I Watch in Amazement as God Shows Up

[Written by Shawndee Lovoy]
I tell you, I am so very lucky!

Bumpus Middle School First Priority Club
Bumpus Middle School students sharing prayer requests at First Priority Club

Every week for the past 3 years, I have gotten a front row seat and watched in amazement as God shows up. And when He shows up, He shows up BIG!!

If ever I feel overwhelmed at the state of our nation and begin to feel as if there is no hope, all I have to do is go to Brocks Gap Intermediate School, or Bumpus Middle School, or Ross Bridge Park on a Wednesday night.

There I see it.  I see HOPE. I see that Jesus is as alive and well as He ever was. I see that He has not let us go.  He is still pursuing, still calling, still changing lives. And the lives He is changing are those of the next generation.

First Priority Club, Leaders Summit and Cross Creek Youth Group

First Priority Leaders Summit
38 Bumpus Middle School Students attended the First Priority Leaders Summit in Birmingham, AL

I have watched 200 plus students show up by their own choosing to worship Jesus in the choir room at Brocks Gap.

I have seen an 8th-grade girl stand up in front of 100 of her peers and proclaim how Jesus has changed her heart at Bumpus Middle School.

I have watched a group of 5 Cross Creek middle schoolers invite their friends and our youth group grow to almost 50 kids on a Wednesday night.

I have sat and watched in awe and wonder at the reality that God is still very much at work around here.

I am perplexed at the fact that I see Jesus so alive on a public school campus. I am moved that I see Jesus getting His glory at a neighborhood park.

So, if you ever feel despair about the way our world seems to be heading, just believe me. I’ve seen it.  Jesus is moving and He is not slowing down.  I pray that we will all continue to jump on board what He is doing and watch in amazement.

Cross Creek Youth at Ross Park
Cross Creek Youth
Pizza time
Cross Creek Youth
Cross Creek Youth at the Lovoy’s
hands, raised hands, questions

“I Have a Question…”

[Written by Ben Halbrooks]

“I have a question…”

“Yes?”

“We talk about the Bible a lot, but why do we trust the Bible? …What I mean is, how do we know the Bible is true?”

I love teaching students, because you never quite know what they’ll say next. They keep me on my toes. They sharpen me, they challenge me. They keep me grounded. And when it comes right down to it, they aren’t afraid to ask tough questions.

The exchange above was one of those moments – and it became the inspiration for a multi-month series on the reliability of scripture. It was a question that many in the room shared. It required more than a sound-byte answer. It was a great question. And it’s a question that all of us need to ask. If we take our faith seriously, if we make our faith our own – not our parents’, not our pastor’s, not our youth leaders’ – we need to know why we believe what we believe.

Sometimes we fatigue of asking questions. We grow up and get set in our ways. We become complacent. We think: Is this a dumb question? Or we just distract ourselves with the radio, with a game, with a phone, with a million diversions that push our deeper questions about life and purpose and meaning and love and truth and God to the backs of our minds. (Ever wonder why it’s often late at night that we have those nagging thoughts? Maybe it’s because we’ve finally switched off all the noise.)

There’s something I tell my students – and myself – all the time: Never stop asking questions. Authentic spiritual questions (not the disingenuous trick questions of the Pharisees) should be asked. Our God invites it. In Matthew 7:7-8, Jesus himself encourages this of his followers: “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened.” Deuteronomy 4:29 says the same: “Seek the Lord your God and you will find him, if you search after him with all your heart and with all your soul.” In his famous address on the Areopagus (Acts 17), Paul urges the Athenians who worshipped “the unknown god” that they “should seek God, and perhaps feel their way toward Him and find Him. Yet He is actually not far from each one of us.” God is knowable, and He delights to reveal Himself to us: “Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known.” (Jeremiah 33:3) What an invitation!

Not once in scripture did Jesus turn away someone who called out and genuinely sought to follow him. There were many who turned away of their own accord, out of idolatry or fear or something else. But think! How many people did Jesus pass by who never called to him? Don’t let that be you. Ask. Seek. Knock. Don’t lose your appetite for seeking the truth – because that road will ultimately lead you to Him.

Our Lord doesn’t always give easy answers or fax a crystal clear vision of our future down to us. But He hears us, and He promises to answer His people. He gives us glimpses and asks us to follow. “A glimpse is not a vision,” C.S. Lewis admits, “But to a man on a mountain road by night, a glimpse of the next three feet of road may matter more than a vision of the horizon.”