Changes [This post is a part of teaching notes from the middle school sermon series Changes]

This week we continued the second of a four week series entitled "Changes."  Change is inevitable.  Some changes are exciting and others are terrifying.  Apart from being a tiny baby, there is no other time when change is more common than in the middle school years.  The first week of the series we talked about the value of having a faithful, unchanging God.  This week we focused on how our faith changes.  To read how we started in week one, check out "Everything Changes."

Do you own it?

When I was growing up, there were a couple of situations when I remember my younger brother breaking stuff.  There are two situations that stick out in my mind.  One situation happened when my youngest brother, Corey, shattered my brother Brad's soccer ball bank.  When this happened I was certainly bummed that this happened to Brad's bank, but it wasn't my bank so it didn't hurt me significantly.  Another time, I had an awesome set of underwater legos that I had all put together.  When I came back home after being gone for a while, I went to the basement only to find the legos broken into a bunch of pieces.  Which situation do you think made me more upset?

The legos being broken into pieces made me more upset because they were mine.

When you own something, you look at it differently than if it somebody else owns it.  When Brad's soccer ball bank broke, it was a bummer but I didn't feel the same way that I did when my own toys were wrecked.  When it is something that we own, we care more about when something bad happens to it, and we likewise care more about putting the time and effort into taking care of it.  This is true of our possessions, and it is also true of our faith.

In middle school there is a common transition that starts to take place; our faith often transitions from being something that exists simply because our parents told us that were Christians and becomes something that is personal to us or something we decide we don't want any part of.  Our faith stops being based soley on our parents decisions and beliefs and become more attached to our beliefs and experiences (parents obviously have a hugely significant role in this still).  When our parents own our faith, they take care of it and make sure we are growing.  But when we own our own faith, this changes.  We begin to care for our own faith, take responsibility for our commitment to be in God's word and gather at church, and we feel the effects when our faith is not growing.

What influenced you as you grew in your faith and you took ownership of what you believed?