Monday, March 16, 2015
I have a tremendous passion for youth - reaching youth, by whatever means necessary for Jesus. My frustration comes with their disbelief. It comes with the hypocrisy I see in their alleged faith in Jesus - telling my they are Christians, all while living as the pagans do. That is VERY frustrating to me.
I love these kids greatly and have been trying to figure out different ways to reach them, all of them. MOST of my ideas fall flat as a pancake. Why? Well, honestly, it's because they are MY ideas, not God's.
It seems as if today's teens are all born with A.D.D. (Attention Deficit Disorder). They are easily distracted and, I believe, it is because they have been raised that way. Subliminally trained in the art of self-distraction. Or better put, self-ALLOWED distraction. Many young adults are afflicted with the same debilitating disease.
The biggest culprit in their A.D.D. training has got to be the "smart" phone. Since its invention back in 1973, our attention has been increasingly diverted to answer the phone. Everyone has a cellphone these days. And everyone snaps to attention as soon as their phone lights up or vibrates itself, pleading for attention. As soon as that signal arrives, our focus switches gears and whatever we were thinking before stops in favor of the new thought - "Someone wants to talk to me." It's all about us these days.
My wife and I went out to dinner with our daughter Saturday night. We went to a local bar and grille - the Saturday night before St. Patrick's Day. Probably not the wisest choice. As we sat there, I saw several people I knew. One kid who used to come to youth group was tending bar. Two others came in with dates. Each of them has tattoos now. I am not preaching today about "the evils of getting tattoos" but the ones I saw were not very Godly and it seems as if tattoos are all the rage these days.
I just shake my head in wonder. Tattoos, piercings. God gave us bodies, bodies He created specifically for us, and somehow we feel the need to customize them. Aren't they sufficient already? This is frustrating to me.
All three of these "kids" are professing Christians. All have been baptized by water. I wonder if the Holy Spirit has made a visit in their lives from what I observe. Nothing says "Jesus" like a tattoo of a skull in the middle of your back. I'm getting off track here.
Frustration is probably not the perfect word of this blog post. Perhaps it should be "Weeping and Gnashing of Teeth" because that is what I am feeling as I watch these young people, and older ones too, walk down a path that leads to destruction.
As a Christian, I am constantly examining myself to make sure I am not straying off the path. If I find anything in question I repent of it and try to change what I am doing. I do not embrace the sin, like I see so many doing these days. Frustrating.
I don't want anyone to think I have everything all figured out. I struggle like everyone else. But I don't want to live in my sin. It offends my God! So I repent. I pray for all of us as we walk through this world - to be in the world but not part of it. I go out of my way to meet with these young adults to remind them WHOSE they are. I ask them questions to make them think. They are the same questions I ask myself.
When Jesus was speaking with his apostles he told them this:
18 “If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. 19 If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you." - John 15:18-19
That verse reminds me that I was chosen out of the world. I am to be holy as I walk through this place. That means "set apart." I should look different than those who do not believe. I should stand out. I should be different.
I'm just like everyone else. I get sucked into watching movies that are not God-honoring. I have thoughts go through my head that are not very God-honoring as well. They disgust me. I turn the TV off, I clear my head of impure thoughts and fill them instead with scripture. Still I fail. It's frustrating. So what do we do?
We live our lives, we love our neighbors and we continue to walk our sanctification paths towards Jesus. As we go through this world we walk arm-in-arm with our brothers and sisters. We reprove and rebuke like Paul told Timothy to do. We walk side by side, in love, with other believers and hopefully they will do the same with us. In that way we will grow rather than break down, encourage rather than DIScourage. One day we will no longer feel frustrated in our walk but delighted instead. We have been called into God's family. We should act like it.
. . . in my opinion.
But God . . . (those two words are amazing all by themselves) . . . but God has removed my frustration and replaced it with something. More on that next time. Until then, may God enlighten your time in this world - enlighten it with His Word. Read my friends, read. Read out loud!
"4 I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: 2 preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. 3 For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, 4 and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. 5 As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.
6 For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come. 7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 8 Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that Day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing." - 2 Timothy 4:1-8