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  • Ericka Ellerbusch

RIOT Love Your Neighbor


Middle School (aka Jr. High) - Do those words bring memories of joy, misery or fear into your heart? Well, for many people, middle school was a rough time. Some people experienced the challenge of trying to find out who you are while developing friends and trying to be cool. Others experienced their parents divorce or you rough realization that their parents weren’t who you thought they were. It can be HARD!

Here at Skyline we are helping students build a foundation so that as they grow they can live a life worth living. Some of the major truths we want them to grasp is that 1.) life is not about them, 2.) God offers them a life worth living and 3.) they must give up their life in order to gain His.

This is a hard lesson for most adults, let alone students! But on Sunday, March 12th, we saw it come to life. The teens came for their usual fun hangout afternoon and were asked to make baskets to give out to the neighbors around our new church campus. Making the baskets was fun; they had a blast putting them all together. Then the hard part came. It was about 30 degrees out and with the wind it felt like 20. It was freezing! So all these students bundled up after much encouragement from their leaders and headed out to hand out the baskets. They went door to door…. STILL FREEZING! At some houses they were welcomed and appreciated but at a few they were unloved and were treated downright mean. It is one thing to do what God asks you to do when you are happy, warm and smiling. But when you are cold, tired and others hurt your heart - it is really HARD! Yet the students prevailed. Their leaders were there to coach them through those hurts, struggles and disappointments. These are the moments when growth happens. When you are mad, sad and hurt God reaches down to feed you small bits of truth to illuminate the darkness of your thoughts and feelings. As a parent and leader you want the students to experience joy and not suffer harm. Yet, when they inevitably suffer harm, we want them to see God’s love and truth clearly.

This Sunday, if you see a middle schooler give them a hug and say thank you. Not only did they start a trend of Skyline loving our neighborhood but they did it while it was HARD! They didn’t give up and they traded their comfort for those people to see God’s love in a real, physical, practical way. And as you go through your day, remember, you must give up your life for God’s life if you want to live a life worth living. God is just waiting to warm your heart when you go through hard challenges.

"Whoever finds their life will lose it,

and whoever loses their life for my sake will find it."

- Matthew 10:39 (NIV)

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