Suicide and Breaking Down The Lie

Anonymous asked: If a christian commits suicide, do they go to hell?

I answered: No. 

“He then brought them out and asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”

They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved—” Acts 16:30-31. Period, that is the answer, no additions or footnotes. Paul and Silas give that answer to a man who was about to kill himself. Even so, the answer is not “believe in Jesus, and don’t kill yourself”. They implore him not to commit suicide, because it is a terrible thing, but that is before he asks the question about salvation. 

Romans 8:1 says there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ. Again, no qualifiers. Suicide is horrific. It is an act of desperation and pain and selfishness. I know this because I have had friends and family members take their own lives. It is unspeakably bad. It is not, however, beyond the forgiveness of Christ. And that is the core of your question.

One of the basics at The Bridge is called “breaking down the lie”. Most spiritual issues people have come from a lie they are buying into. Whether it is because someone told them something messed up or that they just believe it inherently. The lie behind this question is “I know Jesus died for our sins…but not the really bad ones right, not the ones we don’t repent of and move past to become shiny happy christians.” That is a lie, and when we drag it out into the light like that, it is a ridiculous lie. The blood of Jesus covers all your sins. End of story. Addictions, abortions, sex, suicides whatever, there is nothing beyond His forgiveness for those who have accepted the offer of eternal life from Him. 

Know that, and if anyone tells you something or you have a thought within that contradicts that, find a scripture or a friend or a blog that will drag the lie out into the light and let it die there. 


-Matt from The Bridge
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Announcing A Contest!

Hey Tumblrarians,

We hope you have had a chance to listen to the awesome “Grace” by Bridge team member Tasha Lawson (written by our own Jed Brewer). We are going to have a little contest. Here’s the deal:

1) record you (or your youth group, small group, etc) singing the song, the lyrics are here and a .PDF of the chords is here.

2) post it on your tumblr and send us the link or email the video to bridgechicago@gmail.com

3) the winner will get a case of Live at The BRIDGE CDs of Jed leading his original worship songs at the Bridge.

You’ve got nothing to lose. If you have any questions feel free to ask!

On Leading a Small Group

Anonymous Asked: Hi! I’m leading a small group for the first time. There is a big range of age and experience with the Bible. I’m having a hard time coming up with a study to do. Any suggestions?

I answered: First of all, cograts on getting to lead a small group. If your awesome taste in blogs is any indication, you are going to do great. Your question is a good one. Obviously, you should pose it to someone in charge at your church (or whatever organization sanctions the small group) but I will provide a suggestion that you can factor in, or maybe take to them as a suggestion.

Walking through a book of the Bible is a great small group plan. That lets you lead conversation, you can throw out questions and let folks respond and go from there. You should have a lesson laid out because there is a chance that you will throw out a question and everyone will just blink at you. It also is easy for folks to miss one or two meetings without totally losing the thread, which is important. I have had success with the Epistles. The advantages of those specifically is that they are relatively short and they tend to have an over all point since they are a letter. 

That kind of loose structure also allows you to keep the focus on the needs of the folks being ministered to which is, after all, the point. At The Bridge, all of the topics preached on are questions submitted by the people that come. It’s that way because the point of ministry is to remove roadblocks that are keeping people from growing in the Lord, and the better we know what those roadblocks are, the more effectively we can do that. Your small group has the same goal, to help folks move ahead in their walk. As you walk through a book of the Bible together, if folks are engaged, they will let you know where they are and what they need if you listen.

So say you’re are going to read through the book of Philippians. You can read the first 6 verses and then ask if there were any ideas that jumped out at anyone. If nobody jumps up you can have some question chambered like 

“how do is feel to be called part of God’s holy people? Is that affirming, encouraging or does it make you feel insecure?” 

“Do you pray with joy, if not why not?” “

“God will complete his good work in you, how should that effect the way we deal with our failures or our impatience or insecurities?”

And from there you go after it like the rockstar you are.

-Matt from The Bridge

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Making the Most of Songs

Here is a little tip on how to use worship songs to enhance your message. Make song choice work for you. We will use the newest Bridge track “Grace” as our example. Now obviously if you are doing a lesson on grace, that pretty much explains itself. But we are going to go all next level on you. Any subject that focuses on forgiveness or trying to combat shame or moving past something have a component of grace about them. So if you sing this song about grace it will reinforce the favor we have with God in an emotional way that just an explanation may not have. If you give a one sentence definition of grace, “the unmerited favor of God” it will have a lot more since you have just sung to God about what grace means for your relationship. 

grace is a gift that i have not earned

grace is a gift that i don’t deserve

grace is a gift not something i’m owed

grace is a gift, oh. grace is a gift

that you give me because you love me

Let’s say you sang “Grace” which ends with those lyrics, and you are doing a lesson on how guilt or shame stunts our spiritual growth. You have already made the point that Jesus doesn’t love us because we earned it, so we can’t unearn it and we need to move on. The song has done that and you can reference that instead of coming into that emotional subject cold. Ninja level tactics, use them wisely.

If you any specific worship questions, send them our way. Our resident worship master, Jed Brewer would be happy to answer them.

http://www.tumblr.com/audio_file/thebridgechicago/16729696052/tumblr_lya1vnNrbr1rnznyw?plead=please-dont-download-this-or-our-lawyers-wont-let-us-host-audio

unkaglen:

If you like Beyonce or Rihanna, then you’ll LOVE this! Check out your soon-to-be favorite song!

the bridge chicago:

Jed Brewer wrote an awesome worship song about the concept of grace. One of our Bridge team, Tasha Lawson, provided the vocals. It’s got more soul than James Brown’s jumpsuits. Who doesn’t need cool music and who doesn’t need to be reminded of the grace we have been given? Put this in your ear sockets, then tell a friend.

Talking about Porn

Anonymous asked: Every semester or so, my youth group will talk about sex and relationships. I try to tell the guys that if they have any problems with lust or porn, that they can come talk to me but no one has. I’m pretty sure most of if not all of these guys struggle with that. How do I get them to admit it so we can deal with it?

i answered: I think you can see things from their perspective. In their mind, this could be the equivalent of the parental “I won’t be mad, I just want the truth” which tends to end up in knowing the truth and being mad. So unless somebody gets up the courage to take the plunge, you probably aren’t going to succeed with the wait it out strategy.

We can all agree that your instinct that most of these guys struggle with naughty internet behavior is accurate. So you know they are struggling, so just go ahead and talk about it. You may want to split the group by gender for this, let a female leader talk to the girls about similar issues. So this way they can get the information you want them to have without them having to take the first step. You can also underline the fact that this behavior is a very common issue. If you have your own story, this would be a great time to bust that out. At some point, talking to someone about pornography addiction is a necessary step to overcoming it, but a group setting can be a good place to start. 

They will also get a chance to see how you deal with the situation. The little dark corner of their mind that is convinced that you are going to try to yell and shame them through will be dealt with. You can show grace and empathy, which will do more to open the door for them to come to you more than any sincere invitation would have. 

Sometimes you have to be out ahead of them, and that’s fine if you keep it gentle and don’t slip into “I came from the mountain to dump my wisdom on you!”. God put you in this position and you can be bold, but gentle:

“Hey guys, I know you all probably deal with this because pretty much every teenage guy since the invention of broadband has dealt with this. It doesn’t mean you are dirty, it is not the irredeemable sin. Everybody wants to look at naked people, there are several billion dollar industries based around that. The point is how we can deal with that and let God in instead of trying to shut him out of that part of our lives.”

-Matt from The Bridge

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