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
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.
FLIPPED: Parent CUE
We’re Teaching This:
Have you ever had a moment that made you stop and think, “Wow, this changes everything”? Maybe it was finding out you didn’t make the team or that your parents were splitting. Maybe it was finding out you’re good at something or bad at something you didn’t expect. In these moments our lives change direction quickly. The funny thing is nearly everyone who met Jesus had one of those moments. They came in with a plan, a direction, an identity. And as soon as they spent any time with Jesus, those ideas were turned upside down. And, as we look at four of these stories, we find that an encounter with Jesus has the power to flip our lives as well.
Think About This:
I think most people would agree that one of the more terrifying parts of parenting teenagers is the risk factor. They grow up and the stakes are raised. Their freedom increases but so does the potential fallout from bad choices. Parents are regularly faced with decisions on when to allow their students to forge their freedom and when not to. Unfortunately, we can tend to be overprotective in situations that they may not really need our protection from—and in the name of safety we may be inhibiting them in a way we never intended.
In his blog post, How to Help Your Kids, Live Out Their Story, author, speaker, and dad, Carey Nieuwhoff explains the benefits of letting go of control and trusting God with their story.
My grandfather and grandmother did something amazing. They let my dad live his story, not theirs. They gave up control, protection, and let God write a story in my dad’s life that was independent of their own.
My dad is one of my heroes. He actually did build a new life (in another country), not just for him, but for many others. He was not only a great father, but he ran a company for years, served his entire life in the local church and has left a great legacy of character for his kids and grandkids.
I’m so glad my grandparents swallowed hard and let their son pursue his vision. So, now the question.
In an era of overprotective, slightly controlling parenting, I wonder how many stories like my dad’s aren’t being written. Not because kids aren’t ready to write a story of their own choosing, but because parents are too afraid or unwilling to let them go or take risks.
Great plot lines invite things like drama, risk, mission, and calling. All the things that make parents gulp (and gasp).
And by the way, my dad did see his parents again. He eventually had enough money to go back more than a few times. I even went to Holland with my dad to meet them before they passed away.
As you think about how you might help your kids connect with their own story, here are three things to remember:
1. Prepare yourself now to release them one day.
2. Understand that God has your kids on a journey from dependence to independence.
3. Let them lead (without rescuing them) today to prepare them for tomorrow.
Is there anything you need to let go of today to help create a better future for your child?
From How to Help Your Kids Live Out Their Story, http://orangeparents.org/author/careynieuwhof/
Sometimes the best two words you can hear are “me too”. No matter what situation you’re in with your teenager, chances are someone around you is in the same place and asking the same questions. Do you know who those people are? Are there other parents that you can connect with on a regular basis in your community?
This month try taking two steps toward connecting with other parents around you.
1. Find Them. If you’re not sure where to find other parents like you, start by asking the student pastor at your church (or where your teen attends). They can direct you to small groups or environments where you can meet other parents just like you.
2. Talk to them. Sometimes starting a conversation with someone new can feel awkward. If you’re unsure what to talk about, start with this parentCUE. Say something like, “Hey, did you get that article in the parentCUE? What did you think about it?” Knowing you already have something in common can open the door to more conversation. If not that, try opening up first. Vulnerability breeds vulnerability. So think of some of things you may have a hard time with when it comes to your student’s independence. And then share it. You may be surprised at what someone shares with you in return.
Get connected to a wider community of parents at www.orangeparents.org.
Circumstances change, don’t they?
Where I live, in one week we experienced a snowstorm, an earthquake, and a summerlike thunderstorm. I mean, we went from 10 degrees to 70 degrees in just a matter of days. Crazy.
Circumstances change. That’s just the reality of life. You get a job promotion, you get married, you have a baby, you graduate. Many circumstances involve joy and excitement, while other circumstances involve pain and disappointment. Things like job loss, betrayal by a friend, death of a family member, divorce, or prolonged illness.
Many times these circumstances are out of our control, right? No matter how hard we try to choose our circumstances, they end up choosing us.
But the thing is, we do have a choice. Maybe we can’t choose WHAT our circumstances are, but maybe we can choose HOW they change us.
Will we become bitter, or better? Stronger or weaker? Hopeless or hopeful? Will we see the interruptions as problems that hinder, or as opportunities that help? Will the circumstances grow us, or slow us? Prune us or ruin us? And maybe the most important question: Will we run to God or from God?
You see, it’s not the situation that changes us. It’s our interpretation of the situation that sets our course. Because two people can experience the exact same circumstance and respond in completely different ways. When our circumstances change, it’s our first thought about God that makes all the difference. Do we see Him as a God who is out to get us or out to grow us? An impersonal God who allows random things to happen for no reason? Or, a personal God who is in complete control, loving us enough to give us free will to choose Him or lose Him?
Now, let’s get something straight. Circumstances may grow us, but they don’t ground us. They may refine us, but they don’t define us. Unfortunately, we tend to prop up our faith against our circumstances and we’re left with a circumstantial faith. A faith that ebbs and flows based on how well our lives are going. This kind of faith is fragile and will crumble as soon as our circumstances don’t line up with the picture of God we have in our heads.
What if we had less faith in the visible, and more faith in the invisible? The visible here on Earth is temporary and rots and fades and rusts. It is in today and out tomorrow, here today and gone tomorrow. The invisible, however, is permanent and lasting and perfect and not dependent on circumstances. What if we had faith in the unchanging character of God, rather than the ever-changing circumstances of life?
I don’t know about you, but I’m worn out trying to make sense of circumstances. I’m worn out trying to explain them. I’m worn out trying to base my faith in God on a set of circumstances. I’m done with my faith being strong one day and weak the next depending on whether my life is going according to plan. I’m tired of that kind of shaky, conditional faith. I’m ready for something more consistent, more faithful, more loyal, more predictable, and more trustworthy. I want to hope in something I know won’t let me down…
There was once a woman who was worn out. She had every reason in the world to give up on life. The only thing predictable in her life was the unpredictability of it. People had come and gone, jobs had come and gone, hope had come and gone, and God had come and was seemingly gone, for good. She was known as a slut, having had five husbands. Her community had shunned her and viewed her as socially and spiritually inferior. She was heartbroken, alone, isolated, and forgotten.
And there she was one day returning to the same well to draw water. This may have been the only thing predictable to the woman. But yet she had to go back every day to get more. This day, however, was different. There was a man there, someone she had never met. His name was Jesus, and He said to her, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” (John 4:13-14)
He was Jewish. She was Samaritan. He was a man. She was a woman. This was a pivotal circumstance in this woman’s life. How would she respond?
“The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water so that I won’t get thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water.” (John 4:15)
Wow. In the midst of her pain and disappointment and circumstances, she trusted and believed. Later on, we find her telling her story to the whole village, about the man who knew everything about her and still loved her. And the whole village believe He was the “Savior of the world!”
She gave up hope in her circumstances, and placed her hope firmly in Jesus. She let go of her insecurities, and found all her security in Jesus. She refused to allow her scars to be barriers, but instead they became carriers to a greater purpose.
So may we trust in the God who never changes, who is the same yesterday, today, and forever. May we confide in a God who is our rock, our fortress, our refuge, and our stronghold. May we define our faith by one circumstance and one circumstance only: the moment our God laid down His life on the cross. May we see a God who doesn’t give us all the answers, but a God who is present and cares deeply for us.
So when, not if those circumstances change, may our first thoughts be: “God, I trust you. I trust your plan and I’ll wait for it to unfold. Your timing isn’t my timing. This hurts but I know it’s not harmful. You know what’s best for me. This is the only way to make me stronger. You love me. You always have. You are faithful to do a great work in me and through me.”
A couple months ago my son Rett and I were given a great responsibility. A noble task. A magnificent mission. We had one clear goal…
To select the perfect Christmas tree for our little family.
So there we are. Cruising down the road on an abnormally warm December afternoon. Not a cloud in the sky. Windows down. Belting Imagine Dragons at the top of our lungs. It was one of those moments you just want to freeze. You want to bottle it up and save it for those not so pleasant days. You ever have those?
And then it happened…
Out of the corner of my eye I see something. Palm trees. A plethora of them. It was a tennis club posing as an exotic, tropical, luscious paradise in the middle of the burbs. And it sucked me in like a good Super Bowl commercial. I mean, I might as well have been sitting on a white-sanded beach sipping an iced-cold lemonade. My body may have still been in the car, but my mind was in St. Thomas.
Suddenly, I am jolted back into the present moment by a feeling no one wants to experience while driving. It’s that ‘tire colliding with the median’ kind of a feeling. “Was that a squirrel?” Rett asked. “No buddy, wish it was,” I said. “You do?” Rett asked saddened. So there I am, attempting to explain to a 5 year old that hitting a squirrel would be better than hitting the median while also attempting to pull over to the side of the road with one tire completely flattened like a pancake.
Long story short, two hours later, with the help of my pregnant wife (I’m not ashamed to admit), Rett and I are back on the road determined to complete our mission. But before we travel even 50 feet, my son says to me, “Daddy, keep your eyes on the road.”
At some time or another, we’ve all set out with a purpose, a goal, a task, a mission, a dream. Maybe it’s getting that promotion or making that team or winning over that person or having that baby or moving to that city or completing that project or getting that degree. And there we are cruising along nicely….
Or maybe we have that mountaintop experience with Jesus and we make a commitment to follow Him wholeheartedly and serve others selflessly…
And then something happens. Something catches the corner of our eye. We see palm trees. We get distracted. We take our eyes off the road. We are carried away by something that says, “Look at me. Smell me. Listen to me. Touch me. Your dream can wait.”
We all know what ‘that’ is…
In the Scriptures, there was another Dad and a son on a mission. A mission that makes all other missions pale in comparison. This mission had eternal, lasting, permanent implications affecting zillions of people. You and I included. What was it?
“Then Jesus went through the towns and villages, teaching as he made his way to Jerusalem…” (Luke 13:22)
“Now on his way to Jerusalem…” (Luke 17:11)
“After Jesus had said this, he went on ahead, going up to Jerusalem.” (Luke 19:28)
“As he approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it…” (Luke 19:41)
Nothing was going to distract this Father and Son from getting to Jerusalem. To the cross. Though Jesus was tempted and distracted in every way, He did not waiver. He did not sin. He kept His eyes on the road. He pressed on towards the goal. Along the way He knew exactly what to say ‘yes’ to and what to say ‘no’ to. He might have asked, “Will this help my mission or hinder it?” “Will this move me closer to Jerusalem or further away?”
Finally, He arrived at a tree not to purchase it and bring it home. Rather, He arrived at a tree to purchase us and bring us home. “So His goal and mission and task and project and dream was all about us?” Indeed. “So He voluntarily was beaten and mocked and spat on and bruised and slaughtered and tortured and nailed to the cross ALL for insignificant, lowly, sinful, screwed up, lost people like us?” Yes.
Hanging on by a thread, covered in blood, on the cross, Jesus’ final words to you and I were, “I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise.”
Today we can be with Jesus in paradise? We don’t have to wait until we die? Right here, right now Jesus wants us to experience a kind of paradise unmatched by palm trees at tennis clubs.
When we honor our parents. When we let go of that grudge and forgive. When we pray for our family and friends and enemies. When we decide not to cut corners. When we click off that website. When we turn off that show. When we choose time with family over time at work. When we write a thank you note. When we read the Word and share it with others. When we love our wayward children unconditionally. When we share our faith at work. When we give valuable possessions away. When we are on the side of the road and don’t forget our mission.
When we do these things, we move a little closer to Jerusalem. A little closer to Jesus. And we invite a little bit of Heaven into Earth.
So may we “fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of God. Consider Him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” (Heb. 12:2-3)