Guys, life has seriously been the busiest it has been since I left California. And it isn't going to slow down anytime soon. I no longer need to worry about having too much down time, but instead finding time for myself. I had the first of THREE DNows this past weekend and it was fantastic! David Nasser, Jimmy Needham, Canon, and others led us in some awesome worship and fed us some great stuff. This weekend, I'm heading out of town again for another youth event called Ekklessia. Can't wait to tell you guys more about these. But, for now, I need to get something out that has been on my heart.
There is something special about DNows (Disciple Nows). I loved being a part of them when I was a youth in high school and I'm honored to still be a part of them now as an adult. (That's weird to say, really I just feel like a big kid hopefully saying all the right stuff that God is speaking to me.) If the Lord does bless me with a family one day, I pray for the day when my kids take part in a DNow and I can open my house to be a host home.
I love being around youth, not because they keep me feeling young (That is already established when I constantly get asked whether I need a wristband. The count from this past weekend? Three times.). And not because I get to hear some awesome speakers and worship to some great music. But, because youth have something to say.
They have a lot going on.
There is so much going on in their lives and often times they feel like they have no one to speak to.
Sometimes it can be easy for someone to come in that they don't know, like me, and be that person they can spill everything too. It's like they think they will never see me again, so it's easy to spill their guts and get some quick advice.
Little do they know that I like to keep in touch.
I'm not just there for the weekend.
When I was in high school, I had an older, female friend that I greatly looked up to. I can remember sitting with her after church or at her house, talking about what went on at school, in youth that night, what Bible Study we should do next, boys, mission trips, life. She has been one of the biggest influences in my life, partly because she was just there. Because she included me, because she listened to me, because she spoke truth to me.
Everybody should have a person like that in their life.
I want to be that person for someone.
I aim to be that person for the teenagers around me.
The message this past weekend was one of beauty, redemption, and worth.
Here's another reason I love youth events. Although the message is primarily for teenagers, God will use it to speak to my heart too. It's often a reminder that I need myself.
So much stuff is thrown in our faces daily telling us that we aren't good enough, teenagers especially. We all know of the issues that tell us we aren't thin enough, beautiful enough, strong enough, smart enough, worth enough. It's seen in magazines, on TV, heard on the radio, and all over our favorite social media.
Dr. Joe Savage completely turned this around for us this past weekend. He reminded us of our worth and that we were created for a reason. That we were created in God's image and He said that it was very good! He reminded us that we have great value. That even though we are broken and sinful people, we still have value!
God didn't leave us broken.
He has restored us!
And because He has restored us, we can open the gifts that He gives us. We can enter Heaven and go before God because of who Christ is and what He did for us. We don't have to believe the lies that are thrown at us. We can throw them away and turn instead to the truth that God speaks over us!
We can believe that we are blessed, chosen, redeemed, and living.
Which is exactly what we have been studying at my church on Sunday mornings in regards to the Church.
It's really funny the way that God works. I mean sometimes, you just have to laugh about it and give it to Him. He really does know what He is doing.
The youth from my church didn't go to the last morning of the conference, because we had to be back at our Church Sunday morning. (Our interim youth leader is also our minister of music.) And I can't honestly say whether they listened well or not, but if they were, they would know that the sermon we heard that Sunday morning was the best way to end the weekend. At least, for me it was.
We are studying Ephesians on Sunday morning and have been learning about how the Church is blessed, chosen, redeemed, and living. This past Sunday was talk of the living church.
And let me just tell you, it was full of conviction and one that requires a response.
Because we are Christians, and we are the Church, we are blessed, chosen, redeemed, and living. There are certain characteristics that we should bear as believers that set us apart from others. One is our love for one another, as believers, and others, who aren't believers. Our love for others is one of the distinguishing marks of a Christian. This is what God is all about after all, because He is love! One of our small group sessions this past weekend was on what our brand-marks for Christ are, what shows others that we are Christians.
As Christians, we also have a spirit of wisdom and revelation. My pastor said this, "there is no reason for us to sit on something that the Lord has given us." Here is what Dr. Savage told us this past weekend, "Look to the Creator to see what He wants us to do in life." The greatness of God is incomparable to anything else, but we have hope in the things we are called to and having a spirit of wisdom and revelation helps us understand His riches. Guys, we may not know exactly what we want to do for the rest of our life, but God already knows. I'm still figuring out His will for my life daily.
Another characteristic is our faith in Christ. Our faith is a saving faith, a serving faith, and a sharing faith. That last one is the one that struck me the most. Here is what my pastor said: "we have to share this news or we are not doing right."
What is something that I confessed to the youth this past weekend? That I run away from opportunities to tell others about Christ.
You read that right.
I run away from opportunities to share the Gospel with people.
Guys, that was the biggest thing God revealed to me this past weekend. As a Christian, as a part of the Church, I am blessed, I have been chosen, I am redeemed, and I am living. The same power that rose Christ from the dead, is alive in me.
But, am I really living if I'm not sharing the beauty of the Lord and what He did for me, for all of us, with others?
This post is already longer that what I expected it to be and all over the place. So, I'm going to stop here for today. But, be on the lookout for more in the coming days. Don't worry, those will be a little more organized. :)
The same power that rose Christ from the dead, is in me. God has not held that back from us as believers. Our faith is a sharing faith that cannot be held back. There is no reason, no excuse, for us to hold back on the greatness of God and what He has done in our lives. So, why then, do I continue to not share the Gospel with those around me?
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