My friend, the awesome and amazing Heather Morgan and I are starting to do a Bible study together on Monday nights. As luck would have it, this week she is in the hospital, but we plan to do our Bible study via phone or maybe I will go visit her tomorrow morning. For now our study will be Romans and fresh from the gate, Paul has some harsh words about how many people have given themselves over to depravity.
The truth is while reading Romans 1, especially verses 24 - 32 really reminded me of our own world today. Paul talks about how homosexuality has become acceptable, sexual depravity, not honoring parents, being faithless, ruthless and that people look down on those who do not live their lives in a similar fashion. Does any of that ring bells for you?
We have a society today that is ripe for the harvest. We are called by Christ to the Great Commission. But today it is becoming much tougher to talk to people about Christ. Christianity is one of the last areas where it is acceptable to make fun of people. I remember Seinfield and a character, Elaine began sleeping with a man who she later found out was a Christian. And yet she didn't know he was a Christian until he told her? I was not a huge Seinfield fan, but I caught that episode and thinking about it now, it has me thinking. . . do I portray Christ daily? Do people meet me and know I am a believer in Christ?
The truth is, if I had things my way and didn't listen to Christ, then I would not be a youth leader. I'd live a quiet existence with my family, books, and the small things that make me happy in life. Moving out of our comfort zone is not easy. I've moved around, met new people, tried new things, things that were not always comfortable, but being called to lead the church youth group was very much moving me out of my comfort zone.
I am not the most socially ept person. I'm not being overly harsh, it's true. I come from a family that often speaks first and thinks about it later. The nice thing about Facebook and Twitter is you can read what you write first before you post it. This has saved me a lot of times, and then other times, I am so frustrated or angry it doesn't matter, I blow my top. Growing up, I was a book worm. I loved and still love books. Books were easy, books didn't judge you or make you feel like an idiot. Books allowed you to explore new ideas in a safe environment - your mind. I lived in the library, at the middle school, and in our high school to the point where the librarians and I were on a first name basis and they often held books for me that they knew I would really like. All of these things do not always equal a great youth leader. But, that didn't mean God didn't put a call on me to step up and help create activities for the youth. Activities to keep them out of trouble, a safe place for them to come and hang out without worrying they might be getting into drugs, sex, and only God knows what else.
The truth is, I will never be a large church youth pastor. I do not understand the teens who come from two parent families who don't struggle to make ends meet. The teens I work with now are teens who are from broken homes, who struggle with low self-esteem, broken homes, battling abusive home lives even. And these are the kids I understand, having grown up in a home with only one parent, dealing with an emotionally abusive step-dad - prepared me to help Sarah, our teens and those who are the broken. While I sometimes get frustrated and aggravated, it is in these moments that I know I am where I am supposed to be. I may not always be popular with the teens or my own kids, but I can live with that.
I hope you all have a good week.