As I’m sitting here in the lounge area on vacation it’s literally raining cats and dogs. It made me think of that old children’s song. “It’s raining, it’s pouring, the old man is snoring, he went to bed and he bumped his head and he couldn’t get up in the morning.” Today, the Church is the “old man” who’s bumped her head on so many things. Scandals, temptation, “liberty in Christ”, the list goes on and on, but here’s my question… where do we go from here?
I just got done watching Lockup. You know, that show where they go inside maximum security prisons. Call me strange, but those shows are just so interesting to me. There was a certain man in there who belonged to a gang. They asked him why he would commit such violent acts – even right there in prison, and he said, “I’m a good soldier”. As I sat there sitting with my “Christian Self” I thought, “how can this criminal have such faithfulness and loyalty to his gang, and yet for most “Christians”… we don’t understand these terms of allegience to God?”
And yet I get the feeling from most believers that they are yawning their way through life… “Jesus is Lord, I’m bored, and who on the Olympics scored?”
Do we have a “Burger King Christianity” where we have to have it our way, and that without our “Happy Meal” of nice ear-scratching on Sunday morning we’re going to pout and backslide from the Faith? What kind of fantasy world are we living in? Daniel of old was faithful, innocent, bold, and courageous. He turned the tide of an entire empire by the character he obtained in his prayer closet.
We could learn a lesson from Daniel and these rugged, milltant prisoners who are willing to lay their life on the line at any given time.
“Lord, help us.”
Last nite I shared a message with my young people about N.I.N.O. Now, for those of you who aren’t up on the latest “Techy” terms it means, “No Input, No Output.” Basically it means that if the right data input isn’t typed-in, then you’re not going to get the right result. It’s like when you want to change your profile on MySpace… if you type in the wrong HTML what’s gonna happen? Exactly! A messed-up profile! Many of us get messed up results in life, not just because “the devil is after me!”, but because we haven’t taken the time to put the proper spiritual nutrients into our spirit-man. In fact Mr. Job knew all about this when he said,
“I have not departed from the commandment of His lips; I have treasured the words of His mouth more than my necessary food.” Job 23:12 [NKJV]
In other words, God’s Word is what sustains us and gives us supernatural strength.
Now there’s another acronym that is along these same lines, and it goes like this… G.I.G.O. Heard of this one? “Garbage In, Garbage Out.” Just try eating a solid diet of Hershy’s candy bars for breakfast, lunch, and dinner… just for a week! [I know, I know… that’s gross.] But so many of us are pumping garbage into our mind and hearts non-stop 24/7, and we wonder why we get so irritable and feel like “Devil’s food” everyday?
Here’s a couple quick tips to get the right “stuff” into your system:
1. Go Get You a Strong Devotional-Life!
Living from crisis-to-crisis has to stop. Get back to spending quality time with the Lord each and everyday. There’s no short-cut to spiritual growth.
2. Invest in Some Good Q.T.A.’s!
Q.T.A.’s are, “Quiet-Time Accessories”. Get yourself a good Bible, maybe even buy a new Bible, start fresh! Buy some fluorescent pens and begin a new journey with God! Next, get yourself a Daily Bible Reading Plan. This will give your Quiet-Time some focus. You’ll know where you’re going to read each day and won’t be intimidated by the thickness of God’s Word. Then I would say, invest in a Spiritual Journal. It doesn’t have to be fancy, a spiral notebook works fine. This where you write down what the Holy Spirit is speaking to you. It’s also a great outlet for frustration. “Are you serious?” Just read the Psalms! That was King David’s Spiritual Journal! And then lastly make sure you invest some quality, un-hurried time in prayer to God. This is going to energize you more than a double-shot at Starbucks!
Just remember those acronyms: N.I.N.O., G.I.G.O., and Q.T.A.’s, and develop your spiritual-life!
My Daily Bible Reading: 2 Chron. 19-24
“…as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.” 1 Pet. 4:10
1 Peter 4:10 speaks of God’s grace as being multifaceted, or having many aspects, sides and characteristics to it. God’s grace comes…
• …to Melt us
• …to Correct us
• …to bring us to Repentance
• …to Forgive us
• …to Restore us
• …to Strengthen us
• …to Empower us
• …to Teach us
If we’re not careful, all this grace in its different forms will get wasted. Someone might say,
“Oh no, that’s all wrong. None of God’s grace is wasted.”
Really? How about when we trample underfoot the Blood of Jesus according to Hebrews 10:29 and all God’s grace goes down the drain? How about those who end up dying in their sins when they could have accepted God’s Love, but they rejected it, died, and God’s grace got wasted? You can’t tell me God’s doesn’t weep over His Wasted Grace.
Daily Bible Reading: 2 Chron. 16-18
“God is always on the alert, constantly on the lookout for people who are totally committed to him…” 2 Chron. 16:9a MSG
This sure is opposite of what most people believe, (or feel), about the nature of God. If they were honest, most people would say, “Yeah, it does kind of seems like God isn’t that concerned about my life, I’m sure He’s busy with much more important things like starvation, feeding the poor, or paying attention to more spiritual people.” But this simply isn’t true. Sure, God is concerned about the needs of nations around the world, but it doesn’t negate the fact that He’s concerned about you and me right now. Jesus said,
“Are not two sparrows sold for a copper coin? And not one of them falls to the ground apart from your Father’s will.”
In fact the very hairs of our head are numbered. So, let’s get that settled in our spirit-man that God sees us, knows us, and loves us.
But in 2 Chron. 16:9 God takes it to another level. He is on the look out for those who are totally committed to Him. Just like when you’re driving down the street and something catches your eye so that you quickly turn around to see what it was, in the same way God does a double take when He sees someone who is demonstrating a hunger and commitment to do His will. Our faith-level needs to rise above mediocrity and unbelief in order to experience the Hand of God being upon us in a powerful way. God is willing to strongly support you. Do you believe it? He’s on the lookout. Will His eyes catch you?
“Have you no wish for others to be saved? Then you are not saved yourself, be sure of that.”
Could this really be true? I can just hear somebody sighing right now as they roll their eyes… “yeah, whatever.” But seriously – the Bible actually talks about preachers and evangelists who were able to work miracles, but they ended up in Hell. And if “preachers” can go to Hell, how much more the average Church-going, bubble gum chewing, teen-ager?
My heart is going through something that I honestly haven’t quite figured out yet. Sometimes I see young people falling asleep in Church, or walking-out of youth service before it ends, and I know they don’t understand the state of their own sleeping soul. Now, granted we’ve all had long nights before, but some young people today would rather stay up all nite on MySpace than ever even dare think about reading their Bible or taking time to fellowship with Jesus.
This generation of young people needs a wake-up call!
Jesus said, “…The harvest is so great, but the workers are so few.” Matt. 9:37 NLT.
I would like to give the majority of my time to a young person who had this revelation burning in his/her heart. Because I am ready to spread the fire of the Gospel into the harvest field, and if I just have a small handful of young people who will catch on-fire too, I’ll give my all for them. They can have anything and everything I have. But we must have a soul-wrenching wake-up call for souls! Are you “saved”? If so, can you prove it by the tears you’ve shed for your friends? Can you prove it by the numerous times you’ve shared the Gospel with them? Shrug your shoulders if you want to, but I’m taking up my Cross, I’m following the Master, and I believe there’s a remnant of young people who are ready for a challenge. They’re ready for a Holy Ghost slap in their face to awake from their slumber. I’m not going to Hell, and my youth aren’t going to Hell on my watch, in Jesus’ Name!
This is what I call a “Mini-Teaching”. I use these types of 10 minute teachings to challenge and encourage my Youth Leaders.
But whoever catches a glimpse of the revealed counsel of God – the free life! – even out of the corner of his eye, and sticks with it, is no distracted scatterbrain, but a man or woman of action. That person will find delight and affirmation in the action. MSG
A. A Leader of Action is ACCOUNTABLE and connected.
• Definition: Accountability is a concept in ethics with several meanings. It is often used synonymously with such concepts as answerability, responsibility, mature, reliable, dependable, and consistent.
C. A Leader of Action is CALLED.
• 2 Tim. 1:9
• Ask yourself this question: “Am I called to work with young people?” It’s so important to sense that divine calling from God.
T. A Leader of Action is TRAINING students to serve God.
• Are you a “1-man-show”, or are you actively finding youth and putting them into your ministry?
I. A Leader of Action is one who INTERCEDES for young people.
• Personally in your own Quiet Times, and also at Pre-Service Prayer at 6:30pm. [This ministry can only be ignited by the passion of prayer].
O. A Leader of Action is one who is OBSERVANT.
• I can’t tell you how my heart leaps for joy when I see Youth Leaders who come early to Wed. or Sun. Discipleship and see what’s around them that needs attention: chairs, garbage, messy Info. Table, microphone wires.
N. A Leader of Action is one who NEVER GIVES UP.
• Do you know what the opposite of Action is? It is: Inaction, inactivity, and stagnation.
• We must be the kind of Leaders to go the extra mile!
• Be a man or woman of Action! Don’t allow the enemy [or your flesh] to dominate you.
• “Serve the Lord with gladness, come before His presence with singing.” Psalm 100:2