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
Fuel Retreat (Nov. 8-10)
All New Charlotte students are invited to experience our first ever Fall Retreat! We will be experiencing God at the beautiful Camp Canaan (www.campcanaan.org) in Rock Hill, SC. Besides zip lining across a river, students will join in passionate worship with each other and dig deep with their small group around a camp fire. Cost: $100 (Due Oct. 20) Mail check (payable to New Charlotte) to 3420 Toringdon Way Suite 350 Charlotte, NC 28277.
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.
Until a couple weeks ago, I had never missed my son Rett’s soccer game. There is nothing like game day. I put his shin guards and socks and shoes on. I give him a last minute pep talk. I shout encouragement from the sidelines. I give him high-fives and hugs after the game (sometimes during). On the way home, we talk about who won and the goals and passes and dribbling and of course, the snacks.
But like I said, I missed a game recently. It was hard, for both of us. No amount of pictures and videos and stories and grass stains could replace actually being there. My absence limited my ability to relate and to share in the experience.
Woody Allen once said, “90 percent of life is just showing up.”
I would agree. There is so much power in presence. People say “absence makes the heart grow fonder” but I think it is presence that makes the heart grow stronger. In this culture where absence is enabled by social media, the art of being present has taken a back seat.
All throughout Scriptures we see a God who simply showed up. Just when people thought He was absent, He would reveal Himself in unexpected ways. He showed up in a burning bush, in wind, and in manna. He spoke through kings and prophets and servants. All this time God had one main message for us, “I AM WITH YOU.” But thing is, since we could never really touch Him or hug Him or give Him a high-five or let Him tie our shoes, there was a part of us that doubted. We doubted He was there with us…
But in the book of Matthew, we get good news, “Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which is, being interpreted, ‘God with us.’
Our Daddy didn’t want to miss another game. For His kids to think He didn’t care about them or love them simply hurt Him too much. It was unbearable. He didn’t want to seem distant, disconnected, and disengaged. His heart desperately loved His kids so much. He wanted them to know that. He wanted them to trust that. To believe that without a doubt He would do anything to make their hearts grow fonder, grow stronger for Him. He wanted to walk with them and talk with them and give them hugs and relate to them and struggle with them and grieve the losses and celebrate the wins. He wanted to get dirt on his hands and grass stain on his shirt and blood on his knees. He wanted to be with them…
John 1:14 says, “The Word became flesh and dwelled among us.”
God didn’t send a tweet or a billboard or a t-shirt or an email or a commercial or a bumper sticker or an instagram or even someone else. God himself came to us. He moved into our neighborhood, our hearts and took up permanent residence in our lives.
Why? Because His presence completes our joy. Like a son seeing his Dad on the sidelines game after game after game. It just isn’t the same without our Father at the game. Knowing He is present with us makes us run faster, smile bigger, get up quicker, laugh longer, and struggle better.
May we know the God of the universe is with us. And if He is with us, who could be against us?
YOU, NOT ME
By Sarah Anderson
(Read Mark 2:1-12 before reading this devotional.)
Something about just hearing the word “friendship” makes me feel good. I immediately start thinking about long phone conversations, inside jokes, road trips, a good meal together, a good cup of coffee and a lot of laughs. When I think about friendship, a lot of great things come to mind. But the truth is a friendship made up of only the great stuff isn’t really a friendship at all. It’s a fantasy. Because anyone who has been friends with someone for a long time can tell you that as much fun as solid quality friendship can be, it can be a lot of hard work too. It isn’t always convenient and it definitely isn’t always easy.
At one point in His ministry, Jesus encountered some guys in Capernaum who had learned firsthand the sometimes inopportune and awkward demands of being a friend. When Jesus had entered the city, He went to a house to begin preaching His message. Word had spread about Him and what He was able to do—His reputation proceeded His arrival so that once He got in town, not only were people ready to hear Him, they crowded the house He was in, gathered outside the doors and windows, and were willing to do just about anything to get a closer look at this rumored Messiah. There was talk that He was a healer, a miracle worker and that in a seemingly effortless way, He could restore sight to the blind, movement to the lame and hope to the desperate.
With that much hype surrounding Jesus’ arrival, it was no surprise that the crowds took to Him immediately, surrounding every square inch of space available around Him. And the guys this story is about were no different than the rest of the town—they were five guys whose curiosity was piqued and whose interest was stirred. They too wanted to hear what Jesus had to say. Only one problem. One of the five was a paralytic. As in totally paralyzed. As in living his life on the space of a 3×6 foot mat. Every day. Day in. Day out.
Let’s get honest here. Let’s say what everyone else is thinking. When it came to getting to hear Jesus, this paralyzed guy was kind of slowing the rest of them down. I mean it took all four of his friends to carry him, and if they wanted any chance of getting to the action, then they had to leave this friend behind. Surely he would understand. Surely he would see that he was more a hindrance than a help. Surely he wouldn’t mind if they promised to bring him around next time Jesus made a public appearance.
But these four guys weren’t about to leave their friend—the one who needed the touch of Jesus more than anyone else—behind. They weren’t about to put their interests, their desires, their expectations before the wants of their paralyzed friend. So, the book of Mark says, the four friends carried the fifth guy. They each took a corner of his mat, and they lifted him, shouldered him, somehow moved him to the house where Jesus was, only to find the crowds more than they could handle. They couldn’t get close enough. They could hardly hear a thing from the outside. Their plan was interrupted. So they gave up? Nope. So, they cut their losses and said maybe next time? So they left their friend on the mat and bumped and pushed their way closer to hear what Jesus had to say themselves? No. They got creative. They climbed on the roof. And then they made an opening there. As in, they damaged private property. And then somehow they got their paralyzed friend on the roof, and with whatever strength they had left, they lowered him, slowly, carefully, but probably not quietly, into the room where Jesus was teaching.
And while the people there may have been a little put out, a little frustrated by the disturbance, Jesus wasn’t at all. In fact, Jesus takes note. Not just of the man on the mat coming from the roof, but of the four men who worked to get him there. The book of Mark says that when Jesus saw their faith—not the paralyzed man’s faith, but their faith, the faith of all five men and not just the one—He did more than what everyone expected. He invited the paralyzed man to pick up his mat and walk.
Jesus stopped what He was doing when He saw the faith of five friends. It silenced Him. He noticed it. He made an example out of five guys who saw the bigger picture of friendship than just convenience, ease and a benefit to themselves. What these guys understood was that friendship very rarely has to do with only the good stuff and the easy stuff. That oftentimes the friendships that go the distance, the friendships that people take note of, the friendships that end up silencing the people around you are the ones that are marked by selflessness, the ability to drop personal needs for the sake of someone else’s. The friendships that get our attention are the ones where someone is willing to get a little uncomfortable for the sake of the one who needs him or her.
How far are you willing to go when it comes to being inconvenienced for the sake of a friend? Are you willing to carry the mat? Are you willing to put yourself aside and risk some embarrassment, just so you can get that friend to the feet of Jesus? What lengths are you willing to go to?
Who around you could use some help carrying their mat? Who could use some extra strength, some additional care, some added encouragement? Who needs you to be the kind of friend you have the potential to be? And what will it take for you to start acting like this friend they need? Yes, it can be hard. Sure, it may be uncomfortable. But you have more than just the world’s attention when you live this way. You have the eye of Jesus on you. You have the attention of the very One whose love you are modeling. He notices love, service and friendship of this magnitude. And where He is involved, anything can happen.
©2009 The reThink Group, Inc.
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.