Tag Archives: Impacting the next generation

This Generation Needs the Truth

The longer I am in youth ministry, the more I realize how much this generation needs to be reminded of the truth of the Gospel.Picture3The Gospel…

A Gospel that tells them they are loved.  Not just a little bit of love – but love that would send an innocent man to His death…for them!  That they are worth dying for!  A love that does not change – nothing they can do can lose any of God’s love and earn any more…it is perfect!

A Gospel that tells them they have hope.  Even with the bullying, with the feelings of loneliness, the difficulties in their academics…there is hope.  Philippians 3:20 says our citizenship is in heaven…we are just visiting this world that is full of sin & destruction…there is so much hope that awaits you.

A Gospel that tells them they have a purpose.  Their purpose is to spread this GREAT NEWS.  They have a voice, they have something to share, they have the key to LIFE…which leads us to our passage.  Read I Timothy 6:19-21.

Remember these two verbs from this passage:  Pursue & Avoid

Pursue:  Check out the end of verse 19 – “TRULY LIFE”

First, little background/context here – this is a the end of a message Paul was giving to the rich – not to care so much about earthly treasures…but to care about the eternal.  Live for what truly matters – “take hold of that which is truly life” – How?  Pursue the eternal.  There is so much out there for this generation to hold onto…just hoping it will bring them LIFE.

They are out there searching – hoping life has so much more.  Thinking…this can’t be all there is…emptiness just filling their souls.  Like they are hanging on the edge of a cliff and reaching for something…anything to save them.  But they keep grabbing for things that don’t hold up, sending them further down the cliff.

Pursue LIFE.  Eternal life.  Let me ask you this:  Do we give this example to this coming generation?  When we show them – the Christian life – it’s where it’s at!  This is THE life!  According to Pew Research – Rise of the Nones (those with NO religious affiliation) that is growing in this country – Most given reason for breaking off w/ religion they were raised in because…they become disenchanted.  They were disappointed in Christianity!  Why?  Could it be we aren’t living like this is the ONLY way?  We live like there are other options.  Is it worth it to us?  Worth dying for?  Is it THE LIFE?  OR Do we live boring, risk-free, non-committal Christian lives?  Is it any wonder this generation is saying no thanks?

The Christian life is HARD, takes sacrifice, will produce persecution…it better be WORTH IT!  Does our life, our passions, our speech, our actions…do they prove to our children that the Christian life is worth it?

This is how we pursue – 5 steps

  1. We talk about God in our home – According to the College Transition Project – 1in 8 teens talk to their moms and 1 in 20 to their dads about faith in their lives.
  2. Serve Together – Let’s drop off cookies at the neighbors together, come paint VBS sets together, and visit the elderly together…and then get ice cream after. Ok?
  3. Church is a priority – Not in a legalistic way…but in a “We love the Bride of Christ” kind of way…and we WANT to be there to learn, serve, and worship.
  4. Share your faith – Not just daddy or mommy…but all of us share. In our schools, our jobs, our ball teams, our band concerts our neighborhoods…LIFE of faith.
  5. Love Others – Jesus said “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” Love others, love the lost…and prove it by your actions.

Avoid

End of verse 20 reminds me of:

  1. The philosophy professor at the secular college that wishes to disprove religion
  2. The rants of the atheists in our media aimed to humiliate anyone that believes in a higher power
  3. The theory that many call “science” claims the world was formed by a big bang & the existence of the universe was result of millions of years of chance

The world will call this knowledge – it is false – and our children need to hear the truth from us.  Avoid pointless arguments that get you nowhere…instead live by faith, share about what faith has done in your life, and love others – these are hard to argue.  We fight on FB – when we should offer a conversation at a coffee shopWe badmouth a child’s friend – when we should invite their parents out to breakfastWe get worked up in politics when we should be on our knees in prayer

What we want for our kids – verse 20…so we can do all we can to avoid verse 21.  The minute we water down the Gospel at our church or in our home – is the moment we fail.  We fail our Savior, we fail our responsibility, & we fail our children.  We guard the Gospel and avoid false teaching in our homes – with the hope of them staying firm in their faith.  Is this full-proof, money back guaranteed?  Not in this fallen world…but…  The more you talk about God in your home, protect the truth, and live it out…the greater the chance this coming generation will follow and stay firm in their faith.Picture2

Listen to the entire sermon here (9/4/2016)

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Double Book Review: Visit the Sick & Impacting the Next Generation

Book:  Visit the Sick, by Brian Croft.Visit_the_sick

The Good.  I may surprise you with this statement, but I have never underlined more in a book than this little book.  I’m serious.  I learned so much about the ministry of visiting the sick.  Maybe it is because this does not come naturally to me.  Maybe you go to a hospital, and it is your element.  It doesn’t matter if it is a heart attack or a broken leg, you know what to do, what Scripture to read, and what to say in your prayer.  Or maybe you are more like me, and you could use some help in these areas.  Well, this book goes above and beyond the call of duty to help you visit the sick.

The Bad.  The only thing this book is missing is a CD where you can print off the appendix materials.  Or maybe a small printable bookmark/pamphlet you could put inside your Bible to help with visiting the sick.

The Grade:  A+.  That’s right, a perfect grade.  Maybe because it was just what the doctor ordered (get it?).  But mostly because it provides a perfect balance of practical and Biblical advice on how to visit the sick.  Every pastor should read this book.  As a youth pastor, I don’t have as many hospital visits as other pastors, but when I do, I want to have an impact on a hurting individual, I want to bring the gospel to room 221, I want to lift up someone’s broken spirit…well, I learned “I” can’t do those things.  But God can through me, and this book will help you accomplish those things.

 

Book:  Impacting the Next Generation, by Mel Walker.impactingthenextgeneration

The Good.  Where was this book 6 years ago when I started in youth ministry?  Seriously.  These are lessons I had to learn the hard way.  I found myself saying “Now you tell me” many times as I read.  Not your fault Mel!  But realy, this book provides practical ways to truly impacting young people in the short time you have them in your ministry.  Another good is each point is taken directly from Scripture.  I’m a big proponent of the line of thinking – if you are going to convince me to implement something in the ministry I serve, it better be supported in God’s Word.  And each point had that backing.  Well done.

The Bad.  I’m the kind of guy that enjoys personal stories.  There was some ministry stories within the book, but would have enjoyed more.  The 2 Timothy 2:22 principles were repeated several times, and could  have been consolidated in one section…but maybe that was the author’s point – that this verse is pretty important.

The Grade:  A.  Like Staples has an easy button, I needed an “Amen” button for this book.  This is how I do or want to do youth ministry.  I loved the points and was totally on board with the practical applications of Scripture.  In my opinion, this must be in the hands of every youth pastor, especially those beginning their first ministry.

**Special Note from the Author Mel Walker:  If any of your readers would like a copy of “Impacting the Next Generation” – they can get copies from me for only $5. Take a look at: http://www.intergenerationalyouthministry.com.

 

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