Students Encounter Christ at Secondary Spiritual Emphasis Week 2014

Pastor Ben Schneider leading worship. Photo by Caroline Painter.

Pastor Ben Schneider leading worship. Photo by Caroline Painter.

By Jocelyn Chatman
PHOTO EDITOR

The topic for this Spiritual Emphasis Week was ‘Identity Crisis.’ Two amazing guest speakers, Scott Jankowski and Ben Schneider (Lamb’s Chapel Church), delivered incredible messages throughout the week. They focused on drawing near to God and finding our identity in Him.

On the first day of Spiritual Emphasis, Pastor Scott preached about how high school isn’t real. All the things we think are important now won’t really matter in the long run. We need to focus on our relationship with God, because that is what’s going to last.

“Who you are is not what you do, but what Jesus is to you,” said Pastor Scott. 
The identity we have relates to our destiny, and Jesus gave His life so we could live a fulfilling life in Him.

“He came to restore and rebuild so that we could receive eternal life.”

On the second day, Pastor Ben Schneider preached on wrestling with your identity. As teenagers, we often try to fit in with everyone. We try to please everyone and end up doing things we aren’t comfortable with. We try to hide behind a fake personality so that no one ends up seeing our struggle and pain. He also preached about the importance of our name by using the story of Essau and Jacob. Our name signifies our identity. When we repent and confess our sins we are given God’s Identity.

On the third day, Pastor Scott preached on the story of the Prodigal Son. God will always love us no matter what we do. The Prodigal Son took his inheritance early and went off on his own. He wasted all of his inheritance on reckless living. Unfortunately, he squandered all his money and could not even afford food. Realizing his foolishness, the son returned home impoverished and severely hungry. His father forgave him and took him in happily, and there was a huge celebration to welcome him home. That is how God is with us when we repent and return to the right path. This story also demonstrates grace. “Grace is achieved not given,” said Pastor Scott. This demonstrates that God is a gracious and loving God.

Students had mixed emotions toward this year’s Spiritual Emphasis Week. “The worship was enjoyable. The messages were uplifting and renewed my soul. It was powerful and you could feel the presence of the Spirit,” said 9th grade student, Kevin Oddman.

“This was my first spiritual emphasis, and I enjoyed it. I wish they would have sung a variety of songs; it felt like they were singing the same ones over and over. My favorite speaker was Ben. He made me feel comfortable and was relatable,” said another 9th grade student, Angela Nicoletti.

“You always have to be seeking God. It’s good to be able to take a week out and just be immersed in the Spirit of God. It really feeds my souls and renews my spirit. I do wish that the service would have been longer, especially the worship. Testimony time is something I also would’ve liked to have. God says that when you experience something He has done for you, you should share it with your brethren.” said Jon Cruzate.

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