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I HAVE BEEN WORKING WITH YOUNG PEOPLE FOR YEARS NOW IN SOME CAPACITY OR ANOTHER. OVER TIME, IT TENDS TO OFFER PERSPECTIVE. IN EARLY YEARS, IT WAS AS A STAY AT HOME MOM. MAINLY OVERSEEING ACTIVITIES, KEEPING KIDS ALIVE AND FED AND TEACHING MUCH NEEDED MORAL VALUES. LATER, I BECAME A TEACHER AND ALTHOUGH THE ABOVE MENTIONED WERE STILL PART OF MY DUTIES, ADDED TO THEM WERE, COUNSELING, READING, WRITING, HISTORY, TIME MANAGEMENT, PROCESSING AND APPLICATION SKILLS.
AS I ADDED TO MY TITLE, COACH/VOLUNTEER YOUTH LEADER, I ADDED EVEN MORE TOOLS TO MY BELT AND GAINED MORE PERSPECTIVE. I LEARNED DIFFERENT THINGS DURING THIS TIME, BECAUSE IN THESE ROLES IT ALLOWED FOR MORE ONE ON ONE AND INTIMATE SETTINGS, SUCH AS SMALL GROUPS, CAR RIDES AND LATE NIGHT TALKS.
I LEARNED THAT YOUNG PEOPLE HAVE MORE GOING ON THEIR HEARTS AND MINDS THAN WE EVER GIVE THEM CREDIT FOR. I LEARNED THAT THEY HAVE STRONG OPINIONS THAT NEED GUIDED AND THAT THEY NEED LOVE. I SAW THAT THEY ARE CONSTANTLY PROCESSING WHAT THEY SEE THEIR PARENTS DO, WHAT THEIR PEERS DO, WHAT THEY SEE SOCIETY DO AND WHAT THEY SEE THE CHURCH DO.
NOW IN MY ROLE AT LCI, I HAVE A VERY INTERESTING SEAT WHERE I AM GIVEN YET ANOTHER VIEW INTO THESE BEAUTIFUL MINDS AND HEARTS. I SEE PASSION LIKE NEVER BEFORE. I SEE YOUNG ADULTS THAT ARE SO IN TUNE WITH THE WORLD AROUND THEM THAT THEY EITHER COME PASSIONATE ABOUT HOW THEY CAN ADD TO THE GOOD THEY SEE, OR THEY FALL PREY TO IT'S LURE OF DANGEROUS AND INTOXICATING PROMISES THAT LEAVE THEM EMPTY.
I SEE THEM WAKING UP TO FIND THEMSELVES IN UNFULFILLING CAREERS AND MARRIAGES THEY WEREN'T READY FOR. I SEE THEM TRYING TO TAME THE BEAST OF SELF INDULGENCE WITH MORE THINGS THAT TRY AND FILL THE GOD SIZED HOLE IN THEIR HEART. THEY LOOK TO DRUGS, ALCOHOL, SHOPPING, SCROLLING SOCIAL MEDIA, DREAMING OF PINTEREST PARTIES, INSTAGRAM BODIES AND LIFESTYLES THAT AGAIN, PROMISE MORE THAN THEY CAN DELIVER. (DISCLAIMER: I'M NOT PROMOTING OR JUDGING AGAINST ANY OF THE ABOVE...JUST STATING THEY CAN BECOME IDOLS).
I AM ABSOLUTELY AMAZED BY THE TRANSFORMATIONS I SEE COMING OUT OF DISCIPLESHIP PROGRAMS SUCH AS THE ONE YWAM (YOUTH WITH A MISSION) OFFERS. BECAUSE OF THIS, I CAN'T HELP BUT THINK ABOUT HOW I CAN IMPROVE MY ROLE AND STEP UP MY GAME AS FAR AS HOW I CAN ASSIST THIS MOVEMENT.
THERE ARE TWO CLEAR GROUPS THAT I HAVE SEEN RISING AMONG YOUNG ADULTS. ONE IS A CROWD THAT IS SEEMINGLY IN A TRANCE. THEY ARE FOLLOWING PEOPLE AND TRENDS THAT PROMOTE SELF FOCUS, ISOLATION AND INTOLLERANCE. ONCE IS A CROWD LEARNING TO HEAR GOD'S VOICE AND THEN WAITING ON HIM TO LEAD THEM TOWARDS SELFLESS LOVE, SERVICE, COMMUNITY AND COMPASSION.
CONCERNING THE LATTER GROUP, I'VE BEEN AMAZED AT WHAT I AM SEEING. I SEE PEOPLE THAT WERE REALLY BROKEN, BECOME HEALED IN A WAY THAT I'VE NEVER SEEN A REHAB OR COUNSELING CENTER DO. I'VE SEEN YOUNG PEOPLE THAT HAD BEEN RUDE AND DISMISSIVE, BECOME KIND AND INCLUSIVE. I KNOW YOU KNOW IT'S RARE AT THIS AGE TO SEE SELFLESSNESS. WE DON'T TEND TO GROW OUT OF THAT FOR YEARS. GENERALLY AS YOUNG ADULTS, WE ARE CHOOSING OUR CAREERS FOR OUR OWN SELFISH AMBITIONS, GOING TO MOVIES/SHOPPING/OUT TO EAT FOR SELF FULFILLMENT, PLANNING A FAMILY, BUYING A HOUSE, A CAR, TAKING ENDLESS VACATIONS ALL FOR SELF-FULFILLING REASONS. GIVING AND SERVING RARELY ENTERING THEIR THOUGHTS, BUT FOR A FEW BOXES OF GIRL SCOUT COOKIES. EVEN ATTENDING CHURCH IS DONE WITH A CONSUMER MENTALITY.
NOW I AM SEEING YOUNG PEOPLE MAKE CAREER CHOICES AFTER MUCH PRAYER AND DISCERNMENT, CHOOSE HUSBANDS/WIVES IN THE SAME WAY, CONSIDER ADOPTION FROM 3RD WORLD OR LOCAL AGENCIES, BUY HOUSES WITH THE PLAN OF HOW THEY CAN BEST LOVE/SERVE THEIR NEIGHBORS AND NOT ONLY JOIN CHURCHES, BUT FLOURISH AT THEM. THEY ARE JOINING SMALL GROUPS, LEADING THEM, VOLUNTEERING, GIVING, SENDING AND SERVING.
HOW CAN WE HELP THIS MOVEMENT CONTINUE? HOW CAN WE CONTINUE TO SEE SEEDS SOWN, FLOURISH, GROW AND SPREAD? I SEE SEVERAL WAYS TO FORWARD THIS NEW AND PROMISING MOVEMENT TOWARD GOD.
WE CAN ENCOURAGE AND CHEER ON THOSE HEADING THE RIGHT WAY. WE CAN FINANCIALLY SUPPORT THOSE THAT HAVE CHOSEN TO HEAD INTO MISSIONS TEMPORARILY OR PERMANENTLY, AND WE CAN ENCOURAGE OTHER PARENTS, GRANDPARENTS AND ADULTS TO DO THE SAME. I THINK WE UNDERESTIMATE THE IMPACT WE CAN HAVE, DOING SEEMINGLY SMALL THINGS.
THAT SAID, I CHALLENGE EACH OF YOU TO DO THE ABOVE TODAY AND EVERYDAY. ENCOURAGE YOUNG ADULTS WHO ARE CHOOSING FOR THE GOOD AND LOVE THE ONES THAT ARE STRUGGLING TO FIND THEIR WAY. WHATEVER YOU DO, DO NOT WRITE OFF THE STRUGGLERS. THEY WILL FIND THEIR WAY. JUST KEEP SOWING THE SEEDS OF LOVE AND THEY'LL ALL MAKE THEIR WAY THERE. LOVE, NOT JUDGMENT OR BELITTLEMENT WILL LEAD TO GOD. AMEN.
Here’s the thing. That’s where satan wants us. He want us to believe that there is nothing more to do, he wants us to believe there is no hope and that there are just some that we are going to lose. We can get caught believing it because we’ve seen it happen. We’ve seen some that we’ve seemingly lost. BUT…where I am at right now, I refuse to believe those lies. Because THAT is what they are, lies.
We KNOW that in Christ, there is hope. We KNOW there is freedom. We KNOW that he can and will BREAK THE CHAINS. How do we know this? Because he says so. Let’s just go into scripture and stand on these promises now together. I would really like to take a minute in this blog and collectively pray for not only this young girl, but for all our kids that are lost and struggling. Because if we believe what we say we do, then we KNOW the power that is in your word.
“Lip service to God doesn’t change lives or nations.” Loren Cunningham (The Book that transforms Nations)
Why is it such a big deal to read our Bibles? The question can be asked to everyone, but it will be very telling how we come back at it and from what perspective. To cut to the quick, the obvious question needs to be posed. Do we believe that the Bible is God inspired, that it is His word? If the answer is no, then it would become clear why we have no interest in investigating any further, which is ok and leads to other discussions. But if the answer is yes, then the sequential question would then be, why aren’t we reading it?
Now I have never been engaged, but recently I finished a devotional about pursuing God. There was one day of this devotional that I had an epiphany over!
We are the bride of Christ. When we pass and go to heaven, it’s our marriage day to Jesus. This is the epiphany, so while we are on earth, we are in our engagement phase of our relationship with God. We need to look at our relationship with God as a big engagement in the steps of getting married.
Now I’m preaching to myself here. I have not been living as though I was engaged to God. I pushed him to the side and let someone else take his place. But after reading that, it really hit home for me. I don’t think when you’re engaged to someone that you don’t want to spend time with them or include them in your life, that would make for one awkward marriage. While here on earth, we need to act as though we are in our engagement to God. Invite him in your every day things. Include him when you go out or are spending time alone. The great thing about God is that he doesn’t force himself on us or in our life, he wants to be invited in.
So start pursuing God and enjoy your engagement to Him!
The Pursuit Devotional :click on the link to check out the devotional!
Returning from my mission in Thailand, I sit here in awe, trying to process just how amazing it really was. People have asked me to put it in words. And each time I try, I simply can’t. There are few words that I can use, but they all fall short of what I really experienced. As I try and reflect upon all the incredible things God showed me, the thing I felt most connected to was the indescribable joy that comes out of authentic relationship with others. I saw here a people that longed to love. Longed for relationship. I had the privilege to meet an authentic and raw people. People who have wronged and been wronged. But no matter the circumstances, no matter the pain, all were connected through love. We were not meant to go though this alone, we were called to love God and love each other. And when you have relationship with the almighty creator, your heart will be softened to experience the love that we were intended to feel. One of the biggest things God has revealed to me recently is that love has no language barrier. No matter if you are in Thailand, Africa or a local coffee shop, Love is universal. No words required. A force that though only an almighty God can we attain it’s authenticity at full. Every day is OUR mission, now go and spread love to all nations!
We often think of the enemy as Hollywood has characterized him as. An ugly guy with red horns. But that isn’t how he is. He can be something so beautiful that will make people think “Could this be from God?”. He’s the father of lies (John 8:44) and by looking beautiful is how he tricks us. I’m speaking from experience here. I have learned a lot more than I have ever before. It is so important to back everything up with scriptures to not fall into the same messy pit as I just came out of.
Two months before my last YWAM trip, I met someone. In my eyes, he could have been sent from God to me and I honestly believed it. I thought I saw the red-flags but I really didn’t. I ignored them and tried to justify them or even make excuses for them. I was so enticed by this person that I let it drive friends away and even put a wedge between my family. I started to backtrack from all the progress I made with God. I started to lie and become someone I was never suppose to be. I turned into someone completely other than me. I wasn’t following God or being who He called me to be, and I had put Him on the back burner. I was trying to be my own god. Even on the YWAM trip, many told me that this person could not possibly be what God wanted for me, but I didn’t listen. Instead, I would get angry and ignore their words. The grip that the enemy had on me, everyone could see but me. Hindsight is 20-20, right?
In the last blog, I wrote about the first two and a half weeks of outreach. Now let me tell you about this past two weeks!
It was the people.
God didn’t call me to YWAM Tyler because he thought I would enjoy the base. He didn’t send me there because he knew I wouldn’t like it.
He sent me there because he knew the hearts that were already there and he knew that those hearts were what I needed I my life.