Wednesday, April 23, 2008
For the past several weeks in youth group, we have been focusing on spiritual development and building on Brian’s original post: Who are you becoming?
One evening we opened conversation with the question: How would you define who Jesus is? The youth created a long list of answers. Then, I shared this list taken from Imaginative Prayer for Youth Ministry, by Jeannie Oestreicher and Larry Warner:
I am Immanuel—God with you. (Isaiah 7:14; Matthew 1:23)
I am the Wonderful Counselor (Isaiah 9:6)
I am the Mighty God (Isaiah 9:6)
I am the Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6)
I am the One who was beaten and pierced through in your place because of love (Isaiah 53:5)
I am the King (Zechariah 9:9)
I am your faithful friend (Matthew 11:19)
I am God’s servant (Matthew 12:18)
I am the Holy One of God (Mark 1:24)
I am the Great Healer (Mark 3: 1012)
I am the Christ—the Anointed One—the Messiah—the Savior of the world (Mark 8:29)
I am God clothed in flesh (Luke 2: 8-20)
I am kind and merciful (Luke 6: 35-36)
I am compassionate (Luke 6: 35-36)
I am the living Word of God (John 1: 1;14; Revelations 19:13)
I am the Creator (John 1: 2-4)
I am the Lamb of God (John 1:29)
I am the One who would rather suffer and die for you than live without you (John 3:16)
I am the Bread of Life (John 6:35)
I am the Giver of life everlasting (John 6:40, 47)
I am the Light of the World (John 8:12)
I am God (John 8:58; 10:30; 20:28)
I am the Door to God (John 10:9)
I am the Good Shepherd (John 10:11)
I am the One who lays down his life for this I love (John 10:11)
I am the Resurrection and the Life (John 11:25)
I am the Way to God (John 14:6)
I am the True Vine (John 15:1)
I am he who died on the cross and rose from the dead (John 19-20)
I am the Rock upon which you can build your life (1 Corinthians 10:4)
I am the One before whom every knee will bow and tongue confess that I am Lord (Philippians 2: 9-11)
I am the One who will never leave you nor forsake you (Hebrews 13:5)
I am the Beginning and the End (Revelation 22:13)
After giving the youth a few minutes to read over the list, we gathered in a circle and took turns reading each statement. It was a powerful form of prayer. Then we discussed which statements really attracted us and which didn’t.
The following week, we started a conversation with two questions: Who are you? How are you defined? Again, we created a list of answers. We really took our time and focused on self-identity and how we create who we want to become. A significant portion of our conversation focused on how we so easily label and group individuals into various categories. Then I passed out this list:
You are chosen and dearly loved by God.
You are the salt of the earth.
You are the light of the world.
You are God’s child, prized and treasured by God.
You are my friend.
You are a saint.
You are forgiven—past, present, and future.
You are and always will be an object of God’s love—an object of my love.
You are a citizen of heaven.
You are the temple of God—God dwells within you.
You are a new creation (new person).
You are God’s coworker.
You are an heir of God.
You are God’s workmanship—a masterpiece, unique in all the world.
You are righteous and holy—in you there is no flaw.
You are the chosen one of God.
You are holy.
You are dearly and uniquely loved by God.
You are a chosen race.
You are a royal priesthood.
You belong to God and God belongs to you.
You are one who will always be with me.
You are a source of delight to God.
We finished our conversation with discussion on how we could apply these traits and values to our daily lives. Each youth took home the list of statements and were encouraged to read them once/day either in the morning or evening. Essentially, as follower of Christ, we are trying to create an entire new way of treating and understanding others.