Welcome to FUEL and New Charlotte Church’s student ministry. We want to be fueled with the faith, hope, and love of Jesus! He is what drives us. He is our lifeblood.
We (6th-12th grade) are fueled with faith through solid Biblical teaching, fueled with hope through small group communities, and overflow with love when we serve here, near, and far!
Join us Sunday Nights from 5:30-7:15 for dinner, four-square, Wii, worship, teaching, and small groups.
11011 Monroe Road
Matthews, NC 28105
Map and Directions
Guys Getaway (Mar. 8/9) @ Camp Canaan! Cabins, zip lines, rope courses, and kayaking!
$75 is due February 24.
Girls Getaway (Mar. 8/9) @ Harrison Farm! Girls will do girl things.
$25 is due February 24.
SERVE OPPORTUNITY!!! ~~~ Greenway Park Elementary School
New Charlotte students are passionate about impacting their city for Christ. Consider joining us every Thursday from 3:45-5:00 as we tutor kindergarten-3rd graders at Greenway Park Elementary School. You can register online as a volunteer at https://www.cmsvolunteers.com.
NC STUDENT RELEASE FORMS
Click here to download the release form.
About 11 years ago I went on a walk in the woods with a girl named Lyndsay. Now this wasn’t just any girl. She was special. Unique. One of a kind. I mean, the first time she caught my eye was on a softball field. She dove for a fly ball, caught it, and threw the ball all the way to 3rd base from center field. Double play. “Wow, “ I thought. “I’ve got to get to know this girl.” Not only was she drop dead gorgeous, but she had a cannon for an arm. Needless to say, I was picking up what she was laying down. I was digging her program. So from that day on, I was on a mission. It was game on.
Have you ever been in love with someone or even something? I mean, love makes you crazy and silly and childlike and you do and say things that make no sense to others, but make total sense to you. You look back and think, “Did I do that? What was I thinking?”
For three months straight, I woke up very, very early each morning and went to the gym to work out. Why? Because Lyndsay was going to be there and I just wanted to see her.
One time, since it was the dead of winter in Michigan and the sun hadn’t shined in months, I discovered what many know as, “Tan in a Can.” Bronzer. I admit this is pretty embarrassing. I applied some. Why? Because I wanted her to see me.
Another time I followed her home to see where she lived. I bought some flowers and wrote her a note and put it on her car. Why? Because I wanted her to know how I felt.
Three separate times I drove through the night to see her. From Daytona to Fort Myers to watch her play softball, from Tennessee to Michigan to see her graduate, and from West Virginia to Wisconsin to be with her for Christmas.
Now, this isn’t just about me. It’s about you too. You see, deep inside all of us is a desire to be fully known and fully loved. Whether we realize it or not, we want to pursue and know and love someone else. And vice versa. We want to be pursued, to be known, and to be loved. This is true for everyone, regardless of your religious background.
Author Donald Miller describes our lives as a story. He defines ‘story’ as ‘a character who wants something and overcomes conflict to get it.”
In the greatest story ever told, the Bible, we find the main character, God, wanting something and overcoming conflict to get it. What did He want? A relationship with us. He wanted our hearts. So He was on a mission. He was on the move. It was game on. He would stop at nothing to get what He wanted. He was madly in love.
For over 2,000 years God pursued His people. He tried to get their attention in all kinds of ways. He created a beautiful garden. He painted a rainbow in the sky. He took them stargazing and promised and provided a big family in a new home in a new land. He got their attention in a burning bush. He heard their cries for help and He played hero and rescued them from their enemies. He made a body of water 190 miles across and 7,000 feet deep part so his people could escape the enemy. He made it rain bread and quail from Heaven. He provided water for them from a rock. Ultimately, he guided them into a better land. A land flowing with milk and honey and continued to protect His people from the enemy year after year after year. He never left them.
Why? Because He loved them. He wanted them to know Him. He wanted them to love Him. He couldn’t stop thinking about them. He was head over heels for them. So He pursued and pursued and pursued and pursued.
But like any good story, there was conflict. What was it? Well, the people rejected Him. They wouldn’t give him their hearts. They may have said yes begrudgingly or out of obligation or in fear or they were pressured by someone else. But this ‘yes’ quickly turned into a ‘no’. Because they couldn’t give Him all of their heart, mind, soul, and strength. They wanted control. They had their own plans and agenda and didn’t want anyone or anything else getting in the way. He moved towards them but they turned their backs on Him. They rejected Him. They were seeing someone else. Other gods. And the one and only true God, the passionate, jealous lover, who had romanced and courted His people for thousands of years, was heart broken. “Will they ever remember me? Will they take notice of me? Will they see my love for them is real? That I would do anything for them? What can I do to break through to them? Haven’t I tried everything?”
His heart was heavy. Tears streamed down His cheeks. There was in fact one more thing He could do. But He never thought it would come to this. It was the last resort. Despite all the rejection, all the empty commitments from His people, He still loved them. And He wasn’t ready to give up. Not ready to give up on us…
So, the time came. He didn’t send a letter or an email or flowers or a billboard or a t-shirt. Instead, He sent someone. Someone to walk with us. To hold our hand. To talk to us. To listen to us. To pray with us. To guide us. To protect us. To encourage us. To give us a hug when we need one. To pick us up when we fall. To comfort us when we cry. To celebrate when we celebrate.
John 3:16 describes why God sent this someone, “For He so loved the world (that’s you) that He gave His only Son. That whoever should believe in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life.
God loved us so much that He sent His most valuable possession. His Son. He didn’t just send Him to live with us. He sent Him to die for us. So there Jesus is. Spat on. Mocked. Beaten. Bleeding. Suffocating. Dying on the cross. Why? Because He was in love with us. He was a character who wanted something and was willing to overcome great conflict to get it.
It’s almost like God stooped down like a humble servant. Like He got down on one knee. In the dirt. He made Himself nothing. He emptied Himself. Crying. Desperate. Vulnerable. Pleading. And He reached into His pocket and presented something very precious. Something of extraordinary cost. Far more valuable than gold or silver. With His arms outstretched, he offered His Son.
And there we are. Maybe caught off guard. Surprised. Humbled. Speechless. Unworthy. Honored. And we wonder, “He wants me? Doesn’t he know me? But He loves me? He chooses me of all people?”
Friends, the God of the universe is proposing to you. What do you say? How will you answer?
Maybe you said ‘yes’ and got engaged to God a long time ago but you’ve never actually gotten married. The wedding has been postponed over and over again because you’re not willing to give up your freedom. You are still in love with the world. I mean, you might act you are married to God but you are still married to the world. To yourself. You might say you are married but you only follow God when it’s convenient, safe, and comfortable. You are committed in your head but not in your heart and in your life. You’ve been going steady with the world and living a double life. Maybe you read your Bible sometimes and go to church and tithe and volunteer in the nursery and you live a good moral life. But that’s it. You are lukewarm. Apathetic. Maybe God is challenging you to live a bigger and better story. A story that is about serving others, rather than serving yourself. A story about getting messy and about giving your life away—even if it costs you and interrupts your lifestyle. Maybe it’s time to give your whole heart and life to God and say YES once and for all. God is proposing to you…
Maybe you’ve never said ‘no’ or ‘yes’. Maybe you haven’t said anything. You have ignored the proposal or pretended like you never heard it. You have been so busy you haven’t made time to consider the offer. You have been so caught up in life and your plans and agenda you haven’t seen the need. Your busy, good, moral life has lulled you into sort of a spiritual slumber. You have put it off long enough. But heed this warning: a ‘no’ response is a NO response. God is proposing to you too.
Maybe you’ve flat out said ‘no’. God has revealed Himself to you time and time again in all kinds of ways. Maybe you feel like you just can’t shake God. You feel like He keeps haunting you and you want Him to leave you alone. So you have rejected Him to His face. Why is that? Maybe you love your lifestyle and you are afraid to give it up. You don’t want accountability. You don’t want rules. You just want to do what you want. You want freedom. You want control. And saying Yes means giving that up. Maybe something happened in life. Something hard and difficult and tragic. Abuse. Divorce. Death. Rejection. Abandonment. Empty promises. Now you just flat out don’t trust God. You don’t believe His love for you. You can’t accept Him because after all, “Why would a good, loving, caring God let all that happen to me?” God is proposing to you too.
Where ever you are today, please know this. There’s a God everyday on His knees before you with His arms outstretched, saying your name and asking, “Will you marry me?” So may you make the right choice. May you say Yes with all your heart, mind, soul, and strength. May you have eyes to see and love no one else. May you accept the offer to live a full and abundant life. May you spend the rest of your life with the one who loves you perfectly, patiently, and persistently. The one who knows you yet loves you fully. The one who laid down his life for you.
the other day i was playing some golf and my friend and i sat down for a break from the action and to grab some grub…there were some guys that were sitting at the table next to us and one of them looked at me and asked…
‘hey man would you hit that up?’ i soon found out that he wasn’t talking about the pool behind me—or the burger that was ready—he wasn’t referring to the golf course—and he wasn’t talking about the water fountain…
he was referring to a young woman who was walking behind me…a human being…a sister of somebody…a daughter of a father…a niece of an aunt…a granddaughter of a grandma…
he was referring to a child of God…
not a thing but a human being…
someone with a heart and soul and mind and dreams and struggles and fears and feelings…
everything in me wanted to blow his cigarette smoke back in his face and key his souped up SUV…i somehow restrained myself—and my friend and i drove off in our golfcart…
we live in a superficial, zoolander world where we are defined by how we look…we are rated on a scale of 1 to 10 based on what is or what is not ‘hot’ or ‘cute’ or ‘sexy’…we are physical objects, ‘stripped down’ to merely ‘things’, dumbed down to either ‘eye candy’ or ‘eye sores’…we have fallen into the trap of judging a book by its cover and an iceberg by its tip…
in ancient ephesus, if you were born with any kind of physical deformity or any slight blemish—you were seen as spiritually and socially inferior (oh, how things haven’t changed…image was and is still everything). it is said that if you weren’t born physically perfect, you were taken to the top of a certain mountain where you would be left to die…you weren’t good enough—you didn’t make the cut—you were voted worst looking in your class…
it is said that certain masters who needed slaves would hike up the mountain and rescue the babies and adopt them into their family as one of their own…
the apostle Paul was aware of this and thus he chose his words wisely, ”For he CHOSE us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us to be ADOPTED as his sons through Jesus…”
‘because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.’
God doesn’t rate us. He could care less about what we look like. He doesn’t compare us with what others look like. He looks past the surface and loves our mind and heart. we are pure and perfect in God’s eyes…He loves us just the way we are…
we were left for dead but God trudged up the mountain and rescued us and made us alive and gave us a second chance…
we are His children..
U2 said it best,
I have climbed highest mountains
I have run through the fields
I have scaled these city walls
But I still haven’t found what I’m looking for
But I still haven’t found what I’m looking for
Whether we realize it or not, we all are looking for something.
The other night I found myself peering into the depths of our fridge. “What are you looking for?” my wife asks. Truth be told, I wasn’t sure. I was waiting for something to jump out at me and say, “Eat me!” 30 seconds turned into a minute and a minute turned into nearly 5 minutes. “Maybe what you’re looking for isn’t in the fridge?” I shut the door empty handed. “You’re right,” I replied and opened the cupboard.
Christmas escalates our search doesn’t it? All year we look into the fridge. But something about Christmas makes the fridge extra-appealing, attractive, and appetizing. Something in there, we think, will ignite a party in our mouths like never before. If it’s not in the fridge we go to the mall. If it’s not at the mall, we surf the web. If it’s not on the web, it’s in someone or something else. We’re not sure what we are looking for but we are determined to find it, whatever it is. Since we aren’t certain what it is, we keep looking and looking and looking and buying and buying and buying.
We climb the highest mountain.
We run through the fields.
We scale city walls.
At the end of the day we plop down on our couch. Exhausted. Spent. Drained. It feels good to sit down. It feels good to cross stuff off our list. But there’s something deep in our hearts that says, “I still haven’t found what I’m looking for.”
There are those haunting questions. Will it fit? Will it match? Will it last? Will it go out of style? Was it a good deal? Is there a better deal? Will he like it? What if he doesn’t? Is it enough? Should I get something else?
So we jump back into the rat race all over again. Climbing and running and scaling.
So what are we looking for? Because life is so much deeper than ice cream and X Boxes and flat screens and leather purses and iPhones and paintings and new cars and vacations and picket fences. So much deeper than promotions and bonuses and respect.
We are looking for peace. A kind of peace that always lasts. Always fits. Always is in style. Always satisfies. Never fails. Never disappoints. Never rots. Never runs out. Never fades. Never rusts. Never leaves us wanting more.
A peace that promises to give others exactly what they want, need, and are looking for. A peace that says, “Look no further. The search is over. You can rest now.”
Reality check. We can’t buy peace. We can only receive it. So where is it? Here’s a hint. Think manger. Not mall.
Jesus said, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives.”
There is a peace-shaped hole inside all of us that can only be filled by the one who is peace Himself. Jesus. He is not like peace. Or even peaceful. He IS peace.
Believe Him. Receive Him. And don’t leave Him.
So may we run harder to the Word than we do the world. May we discover our identity not in the “more”, but in the “less.” May His love for us become the most valuable possession in our lives. May He calm our storms with His perfect peace. May we not just try to get through Christmas, but let Christmas get through to us.
May we scale city walls and climb high mountains and run through fields in search of one thing and one thing only.
Jesus. After all, that’s what He did for us.