Thursday, May 6, 2010

GMYX (God Makes You Xtraordinary)

This ministry’s passionate aim is to help the youth experience transformation from the inside out. This will become a possibility if Christ’s finished work on the cross is preached to them. In Galatians 4:19, Paul pointed God’s people on this goal of having Christ formed in them (‘…until Christ is formed in you’).  Thus, we associate the word Xtraordinary to Christlikeness, which expounds the truth of God being in the process of making us Christlike.

The word ‘transformation’ originated from the Greek word metamorphoo, which means to change into another form*. In Romans 12:2, Paul exhorted the believers to be transformed by the renewing of their minds. The same thing happened to Jesus when he was transfigured on the Mt. of Transfiguration (Luke 9:28-36). Obviously, transformation would be impossible without Christ. He is the One who brings out change in us. Thus in the word ‘transformation’, we replaced ‘trans’ with Christ. By this we will be able to communicate to the youth this pursuit, specifically named as ‘Christformation from the Inside Out.’

For these young people to understand this truth clearly, we use the butterfly as an illustration. High school students are familiar with the term ‘metamorphosis’. Through this they will fully understand what change means. The youth who have grown in the church without being discipled have the notion that Christianity is about attending services as a duty and going through the motions of singing, praying, regular fellowship because they were expected to perform these so. Those who are involved in this pattern lack power to resist worldliness thus falling into the temptation to conform to the world’s standards. What this ministry aims is for them to distinguish metamorphosis (real change) from masquerade (superficial change).**

This then will lead us into elaborating the ministry’s further goals which are extracted from Romans 12:1-2. Here, Paul wrote, ‘Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.’

In this passage, Paul urges the believers to respond to God’s undeserved kindness (which was elaborated from chapters 1-11) by offering themselves as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to Him, refusing to be conformed to this world’s pattern and  being transformed through the renewing of their minds. This, in turn, would result into their ability to prove God’s will as good, pleasing and perfect. From this passage, four topics or goals can be extracted, namely Good News, Magnification, Yielding and Xtraordinary Life. The young people need to grasp these truths, live them and share them to the next generation.

GOOD NEWS

‘Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy…’  Romans 12:1a

We don’t want the youth to see this passage as a mere command, but rather a response to God’s initiative of showing us mercy by sending forth His Son. Once they realize this, the ‘therefore’ will organically follow. Therefore this ministry will spend its time elaborating the reasons and implications of Christ’s death on the cross. In Romans 1:16, Paul quoted that the gospel is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes, first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. All the sessions, teachings, preachings, events will point them to Christ. We want them to grasp the gospel for them to be able to live transformed lives. Everything then would be a response (not a duty) with what Christ did.

MAGNIFICATION

‘…offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your
 spiritual act of worship.’ Romans 12:1

Worship, elaborated as offering our bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God, is done in response to God’s mercy. With what he did we could no longer help but to give our lives to Him. In this topic, they will be encouraged to consider Christ in everything they do, whether it be ‘churchy’ or secular. Here they will realize that the chief end of man is to glorify God (John Piper). This ministry will raise up a people who have worship as their lifestyle. They will not just be encouraged to give a portion of their time, talents or resources to God, but to give themselves to Him. By this they will realize that were called to live holy lives (1 Timothy 1:9) and were transformed to ‘magnify’ Him.

YIELDING

‘Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed
by the renewing of your mind.’

Emphasized here is the importance of meditating God’s Word to experience transformation. Once our minds get renewed, we’ll see things God’s way (as opposed to the worldly way—how then we saw them). We’ll be able to resist the desire to conform to the world’s way if our minds regularly receive truths from His Word. This process is termed as ‘Yielding’, meaning responding to God’s revealed truth.

Knowledge of the Christian doctrines will guard them from mind-warping teachings and philosophies of this world. As unbelievers then, we were programmed to reason out the worldly way. When we were saved our minds did not change instantly. Through knowing how Christ has changed our standing before God and how effortlessly (by grace) we could live victoriously, we’ll be able to stand amidst the world’s corruption.

XTRAORDINARY LIFE

‘Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.’ Romans 12:2

A characteristic of an extraordinary life is one which is centered on God’s will. Realizing the power of the good news, responding to it with worship and yielding to His truth produce a dynamic and God-glorifying lifestyle. Realizing God’s mercy produces in us the initiative to share it to the lost world, that they might see and know the answer to their questions and miseries. How would we further prove that we are living the extraordinary life? Here we’ll go back to the overarching goal, namely Christformation from the Inside Out, where Christ is formed in us (Gal. 4:19).


CONTENT OF THE TRAINING

GMYX BREAK

GMYX Break is a discipleship activity that helps lay down the biblical foundations in a Christian’s life. Here is where the gospel ramifications are elaborated in way that is understandable to the youth. Its material contains topics such as Metamorphosis, Forgiveness, Repentance, Magnification, The Bible, Prayer and Multiplication.

METAMORPHOSIS

‘Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies
as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of
worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be
transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and
 approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.’
Romans 12:1-2

The process of transformation can be likened into a slow and careful process of how a butterfly comes into being. It is changed from the inside out and from one form to another. It is Christ who has given us a new identity (1 Corinthians 5:17) and He is the One who can change us from the inside out.

This process is in contrast to masquerade, or a superficial kind of change. Here, we just conform to what other Christians do because are expected to do them; we are praying, singing, attending insincerely. On the other hand, we also ‘conform’ to the world with the way they act, think and speak.

Upon knowing these opposing tendencies, through the above passage, they will realize that they are called to experience transformation. We need not effort much to make this happen because He lives in us. The One who has saved us has the power to change us.

FORGIVENESS

A Christian has no reason to feel unworthy before God because He has been completely cleansed from His past, present and future sins. Colossians 1:21-22 said:

‘ Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because
of your evil behavior. But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body
 through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from
accusation.’

The realization of the depth of our depravity enables us to appreciate God’s kindness toward us in sending His Son for our forgiveness. Hebrews 9:22b said that there is no forgiveness without the shedding of blood. This will lead us into conclusion that there’s no other power or element in the world that will make us acceptable before God. It’s Christ death that has reconciled us to God and has taken away His wrath and indignation towards us. This leads us to peace of mind, knowing that our records have been canceled and that we’ve been freed from punishment.
This chapter will also teach them to extend forgiveness to those who have wronged them. In Colossians 3:13, Paul said, ‘…forgive as the Lord forgave you.’ Because we’ve been forgiven from our sins, we are expected to forgive others as well.


REPENTANCE

Repentance is turning away from sin and turning to God. It says in 2 Peter 3:9:

‘The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.’

To fully understand repentance, we need to distinguish true repentance from not. Many try to do certain things just to show that they have ‘repented’. Some feel sorry for their sins because of the consequence they might produce. This is termed as ‘worldly sorrow’ (2 Cor. 7:10). Godly sorrow happens when a person, upon being confronted with the Word of God, turns from his ways and experiences transformation.

True repentance also entails truthfulness in admitting one’s sin and taking responsibility before God for the wrongs they have done.*** A person who repents makes a 180-degree turn-around from sin, from the world, from self and from any works associated with the darkness.

MAGNIFICATION

Worship is our response to the character, ways and to what God is saying. It requires all of our heart, mind, soul and strength’s devotion to Him. True worship happens when our bodies were offered to Him in a holy and pleasing way (Romans 12:1).

This lifestyle is our response as well to what Jesus did on the cross for us. Many people try to ‘show’ that they worship God by obeying rules and conforming to the ‘religious acts’ of the community. But, if we have begun to grasp the implication of Christ’s finished work, we won’t be burdened by doing things that were already done by Christ; they will just give their lives to Him in response to His grace.

Worship is not just about singing or attending a big-time event. In Isaiah 29:13, God rebuked the Israelites for honoring Him with their lips yet having hearts that are far from Him. This implies that what God doesn’t look on our outward appearance nor on our utterances but on the heart behind what we do. Through the given passages above, we could imply that worship can be behind attending, giving, singing, praying, and even studying.

We can worship God comfortably when things are going well, but will we still remain faithful to Him when things don’t go well? Upon experiencing this struggle, we may take note of Job’s response when tragedy struck Him:

‘Naked I come from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised.’ Job 1:21

Good things that happen in our lives could also hinder us to give our all to Him. Yet David, amidst fame and treasure, still had God as His ‘One desire’ (Psalm 27:4). What can we infer from these two contrasting responses?  We can say that as people of God, we must worship and serve God for who He is. We must acknowledge His worth even in good and bad times.


THE BIBLE

‘Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.’ Romans 12:2

In the concluding part of this passage, God’s will is described as good, pleasing and perfect. We won’t be able to know His will if our minds are not transformed. Our minds, in turn, would not be changed if we don’t read His word.

Jesus likened those who hear and obey God’s Word to an individual who built His house on the rock (Matthew 7:24-27). It was not destroyed when the storm came because it stood on the rock. For us to have a secure future and established steps, we need to refuse to adopt worldly ideologies which are temporary and defective in nature. We need to hear and put into practice what His Word says.

His Word can also be likened to a bread. Now that we’ve become a new creation, we must receive His Word regularly for us to grow spiritually. It is God’s will for us that we might know Him and His revealed Word. The Holy Spirit helps us in further understanding his thoughts. (1 Corinthians 2:13-15). Now that we already have the Holy Spirit living in us, we would be able to grasp what He says in His Word. With his help we’ll be able to know Christ in a deeper way.


PRAYER

‘Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door ill be
 opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him
who knocks, the door will be opened.’ Matthew 7:7-8

God is able and willing to meet our needs. For Him to have our needs met, we need to ask. If a thing is according to His will, He hears us (1 Jn 5:14). God as our Father, doesn’t want to see us worried or afraid. That’s why it is said in Philippians 4:6-7 that we need not be anxious about anything, but in prayer in petition, with thanksgiving, we must present our requests to God…

Many people tend to view and do prayer the wrong way. Some pray just to show their spirituality off (Matt 6:5); some babble while pray (Matt 6:7-8); many pray to Mary and the saints (‘Jesus as the only mediator’ was mentioned on 1 Timothy 2:5); even believers can pray with wrong motives (James 4:2-3), and ask without faith (James 1:6).

Jesus, in Matthew 26:41, commanded His disciples to watch and pray that they might not fall into temptation. There He mentioned that the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak. Neglecting prayer leads to powerlessness. If we don’t take time to spend time with God through disciplines, we would fall as an easy-prey to temptations.


MULTIPLICATION

Before Jesus ascended into heaven, He commissioned the disciples to make disciples of all nations and to teach them to obey everything He has commanded them. He accompanied these with promise of being with them until the end of the ages (Matthew 28:18-20).

This topic answers relevant questions a common Christian might ask:

What: What are the truths we need to pass on?

…and repentance and forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. Luke 24:47

We need to keep in mind that it’s Jesus and forgiveness of sins through him that must be the center of our message. He is the starting and endpoint of discipleship. We also need to teach them salvation is by grace, through faith, and not by our works (Eph 2:8-9).

HOW: How should we teach the Good News that was passed on to us?

Evangelism:  sharing the gospel to those who do not know Him yet, is an act of obedience to the Great Commission. We can evangelize our friends, classmates and family members.

Discipleship: this process of teaching a believer for the purpose of Christlikeness can be done through one-on-one, small group or large gathering setting.

WHO: Who is qualified to evangelize of make disciples?

‘…I am sending you to them to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.’ Acts 26:17-18

Whether we are young or old, new in the faith or not, we must share the Gospel.

WHERE: Where can God use me in making disciples?

The author of Acts narrated that God has made a promise to the believers that they would receive power and be a witness to Judea, Samaria and the ends of the earth when the Holy Spirit comes on them. (Acts 1:8)

We are part of this movement—the continuous empowerment of his Spirit among the sons and daughters of God that they might be effective in spreading the Good News. Jesus envisioned the gospel reaching the ends of the earth. So whether we are in campuses, workplaces, communities or houses the task still goes on.

WHEN: Whean can I start?

In John 4:35, Jesus mentioned that the fields are ripe for the harvest. All we need is to reach out to them.

WHY: Why do we need to make disciples?

In John 15:16, Jesus mentioned that it was God who chose us to bear fruit that will last. Reaching our to the lost and disciplemaking are part of obeying His will for our lives. We can fully appreciate the process of change (metamorphosis) if we are sharing to others the reason and power behind it. Xtraordinary Life is defined by a life that is morphed and at the same time multiplying.

These initial topics, compiled in a booklet, will help a young person, believer or not, understand God’s truth, start/grow in his relationship with the Lord and experience transformation. Certain biblical topics are discussed during small group discussions. This then will lead us to the contents of this kind of discipleship.

BREAK 5

Break 5 seeks to ‘break’ 5 major things that lead the youth away from developing a deeper relationship with God. Through preaching, teaching discussions and sharing activities, they will be informed with these things and be taught with how God’s Word applies to each factor. They will learn how Christ, his truth, transformation, worship and discipleship became the answer to such problems

BREAK RELIGION THROUGH CHRIST

Religion is man’s attempt to reach God. This endless and tiring activity done to earn God’s acceptance will be broken through the knowledge of Christ’s finished work on the cross. The importance of having a relationship with Him is emphasized under this topic. Through the gospel, their eyes will be opened to the futility of man’s ways to conform to set regulations just to ‘acquire’ righteousness.

Paul mentioned that Christ is the end of the law that there might be righteousness to those who believe. We seek to pound this truth on them over and over that they might turn to Christ, the one who can transform them.

BREAK IGNORANCE THROUGH THE TRUTH

Sadly, it is ignorance to the truth which keeps us in bondage. Yet in Christ, freedom is possible. He said, ‘If you hold on to my teachings, you are really my disciples, then you will know the truth and the truth will set you fee.’ (John 8:31-32)

For the churched, it’s ignorance with God’s Word which hinders them to grow spiritually. For the lost, it’s the same problem which keeps them captive to deceitful philosophies of man (Col 2:8).

We aim to break ignorance by preaching the truth. Through continuous hearing of God’s Word, they will receive deposits (2 Tim. 1:14) and know God’s purposes for their lives.
BREAK BAD HABITS THROUGH TRANSFORMATION

‘Therefore if anyone is in Christ he is a new creation the old has gone,
the new has come.’ 2 Cor 5:17

When a person becomes a Christian, his acquired destructive habits are not removed instantly. The youth, specifically, are prone to imitate the practices prevalent in the environment on which they live. They are open to new ideas and curious about many things.

In Romans 12:1-2, Paul mentioned that transformation will happen if the mind is renewed. Through hearing God’s Word, the renewing of mind will take place. Knowing that they are a new creation, dead to sin and alive in Christ will produce in them a transforming effect and will enable them to overcome such destructive habits.

BREAK WORLDLINESS THROUGH WORSHIP

In Romans 12:1, Paul admonished the believers to ‘offer their bodies as living sacrifices—holy and pleasing to God’ and ‘not to conform any longer to the pattern of this world.’ The act of conforming to the world, termed in our ministry as ‘masquerade’, should not be part of a believer’s lifestyle. Rather, he is to continuously offer Himself to God.

Worship teaches the youth to delight in God, the source of true happiness. once they tasted God’s presence and saw His beauty, they will fall out of love with the world. By this they will realized that it is God who can really satisfy their needs.

Nothing beats a worshipping Christian. Once a person gets into the habit of appreciating God’s worth and offering Him his time, talents, money and heart, He’ll grow strong, unmoved by the world’s invitation to conform to its pattern.

BREAK APATHY THROUGH DISCIPLESHIP

‘When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without shepherd. The  he said to his disciples, ‘The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few…’ Matthew 9:36-37

These churched, young people, who were once used into just attending Church and going through daily routines, will learn that they exist and were created for a purpose—to share the gospel message and to make disciples. Through this they will see and learn the significance of Jesus’ death on the cross and that is to save humanity and reconcile us to God. (2 Corinthians 5:19). When they understand this and see that He is the only solution to this dying world, they will value discipleship highly.





METHOD/STRATEGY

In this group, discipleship can be done in one-on-one, small group or mass setting. GMYX Break is done in one-on-one setting; students can gather in a small group setting, discuss God’s Word and support each other in their Christian walk; special events such as leadership trainings and workshops have few delegates as well; camps, retreats and special fellowship include all the youth and their invited friends

Once a young person gets invited, he/she will be approached with one of our youth members and ask him/her if she would like to undergo GMYX Break. If that person responded, both will set a 1-hour appointment every week. That kind of discipleship can be done in any place. If that disciple was finished, he or she may be encouraged to attend the leadership training and make disciples as well. during that certain training, he/she will learn how to reach out to the lost and will have his leadership skills hones. He/she will also be taught with the Word of God and receive different encouragements from different leaders. Once he progress in His relationship with the Lord, and concrete character, giftings and skills were seen in him/her, he/she will be trained as a core member in the youth ministry. He/she will also be given opportunities to speak, lead small groups, and help in major events such as camps, retreats and workshops.

Summer Camps is the major event we consider as worth preparing for. Here is were a certain popular setting is incorporated to a spiritual theme so that young people may see the relevance and timeliness of God’s Word. This event is an opportunity for us to invite our lost friends that they might be included in God’s family as well.

Retreats are overnight events done during semestral breaks. The purpose of this event is to renew the youth and encourage them in their walk with the Lord. GMYX Break truths and Break 5 topics are discussed and included here. This event is some sort of a season capping for the events that happened in the months the came before it.

Small group discussion is where God’s Word is taught and personal experiences, trials, insights are shared upon. This event, which is done after the Worship Service, involved all the youth. (Once our upcoming leaders gathered the skills necessary in leading a group and got solid in their faith, we’ll break into different groups).

Workshops and trainings are done especially during summer. Specific seminars include True Love Waits (a seminar on purity), leadership training, and ministry workshops. Upon training them to do ministries, they will experience doing it with the supervision of their disciplers. Discipleship is our priority, so we see to it that a person is still growing in their relationship with the Lord upon serving Him.

PERSONAL COMMENTS

Continuous, intentional discipleship is essential in a Christian’s life. As I have observed, one of the Church’s problems is its struggle to transition the youth from one level to another. Once he/she graduates from high school, goes to a different place and finds new friends,  he/she tends to neglect her relationship with the Lord. This ministry’s aim is to see to it that they’d be ready when they face the real world proceed in their calling. Careful planning is needed for her to be surely founded on the Word of God. Necessary cooperation among church leaders and teachers are needed as well.

One concrete program we will plan to layout includes the systematic distribution of teachings appropriate and relevant to a certain person’s age and maturity level. Once a kid gets into Sunday School, we consider him as a disciple and as a future church leader. He will get to study necessary lessons that will prepare him to understand deeper teachings to be taught as he matures in his faith. When he graduated from elementary, GMYX will help him/her in this crucial stage in her life. Through the laying of biblical foundations during this stage in her life, he/she will be able to discern what is true from what is not biblical, and specifically, not of the gospel. In searching for identity, he/she will find himself/herself in Christ. She will go through the program and the process goes on.


* as explained in executableoutlines.com
**the term masquerade as opposed to metamorphosis was mentioned by Warren Wiersbe in his book, entitled Real Worship
***from Project 21, by Paul and Bunty Collins