Enjoying the Journey

Last night I finished preaching in another youth conference. These are special meetings and more needed than ever. It was a privilege to have our daughter Morgan with me on this trip. Having teenagers of your own changes your whole perspective! As I looked at a sea of faces last night, hundreds of young men and young women, I was reminded of something very important – This is our generation to reach and teach for Christ. Fifteen years ago I had a sermon that I preached to young people entitled “This Is My Generation.” At the time, I was part of the same generation as those I was preaching to. I am a little older now and the young generation is now…

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You can learn a lot from a child.  Sometimes those we are teaching become our teachers.  This happened to me again recently.  As I walked through a certain place I heard the voice of a young man singing a great hymn.  Not just singing it…singing every word…with abandon! Suddenly so many things were clear.  This young boy has parents who love the Lord.  He is being raised in a church where the great hymns of the faith are being sung.  Now he loves them too. Young people love old hymns.  Many churches today have followed the assumption that kids only want “new music.”  In fact, they want something that is real.  They want truth.  It doesn’t have to be new…

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It is my privilege to work each week with hundreds of middle school, high school, and college age young people.  It is fascinating that the older I get the younger they seem!  Not long ago (in my mind) I sat where they sit.  Making decisions and seeking direction. Recently I spent several days just meeting with kids, listening, talking, praying.  Full of hope for their future, every one of them is in the middle of a season of decision.  Decisions that will alter the course of their life.  Perhaps I am more concerned than they are because I have seen so many poor choices and sad casualties. Meeting after meeting it seemed that the conversation returned again and again to…

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The youth rally is not the entire youth ministry, but it is a component part. Like summer camp or Vacation Bible School it serves as an emphasis on the things you are trying to teach young people every week. Most people believe that if you have pizza, interesting props, and prizes to give away you have all this is needed for a good youth rally. There should be much more! I am in youth rallies frequently and have seen many rallies done well and a few that were not as effective as they could have been. Here are a few suggestions… Determine the purpose of the youth rally. What are you rallying them to? Determine the destination early. Is it…

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Questions are opportunities to teach.  God gave explicit instructions to Israel about what to say when your children ask (Deuteronomy 6:20-25).  And ask they will!  All of us who have young people in our homes are well acquainted with the question, “Why?”  It is the way we answer that determines the outcome. Recently I allowed the young people in our Academy to submit anonymously questions that have troubled them.  I was overwhelmed by the response.  Sincere questions and concerns.  Some doctrinal, some personal – family, eternity, morality, God, the Bible, and relationships.  We have since tried to schedule chapel speakers who could address specific topics that are on their minds. Questions cannot be ignored.  In fact, they should be encouraged.…

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As I sit in my study at home there are two pictures of my parents on the desk in front of me.  One is a photograph taken on the night that I graduated from high school.  It is hard to believe that I will soon be the age that they were then.  This picture is the way they are indelibly impressed on my mind.  Time has moved on, but some things do not change. The other picture is a recent photograph taken of mom and dad.  They have aged very little through the years but my appreciation for them has grown more than I could ever express.  Children are in so many ways a product of their parents influence.  All…

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It is my privilege to speak to young people on a regular basis.  I have to admit that they are my favorite group to preach to!  You always know where you stand with teenagers.  My heart is always stirred as I look into their faces and consider the potential in every one of their young lives. More and more as I look into the eyes of Christian young people I see a sense of apathy.  Resignation.  Defeat. Could it be that the enemy has successfully convinced an entire generation that their world is too far gone?  Their lives too insignificant to impact 7 billion people?  The condition too bad for them to make a difference? The devil is a liar.…

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“A prudent wife is from the Lord.”  This verse means more to me the longer I am married.  Tammy and I were driving along in the car recently.  The kids were strangely quiet in the back seat and we were talking.  About nothing.  About everything. I really don’t remember how we came to the topic but she began to talk about how much she appreciated all that her parents had instilled in her.  They were saved when she was just a little girl and had worked hard to teach her and her siblings that the world held nothing for them.  The scars of sin were not worth the pleasure of sin.  With emotion she said to me, “People without God…

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For the last twenty years I have had the joy to be involved in youth ministry in some way.  It is the passion of my life to point another generation to the Lord Jesus and His truth.  I am more convinced than I have ever been that this is a critical ministry of the local church.  It is not just the work of youth pastors and “professionals.”  It is the mission of every older man and older woman who desires to impart God’s truth to the next generation (Titus 2). Youth ministry is not “ministry light.”  There is nothing light about it.  This is serious business.  It is work and warfare. Youth ministry is at the front lines of Satanic…

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Frequently I have said to youth workers that the key to connecting with young people is simple: BE ENTHUSIASTIC!  Not the fake, plastic “put on” that often passes as a cheap substitute, but the heart felt thrill of pointing people to the Lord. Many years ago I was driving to speak at a youth rally on a Friday evening.  A young man who was a student at Crown College was along for the ride.  As we neared our destination he asked me a question that I have never forgotten.  He said, “I know that it is easy to be energized and excited when you show up to speak to a big crowd of young people.  But how do you stay…

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