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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.

I'll be back

“I’ll be back.”

If you are a child of the eighties like me, you, without a doubt, know who said those three words and the title of the movie from which they came. Movie quotes are unique in pop culture as they can stay with you for life. Following, are a few more movie quotes from the eighties. Do you know the titles of the movies from which each of them came?

“Wax on. Wax off.”

“If you build it, he will come.”

“Roads? Where we’re going we don’t need roads.”

“I am your father.”

“Help me, Obi-Wan Kenobi. You’re my only hope.”

(I know this quote isn’t from the eighties but 1977 is close enough, right?)

You could probably think of a few movie quotes that are memorable to you as you read through the preceding list. While those quotes stood out to me as I was growing up, there was a quote from a far less famous movie that came to mind as I thought about Pastor Clint’s sermon from last Sunday on the topic of God as provider and as we learned about the clean water project First Presbyterian Maumee is supporting in the Dominican Republic.

The movie that came to mind is one made for television titled, Jesus (1999). The scene the quote comes from is one where Satan is walking with Jesus through a group of poor people who are starving. He asks Jesus to turn stone into bread and feed the people. Satan says, “They hunger for bread, Jesus.” Jesus replies “They die of hunger because of the hearts of stone of other men not because God wills it.”

This quote is memorable to me because it illustrates the truth that God does provide while often working through people to fulfill the provision. There is more than enough food on earth to feed the hungry but those who have more than enough must be willing to give it and deliver it to those in need. God’s provision must be distributed appropriately and justly.

Similar to the hunger issue in the world is the issue of thirst. In parts of the world such as the Dominican Republic, the access to clean and affordable water is a life threatening issue. While God has provided water to these areas, those who are able are called to provide the means for the water to be purified. The need for purified water was seen first-hand by Chuck Lewis and Heather Cole during the Compassion International trip to the Dominican Republic that members of First Presbyterian went on last summer.

Chuck and Heather visited the water dispensary center at Nueva Jerusalen Child Development Center in San Luis in eastern Santo Domingo. While there, they learned about the current water purification system that was unreliable and unable to keep up with the demand of the 18,000 residents it serves. A new water purification dispensary system is needed to serve the residents of the city.

In response to this need, First Presbyterian is raising funds to provide the equipment for an upgraded water purification and dispensary system for the community. The upgraded system will process three times the water of the old system and will include an electric generator that will kick in when the power is cut, which happens often, allowing water to be purified twenty four hours a day instead of the current six hours a day.

The cost of the water project is $26,000. The church has set a goal of raising $13,000 from within the congregation with the rest coming from outside sources. Families can be a part of the effort to raise the funds for the project by collecting change and putting it in the water bottles that students who would like to participate in the project will be bringing home this week. The water bottles should be returned to the church by Sunday, November 20.

Let’s borrow from movie quote, “I’ll be back,” and with Chuck and Heather say, “We’ll be back” and bring God’s provision of purified water to the community at Nueva Jerusalen Child Development Center in San Luis, Dominican Republic.

-Jason

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