February 22, 2020
Welcome / Intro
- Where we live – Eminence, 45 acre farm, woods, horses, ponds, and bomb shelters
- What we do – ride horses, softball, keep scorebooks, youth sponsors, etc.
- Big fan of Good Mythical Morning – ANY OTHER FANS HERE?
GMM is a YouTube channel made by two guys – Rhett and Link – and every weekday they release new videos with goofy conversations and games. They have over 16 million subscribers, including me and my kids, who wind up watching several episodes every week as part of our routine.
One of their classics is called “Will It?”
The guys push the limits of foot by creating all new “versions” of classic foods. Today we’re going to do our own versions of one of their classics… WILL IT TACO?
SLIDE: WILL IT TACO?
Game: Will It Taco?
10 volunteers – 5 students, 5 adults – pair them up and sit on edge of stage.
Before we get started, let’s watch some of the top “Will It” moments to get a sense of what’s going on.
VIDEO: WILL IT MOMENTS (Stop after 3-4):
SLIDE: WILL IT TACO?
For each round, we’re going to substitute one ingredient into a rather traditional 5 ingredient taco. We’ll replace the meat, cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, or tortilla with a different ingredient and let our pair decide if it “Will”.
For each group
- Announce what’s being substituted for while uncovering the plate and then what’s filling it’s place:
- Meat – Soggy cocoa crispies
- Cheese – white chocolate chip flakes
- Tortilla – fruit rollup
- Tomatoes – jello cubes
- Lettuce – sour kraut (or is it cabbage?)
- The participants’ job is to eat the taco completely and then decide, as a pair, if it’s a great new concept. They’re free to discuss if they like.
- Finally, the leader will tell them it’s time to decide and say “_____ (i.e. “Soggy Cocoa Crispies”)… WILL IT TACO?” and they participants shout out together YES or NO. Encourage the other kids to get into it also.
Introduction – Rhett and Link’s Story
SLIDE: RHETT AND LINK
Good Mythical Morning is a great show, in my opinion. My kids and I watch it on Saturday mornings. **I** often watch it as I do some chores in the morning and get ready for work. It’s funny, it’s pretty clean, and I feel I can relate to these 40-something year old guys that grew up in a world just like the one I did.
- Rhett and Link both grew up in church.
- They put their faith in Jesus. They got baptized. They told others about their faith.
- They went to college and got involved in a Christian organization called Campus Crusade that’s all about sharing Christ with college students.
- After college, they took JOBS with Campus Crusade as event MC’s and comedians. These guys were essentially really funny missionaries.
- Throughout their over 1,600 GMM episodes over 8 years, you’ll often catch references to Christian lingo and themes, even though they certainly don’t push it on their audience.
I’ve wondered from time to time, what do these guys believe? Are they serious about their faith outside of their online presence? Are they casual Christians who have lost a bit of the focus as LA and YouTube took over? Who are these guys, deep down inside? And does that MATTER to me?
About a month ago, Rhett and Link announced that they were going to be using 4 weeks of their podcast, which is separate from their main YouTube channel, that they were going to be diving into their personal journeys that were missing from public view. They were going to explore their journey, their upbringing, and their faith.
As these podcasts played out, we quickly found out that the guys used to apply the label “Evangelical Christian” to themselves. This means that not only did they believe in the Good News of Jesus, but that they believed it was important – even vital – for them to SHARE that good news. This led to their college experiences with Campus Crusade and beyond.
Through that journey, though, both Rhett and Link’s experiences took them down roads of doubt, of questioning, and of disillusionment. What they thought they believed no longer made sense. Whether it was moments when science made more sense than creation or stories from the Bible didn’t seem to match with the reality they experienced, both guys lost that faith. And by losing it, I don’t just mean they got casual. I mean they no longer believe it’s real. Rhett, in his own words, has gone from being an “evangelical Christian” to a “hopeful agnostic.” He doesn’t NOT believe that they’re a God (he’s not an atheist), but he also doesn’t see that it matters anymore. He’d like to see it all work out in the end and we all go to Heaven, but if that’s all wrong and we just turn into compost and future creatures, well, that’s that.
I was captivated by this story. To the point that I’ve listened to all 4 two-hour episodes. Not to critique it. Not to poke holes in their logic. Not to decide if I’ll ever watch their shows again. I listened because they were being real. As best as two guys with a 16 million member virtual audience can be real, I think they were really trying. They were exposing themselves, both to Christians who may no longer respect them and to those who don’t believe who don’t really care.
SLIDE: DECONSTRUCTING FAITH
Tonight we’re going to talk about belief in terms Rhett and Link gave us – We’re going to talk about Deconstructing Faith. About taking what we’ve been told, tearing it down, allowing ourselves to wrestle with it, and then rebuilding our lives on a firm foundation. One of rock solid truth. And not just rock solid truth, but of rock solid truth that WE own, that we believe, and that we can stand up on. We’re going to talk about becoming wise young men and women who are building our houses upon the rock of truth.
Faith – What is it?
Let’s all stand up and close your eyes. While you do that, our sponsors are going to walk around and move a few chairs. When I ask you to sit down, I want you to trust me. We didn’t move your chair. No hands first, no eyes, none of that. Do you trust me? Sponsors walk around, jostle some chairs, but don’t leave anyone without one to sit back down in. Have the kids sit, and watch for signs of distrust, fear, or doubt.
SLIDE: FAITH… WHAT IS IT?
WHAT IS FAITH? (get some words, write them down on a portable whiteboard if possible)
Hebrews 11:1: Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.
There are several key words in this verse. FAITH. CONFIDENCE. HOPE. ASSURANCE. All of these words carry weight, and they are important.
- Faith involves CONFIDENCE.
SLIDE: FAITH… WHAT IS IT – FAITH INVOLVES CONFIDENCE (CLICK 1)
Confidence is a firm trust. It’s knowing that you can count on something. What builds confidence? Experience. Personal experience.
How many of you are scared or nervous around something your parents (or siblings, or friends) are not? This can often be tied to a lack of experience. When something is reliable or someone comes through for you, you begin to build confidence in it. Until then, it’s blind merely blind faith.
- Faith requires HOPE.
SLIDE: FAITH… WHAT IS IT – FAITH REQUIRES HOPE (CLICK 2)
Hope is a look forward. To something BETTER. To something GOOD. As Christians, we’re often told that that “future” we need to look forward to is Heaven. But when we read Jesus’ words in the New Testament, he talks about a Kingdom that is HERE. Life with Jesus, life in the Kingdom, is here and NOW, not something we’ll only attain after we die.
Nevertheless, hope requires a better future. A change for the positive. As we combine confidence and hope, we get faith.
- Faith offers ASSURANCE.
SLIDE: FAITH… WHAT IS IT – FAITH OFFERS ASSURANCE (CLICK 3)
The outcome of this confident hope brings us to the final big word – assurance. Assurance is like a promise. It’s a guarantee. It’s going to happen, and we know it. It’s the opposite of doubt, and it’s something that every one of us in this room has, will, or IS struggling with, just like Rhett and Link.
But what if I’m WRONG?
(no slide yet)
I went to a Cedarville University, a Christian liberal arts college- and for a couple years was part of a student group that went to Ohio State every weekend to tell others about Jesus.
One of the questions we’d try to get people to circle around to as they talked about why they didn’t need Jesus was “What if you’re wrong?” What if you’re wrong about hell and it really DOES exist? What if you’re belief that this is your only life and you should party till you die isn’t all there is? What if you’re wrong? f it, and we come out the other side (sometimes better, sometimes worse), we won’t build a solid foundation.
Isaac was the fulfillment of a great promise. God had picked Abraham out of a culture that cared nothing of God, brought him to a new land, and promised to build a nation out of him. He gave him a son when he was 100 years old, and that promisee beginning to look like it could take the next step. But then this happened. Then God came and essentially told Abraham to sacrifice his son on an altar.
SLIDE: ABRAHAM SACRIFICING SON
Abraham obeys. Talk about faith. This guy takes everything they need, with no backup plan, and goes up the mountain. He draws his knife and is ready to put his son to death. Obedient? Yes. Trusting? Yes. Hebrews tells us he believed God would raise Isaac from the dead.
But what if he was WRONG?
Circling back to Rhett and Link – Rhett, in particular. His story involves a search for certainty. Not confidence. Certainty. When he didn’t find that – when he COULDN’T find it, he turned to something that offered it, to a solution that made more sense.
The truth is, I can’t fault him for that. Don’t we all want something that makes sense? Doesn’t it kind of make more sense that the universe is billions of years old because of how vast it is? Doesn’t it make more sense to believe that animals evolved slowly over time to be as similar, yet as diverse, as they are today? Doesn’t that make more SENSE than to believe in an ancient story of a God who made the universe at the snap of a finger, who made an earth that looks like it’s millions of years old, and who decided it would make sense to allow humankind to choose their own path that would inevitably lead to sin, failure, and a broken relationship with their creator?
That’s the thing about faith, though. Hebrews doesn’t tell us that faith is a science project. It’s not a question, a hypothesis, experiments, and a conclusion. It’s confidence. It’s hope. It’s assurance.
And it has to be YOURS.
A Personal Faith IS a Deconstructed Faith
(No slide yet)
Rhett and Link talk about this journey as one where their Faith was deconstructed. Where they tore down all the “stuff” they’d been taught by parents, teachers, pastors, and the Bible and found truth on their own. They could no longer live in a world where they accepted things “just because.”
And once again, as I’ve said before… I can’t blame them. We need more deconstructed lives. Because only when we tear things down to the foundation, when we allow ourselves to be vulnerable with ourselves and our maker will we be able to build something that’s truly OURS.
SLIDE – A PERSONAL FAITH IS A DECONSTRUCTED FAITH (1/4)
If this feels a little risky to you, that’s because it IS. It ABSOLUTELY is! Tearing down things we thought we knew but that we realized we only knew because we were told opens the door for anything and everything, doesn’t it? It’s a risky endeavor for you, and it even feels a little risky for me. Here I am, one of your youth leaders, ENCOURAGING you to think twice about where your faith comes from. To dig into it. To allow it to be torn down, so that it can be rebuilt.
As we go into small groups tonight, we want to leave the door wide open for questions. We can’t dive into the rabbit hole of evolution tonight. We can’t give all the arguments about why Heaven and Hell are real. Frankly, we probably can’t answer ANY of your questions in a way that would prove to you, without a shred of doubt, that something is true.
And that’s the point. Questions are fair, but if you’re going to ask them, you need to be prepared to follow them where they lead. And for that, there are at least 3 things I know you will need:
- An open mind and a patient heart –
SLIDE – A PERSONAL FAITH IS A DECONSTRUCTED FAITH (2/4)
Don’t expect to get answers for or against your doubts right away. These are meant to be wrestled with.
- Friends that will support you –
SLIDE – A PERSONAL FAITH IS A DECONSTRUCTED FAITH (3/4)
Whether it’s your trusted friends, your sponsors and youth leaders here, your parents, or even a trusted neighbor – find someone to walk this path with that you can trust, and that you know cares for YOU.
- A guide –
SLIDE – A PERSONAL FAITH IS A DECONSTRUCTED FAITH (4/4)
This is a journey that many have taken over the course of time, but many have also lost their way while following. Yes, the BIble is the ultimate guide… but WHY? Allow yourself to look into its own miraculous journey, how it came to be, and why you can trust it. Along the way, look for other guideposts, whether they are moments that build your confidence or lives you can learn from.
As we break into our small groups tonight, please give yourself, and your friends, some space. If you find a friend or youth group member you don’t know has doubts in an area you don’t, don’t shove “truth” down their throat. Make a new friend. Love them first. We may all learn something in the process.
Small Group Discussion
Read through a few more of the stories of Hebrews 11. Talk about how those experiences built a personal faith in each of those people. Those experiences aren’t there to prove by themselves that God is real or that Jesus is the only way… they are there to show us that a life of personal faith is a MUST.
- Noah: Hebrews 11:7 – he lived his faith out for years publically in front of a culture that thought he was a nut-job.
- The Israelites after Egypt – 11:29 – after escaping Egypt and being cornered against the Red Sea, the walked across with waters on both sides, trusting God would get them across.
- Rahab – 11:31 – Despite living in the corrupt city of Jericho, she gave the spies passage, hid them from her people, and trusted that THEIR God would protect HER.
In all of these cases… imagine the thoughts that went through these people. Especially consider what got them through the “but what if I’m wrong” moments.
Doubts are a part of the faith journey. Without them, we’d simply believe what we’re told, take it all for granted, and when push comes to shove, it will all be shown to be empty.
- Give all students a note card and let them write down a question about life they have.
- Assure them we won’t try to answer them all (or any) tonight, and that this is an opportunity to just get things out in the open, to let the words out of our mind and onto a little piece of paper.
- No names.
- Collect them, read them, and let them be.
- Don’t try and answer them. Let them sink in.
If good questions, go back over some of them. Address them as real concerns, and authentic questions. Those things matter. These students matter. Encourage them to see their questions through, and to personalize their faith, which may well require deconstructing it before it can be rebuilt.
Share stories of faith. In God, in family, in others. Share doubts, fears, and how they have been faced, or ignored. Share areas that need torn down so they can be built back up.