Don’t Ever Think Youthfulness is being Useless!

Street Art East LondonMany of the traditions or situations that we organize can cause young people to think that they are second-rate citizens. Whether it’s the “kids table” at Thanksgiving dinner or the youth section at the football game or even youth swim in the neighborhood pool. Young people can begin to think that they are being pushed aside and made to feel useless by the older generation.

I remember those years of being a youth myself, my music preference or the way I communicate or even some of the crazy fads earned me a hour long unsolicited speech many times. I am sure you’ve earned that same talk sometime in your life. It starts something like this, “when I was your age we” or “I walked up hill in a foot of

The enemy is more convinced than many believers, that our greatest potential is our young people.     (tweet)

snow to go to school”. There is such a generation gap that if misinterpreted young people can feel that they are not appreciated or needed. But God thinks otherwise!

Reading young Jeremiah’s calling, in the book that bears his own name, we read in Jer 1:5 “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you; Before you were born I sanctified you; I ordained you a prophet to the nations.” God lets this young man who is probably in his teens, know that there’s a specific plan for his life. The creator of the universe knew him before he was born! This incredible visitation doesn’t stop there, but goes on to command and commission this young man to fulfill God’s purpose. Not when he is retired and an empty nester, but right then and now!

The requirement to do great things for God is not that you have to be old and have nothing else to do. But we read in Dan 11:31 that those that know their God and

It’s time to release young people into their God given destiny!   (tweet)

are faithful to Him will resist the enemy and do great things for God. Paul exhorts the church in Philippi to grab on to the reason that God has laid hold of you in Phil 3:12. Paul doesn’t give any age requirements to them at all. On the contrary in his letter to young Timothy he says in 1 Tim 4:12, 14, “Let no one despise your youth, but be an example to the believers… Do not neglect the gift that is in you”. God has a huge plan for young people! Young people are not so tide down and entangled with debt, raising families and building careers. Not that those things are wrong by any sense of the imaginations. It’s just that, to often, as we get older and assume more responsibilities we loose flexibility and time to be whole heartily used by God.

The enemy is more convinced than many believers are of the great potential in our young people. The communist philosophy says, …if you can win the youth you can win a generation. The world will always have a larger youth group than the church because they spare no expense for it. With the Coming of computers and web based learning, children leave behind toys at younger and younger age. Many major toy companies have now lowered their target market to much younger ages to combat the KOGY age (kids growing older younger).

Lets embrace our biggest resource that we have in the church. Our young people! It’s time to release them into their God given destiny! The older and the younger generations need to work together hand in hand to accomplishing God’s plan in the earth. We need each other!

Who really Cares if I can’t Fit into Skinny Jeans Anyway?

dv1560020The incoming tide in church growth seminars and articles circulating seem to be insinuating that the older generation needs to throw in the towel and move aside for the younger. The words not relevant, out of date, and even old fashion seem to be push buttons in the realm of the “Church Growth World”.

Many older individuals feel their being moved out as if it’s over for them. Possibly, like the 77-year-old Mississippi man who supposedly was dead, but comes back to life in a claustrophobic body bag! That’s scary to say the least. And I can’t even begin to think what the funeral home worker must have thought when the body in the bag began to thrash around as he was moving it to the embalming room. Doctors, County Coroner and family were thinking they were going to bury this man, but God evidently wasn’t finished with him yet.

Don’t pack my office and spend your inheritance quite yet. I am still here!  (tweet)

I myself might be getting slower and at times maybe even get in a rut, but the reality is that I’m just now figuring things out. I have gone from being a cool and almost crazy youth pastor who thought I knew everything, to becoming a little older with less hair and a little more weight, but definitely a lot more knowledge and wisdom.

Most of my close colleagues seem to be saying the same thing. We spend much of our years doing what someone else has told us to do, such as, professors, board members and disgruntle church people, who have never actually done it themselves. Then, on top of that we stumble through our own mistakes to finally reach our prime in life only for those same people to say, “it’s time to get out of the way for the younger generation”!

I know there are some outstanding young ministers around that have some amazing churches and ministries. I’m totally for them and possibly their biggest cheerleader. Yes they are probably more relevant and cooler then I am, but please don’t put me out to pasture. I might be old but I’ am not dead!

Sinking to the depths of misery I cried out in prayer… “God, are you done with me?” Then out of that dark pit of despair came from heaven a loving reminder of so many “giants of faith” in the scripture! Moses who just started to accomplish God’s calling at eighty years and lets not leave out Caleb who still had a fight in him at that same age. How about John on the island of Patmos and Daniel when they received their visitations and encounters from God? Can you say really old? Even Paul lived a long and incredibly productive life impacting generations down through history.

I totally understand mentoring and raising up the next generation, but “whoa Nellie”! I am not dead! Don’t pack my office and spend your inheritance quite yet.

Please don’t put me out to pasture. I might be old but I’ am not dead   (tweet)

I actually believe I might have finally gotten to a place in my life where I can be more effective. I am more relaxed, more confident and not so influenced by every bandwagon that comes down the pike. I think I will stay around for a bit longer and not let my society go down the drain just because there are some trying to be more like the world inside the church. I have decided a little gray in my hair looks good and who really cares if I can’t fit into skinny jeans anyway?

A Lad with a Bag

brown bag

Can you picture in your mind God using a sack lunch that a mother made to meet the hunger of a multitude? Well, in John 6:8- 14, we read the story of the young lad who has five barley loaves and two small fish. When Jesus wanted to feed the multitude of five thousand people He used the lad’s lunch..

As I think and picture in my mind this extraordinary event I am humbled as a parent. Many times over the course of our children’s school journey I have made some lunches for them. So the question might be…were those lunches that I made worthy of the Son of God using them to touch the multitudes? That’s an Interesting thought?

I know the deeper message is not what the lunch was made of but, that it was something that God was able to use. Even so, scripture does make a notable mention of what the young lad had in his sack. It was a willing and surrendered heart that God was able to use. I strongly believe that the bread and fish were something made for him or given to him by his parent(s). So let me ask you , what are you giving your young person that they might give for God’s use?  Is it junk food, or snacks? It’s hard for me to visualize Jesus using and multiplying a Twinkie and Big Mac to touch many people.

As parents maybe we need to look at teaching our young people with that in Mind.  What are we giving to them that is profitable for God’s use. If we give them the things that are really eternally beneficial, such as, a desire to hear Jesus, the encouragement to seek the things of God,  the tools and supplies that will sustain them while there, and the willingness to use it for God’s use. Then and only then, I believe we are investing in our young people to be used by God to do great miracles that will touch many lives.

In other words, let’s send with our youth the things that they need to be used in God’s daily plan. God wants to use them in His miracles!