The Prodigal God

prod·i·gal/ˈprädigəl/

Adjective:   Spending money freely and recklessly: wastefully extravagent.

Noun:          A person who spends money in a recklessly extravagent way.

Synonyms:

    • adjective.  lavish - profuse – extravagant – wasteful – spendthrift
    • noun.  waster – wastrel – spender – squanderer

Luke 15:11-32 – Some thoughts

  • The prodigal son wasted his inheritance – do we waste what God has given us? Are we using the gifts, resource and talent he has placed within us to serve him or ourselves?
  • It took being reduced to poverty and eating pig food for the son to realise how good he’d had it at home. What does it take to bring us to our senses? What will make us realise the true value of what the Father offers us?
  • God is not asking you to prove yourself to Him. Nothing you can do will make God love you more. God does not base your value on the things you do or achieve. Totally contrary to the World’s way of doing things.  Think Apprentice – You have to prove your worth, your value or “God” (Lord Alan Sugar) will kick you out.  Our culture works like this, prove yourself or be considered a drain on society and be looked down upon. If you don’t have the right job, salary, car, house, clothes you just don’t measure up. How much expectation is placed upon you as you begin to think about your future? But God doesn’t work like that.  Jesus has already died and risen again. He is not waiting to see how you perform to decide whether or not you’re worth dying for.  He did it already because He loves you just as you are, well or sick, ecstatic or desperate, rich or poor, genius or not, He made you to be you not anyone else.
  • Competition – maybe we are like the brother, trying to prove our own value at the expense of someone else? Competing to be the best, most worthy. Is that how we want to be?


Here are a couple of videos to help you respond to this story.

By wpyouth Posted in Elev8

Is Marriage Outdated?

Marriage

Marriage

no marriage

no marriage


Marriage…..outdated, irrelevant or worth waiting for?

With the number of people getting married in the UK decreasing every year and those that do more often choosing to have a non-religious ceremony[1] why is marriage so important to Christians?

When The Guardian recently published a series of articles on what marriage is for responses included; a legal contract, stable environment for bringing up children, a public statement[2]. Sounds predictable and maybe slightly dull? But what does the Bible say about marriage?

In Genesis after the creation of Adam & Eve the Bible says…..

“Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh” Genesis 2:24

Step 1 – The man leaves his father and his mother

Step 2 – He “holds fast” to his wife – he is bound to, united with, cleaves to, adheres to, is attached to his wife i.e. they are pretty tight!

Step 3 – They become one flesh – physically, emotionally and spiritually they become one body, the physical oneness (a sexual relationship) intended to ultimately result in a new person being created from that one flesh.

Step 3 follows from the actions in Step 1 and 2. That is to say, if the man leaves his father and mother & holds fast to his wife…they will become one flesh. It’s involves action & choice it’s not something that just happens. Marriage is the core relationship upon which the human population was to be built. It’s like the mortar in a brick wall, take it away & the wall falls down.

But what does marriage represent, what does the ideal marriage look like?

Marriage is a representation of the relationship between us & Jesus, Israel & God, He is the bridegroom we are the bride. In the prophetic books of the Old Testament God frequently likens Israel to an unfaithful wife, Hosea being a particularly strong example where God tells Hosea to marry a prostitute who is then unfaithful to him and he is to reclaim her as his wife. Israel had prostituted herself with other gods and God’s plan was to buy back Israel (& now all of us!) as his wife. Marriage is an example that God created to help us understand how much He loves us & pursues us. It is not mean to be a restrictive relationship. God’s plan for us is good not evil (Jer 29:11) Marriage is meant to provide an environment where each partner is able to grow into the full person God intends them to be, not to restrict them from being who they are or suppressing them. Husbands are called to love their wives as Christ loved the Church (Eph 5:28) – Christ died for the Church & set us free! Wives should submit to their husband’s authority (Eph 5:22) – no problem if your husband is loving you as Jesus does!

So yes, marriage may be a legal contract, a stable environment in which to raise a family and a public statement but it’s oh so much more as well! It is fun, exciting, adventurous, hard work J, rewarding, fulfilling, freedom giving, a small taster of our relationship with Christ in eternity AND it’s worth waiting for!

By Gemma Madle

By wpyouth Posted in Elev8

Building you up

Elev8 is all about building you up in the faith; the apostle Paul said this:

For this reason I kneel before the Father,  from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name.  I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.

That’s how it is at Elev8; all of the staff regularly pray for you, and when we do we pray that:

  • his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being
  • that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith
  • that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power… to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ
  • to know this love that surpasses knowledge
  • that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God

We want you to know that whatever you’re going through in your lives we are praying for you. 

I remember when I was 16, I was going through the hardest time in my life, one of my best friends had died, my sister had been diagnosed with Schizophrenia, my brother had left home after falling out with my parents and my girlfriend had just dumped me because I was becoming moody and angry.  Friends from church would say that they were praying for me and that meant the world to me, even though my faith had taken a battering I knew that there were people who cared enough to take my troubles to the Lord of Lords and King of Kings, and so it is for you… we really do care and we will continue to pray for you and listen to you and will try to offer whatever practical help we can, no matter what you have to say or how you’re feeling.

SO THROW YOURSELF INTO ELEV8 AND TRY TO SQUEEZE AS MUCH OUT OF IT AS POSSIBLE, AS WE DO OUR BEST TO HELP BUILD YOU UP IN THE FAITH.

Neil ;-)

(Couple of vids below – enjoy)

Father God, I’m prayin’ to you for somebody, who knows you Lord but just hasn’t, hasn’t been seein’ you in the right view lately, Hear me out…
Father, I’m prayin’ for a friend he and I are pretty close, and out of all my friends for this one I’m concerned the most. He say he readin’ daily but he ain’t really learnin’. He been in church but say that he ain’t moved by any sermon. His face weak, he ain’t prayed in a week, he wake up and just weep with his face in the sink Lord, you gotta help my man, I’m prayin’ for him daily, he ain’t sinned but it just seem as if he goin’ crazy. He say he feelin’ trapped, can’t even head up the mall coz every lady’s half-dressed temptin’ him to lust and fall. He keep the TV off, videos just make him feel that he ain’t really nothin’ without money, girls and shiny wheels. The other day he told me that he felt less a man coz he ain’t have a five-year plan or a piece of land and man it’s crazy coz his family think so much of him, plus he got a godly wife who always showin’ love for him but he’s strugglin’, even though he talk to me, I tell him what to do but he don’t listen when he oughta’ be. I’m scared for him coz there’s people that look up to him, he got some younger siblings who been changed by what he’s done for them but is it done for him, Lord don’t let it be, if he don’t wanna talk to you then Father hear from me, is it done for him, Lord don’t let it be, if he don’t wanna talk to you then Father hear from me…
Yeah, I’m prayin’ for you, yeah, I’m prayin’ for you Yeah, I’m prayin’ for you, yeah, yeah, I’m prayin’ for you…
God, his condition is worsen since we were last conversed and I’m with him now and he ain’t doin’ well and this I’m certain. He say he tryna’ trust you, doesn’t wanna disgust you but he was in the mist of sinners and did not discuss you and just today his anxiety’s got the best of him, he knows Christ but for hours refuse to rest in Him, he’s not the best of men but Lord I know he really loves you and I can’t understand why lately he’s not thinkin’ of you. People trust this dude, you could crush this dude, Father he needs more of you I pray you touch this dude, what can I say to him? I’m determined to pray for him Father empty and brake him I pray you’ll just have your way with him, coz there’s a change in him and the effects are strong, I pray you open up his heart before the next song and when he gets home, I pray he’ll open up the sixty-six book love letter you wrote and soak it up coz he ain’t hearin’ You and he ain’t feelin’ me and God I know it’s killin’ You because it’s killin’ me and matter of fact there’s somethin’ else he’s concealin’ see, the person that I’ve been prayin’ about is really me…
Yeah, I’m prayin’ for you, yeah, I’m prayin’ for you Yeah, I’m prayin’ for you, yeah, yeah, I’m prayin’ for you…

By wpyouth Posted in Elev8

Eternal Life KO’s Pottermore

I don’t know about you, but I know lots of people that are seriously into the Harry Potter franchise and when the pottermore website was announced got so incredibly excited it was almost unbelievable.  Hundreds of blogs, youtube videos and forums popped up around the web as people waited for the site to go live (evidence above).

Well last week the website opened up to everybody and it’s ok, there’s lots of things to find and explore as well as lots of content that had previously been hidden to readers of the books and watchers of the movies.

Now as time goes by people are already getting bored of pottermore; many have already seen all that there is to see and uncovered all that there is to uncover, so they’re waiting in that same state of excitement for the next book to be opened up, and again it will take a couple of weeks for people to see all that there is to see, get bored and the anticipation will begin for the next book to open.

In many ways Christians are a lot like Harry Potter fans, in that we’re waiting for something spectacular to happen, we’re waiting for heaven, and the whole world to really open up to us in it’s perfect fullness, we’re waiting for something that seems so far away that sometimes it hardly seems real at all.

If you’re a Christian, here are a couple of challenges:

  1. Get excited about the eternal life that Jesus has won for you on the cross
  2. Get stuck into C3 and invest in the lives of other Christians there
  3. Share what you’re passionate about with your friends

What makes it difficult to get excited about eternal life?  Use the comments section below!!!

(Don’t forget to scroll to the bottom of the page for a response video)

By wpyouth Posted in Elev8

Q&A

Here are the questions that you asked at our last Q&A session:

  • Is the pope a christian?
  • Can you believe in the big bang and be a christian?
  • Why do people turn away from God?
  • What’s the difference between jews and christians?
  • What about the things that we just don’t understand?
  • Why is there pain and suffering in a world that Jesus has saved?
  • Do we have free will?
  • Why do good people die?
  • Do you believe in female vicars?
  • Why do people like God?
  • Evolution?
  • Why do people take the mickey out of christians?
  • Why do christians fight eachother?
  • Why do we have to wait for heaven to get heavenly things?
By wpyouth Posted in Elev8

In My Skin

Are you confortable in your skin?? – Who are you:

Are you confortable in your own skin? Are you trying to find your identity?

Hey guys,

Have you ever felt like this guy:

I know that at school, being cool means a lot. It is about being accepted, feeling like you are worthwhile. Sometimes, who we are can seem pretty uncool to other people and that’s difficult to accept as you grow up.

Sometimes, our drive to be accepted takes us in the wrong direction. We can be influenced by people that don’t help us.

So where is the balance? On the one hand, it is good to be influenced by people because that’s how we learn who we want to be. On the other hand, peoples influence can push us into doing things that harm us.

The important thing is to be yourself, God created you the way you are… embrace who you are… relax, don’t try to be something you are not. That’s the key to being comfortable in your own skin.

God wants you just the way you are NOW, not the way you are going to be when you are “fixed” or “ready”.

Here is the meditation we did on Tuesday this week.

How does God feel about us?

You are accepted just as you are, God loves you because you are you. He loves you so much He has chosen to adopt you into His family by sending His Son Jesus to die for you.  Because of Jesus’ death you are no longer guilty of the things you have done wrong and can walk into God’s presence as His child, with your head held high not dropped in shame. Your past does not define you, you are a new creation, there is a clean slate waiting to be written with your new life story. You are finally complete, with purpose and destiny, you do not need to soul search anymore, you have found all you need.  You have been rescued from yourself and the consequence of your sin, bought back into God’s family by Jesus’ death and resurrection.  You don’t deserve any of this but you don’t have to feel guilty for not being deserving, it is all a gift pure and simple from the one who will never let you down, never leave you and asks nothing of you other than your trust. Surely we would be crazy not to accept it?

 

You are an absolute masterpiece, crafted exquisitely by the creator of the universe. That’s the same guy who made volcanoes, jungles, mountain ranges, planets, galaxies.  You were planned, designed and created for a purpose. It doesn’t matter what anyone else has said about you, God knows your value, your worth and your importance.  If you allow Him to work in you then He will do more than you can possibly imagine, nothing is impossible for Him and He is choosing to do it through you because He believes in you and the abilities He has placed within you. You are talented and gifted and able and you have a unique contribution to make to this world He has created. No one else can do the things you were created to do as well as you can.

 

You are not alone, He is always with you. Your problems are not problems to Him, He’s just waiting for you to ask for His help. You do not have to work things out yourself, you don’t even have to understand how He works it out. There is nothing in your life He cannot overcome. All you need to do is to make yourself available and trust in Him. Have faith, believe in the potential He has placed within you even if you don’t think you can see it. That’s what faith is. Don’t let inadequacy, guilt, intellect or fear hold you back. Knowledge will help you understand God but it is Faith that allows you to accept God. You will never understand it all so don’t try and wait until you do. There is no fence to sit on. You’re either in or you’re not. We are living out history and He knows how it ends.  Where will you be when it all ends? For Him or Against Him?

By wpyouth Posted in Elev8
Christianity

Christianity is?

By wpyouth Posted in Polls

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A massive WELCOME to the new and improved Youth Site for the Winchcombe Team.

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