Archive | September, 2010

Oh and I, I will survive…

13 Sep

I have been thinking this morning about survival and what it takes to survive.  As a youth pastor I am, quite obviously, constantly working in the lives of young people.  It has become ever more apparent to me that it is becoming increasingly difficult for youth to survive, spiritually and mentally, in today’s environment.  I have become aware that it takes an immense amount of courage to survive as a Christian youth today.  I know that I am not that far removed from high school, but in just the 8 short years since I was in high school things have changed drastically.  It is almost dangerous to label yourself a Christian in American youth culture.  You are most definitely setting yourself on a very difficult course that will lead through persecution, ridicule, and often banishment from the popular scene.  What an incredibly difficult place to be for an adult, much less a teenager?

However, through all of this enlightenment, so to speak, I have come to this conclusion:  There is no better place to be.  What an honor to be considered worthy of such hardship for the name of the Almighty Creator of the universe.  So what if you miss out on a few parties?  Those parties lead to feelings of shame and brokenness.  So what if you are left out of the “popular” group?  Those at the peak of popularity are usually shallow and self-indulgent.  You are being labeled a Christian. A follower of the Creator of the universe.  That is the best label you can possibly have.  I think that the American Christian teenager has one of the roughest roads to travel in the modern cultural landscape, but I also think that God can overcome all of it.  It takes courage, and a lot of it, to survive as an American Teenager.  For this reason, I have decided to do my best to encourage the ones I have influence over to stay the course of following after the God of the universe.

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I’m much to young to feel this dang old…

3 Sep

Yesterday morning I led chapel for Cumberland Christian Academy middle school.  It went great.  I love helping with the kids there.  We sang a few songs and then I spoke to them about Faith vs. Fear using Psalm 27 as my text.  It was a great time together.  However, there was one point where I was very quickly reminded that I am a little older than I think.  Toward the end of talk I made the statement, “When you become a Christian it will not always be champagne wishes and caviar dreams.”  The totally blank stares that I received made me realize that these 6th, 7th, and 8th graders have grown up never knowing what Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous is.  I looked at a couple of the teachers and said that is probably over their heads.  They laughed and I continued on with the end of the talk.  It got me thinking though about how things have changed even since I was a kid, and I’m only 26 years old.  It also got me thinking about how things for my kids will be.  Wee-wood 1 and Wee-wood 2 will grow up in a time where they will never be without the internet, cellphones, and 200 channels of cable TV.  The CD will be for them what the 8-track tape was for me.  A classic car for them will have been made in the late 1980s or early 1990s.  The current church environment for them is one where music is led by bands and vocal groups rather than choirs and a song leader.  Through all of this thought I just realized that what my parents and others said is very true.  Time flies by.  You blink and your kids are grown and you are older than you think.  It makes me realize how much I need to cherish every moment as it could be the last.  I also wanted to ask what everyone else was thinking about in regard to feeling old.  What things do you notice that have changed since you were young, and what was old to you when you were younger?  Sound off.

What’s love got to do, got to do with it…

1 Sep

It has everything to do with it.  That’s the simple answer.  Love is the reason why I choose to show mercy and justice to others.  Micah 6:1-8 talks of why God requires us to act justly and love mercy.  He has every right to place such requirements on us because He has done so much for us, and quite honestly we owe Him everything.  His love for me and you is what compels me to show mercy to others.  It is His love that compels me to act justly and work to right injustice that I see around me.  So it is for this reason, that I say love has everything to do with it.  What are you doing to show mercy and justice to those around you?  I would love to hear about practical applications of mercy and justice in your lives.