Please pray for this next week. The Uth group at Calvary Kendall will be taking 140 kids up to central Florida to spend a week in Camp Gilead. I think this is an extremely important time if not the most important time for these kids. I am unsure of where many of the kids are in life, however, given that it wasn't to long ago that I was their age and I was surrounded by the pressures and pains that come with being young, I can only imagine that based on the way this world works, it has gotten progressively worse.
Everyday now it is consistent in the news, this world is loaded with evil. If I call myself a man of God and I claim to be a warrior then I must go and fight for the Lord in the place where He has called me. My place is with the youth. On a regular basis the enemy takes joy in poking and prodding their young minds, loading them with complete garbage and lies. In today's world the education system sells ideas like safe-sex before marriage and evolution as if they were products you would find in the healthy food section. This world is twisted.
I have received comments from some on my need to study apologetics and read so much, telling me I don't focus enough on the love of Christ. Clearly they don't understand why I do what I do. In fact they forget that it is His love for me that ignites in me a passion to learn all I can about that which has saved me and continually sanctifies me. The more I ponder His love and mercy on my life, the more I can't help but cry, the more I can't help but praise, the more I can't help but make it my lifelong goal to know everything I can in order to be used by Him to go wherever, whenever to answer whatever for whomever all in His name.
Aside from the fact that knowledge and reading are powerful and that the bible calls us all to be diligent in studying the truth (2 Tim 2:15), another huge reason why I study apologetics is for the kids. Have you ever sat and spoken with a kid and listened to some of the questions they have about God and the bible? In the book "Who Made God?" Norman Geisler begins his section of the book with a story. The story was about a day when his grandaughter approached him with a question his wife could not answer: "Grandpa, who made God?" He goes on to say that while the obvious answer was no one, He has always been, we as Christians need to do well in learning all we can about what we believe.
Imagine being used by God to answer that question holding one child back. Imagine leading a child to Christ! I don't think their is a more beautiful thing in this world. To take a young mind and through God be used to set it in the right direction. As Solomon wrote in Proverbs
22:6 Train up a child in the way he should go,
And when he is old he will not depart from it.
In Matthew, Christ warns us of the consequences of causing one of His little ones to stumble.
18:6 Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to sin, it would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were drowned in the depth of the sea.
As Christians, as men and women of valor, we who have seen and been poisoned in our pasts by the wells of this world should be quick to keep watch on those kids we come across. It is so important we get a hold of the foundations of their lives and gear them toward Christ. This world is filled with liars, apostates, deceivers and the like. Any one today can sell you a cynaide pill and make it look like M&Ms. Show them love, show them mercy, show them grace, show them all these things just as Christ showed you them when you fell on your face and came into His arms.
Our lives ought to be living letters for the youth. We need to shepherd them and lead them by example (1 Peter 5:2-4). We must be above reproach so that in seeing our good works, they might follow in our example.
In my daily reading of Isaiah the other day, God pulled the brakes of my heart and parked me in the center of a verse that to me is Him yelling at me:
Isaiah 58:12 Those from among you shall build the old waste places; you shall raise up the foundations of many generations; and you shall be called the Repairer of the Breach, The Restorer of Streets to Dwell In.
Though many say that this verse is speaking of Christ, if I am to be Christ like, then I too must do my all to raise up the foundations of many generations. Those generations which will come after me. The last thing I want on my watch is for Judges 2:10 to come to pass, and if I can pass on that same passion to the youth, then it won't.
Paul calls us as those with knowledge to give aid to the weak in 1 Cor 8:10-12. We who have the knowledge need to do all we can to pass it on to others, just as Christ has passed it onto us. That we who know what is right ought do it and be lights in this world, especially to the young ones.
Please pray for us this upcoming week. Pray for our leaders, pray for our sessions, our devos, pray for the hearts of the kids, that this wouldn't be a recreational vacation from life to enjoy and have fun, but that this would be a retreat of the heart from the things of this world in order to build strong christian bonds, in order to link up to God and never let go. May it be about igniting a fire in their lives, that the Consuming Fire might burn away the chaff in their lives that only the heart would remain, a heart of flesh, ready and willing to receive all that God has to pour out. That God would break them and rebuild them. That He would invade the rooms of the temple of their hearts and turn over tables, leaving no room for anything except Christ. That they would not be discouraged by this world, but encouraged in Christ, because of the cross, to live boldy in His name, proclaiming His love and glory to everyone. May we all live to be this way, may we all long for a closer relationship with Christ.
May we all be as the man who found the treasure hidden in the field in Matt 13:44, willing to sell all we have for the field, to dwell in the field, live in the field, work in the field, worship Him day and night in the field.
I leave you with something God dropped on my heart. My prayer for the youth of today
1 Remember now your Creator in the days of your youth,
Before the difficult days come,
And the years draw near when you say,
“ I have no pleasure in them”:
2 While the sun and the light,
The moon and the stars,
Are not darkened,
And the clouds do not return after the rain;
3 In the day when the keepers of the house tremble,
And the strong men bow down;
When the grinders cease because they are few,
And those that look through the windows grow dim;
4 When the doors are shut in the streets,
And the sound of grinding is low;
When one rises up at the sound of a bird,
And all the daughters of music are brought low.
5 Also they are afraid of height,
And of terrors in the way;
When the almond tree blossoms,
The grasshopper is a burden,
And desire fails.
For man goes to his eternal home,
And the mourners go about the streets.
6 Remember your Creator before the silver cord is loosed,
Or the golden bowl is broken,
Or the pitcher shattered at the fountain,
Or the wheel broken at the well.
7 Then the dust will return to the earth as it was,
And the spirit will return to God who gave it.
8 “ Vanity of vanities,” says the Preacher,
“ All is vanity.”