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Eighth Grade Bumper Sticker Wisdom

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It has been my experience that eighth grade students have a unique ability to connect what they hear, see and read to the world around them as they mature into teenagers. This was illustrated most recently for me at a weekly after school Wyldlife middle school meeting. At the meeting, an eighth grade student used the example of a bumper sticker to connect with and illustrate, with brilliant clarity, the foundational theological truth which we were discussing.

Towards the end of our weekly meeting time, we were sitting in a circle in the cafeteria looking at a Bible verse, Romans 10:9, which reads, “If you declare with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” The question proposed to the students based on that verse was, “When we refer to Jesus as Lord, are we using the word ‘Lord’ as a name or a title?” If “Lord” is simply part of Jesus’ name, then it has little meaning beyond providing a means for him to be known. It’s just a name. However, if it is used as a title, in the way the Apostle Paul intended when he used the Greek word, “Kurios,” the meaning of the word takes on great importance. When Paul refers to Jesus as “Lord” or “Kurios,” he is describing Jesus as being supreme in authority; elevating his status as above and over all things.

As our group discussed what it meant for people’s lives to declare Jesus as the supreme authority in the lives, an eighth grade boy in the circle raised his hand. When he was called on he declared, “The bumper sticker that says, ‘Jesus is my co-pilot,’ is wrong. It should say, ‘Jesus is my pilot.’” Wow! If ever there was a “Mic Drop” moment, this was it. This young man had made a perfect analogy that simply summed up the idea of Jesus as, “Kurios.” The Apostle Paul would be proud.

His analogy was perfect because it clearly illustrated the idea that whomever is the authority over your life is the one who is the pilot; doing the steering. If Jesus is the supreme authority over your life, then he is the one with his hands on the wheel taking you where he wants you to go. He is not a co-pilot, as the bumper sticker says, riding in the passenger seat keeping you company waiting for the chance to steer when you are in trouble, tired or not sure where to go.

This is a profound, life changing wisdom revealed by an eighth grader through a bumper sticker. Remember it as you go through your week and reflect on places where Jesus is the pilot doing the steering, your “Kurios,” and where he is the co-pilot, sitting in the passenger seat waiting to steer under your direction. If you allow Jesus to steer your life, you will go places you never thought you would go and do things that you never thought you would do as you live with a new purpose in glorifying God with your life.

Shine like stars

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We are living in fearful and uncertain times.  This is an age of intensified hostility toward one another.  I heard on Michigan public radio this morning that there has been an increase of racist bullying in schools since the election, and this grieves my heart. 

I know I’m not the only one experiencing post-election grief.  What does the future hold for us and our children?  A non-Christian friend messaged me last Wednesday, and said, “You are a woman of faith.  Please tell me how to get through this.  I can't stop crying.”  I was grateful that she invited me into a space to speak hope, and I affirmed that my faith was the way I was getting through this.  I want to believe, I told her, that this is a moment for the church to rise up and be the true church:  feeding the hungry, defending the weak, welcoming the immigrant, and being instruments of peace and compassion.  As 1 John 3:18 states, “let us love, not in word or speech, but in truth and action.”  Now is the time for our love to be clearly expressed in deeds.  As the song declares, “They will know we are Christians by our love.”  During this time when many in our society are speaking and acting out of hatred and ignorance, I have never been more grateful that members of First Pres Maumee have been pursuing friendships with local Muslim-Americans, seeking to bridge the gap between religious and cultural differences through honest and loving conversations. 

Philippians 2:14-15 says, “Do all things without murmuring and arguing, so that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, in which you shine like stars in the world.”  Friends, we are commanded to shine like stars, and it is God’s love alone that will make us shine.  During these times of hostility, my prayer is that we in the church seek to do justice and love mercy and to walk humbly with God in pursuit of Christ’s kingdom.  Let us love all of our neighbors exceedingly well.  Let us join St. Francis in praying the following prayer:

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace, 
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
where there is sadness, joy;

O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console; 
to be understood as to understand; 
to be loved as to love.

For it is in giving that we receive; 
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned; 
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.

Love first,

Emily 

Posted by Emily Mitchell with 0 Comments

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