LIFT: Free 3 Part Series for Youth Group

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Series Overview:

By definition, the word lift means to hold something high. Sometimes, depending on our condition and the thing we’re holding high, lifting can be pretty tough. It’s a lot easier to lift a box of donuts than it is to lift 300 pounds in the gym. Throughout scripture we see things being lifted or held high: The Son of Man was lifted up, we’re taught to lift our hands when we worship, Jesus lifted the bread and the cup and those are just a few. This concept of holding things high is definitely a theme that runs throughout scripture. The reality is that we’re all lifting things. There are things in our life that we hold high and there are things that God asks us to hold high. During this three week study, we will be talking about what it looks like to lift God in worship.

Session 1: We Lift God

Matthew 17:1-7

We all have our thoughts and opinions about what it looks like to worship God. To some, worship is a dark room with flashing lights, guitars and voices filling the air. To others it’s a high traditional worship service with creeds, scripted prayers and lots of liturgy. But I get the feeling when God talks about worship it’s much more than that.

When we talk about worship, what we’re really talking about is recognizing and acknowledging who God is and how we respond to Him. There’s a great example of this in Matthew’s gospel. Peter and his friends experience Jesus in his full glory on the mountain and they respond in an outburst of worship.

Bottom Line: God doesn’t need our worship. But He wants it. And once we experience God, we should have a desire to respond to that both in our worship and our lives. Worship is our response to God!

Memory Verse: “For from Him, and through Him, and for Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever. Amen!”  -Romans 11:36

Encourage your students to write the verse down somewhere they can see it throughout the week. This verse provides an excellent perspective on why we worship.

Middle School adaptation:

This is a good opportunity for you to bring donuts for your students – or some other treat that they don’t normally get. Take note of how they respond. Did they thank you?  Did they get excited?  Discuss how they responded to the donuts compared to how they respond to God’s blessings we receive every day!

Discussion Questions:

1.)   When you think of worship, what comes to mind?

2.)   Read Matthew 17:1-7 together. How did God reveal himself to Peter, James, and John? How did they respond? Did they respond in an appropriate way? How did God feel about their response? Why do you think God felt the way He did?

3.)   What can you see God doing in your life? How do you respond? Or in other ways?

The Take Away

Encourage your students to take note of the things God is doing in their lives that deserve a response.

Session 2: What are you Lifting?

Matthew 11:30; Matthew 6:21

We’ve all got something we’re holding high in our lives. It might be family, a job, friends, sports, or a favorite college football team. God wants us to be careful about what we’re lifting with our lives.

In Matthew 19, Jesus encounters a man who’s got everything he could ever want. When the man asks Jesus what he has to do to become a disciple, Jesus tells him to give away all his ‘stuff’. Now, there’s nothing wrong with having things – but the problem begins when we lift that ‘stuff’ instead of God.

Bottom Line: What are you lifting high? God wants us to lift His name and His love above anything and everything else we have.

Memory Verse: “For from Him, and through Him, and for Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever. Amen!”  -Romans 11:36

Middle School Adaptation:

Bring a couple objects this week of various weights and sizes. Have a couple kids hold the objects over their heads. Ask them which ones were the easiest and hardest to lift, and why. Use this example to talk about the things we hold high in our lives. Some of them are heavy and harder to hold up while some of them are light and much easier to hold. Jesus tells us that his yoke is easy and his burden is light.

Discussion:

1.)   Read Matthew 11:30 together. Jesus tells us that his burden and yoke are easy and light. Spend some time talking about this scripture. Especially the word ‘yoke’ and the fact that Jesus seems to know that the things we tend to carry are not easy and light. He’s offering us an alternative

2.)   Are there things in your life that you are carrying, or holding high, that get heavy?

3.)   We’re only capable of holding so many things. There comes a point in everyone’s life when we hit our max and have to choose something to put down. When our focus is on the things of this world, we are lifting the wrong things. Are you in a position where you feel like you are having a hard time holding Jesus highest?

4.)   We tend to worship what we hold high. That’s where we spend our time, energy, thoughts and effort. Read Matthew 6:21 together.

5.)   Discuss the fact that worship is more than the songs we sing on Sunday. It is what we hold high. It’s what we lift for everyone else to see.

The Take Away

Encourage students to examine their lives to see if there is anything they need to put down so that they can lift Jesus higher.

Session 3: God Lifts Us

John 6:1-14

Last week we talked about putting down some of the things we are lifting high. This week were going to talk about what God wants us to lift high. He has given us gifts, talents and time that we can use to use to lift Him!  God doesn’t need the things we have. But He wants us to participate in what He’s doing.

Bottom Line: God wants to lift us from time to time so we can use our talents, time and gifts to lift him.

Memory Verse: “For from Him, and through Him, and for Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever. Amen!”  -Romans 11:36

Middle School Adaptation:

Have the students write down a list of things they have a gift or skill to do. (Examples: play a sport, draw, tell jokes, cook)  Tell them you are going to start a business, or a sports team, or an adventure team (or really whatever you want) and ask them to explain how they could use the things they’re good at to help out on your new endeavor.

Discussion Questions

1.)   When you hear people in church talk about “giving” what do you think of? Is it positive or negative? Is it just about money?

2.)   Read John 6:1-14 together. Emphasize that while Jesus did the miracle, the disciples carried it all out. Jesus let them participate in what He was doing. That’s what He wants us to do. He wants us to use our gifts, time and talents to get involved in what He is doing. How can you do that in the local church, and beyond?

3.)   What do you see God doing at our church that you can get involved in?

4.)   What is God doing outside our church that we can get involved in by using all of the gifts He has given us?

The Take Away

It’s not about us finding things that we want to get involved in. It’s about God giving us gifts, strengths and talents and lifting us up so that we can lift Him up by getting involved in what He is doing!

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Jason has been serving full-time in the local church since 1993. He has served everything from small churches to mega-churches. He is a graduate of Auburn University and Asbury Theological Seminary. He and his family currently serve as Minister to Students at Roswell United Methodist Church in Roswell, GA. He has a passion for teaching and training volunteers, equipping parents of students and cheering on his Auburn Tigers!

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