Tag Archives: Youth

The Experimentation of Youth and Life

experiment

Not their experimentation, but rather mine. Having raised my own two daughters and now being the spiritual mom of many others in the teen ministry I’m pretty sure, then and now, I’ve treated it like a weird science experiment. I’ll add a little Word, a little conversing, an illustration or two and “poof” let’s see what happens. My poor girls went through several years of me being an unsaved mom doing the experimentation without the Holy Spirit’s guidance, and for that grace I’m just glad they survived. But post salvation, raising kids, working with youth and now having grandchildren, my experimentation is a lesson in the chemistry of God’s word. So is life in general really.

No matter your age, being that age is irrelevant in the coming Kingdom, we’re forever in the learning process of living. Some just learn faster and with less experimenting than others. Me, I’m always adding a new chemical compound to the mix to see if the results are any different. It’s usually followed by KABOOM! But I’m more cautious with the ministry knowing that I’m held to a greater accountability in Christ Jesus.

James 3:1

My brethren, be not many masters, knowing that we shall receive the greater condemnation.

1 Timothy 4:12-16

Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith in purity. Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine. Neglect not the gift that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery. Meditate upon these thing; give thyself wholly to them; that thy profiting may appear to all. Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them; for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee.

Glamorous Stupidity

In the book of 1 Timothy Apostle Paul’s words to Timothy as a young man serve to remind me as I serve youth, and live my own life, I’m living as an example. Anything that I add to the mix of someone else’s life can change that life for the positive or negative regarding their end result. When giving illustrations from my own life and past mistakes I try to be very careful that I don’t glamorize stupidity. It sounds crazy but I’ve seen it so often when someone is telling a tale of their youth and it sounds fun! Yes it was. Right up until the point where you could have died. Let me make sure not to leave that tidbit of information out, and about the regret I feel now having been a bad example for my friends rather than a good one. Youth is not to be despised, we and they will make mistakes. But don’t ever forget to remind them and us that we’re the standard by which the world measures Christ.

Glimmering Stimulus

I am for certain a lover of all things shiny. If it sparkles I am captivated, which can get me into serious trouble. But it can also work to my advantage in that I also like to shine! I want to be entertaining (for the glory of Christ, not self). I don’t want to say look at me, look at me! I want to say look at Christ in me! Look what He’s done for me! Because of the experimentation of someone else on this earth who was willing to invest some time and energy into me, I now serve a Mighty and Awesome God! And serving Him should stimulate others to have that same desire if I’m doing it right. Humdrum Christians bother me… just sayin’.

Glowing Stewardship

Of every gift and ability we’ve been given we’re going to be accountable that it was used for the purpose of the Kingdom. Paul told Timothy to meditate on those things.

Have you thought about the gifts within you? Are you aware that they should be shiny and evident so that people can see what Christ is doing in your life and in so doing you may have the opportunity to see their salvation? I know virtually nothing about chemistry. Science was not my forte. But I know Jesus! And I know that anytime He is mixed into the equation success is imminent. And so I keep on keeping on in the ministry, because just so you know… you are my experiment!

2 Corinthians 9:13

 Whiles by the experiment of this ministration they glorify God for your professed subjection unto the gospel of Christ, and for your liberal distribution unto them, and unto all men;

I’ve come to appreciate the weird

CHICK WHEAT

How easy it is to fall into the mundaneness of life. We are creatures of habit and routines that become the accepted way of our day and anything outside that realm upsets the apple cart, or the wheat cart as related to today’s scripture. I’m one who’s more apt to be anything but the norm but I too can get into the mundane of life spiritually speaking very quickly. I have to work at keeping my faith on fire because Satan stands ready to quench it at every opportunity and often times with a good dose of normal.

Matthew 3:11-12

I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance. but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire:  Whose fan is in his hand, and he will throughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into the garner; but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.

Fire Starter and Fashion Stopper

John the Baptist fanned the flames of the religious crowd. They thrived on normal, religious practices and ceremonial acts that looked fancy and gave their self-righteous egos a boost. But enter on scene the camel clad, bug and honey eating John, preaching repentance and stirring up the fires of faith and the normal seekers were out of their element and not very happy about it. John had caused quite a stir in the community by preaching of the Messiah that was about to be made known and in the process calling out the Sadducees and Pharisees calling them a “generation of vipers” in verse 7. I would venture a guess that that is the equivalency of our “snake in the grass” sentiment of today. Yes, John had upset the norm.  His taste of style didn’t fit their flair, nor did his taste of locust and honey likely fulfill their dietary delights. To be honest, if John entered my home town I’d think he was a little weird too.

I’ve come to appreciate weird.

I attended for my third year, Winter Jam (a Christian Rock Concert) kicking and screaming all the way. Not really, but it’s not my favorite music; however it is some of my favorite people and friends of the faith, so I go… with a “bless me if you can attitude.” And God said… “Okay I will.” And He did. With the exception of couple of the acts who I considered to be loud and obnoxious, at which time I scoped out the merchandise tables. But my point is this… to the judgmental religious crowd the Winter Jam scene is all locusts. It really bugs them. So much so that they feel compelled to preach and condemn on the banks of the river while the Holy Spirit has arrived in the water.

It’s not their norm. Those weird dressing people with the long hair and strange message in music upsets their wheat cart.

Well, it didn’t upset mine. I felt the fan blowing the chaff (unimportant, useless things) out of my life as the Holy Spirit moved the crowd and moved my heart to do more for the Kingdom of God. It wasn’t my normal, Baptist service. Those bands will likely never don the platform of my home church, and that’s okay, because that’s not how we worship there. Our multigenerational crowd worships in obedience to the Holy Spirit.

And that’s what matters most.

Goal for 2016… Be less normal. Unusual. Some might say I’ve been practicing that for years…

CLICK BELOW TO FOLLOW OR MESSAGE ME ON FACEBOOK

chick encourage 2

[contact-form][contact-field label=’Name’ type=’name’ required=’1’/][contact-field label=’Email’ type=’email’ required=’1’/][contact-field label=’Website’ type=’url’/][contact-field label=’Comment’ type=’textarea’ required=’1’/][/contact-form]

I couldn’t un-see it

chick see

I watched a video on social media this morning of a three young teen age girls who had been intentionally duped by their parents and a make believe online predator. Each girl accepted a friend request from who they thought was a teen boy and agreed to a meeting. One left her home to meet him at a nearby park, another opened the door without so much as looking to see who was there and the most heart stopping was the third who got into a van with the twenty something man and ask where his brother was! The parents were there watching and shocked in horror that their children had fallen so easy to prey of what could have been a sex offender.

I unfortunately am not shocked. We’ve inundated our youth with garbage and filth and then we’re shocked that they skip childhood and go directly to “hitching up” online. Young girls were used in the making of the PSA for youth safety but young boys are just as much at risk. And for us “country” folk who still live in neighborhoods where everybody knows your name…the predators know it too. We’re not in Kansas anymore Dorothy.

Through the exposure of social media, television etc., young children, practically babies, are seeing women and men in lewd acts and because it’s right there on their living room, family or bedroom television, it’s now the norm. It’s as if they’re missing out on life if they’re not dating by age 12. My stomach rolled over when I wrote that.

Each one of those parents had had the “talk” with their children about the dangers of predators and online chats. It didn’t matter. The kids were reacting to what their minds had probably seen a thousand times on everything from cartoons to theater movies. They were well versed in “what should happen next.”

Social media is relatively new… this tool of Satan has been here a long time!

The oldest book in the Bible is the book of Job. And even Job knew he was at risk by being unable to un-see certain things.

Job 31:1-12 I made a covenant with mine eyes; why then should I think upon a maid? For what portion of God is there from above? and what inheritance of the Almighty from on high? Is not destruction to the wicked? and a strange punishment to the workers of iniquity? Doth not he see my ways, and count all my steps? If I have walked with vanity, or if my foot hath hasted to deceit; Let me be weighed in an even balance that God may know mine integrity. If my step hath turned out of the way, and mine heart walked after mine eyes, and if any blot hath cleaved to mine hands; Then let me sow, and let another eat; yea, let my offspring be rooted out. If mine heart have been deceived by a woman, or if I have laid wait at my neighbour’s door; Then let my wife grind unto another, and let others bow down upon her. For this is an heinous crime; yea, it is an iniquity to be punished by the judges. For it is a fire that consumeth to destruction, and would root out all mine increase.

Let me put that in layman’s terms as best I can to relate to today’s blog.

Job made a promise to God that he wouldn’t so much as look at another woman. He knew that it would be the very thing that would draw him away from God and end in destruction. He knew God was watching everything that was going on in his life, every step that he took was guided by his eyes. Just think about that statement, and how true it is…what we see we want. It’s human nature. What has your child seen, and do you want them to have it at the age of 12 or 3 or 8? Job knew that if he walked in the pathway of iniquity it would also take its toll on his family. He would lose his children and his wife. Can you not see that play out in America today with everything our homes are exposed to? I sure can. Job knew that judgment would come to him for the sins of his home.

And so will it ours. I’m not throwing stones at you without several landing in my own garden.

Another trending social media post yesterday, and yes I watched it, was this oversize lady, and I use that term loosely, apparently drunk on the beach who couldn’t stand up from the edge of water. Each time she attempted the wave crashed in and knocked her back down and as the tide went out her body came out. She rolled around on the sand as her fella attempted to pull up her parts and pieces and the crowd looked on in hysterics, not one offering to help… although I’m sure their fear was being drug down with her. One gal commented, “I can’t un-see this!” Well, like the idiot that I am, I can’t un-see it either! I was drawn in by the sheer antics of it.

Be careful little eyes what you see… for the Father up above is looking down on you in love, oh be careful little eyes what you see.

Please be careful out there today. Don’t roll every video that trends on your site and turn off the garbage in your house whether those who dwell there are babies or big people. None of us need to see it.

 

 

 

 

 

What You Can Do Today for Our Youth

chick school

It’s the first day of school in our area, perhaps your youth began earlier or not yet, but it’s no doubt on the horizon. And with it comes concerns which differ depending on the region… or the day. Things changes so quickly and what our young people are exposed to is beyond comprehension in comparison to what it was like not so many years ago. As I lifted my youth group to the Lord this morning my heart was heavy for them, they’re good kids in a bad world… My heart aches for them. These thoughts brought me to the Word of God this morning in search of a Word of encouragement for youth workers, parents and anyone concerned for our youth. And here’s where I landed…

Luke 21:38

And all the people came early in the morning to him in the temple, for to hear him.

This wasn’t only Sunday but week days as well… These where the days between Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem and the day of crucifixion. How quickly things can change. As we set here in the days between His crucifixion and return we too should find ourselves in the presence of the Lord each morning. Jesus preached in the town each morning but at night He would lodge about a mile away in the Mount of Olives; away from the noise of the city and the hustle and bustle of life. Probably away from the religious folk. Jesus’ examples for us are needful reminders in this hectic world that we need time to wind down in the evening; but in the morning as the day begins we should find ourselves in the presence of the Lord seeking a sermon for our souls.

Those who met with Jesus in the temple weren’t there to sit easy in the pew. They had faced some opposition to get there and so will you. I presented my Pocket Testament League program to my youth last night and asked them to start a league of their own.  To commit to reading a portion of scripture every day and share the gospel. They’ll be facing huge opposition to accomplish that task. I encourage you as well to get your bible, or look at it online and pick you out a sermon for the soul. It’s in there… words that will encourage your heart and spear you on for service. And then share what you read with someone else. God’s Word never returns void.

If you’d like to be a member of the Pocket Testament League you can join at www.ptl.org/code/signup.php. They have so many free resources to help you on your walk with Christ and becoming more like Christ. Resources that will teach you how to share the gospel and then give you the tools to do just that! It’s an awesome place to hang your hat for a while. If you decide to join the league (there’s no cost) please enter my membership number when prompted (574096) I want you in my league!

But before you go… take just a minute to lift up our kids to the Lord. Please pray as the Lord leads you but a few suggestions from me would be this…

  • Pray they are hedged in with safety
  • They are shielded from wickedness
  • They are a light in that dark world
  • They are brave in their witness
  • They are bold in their testimony
  • They are support for one another
  • They study (Jesus, English, Math, etc.)

Why I have no desire to grow up

chick grownup

As a youth leader there has to be at least a level of immaturity about you, or so I believe. You’re entitled to your own opinion if you disagree, but just so you know, I just rolled my eyes at you. I   highly doubt that anyone in my teen class is any more excited to get to Wednesday night class than I am, unless it’s one of the three other teen leaders who would also roll their eyes at you if you told them to grow up. It’s a fun time. We love the youth of Victory Baptist Church and try our very best to teach relative, culturally aware lessons to the teens that will help them in their growth as a Christian and leave them with bible knowledge, not just a feel good lesson.

Whenever possible I treat them as equals. Let’s face reality… if you have a room full of teens there is at some point the necessity of saying “If you two don’t knock it off I’m sending you up stairs.” I could probably count on one hand the times I have to say that, for the most part they’re a respectful group of people. They’re also a hoot to hang around. That’s why I have no desire to grow up. Teens keep me in touch with reality. While I’m trying to stay culturally tuned in to what they’re tuning into, I’m also staying culturally aware of what’s dragging them away from the gospel.

Here’s a few misnomers of youth ministry…

Youth don’t want to learn about Jesus

Wrong. Adults don’t want to tell them about Jesus, because most adults are not prepared to answer the questions that might derive from talking about Jesus. Teens are eager to learn about Jesus and are concerned about their future. They’ve heard just enough about end times to make it a very scary issue and one that’s easier to ignore than face the reality of an unsaved existence during those times. What peace they’re afforded when they’re brought up in a church that teaches end time events and the reality of how God takes care of His people.

Youth are too involved in other activities to take the time for church:

Wrong. Parents are too apt to encourage youth to place other activities over church. It also allows them to lay out of church to “support” their children. Yes… I’m a tad bitter.

But I watch as parents will pump thousands of dollars into extracurricular activities in hopes of giving their kids an edge and yet will scoff at a request for a few extra dollars for a youth event at church. Please tell me the percentage of kids who actually use their extracurricular skills post-graduation and I’ll counter that statistic with my own which is – 100% of them will face God in eternity. I win.

I could argue this till the cows come home, but those who need the message are not likely to tune in to www.theJesusChick.com. So why bother right? Because I know there are other youth workers out there who understand when they hear the scripture in Matthew 19:14 ~ But Jesus said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven.”

The disciples were viewing children as a distraction to the ministry… they are the ministry! Sometimes as a youth worker when you’re begging for teachers and ministry help, it almost feels like they look at you as a distraction. Heaven forbid we should disrupt the regularly scheduled service for a good time, and in so doing lead a child to Christ.

This message is for my comrades in the ministry, to help you understand the importance of immature people like me who enjoy telling young people about Jesus. Jesus is still the “funnest” Guy I know. And the opportunity to work with youth who are not jaded by life is one of the greatest experiences and learning opportunities a grown up can have; b

ecause for those few hours we spend in the presence of young people we remember what it was like to love Jesus as He intended.

[contact-form][contact-field label=’Name’ type=’name’ required=’1’/][contact-field label=’Email’ type=’email’ required=’1’/][contact-field label=’Website’ type=’url’/][contact-field label=’Comment’ type=’textarea’ required=’1’/][/contact-form]

Organic Christianity… keeping it real in the youth ministry

Organic Christianity…Something the Pastor said in passing yesterday that has been stuck in my mind and obviously needs to go from pen to paper. Pricey organic foods are all the rage in healthy eating, although for the most part I have to wonder if it’s merely a difference in labeling than foods, and no different than the others on the shelf. I’m not real trusting of marketers. I’m even less trusting of many who share the gospel; one of the many reasons I’m a KJV (King James Version) girl. Just give me the basics. Is that not what organic is… just the basics. No additives or preservatives, its good just like it’s grown!

At a youth leadership meeting yesterday our discussion was around ways to improve the youth ministry, it’s always a subject of debate on ways to engage youth in the service. I was engaged with youth yesterday in the service, my three grandchildren. Curtain climbers that they are… I however was not engaged in the Pastor’s message for the distractions and concerns about the babies distracting others. Children are not born with social graces… it comes in time. I’m not so sure I’ll live that long. Insert grin here.

But the debate is, how do we change how we’re serving the Lord and keep the basics?

Luke 9:34-35; a portion of the scripture of the transfiguration of Christ says “While he thus spake, there came a cloud, and overshadowed them: and they feared as they entered into the cloud. And there came a voice out of the cloud, saying, This is my beloved Son: hear him.”

According to commentary the appearance of Moses and Elijah symbolically represented the law and the prophets. But God’s voice from heaven – “Listen to Him!” – clearly showed that the law and the prophets must give way to Jesus. The One who is the new and living way is replacing the old – He is the fulfillment of the Law and the countless prophecies in the Old Testament. Also, in His glorified form they saw a preview of His coming glorification and enthronement as King of kings and Lord of lords.

The disciples never forgot what happened that day on the mountain when they saw the new Jesus, yet He was still the basic. He was still the same, yet visibly different; God doesn’t change. That’s what I want to see happen in our youth ministry. I want it the same, yet visibly different. I don’t want to get away from the King James Bible, or reverence of God’s house; after all a youth program should be a training ground for servants, not an entertaining ground ~ but there’s nothing wrong with something new! The problem with new is it pushes us out of our comfort zone, but I’m not really the expert on that because I have the personality that embraces “new.” I do however understand that everyone does not, and as a leader I have to be considerate of that and make “new” softer and flexible if I want an excellence in the ministry for which I’ve been called to serve in. Because it’s not about me, it’s about everyone.

Shane Duffy’s definition of excellence in the ministry is found in John 12:24

Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit.

Excellence is giving up something good for yourself to provide something great for someone else. Youth ministry is not for everyone, but it’s for someone. It’s a sacrificial ministry. And there have been times that I have felt as if I was sacrificed on the altar of insanity. It’s those times when people who have not been called to the ministry look at you like your crazy and say… “you want to do what with the kids?” Let me rephrase my statement about the youth ministry not being for everyone. It is for everyone, but in different capacities. If it’s your church you’re either a part of it, a supporter of it, lest you be a hindrance to it. It’s important that there are multiple people with multiple ideas involved else you get someone like me that goes to the extreme.

Perry Noble in a recent leadership podcast said this about extravagance….

Excellence is the overflow of attention and hard work where Extravagance is something you buy so it looks like there was hard work involved. If the average person doesn’t notice the difference, what we’re using becomes a toy, not a tool. We need to makes sure that what we’re using is a tool to reach people for Christ, not a toy to entertain. Spend money on what matters, otherwise it’s extravagance.

I love that! I needed that!

Because I love toys in the ministry. I like shiny things and far too often they’re just attention getters and take my eyes off Christ. If we want something new, it needs to be for the basic concept of drawing young people into a relationship with Christ, and families into to the church. Just the basics… organic, grounded in the gospel Christianity…. With perhaps a side of bling…

Hope this helped you… it sure helped me today!

 

 

 

 

 

When darkness lead to Light

light

Jude 14-15 ~ And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints, To execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against him

As if to say, “What part of ungodly didn’t you understand?”

I feel (and remember that’s how I feel it, not necessarily how it is) that Jude has had it up to here with this ungodliness. He’s reminding the readers of his letter that the Old Testament concealed what the New Testament now revealed, which is that Jesus is coming back. The mockers will have their day in the court of the Lord when they will not stand and criticize and condemn Christianity but will look upon the Maker of Creation and bow before Him confessing He alone is Lord, convinced. Romans 14:11

Arrogance abounds in the world. It’s why it makes it so hard to share the gospel because the gospel is humbling and they want no part of humility. But get us alone and the arrogance seems to melt away. We realize that we are powerless against the forces of darkness and death. I’ve seen no better illustration than on New Year’s Eve when a preacher separated the youth and adults at our event in the auditorium. With about 54 in attendance in an auditorium that seated 500, he strategically placed everyone with several seats between them, and then began his message. All cell phones were off, no friends to rely on or distract us, everyone’s eyes were forward and their ears attentive to the message. And then he goes there… that place no one wants to go… Hell. And just as he begins discussing the outer darkness that Hell will be, the lights in the auditorium go off and the only lights you could see were the “exit” signs above the doors. And after a minute or two of a mixture of the Word of God and awkward silence, the lights were turned back on. Arrogance abated. Now, he really had our attention.

Eleven young souls came to know Jesus that night.

You may think it was a scary time and anyone would get saved under those circumstances. It really wasn’t scary. The entire time of darkness the preacher spoke on the fact that we are in a very controlled environment, the kids got that. There were periods of great laughter and jubilation at the teen event on New Year’s, the youth would no doubt tell you they had a great time But what they also came to understand was that when we get alone with Jesus it’s accountability time… and we got nothin’. And regarding “anyone would get saved under those circumstances; they didn’t. There were a few kids, who when ask if they were unsaved, raised their hands but made no attempt to rectify the matter. Why? Only they know and it’s what frustrates Christian leaders like Jude.

Hell is a real place and darkness alone is not its scariest feature, but the flames of Hell and the separation from God and everyone we know.

My blog today was not a feel good message but a reminder that we’re a lot closer to His return than those of Jude’s day. We need to be spreading that message that Jesus provides

  1. Light in the darkness
  2. A friend that will never leave nor forsake you (even in a dark auditorium)
  3. A promise that will not fail, He’s returning.

I want to make 2014 my year of leadership. Leading unsaved souls to Christ and saints to greater service. Please pray for me and this ministry.

Got a match?

When I was called into the youth ministry many moons ago, I had no idea of the joy that the future would hold. I’ve never understood why anyone would consider working in the youth department a chore… If it is a chore, there is a good chance you’re in the place of someone else’s calling. If some folks treated their careers in the same manner as they treat church they wouldn’t last a week. Someone who showed up for work once every two or three weeks, half hearted, unprepared and with as much excitement as flu shot line would be sent packin’. And yet… the most important job in your life that has eternal ramifications is viewed more as a hobby in many churches. It’s penciled in on the calendar with an eraser on stand by should a more entertaining opportunity become available.

Last night in the Teen Department of Victory Baptist Church we brought out the dry erase board and begin making our 2013 agenda. The kids bubbled with excitement at the possibilities that lie in the future. I must confess that my heart pitter pattered a little bit too when I seen the potential for our ministry to grow and catch on fire. I’m packin’ matches, and I’m going to strike one at every dry piece of wood I find in the youth department. How? I’m going to let every one of the youth know that I care, I’m going to creep on their facebook page (with their permission) and know what’s going on in their lives, the up and downs and in betweens. I’m going to pray with them and for them and let them know how very important they are to me, and more than that… how important they are to God and our ministry.

Wow! I just caught myself on fire! Hold the water… just let me burn!