latest project emphasizes the great love that God has for us, which shouldn't come as a surprise because of the title. Nearly every single tag ends with the phrase "Our God is love," which unifies the entirety of the song. It uses imagery and descriptions to attempt to describe His love, but later in the song, the lyrics state that "Whatever picture I have isn't big enough," which highlights the infinite nature of the love that He has for each of us individually.
It's been a while since we've featured games from Outscord, but their Facebook page has all kinds of games that are great in a youth setting. One of the more challenging games from one of their videos requires two stacks of cups and two bottles (or something else that could "catch" a cup). Have two teams of two stand several feet apart with a table on one side. One person must flip the cup off of the table with the open side down while the other person tries to catch that cup with the bottle without moving their feet. A couple of ways to increase the difficulty is to increase the distance after every completed flip or keep the cups on the bottle, which will make catching additional cups even harder. Also, if you need more than two teams, it's totally feasible as long as you have a bunch of cups and a bottle for each set of partners.
This week, Taylor, one of our writers, is doing ministry a little differently as she's in Panama with a group of other SWU students. It's so exciting to see her getting the opportunity to share the love of Christ with people on the other side of the world. She's obeying the Lord's Great Commission, which calls us to reach and disciple people in every nation. Rather than passively waiting for someone else to go overseas, we all have an active part to play. While all of us may not be able to physically go, we can support missionaries and organizations that we do know through prayer, finances, and letters/emails of encouragement. It's important to keep in mind the second part of the Great Commission though - that God will always be with us. He doesn't send us out to do His work on our own.
Matthew 28:19-20 - "Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
This week, SWU is out for Spring Break, and I'm sure all of the students were ready for the break. Sometimes, though, students don't actually take a break during that week. Whether it's working a full-time job back home for the week or constantly hanging out with old friends, they don't actually take the time to let their minds and spirits recover from the demands of college. Inevitably, these students end up burning out again shortly after school resumes. Having said this, when you get the chance to relax this week, actually relax. I'm not saying that you have to sleep, but give yourself the time and space to spend some time with God, reflect on the past week, or whatever else may be on your mind.