Chi Alpha 2016 has come to a close. Most people involved have gotten their much anticipated post-Chi Alpha nap. I definitely have and I am over here still in awe of what the Lord has done. And I want to share it with you!!
Let me catch you up on the rest of the goodness of yesterday–
After our time in large group session yesterday morning, host home groups scattered across the church to unpack their second lesson and eat some pizza. Then we all gathered together in the Atrium of the church to take a big group photo. Once the pics were snapped, we split up to partake in the afternoon activities.
Junior High students got to experience fun and games of Chi Alpha 2016 Recreation. Each team had a color and got to make up a cheer. Spirits were high and competition was higher. It was a great time of group bonding and continued deepening of relationships.
Meanwhile, High Schoolers were scattered out around the city to serve. Half of the groups got to go and love on some Heights Women that are widows. They helped them out around their homes, doing tasks that the women wouldn’t have been able to do themselves. They also got to spend time with these women, hearing their stories and simply loving on them. It was a sweet time of ministry and encouragement of the saints.
The other half went to La Mirada, an apartment complex that The Heights partners with on a weekly basis. At La Mirada we hosted Kids Fest, a gospel-centered festival for kids and families around the apartment complex. Our students got to bring to life the story of Jesus, lead the kids in games and paint their faces. They also got to meet families and love on them. There were about 15 volunteers from Heights in Spanish who came and served food and built relationships with parents who attended. It was really cool to get to partner with them in this!
Around 90 kids from La Mirada came to the festival and got to hear the gospel! And a mother and her daughter responded in faith!!! Praise the Lord for using us to paint clear pictures of who He is and for drawing two new people into His forever family!
Once our afternoon activities concluded, we had some debrief time and then free time. Everyone came back to the church for dinner and got to watch two of the group leaders go on a “date” that they had won during our morning session. It was pretty hilarious!
Our last big group session of Chi Alpha began after dinner. The two main questions we explored were 1) “Who are you?” 2) “Where are you going?”. Dave spoke from Acts 19:8-20. This is the story of the Seven Sons of Seeva. Dave pointed out three types of people seen in this story: 1) People like Paul, who are hearers and doers of the Word 2) People like those filled with demons, who leave everyone they meet beaten and bruised 3) People like the Seven Sons of Seeva, who imitate following Jesus just to get the power and success that they want rather than God Himself.
Dave brought out some cereals and sodas onto the stage. He compared living like the Seven Sons of Seeva to buying knock off Dr. Pepper or Rice Krispies. You want all the taste with half the cost. But you can tell that it’s not the real thing by the taste in leaves in your mouth. Too often in Christianity, we imitate having a relationship with Jesus. We want the benefits of it, but don’t want it to cost us anything. We want to use Jesus to get what we want, but we don’t want to know Him. Then Dave asked the question, “Who is dissatisfied with the after taste of a generic imitation of a relationship with Christ? Who wants to be discipled in the real thing?”
Dave challenged us to think honestly about which of these people we most identify with right now. He challenged us to respond to how the Spirit was leading, whether that be seeking reconciliation in a relationship, surrendering places of our heart to God that we never have before, throwing down the imitation game and choosing the real thing, or whatever else the Lord moved us to do.
And then we sat in the presence of the Lord while Unhindered played over us. The Spirit moved and stirred in souls. I keep trying to think of adjectives to explain it but GOOD is the only one that keeps coming to mind. We closed out the session by responding in song to all that God is and who He makes us to be. Then groups headed home for the evening to continue unpacking the challenges by Dave Rhodes and what the Lord stirred up in them.
This morning we joined together to celebrate the weekend. As Bo, our student pastor, took the stage to wrap up the weekend and challenge us before we scattered, he sensed the Spirit calling him to give opportunity for people to respond to the gospel for the first time, stepping out of the imitation game and into the real thing of following Christ. And the Spirit obviously knew what He was doing in prompting Bo to do that because 32 students rose to their feet, with the rest of the group cheering them on and celebrating what God was doing before our eyes.
Guys, the gospel changes things. We cannot experience the gospel and stay the same. And we have seen this first-hand this weekend. But it doesn’t stop here with Chi Alpha. This is only the beginning. As Dave challenged the whole congregation this morning, the greatest risk we can take is not taking any risks.
“The greatest threat to the Kingdom of God is not that we try and fail, but that we just simply do nothing. Normal following God looks risky, but it’s not as risky as not taking any risks at all.”-Dave Rhodes
Let us dare to fail boldly because God is so divested in His investment that He will use even our failures to bring Him glory.
“God’s heart for a nation always runs through the heart of a person. He’s saying come and join me. Come and play. I know you’ve got fears and insecurities. But come and join me in the midst of them.”-Dave Rhodes
Join me in praying for all of us to choose to trust in God’s character, not letting fear and insecurities reign, but choosing to enter into the great quest that God is inviting us into. Let’s praise God for what He has done in every heart involved in Chi Alpha 2016. Ask Him to seal up what He’s done and move us to be a people who hear the voice of God and act on it immediately.
Thank you for your prayers and support of Chi Alpha 2016. That’s a wrap, folks!
This post was written by Mollie Tyler, Associate Student Minister.