Release

“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”
John 10:10

People have given us names to be known as; they’ve labeled us what they identify us as, they’ve created a natural title made by men. Maybe you’re identified as the shy student that never talks, or the star football player, maybe even the trouble maker.

We are more than just our name and the way people title us… we are world changers, history makers, and we are children of God. We are worthy of all and can do all in His ways, God is trying to call you to do great things.

[As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen.  “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.” At once they left their nets and followed him.]
Matthew 4: 18-20

When God calls you, be ready to go. Something is stirring inside of you, God is getting you ready to do great and mighty things for His kingdom. Peter was a fisherman and through God he transformed into a fisher of men; with His instructions He will transform you into fisher of men.

Every one of God’s instructions are connected with a promise. In order to release that promise you must first follow the instructions, you cannot expect to receive the promise of God without first following the instructions of God.

“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us,”
Ephesians 3:20

You are not average, you are a child of God. You are the chosen generation, you are the child of the King. The same power that raised Christ from the dead is the power that is rising inside of you. You have been created for greatness and God is going to release you from an ordinary life into an extraordinary life, but in order to be released into your future you must be willing to let go of your past.

You might have to leave things and make sacrifices in order for greater things to come, but the sacrifices you make are nowhere near the sacrifices God’s son made, Jesus. There’s no sacrifices you can make that could ever compare to the way Jesus gave up His life for us, He has given the ultimate sacrifice.

You have been given a name: You are the child of God, you’re a history maker and a world changer.

You have been given an assignment: Go out into the world and minister God’s word and gospel.

You have been given a release date: Today.

You have been released from your past. Now go, faithful servants of God, and be history makers.

Grow Your Roots

“So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in Him, rooted and built up in Him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.”
Colossians 2: 6-7

The bigger the tree, the deeper the roots and the more water it needs to help it keep growing. Our tree is being Christ-like people, and our roots are finding Jesus Christ as our source of life. God wants us to have roots that are deep, and in order for that to happen you have to be raised up in your God-given talents. God expects us to grow in our faith.

How to grow deep roots:
•    Make Jesus your source of life. Spend regular time with Him!
•    Make God’s word your source of truth. Do you know enough about God’s word to have an opinion on it? Accepting Christ fulfills you, but learning about Him and His word will be what helps you keep going.
•    Enjoy growing. One way to continue growing is by getting connected with other Christians. Growing prepares you and sets you up for the future so take regular actions that stretch your faith; the key to a spiritually healthy life is having roots that are growing in Jesus Christ.

Build your foundation now, get your roots deep enough that you crave Jesus. We want your roots to crave Jesus so much that you change the world for Jesus, that you make a difference in God’s home.

Rising up in God is just as important as being rescued. It isn’t easy, but it’s worth it.

Rescuing Today

God gives all of His children a calling mission, and here at Bay Area Fellowship that mission is to rescue, raise up, and to release.

Right now, you are on your own personal mission; whether you know it or not.

["In Damascus there was a disciple names Ananias. The Lord called to him in a vision, "Ananias!" "Yes Lord," he answered. The Lord told him, "Go to the house of Judas on Straight Street and ask for a man from Tarsus named Saul, for he is praying. In a vision he has seen a man named Ananias come and place his hands on him and restore his sight."]

Acts 9: 10-12

Saul makes an urgent call to God, God hears and calls Ananias to help, Ananias answers that call and saves Saul.

God used Ananias to rescue yet another one of His children, and just like He called Ananias; He is calling you. The Lord is giving you a calling to save those around you; to rescue those in need. When The Lord calls upon you, you have to answer; odds are it’s an emergency. You could save a life!

God is going to use you specifically to rescue someone, as you were rescued yourself by someone. Will you answer the call and go?

Are you going to move with the sense of urgency? There could be someone either dying without God or living for Him and it’s up to you to rescue them. Go fast… it is urgent. When God is calling you to do something it is to make a dying person alive in God.

God wants us to rescue people now… What are you waiting for?

["Lord," Ananias answered, "I have heard many reports about this man and all the harm he has done to Your holy people in Jerusalem. And he has come here with authority from the chief priests to arrest all who call on Your name." But the Lord said to Ananias, "Go! This Man is my chosen instrument to proclaim My Name to the Gentiles and their kings and to the people of Israel. I will show him how much he must suffer for My Name."]

Acts 9: 13-16

In order to go, you must first be found in Christ. Maybe you’re trying to find your importance and significance in the people around you. Maybe you’re trying to find it in family and friends. But to God, you’re already significant and important just the way you are. You are so important in the eyes of God.

“He had to go.”

John 4:4

Once you truly have an encounter with God, it motivates you to help other people have encounters with God too and save them. You have a pulling desire to liberate the people of God. You are on a mission. Do you feel God pushing you to rescue people? Because rescued people rescue people.

["Then Ananias went to the house and entered it. Placing his hands on Saul, he said, “Brother Saul, the Lord—Jesus, who appeared to you on the road as you were coming here—has sent me so that you may see again and be filled with the Holy Spirit. Immediately, something like scales fell from Saul’s eyes, and he could see again. He got up and was baptized.”]

Acts 9: 17-18

At one point you were lost and someone stepped out and rescued you. They stepped out into the chaos and saved you, they lead you to the Lord. Now that you’ve experienced His goodness, are you ready to rescue the people around you?

#lovenotlust

Lust (n): A very strong desire.

Lust is the devil perverting love and twisting it. It is what Satan wants us to think love is. Lust doesn’t necessarily mean that you only feel a strong desire for a person; you could also lust after things like food, money and other in-animate objects. Lusting thoughts start as an idea in the mind. Lust is thinking that something other than God can satisfy us.

Media plays a huge role in lust. It creates the illusion that lusting after people and things is okay, and that it’s okay to peruse them. Media makes us think that having strong desires is acceptable, and indulging in them is well worth the risk and often a good thing to do… Lust is not okay. It is not a good thing to do, nor is it worth the risk in the end.

Here are some helpful ways to flee and free you from lust:

  • Honor God with your body.

Your body is a temple; it houses your spirit and is the most sacred, for God created it. Your body does not belong to anyone other than God; He owns your body. We can’t just go and do whatever we want with our bodies, and the sooner we can start viewing our bodies as sacred and holy, the more we’ll start respecting and honoring it.

“Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.” 

1 Corinthians 6:19-20 (NIV)

  • Renew your mind.

Don’t dwell on bad thoughts; simply throw them away.  Tens of thousands of suggestive things are on the television every year that involve lust and pursuing it, but remember: What goes into us also comes out of us. What you watch influences you! To change the way you think, you might also have to change some of the things you’re letting into your mind.

  • Turn your eyes.

“The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are healthy, your whole body will be full of light.” 

Matthew 6:22 (NIV)

Don’t look at the things that make you feel strong desirable feelings; which could range from people to shopping to food or even cars and relationships. Turn your head. It might be hard at times but it helps get those thoughts out and calms the mind. The eyes should be the source of light and goodness, and the more you look at suggestive things the stronger struggle lust will be. Guard your heart. Lust is about what’s in your heart, not where you look, although looking only edges it on.

 

#HappyThanksgiving

Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.
-Colossians 4:2

Happy Thanksgiving students! As you go through this holiday with your families, make sure you’re stopping to be thankful for the things God has provided you. And this isn’t just reserved for one day out of the year! We should be CONSTANTLY thankful for all of the things God has given to us. Sure, there may be someone somewhere with more, but there’s also just as many people with less. It’s all about your perspective!

Paul tells the church in Colossae to be watchful and thankful. What this tells us is that devoting yourself to prayer involves watching out for the wonder of God around you and constantly thanking Him for those things.

Be watchful through all of the traveling and cooking! Stop at least once today and just THANK God for everything around you.

#Don’tWorry

Does my hair look okay? Did I fail that math test? Does that person like me? What if I don’t get the job I applied to? What college am I going to? Why are my parents fighting so much?

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?”

Matthew 6: 25-27

Emotions happen eighty thousand times faster than our thoughts and ability to react; if we can’t get them under control, they will start controlling us. Worry is one of our biggest emotions, and it has the power to physically hurt us if we let it.

People worry about family members, pets, school, their future… the list goes on. It’s just natural to worry! But honestly, are most of your worries so big they’re controlling your life?

-       Worry adds unneeded stress.

-       Worry happens when we forget that God cares.

Most of the time we worry about small things because we don’t believe God cares about them. We put God in a human perspective and automatically think that since He’s so focused on huge things like world hunger or caring for people that have cancer, He just doesn’t have time for us and little things like friend problems or a test that’s coming up or even a new patch of acne that you’re self-conscious about.

But God’s nowhere near human. He knows all and cares for all… He cares about you. He has time for every single one of us here on Earth, for we are all His children. He has everything, including the little things, under control.

-       Be concerned about what you can control, but don’t be overwhelmed about what you can’t.

It’s a fact you will always worry when thoughts are out of order. You will always worry when things are out of your control… be worried, but don’t be overwhelmed. Find someone you can talk to about your worries. This can be a friend you’re close to that’s your age or an adult you know and trust who loves you. Anybody, really! But be sure you’re going to at least one person who can do life beside you and one person who’s older than you and can help keep you on the right path. And if you don’t think you have anyone you know of, any of the adult leaders here at BAFstudents would be more than willing to help you through.  Speaking out takes a lot of courage, but keeping it all locked up inside only hurts you.

Worry happens when we let something other than God dominate ourselves. But can all of our worries add a single moment to our lives? Isn’t life more than just this and that?

-Worry goes away when we focus on God.

So ask yourself this… what have you been worried about? Is it worth your life?

#whoareyou

We began our new series, 14:23, this past weekend talking about people at parties. Specifically, a party that happens in Luke 14.

Jesus replied with this story:  “A man prepared a great feast and sent out many invitations.    When the banquet was ready, he sent his servant to tell the guests, ‘Come, the banquet is ready.’    But they all began making excuses. One said, ‘I have just bought a field and must inspect it. Please excuse me.’    Another said, ‘I have just bought five pairs of oxen, and I want to try them out. Please excuse me.’    Another said, ‘I now have a wife, so I can’t come.’ “The servant returned and told his master what they had said. His master was furious and said, ‘Go quickly into the streets and alleys of the town and invite the poor, the crippled, the blind, and the lame.’    After the servant had done this, he reported, ‘There is still room for more.’    So his master said, ‘Go out into the country lanes and behind the hedges and urge anyone you find to come, so that the house will be full.

 

We can break down the people in this story into three different categories:
Party goers: the ones who just show up.
Party poopers: the ones who make excuses.
Servants: the ones who work for the benefit of the party.

God’s parties work the same way! Whether it’s the weekend service, Awaken, camp…whatever. Every event we have as a church can be looked upon as a party that all of us are playing a part of. So our question for you now is, what part are you playing at the party?

Some of y’all probably know FOR SURE exactly what you are. But in the spirit of fun, here’s a quiz for you to think about it!

When you’re at a party, are you…?

A. Just going

B. Making excuses to leave

C.Helping out

 

You’re idea of a party is…

A. Having fun, talking and hanging out

B. Staying at home and reading

C. Greeting and assisting people

 

When asked to a party you…?

A. Want to go

B. Try to get out of it

C. Ask how you can help

 

During the party you are…?

A. Mingling, enjoying the atmosphere, and lazing around

B. Avoiding any human contact

C. Preparing food and entertaining guests

 

After the party you…?

A. Say goodbye to people with smiles, rainbows, and happiness

B. You leave as fast as possible

C. Help clean up

If you picked mostly a’s, you are a party goer. You just kinda hang out, enjoy what’s happening around you without much effort put forth on your part to benefit the party.
If you picked mostly b’s, you are a party pooper. You may make a lot of excuses as to why you can’t do [insert activity here]. I’m sorry…we’re all party poopers at one point of time.
If you picked mostly c’s, you are a servant. You come to help the party and to work towards benefiting the party and those going.
Now, don’t worry if you just found out you actually are kind of a party pooper! None of these positions determine who you are and will be for the rest of your life. We all go through different phases of being goers, poopers and servants. But God has called us to be servants. A party needs all type of people, but He wants HIS people to step out and serve the party for all of the goers who may not know Him. His ultimate goal for us is to be a servant.
So how can you step up? Well if you’re a…
…goer, think about ways you can serve next time. It doesn’t have to be anything big. But instead of just benefiting and taking from the party, how can you help it be better? This could be throwing away a piece of trash, talking to someone you’ve never met; all of these small things still matter and you as a goer are in a perfect position to do all of these small things! In turn, you start serving the servants, which well, kind of makes you a servant in the end, also.
…pooper, stop making excuses! Simple as that! Whatever is holding you back from allowing yourself to do that, stop listening to it. Whether that’s pride (I’m too good to do that, I’m too good for that party, I can do it on my own), insecurity (I don’t want to do that because I’m scared everyone will judge me), laziness (I don’t want to do that! It’s not my job!), WHATEVER. You could end up falling into being a slave to that excuse! And nobody wants that for you, from God to our leaders on the weekend. You are called to live in the freedom of Christ and if you’re making yourself a slave to your excuses, you’re not living up to that potential! I understand it’s not easy. Start small. Take baby steps. Breaking down your excuses when they’ve been a part of you for so long is difficult and needs to be done a little bit at a time. You could start by making yourself say yes to one thing someone asks you to do this weekend, from giving someone a ride to church to just picking up some trash. Start small and then build as you feel your excuses break down!
…servant, step up your game. Think outside the box! How can you serve more? And I know, that’s crazy, you probably already do so much. But really! How could you do what you do more efficiently? That’s serving more, because you’re freeing time up for yourself! Who could you teach to serve the way you do? Also serving, because you’re multiplying yourself for the benefit of God’s kingdom! How can you innovate what you do, how you do it, etcetera? Changing things up helps keep us relevant. Basically…just start getting creative with how you serve!
Anyways, thank y’all for being a part of our party at BAFstudents! We love and appreciate all of you so much, party poopers and servants alike. And in advance, thank you for stepping up your game for our party and all of the things you may inevitably do for us! Find your role and figure out how to change and expand it!

#AwakenBusStops

Bus # 1 Route & Times
First Pick-Up @ 3:55pm: Flour Bluff High School-Wranosky Gym
Return Time @ 10:40pm

Second Pick-Up @ 4:20pm: La Palmera Mall
Return @ 10:15pm

Third Pick-Up @ 4:40pm: W. B. Ray High School
Return @ 9:50pm

Fourth Pick-Up @ 5:00pm: Mary Carroll High School. (Gymnasium)
Return @ 9:30pm

Arrive at Bay Area Fellowship @ 5:15pm
————————————-
Bus #2 Route & Times

First Pick-Up @ 4:10pm-Roy Miller High School (Stadium Side)
Return @ 10:15pm

Second Pick-Up @ 4:35pm-Moody High School
Return @ 10:00pm

Third Pick-Up @ 4:55pm-Starplex Movie Theatre
Return Time @ 9:35pm

Arrive at Bay Area Fellowship @ 5:15pm

#campvictories

“My enemies did their best to kill me, but the Lord rescued me. The Lord is my strength and my song; he has given me victory. Songs of joy and victory are sung in the camp of the godly. The strong right arm of the Lord has done glorious things!” – Psalms 118:13-15

If you were at camp with us a week ago, you probably had some sort of huge encounter with God. You may have seen Him in a way you never have before, experienced His love for the first time, or been given victory over something in your life through Him. Now we’re all back home, back around our distractions and problems and the world.

Don’t lose what you received from God at camp. Don’t tell yourself that you can’t get over those distractions or that habit or those friends. God has ALREADY given you victory! He claimed the victory for you back before you were a thought or the world we live on existed. He pre-planned your whole life, so even before you knew you had a problem or situation, He had your victory prepared also!

“Do not be afraid of them,” the Lord  said to Joshua, “for I have given you victory over them. Not a single one of them will be able to stand up to you.” -Joshua 10:8

Even as He was talking to Joshua, He had all of your individual victories ready for you to come take. Whether you took your victory at camp and are now working to keep that victory or if you’re still battling to get that victory, there must be some truth or experience from camp that you got and are now trying to desperately hang on to. Here’s some quick things to help you hold on to that!

  • Keep encouraging yourself!

The enemy will do anything to beat you down now that you’re back into your old environment. Don’t let him! Remind him – and yourself! – who you belong to and that you have a higher purpose. You are a great son/daughter in the eyes of God who already has the victory!

  • Surround yourself with Godly people.

Don’t stay around all of those old friends who are going to keep discouraging you or telling you everything that you learned at camp was dumb. Get into contact with your camp friends or leader! Keep each other accountable and lift each other up. A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken. – Ecclesiastes 4:12. 

  • Be in the right place at the right time.

I’ve heard plenty of stories about kids who can’t get to church because of family situations, etcetera, which is understandable! But if you can, then what are you doing sitting around? Get to church! It’s only an hour of your weekend and you’ll probably go with your friends anyways. But stay in God’s house. Let it fill you and put you around more people who love God and are trying to pursue Him. If you can’t make it to church, grab your computer and watch online! Call a friend and see if you can get a ride! Make plans ahead of time to get to Awaken! Fight for your right to be in the house!

  • If all else fails, spend time with God.

Your individual time with God could end up being your most valuable. Sometimes, He’ll only speak to us on an intimate, individual level. So if you just can’t make it church…then at least make it an effort to spend time with Him. If you can make it to church, still spend time with Him! If you only wait for Sundays to hear from Him, you could be missing a lifetime’s worth of God trying to pour into you individually. Read your Bible, pray, listen to some worship music…whatever connects you to Him. Just do it.

And don’t forget you already have the victory in all of this! So, don’t feel like you have to fight all of this stuff just to get to God. No! God’s already won this battle for you, it’s just a matter of if you’re going to follow through or not and chose to stay in His presence!

#dosomething

“In a wealthy home some utensils are made of gold and silver, and some are made of wood and clay. The expensive utensils are used for special occasions, and the cheap ones are for everyday use. If you keep yourself pure, you will be a special utensil for honorable use. Your life will be clean, and you will be ready for the Master to use you for every good work” -2 Timothy 2:19-21

Hey, students! Hope you’re having a good start to the summer and are enjoying our new series Shades!

Still, within the past week, what have you been doing with your time? Shades is all about seeing our summers in a different way, whether that’s changing the way we see what we do with our time during the summer or how we see ourselves. How do you see yourself handling your time? Because what you’ve been doing the past week determines what you’re worshiping. Been living only for yourself? You may be worshiping yourself. Been living for social media? You may be worshiping that website. What we give our time and attention to determines what we’re worshiping.

Not only that, all of the things we do daily wear us out. If we’re constantly giving ourselves and our time to the world, we’re going to be trying to serve the world every day because it’s a needy fallen world. We’re going to be like the cheap utensils used every day. But if we devote ourselves to time with God, He doesn’t need us exhausting ourselves with tasks all day long. He makes us pure like gold and silver and saves us for HUGE occasions! Sure you’re going to need to spend time with Him every day for Him to be able to use you in huge ways, but if you let Him purify you, He can take you from being made of wood and turn you into silver.

But you have to make the change in yourself first! You have to be willing to not be a piece of wood and to save yourself for huge things! Once you change your perspective, He can begin purifying you!