Enjoying the Journey

We are all concerned about the direction of our communities and our country. It is easy to spend all of our time listening to the commentators and talking about how wicked the world has become. God’s people have a work to do – the one work that can truly make a difference. Only the gospel of Christ can change hearts and homes. All people need the gospel. My pastor often said, “You can’t witness to the wrong person!” People of every age and background need the Lord Jesus. Yet in many ways the heat of the battle for souls is to be found among young people. As go the young people so goes another generation. Satan knows this. Adolph Hitler…

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Recently a precious friend introduced me as “a young preacher.” I love those words. In fact, I am now at the age where I want to hang onto them as long as possible! As a younger preacher I am increasingly aware of the investment that older men have made in my life. All of us are building on foundations that have been laid by the generation before us. Sadly, many in my generation have decided that they do not need the instruction and influence of older men. You know the reason: “It’s a generation gap.” Perhaps technology and the rise of new mediums of communication have contributed to this gap. Or perhaps the enemy has planted the seed and we…

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A fellow preacher and personal friend asked me recently how I believed we could do a better job of retaining young people in our churches. It is a problem of epidemic proportions. The vast majority of young people are exiting the local church by the time they are eighteen. For many years I said to prospective youth workers that we must get young people connected to more than the youth group. It is my conviction that, as early in life as possible, young people must find their place in the church. It must be their church. The pastor must be their pastor. And some work for the Lord must be their ministry. This cannot begin when they graduate from high…

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Our culture is obsessed with the ability, beauty, and virility of youth. Somehow in all of this obsession we have forgotten the wisdom of age. Young people miss the examples of parents and grandparents. Young couples fail to draw from the experience of more mature married couples. Young ministers often reject the insight of seasoned pastors. The mantra is the same, “They are from another generation…they wouldn’t understand.” This is a lie of the devil. Listen to the words of Scripture… “Remember the days of old, consider the years of many generations: ask thy father, and he will shew thee; thy elders, and they will tell thee” (Deuteronomy 32:7). “With the ancient is wisdom; and in length of days understanding”…

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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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Every generation requires true men of God who carry on the work of the Lord in the power of the Holy Spirit.   An entry in the journal of Henry Martyn reads, “Let me be taught that the first great business on earth is the sanctification of my own soul.”  George Muller said, “The first great and primary business to which I ought to attend every day was to have my soul happy in the Lord.” The first realization of ministry must be that we do not have the needed resources apart from a daily, vital relationship with Jesus Christ.  David Livingstone wrote, near the end of his life, of his relationship with the Lord: “He is the greatest master I…

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