Saturday, December 29, 2012

Do Something Great

     It's the dawn of a new year!  Just a matter of days from now we'll each be trying to break the habit of writing "2012" on everything and getting back into our normal schedules.  Some of us will have "resolutions" that may or may not necessarily work out.  They might not work out if we try to completely reshape our lives cold-turkey or shoot for an impossible goal and try to do it by our own power.  

    Last year, around this time, a "challenge," so to speak, was put on my Youth Group's blog.  The challenge was to read the entire Bible that year.  Being that I had already begun to read some of the books of the Bible earlier, I accepted, hoping to finish the 52 books that I hadn't previously read.  About one month ago I managed to finish the books, having now read the entire Bible.  However, I found throughout that year that simply reading scripture wasn't enough.  I found that devotion and study on top of reading helped me to apply the scripture that I was reading and let it sink deeper.  Reading God's Word simply for the sake of accomplishing a goal is not as effective as reading it to grow closer to Him.  

     So that is what I would like to "challenge" to you.  You don't have to read the entire Bible, you don't have to try to make yourself perfect; just accomplish something worth doing.  Do something that really matters this year.  That way, years from now, you can look back at 2013 and know that it was the year you did something great.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Apples to Oranges

     With our changing culture, it seems that the roles of women and men are getting blended together like a fruit smoothie.  Years ago men would show women respect in any way possible; it was normal.  Nowadays we've seemed to have stopped giving that respect.  Have we simply grown out of those things?  Is honor to women still necessary in this fruit-smoothie culture?  That's what this week's topic is about:
"A real man is a gentleman. He is polite and shows women honor in everyday things such as opening doors, etc."
"A real woman is not offended by respect shown her through gentlemanly courtesies (opening doors, etc.) but cultivates the differences between the sexes that make her worthy of this deference."
     Well that sure answers the previous question.  What a clincher.  It shows us right in the Bible that men have a role to honor women.  1 Peter 3:7 portrays exactly what we as men should be doing: "Likewise, husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered."  
     Men and women have separate roles given to us in scripture.  Women, according to the Bible, are to be submissive to their husbands.  Men, in return, show their wives the honor and respect that they deserve.  This respect, even outside of marriage, can be shown in simple things such as opening doors, helping to carry something, and others; the kind of stuff we as men were made to do!  Despite whether or not our culture says it's appropriate, we should give women the respect that they are given through the Bible.  This honor, however, is not simply action alone.  This is an attitude of service.  It's where Luke 6:31 comes in, except centered around the weaker vessel (as 1 Peter 3:7 puts it).  
     You too, women, have a role to play in this topic.  Nothing tramps the respect shown to a woman like her taking it the wrong way.  The honor meant for the woman in the Bible was put in place for your good.  You shouldn't be offended by the honor shown to you (unless, of course, it's done in a flirtatious manner).  The second part of this point is also important: "[A real woman] cultivates the differences between the sexes that make her worthy of this deference."  Cultivating a gentle and quiet spirit is what makes a woman deserving of gentlemanly courtesies (see 1 Peter 3:3-4).  Proverbs 11:16 says, "A gracious woman gets honor".  It's as simple as that.  
     As you can see, the Bible sets up the general relationship that men and women should have.  Following these roles, however, is what our culture seems to struggle with.  The order God placed over mankind is superior to any that we can imagine, which is why we should step up to the responsibilities of which we were given.  Otherwise we'll just end up with a really nasty fruit smoothie.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

"They Called You All That?!" "Well, It was Shorter in Hebrew..."

     Christmas is just about here!  Among the gifts and decorations everywhere, it's important to remember just who this holiday is about.  We tend to get quite distracted with all that the holiday has to offer, so we have to make sure that He gets the honor and glory that He deserves.
     Being that I play two instruments myself, one of my favorite parts of Christmas is the music.  So instead of writing a long post today, I put several songs below for you to enjoy.  These are some of my favorite Christmas songs and have a great message within each of them.  Enjoy the Christmas Season!
"For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace." - Isaiah 9:6, ESV

Friday, December 21, 2012

The Treadmill Doesn't Seem to be Working, Dear

     "For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them." - Ephesians 2:10, ESV
     Some might think that fulfilling God's will for your life really starts to happen once you become an adult and have a family, but we can many times forget that even while we're young we still have a responsibility to do God's will; to spread His message to the world.  Sometimes God uses our young years and our singleness to allow us to be better fit to serve Him.  Sometimes God calls people to not marry and simply serve Him all their years without a family.  The apostle Paul is an example of this.  However, most of us will eventually become "un-single" and will begin a new path of life.  Utilizing our years of singleness, then, is a very important tool to help us grow closer to God and to prepare us for our future.  Thus today's points deal mostly (but not entirely) on our younger years:
"A Real Woman uses her years of singleness to seek and serve God without distraction, and is content to leave the details of her future up to Him."
"A Real Man doesn't try to prove himself but is simply confident as he walks in the fear of the Lord." 
     As with the apostle Paul, God can use our years of singleness to share His gospel in ways that others could not.  1 Corinthians 2:9 says, "But, as it is written, 'What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him.'"  Worrying about the future is not what God has planned for a young woman's life.  Being content in knowing that He has control over what will happen and has a magnificent plan for you is all that matters.  Until then, however, seeking and serving God and fulfilling His will today is enough.  

     The book of Psalms displays beautifully the love David had for God: "Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you." (Psalm 73:25)  This same love is what seeking and serving God is all about.  

     For us guys, this point carries on throughout our entire lives.  Trying to "prove" ourselves to others is something many of us do, and yet it doesn't get anywhere.  It's like running on a treadmill, trying to get somewhere but not moving an inch (and this kind of treadmill has no health benefits).  Matthew 10:28 confronts this: "And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell."  There's really no point in trying to prove ourselves to others.  Sure, improving our lifestyle is good, but not if our main intent is to look good compared to other people.  

     In 1 Samuel, God tells us "man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart."  In addition to this, Jeremiah 17:10 shows just how God looks at the heart: "I the Lord search the heart and test the mind, to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his deeds."  Because man's opinions have no value, our main purpose is to glorify and honor our Lord and Savior.

     As you can see from scripture, Christ wants us to solely live for Him and dedicate ourselves especially in our years of singleness.  If we let Him, he can do amazing things in our lives.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

The Beginning: A Very Good Place to Start

     As I mentioned in the last post, this week will begin to take a look at what a “real man” and a “real woman” look like.  I’ve spent the past few weeks matching different points on each together into groups of the same topic, and more recently have started to look at the first few deeply and finding extra verses of scripture to go along with them.  Here are the first two:
"A real man understands and lives according to the basic purposed for which he was created: to worship, honor, and serve God."
     And, for the ladies:
"A real woman seeks to make God her number one desire and the Lover of her soul, knowing that only He can fully satisfy."
     Because the pages didn’t originally give the points any particular order, I decided that these two should be first in line.  It makes sense to do this given that before we can become real men and real women for Christ, we must first make sure our relationship with Him is in the right place.
     The guys’ point says that we should live according to the basic purposes for which we were created.  This statement goes along with the age-old question, “What is the meaning of life?”  Fortunately for us, we know that the true meaning of life isn’t to be a success in man’s eyes, but to instead worship, honor, and serve our Lord and Maker.  Two verses of scripture that go well with this are Romans 12:1-2 and Deuteronomy 6:5: 
"I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect." – Romans 12:1-2, ESV
"You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might." – Deuteronomy 6:5, ESV
     The first step to becoming a man or a woman of God is to know that our true purpose in life is to praise and follow Him faithfully.  Worship, honor, and service could all be grouped together to be "living for God", but there are certain differences that separate them from one another.  Worship is something many of us don't fully understand.  Some believe it to be simply that few minutes in church that we sing a songs, but it is much more than that.  Worship doesn't just end once the last chord is played, nor does it start with the first note on the piano.  Worship is yielding ourselves to Christ and coming into His presence.  It's standing in awe at who He is and praising Him for all that He's done in our lives.  Honor is knowing that we aren't just Christians on Sundays.  We're Christians all throughout the week and live our lives displaying that.  We honor God in how we live our lives in accordance with His commandments each day.  Service comes as a display of thanks towards our God for all that He's done for us.  It should come from our hearts and not to show off to others.  All of these things put together allow us to follow God in all areas: with Him, with others, and finally with ourselves.
     Two verses that compliment the woman's point are found in the book of Psalms:
"Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart." - Psalm 37:4, ESV
"Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you." - Psalm 73:25, ESV
     The most important thing for anyone is that Christ is number one in their lives.  Anything that is placed above God is an idol.  It doesn't matter what you chase after; nothing else could possibly satisfy other than Christ.  Keeping God number one in our lives is important because in His word he tells us "I will never leave you nor forsake you."  He alone will always be there to supply our needs.

     In our culture it can be easy for women to try to meet the world's standards of success or beauty.  This is why it's especially important for women to place God in the number one spot of their lives.  With so many desires pulling at the mind, keeping Christ as the greatest desire puts everything else in a better perspective.  He doesn't want women (or men, for that matter) to desire to meet the world's standards more than they want to meet His.  Christ died for our sins.  All the world does is seek to pull us away from Him.

     This week, try to keep these points in mind.  Understand the place God has in your life, and live your life accordingly.  Starting with this allows us to know where our strength comes from so we can better live out our lives according to His will.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Thanks for – Wait, what are you doing?! That’s mine!!!

In my last post, I said that I would begin the first points of the “Real Man” and “Real Woman” lists from The Rebelution.  However, I didn’t realize at the time that my next post would fall just before Thanksgiving!  Being that Thanksgiving is an important topic (let alone holiday), I will save my intended post for next week.  You can find the links to the “Real Man” and “Real Woman” pages at the bottom of my last post.  (I may also be putting both of those in the “Some Awesome Links!” page of the blog.)

This past Sunday, my pastor spoke on Thanksgiving (as would be typical for the Sunday before Thanksgiving, I suppose.)  He chose however to not speak about the holiday, but instead simply about the word: Thanksgiving.  We can many times get caught up in the celebration of a day instead of actually celebrating it for the reason it was meant to be celebrated.  Sometimes though, having a day given to a certain celebration can cause us to not celebrate it the other 364 days of the year.  Think about Christmas.  It’s a wonderful time to celebrate the birth of Christ, but if you were to have “Joy to the World” playing in your car in the middle of May, people might think you’re a tad crazy.  In fact, it almost seems wrong to celebrate the birth of Christ outside of the winter season.  This can sometimes be the case for Thanksgiving, sadly.  We spend the day being thankful for what we have and forget to thank God all the other times he blesses us.  (It doesn’t help that the day after Thanksgiving we spend fighting each other to get more stuff.)  If someone were to give you a gift every week, would you simply thank them once a year?  Of course not!  We would be thankful each time.  The same is true with God, except he doesn’t just bless us each week; He blesses us every single day!

Sometimes, though, the way we thank God on Thanksgiving can sometimes be selfish in its own way.  One point that my pastor made in his message was, “Sometimes we allow ‘counting our blessings’ to dissolve into ‘counting on our blessings’.”  When I thank God for His blessings, I have to watch out for how I do so.  If I only thank Him for my belongings, it can evolve into unintentionally thanking Him for blessing me with more than someone else, thus comparing myself to others.  This isn’t the way God intended us to thank Him.  It’s perfectly fine to thank God for what we have, but He’s given us so much more than material things.  He’s given us family, friends, and even subtle blessings in our everyday life.  These are the things for which I am most thankful.

What are you most thankful for?  A job?  A friend?  A recent blessing?  Share a comment below:

Saturday, November 10, 2012

"Male and female, he created them" - Genesis 1:27b

                It’s been over two weeks since my last blog post.  A lot has happened since the end of October.  First of all, I broke my finger.  After letting it heal in the wrong position for almost two weeks, I had to get surgery.  Now I have a cast over my right hand and am forced to type left-handed.  As you can imagine, this makes it very slow.  Another thing that happened is that I was blessed to be able to give a five-minute “children’s message” at my church last Sunday.  It was a great experience and I was able to speak about the importance of willingly binding ourselves to Jesus Christ, using a pair of handcuffs to illustrate my message.  Finally, on the 24th of October, I turned 16.  No, I haven’t gotten my driver's permit yet.  I still have some studying to do.  There are many things I look forward to now that I’m sixteen.  Getting my permit and a job are definitely among those things.  More recently I’ve been thinking about what’s most important in my life.  Scouts has been a huge portion of my life in these past few years, but as I’ve grown in Christ more, it’s become less important to me.  I still think scouts is a great thing, but I praise God that he’s been growing in me the desire to serve Him more instead of getting caught up in things that don't have eternal value. 

                I’m very thankful that one of my favorite blogs, The Rebelution, has begun to write new things.  One of the pages I found while searching the site caught my attention.  It was called, "Teen Girls Define 'A Real Man'".  It lists several different points that make up what a man of God looks like, along with scripture to back them up.  Reading over the points was very humbling, and showed me many different ways in which I can grow as a man.  In my next few posts, I hope to go over these points.  However, there are also points of what a “real woman” looks like, so I will try to compare the points of both in their own separate ways.  Guys and girls are completely different; created by God to do different things.  That’s why you can’t have a definition of a “real person”.  God made us to be men (and women) after His heart, which is why I appreciate that the lists were made separately under the careful thought and prayer of Christ-minded teens.  In my next post I will get into the first points of the lists.  The links to the two lists are: Teen Girls Define "A Real Man” and Teens Define "A Real Woman"
                Well, I think that’s enough left-handed typing for one day.  His blessings,


Friday, October 26, 2012

Ghouls and Goblins and Ghosts, Oh My!

              I don’t think you’d have to think too hard to know what’s coming up soon: Halloween.  The decorations have been up for the whole month – ghosts, witches, Jack-o-lanterns, etc.  Halloween can be a touchy subject to some Christians.  I know some who celebrate it and some who don’t.  Personally, I don’t celebrate Halloween.  I’ve never gone Trick-or-Treating, nor have we decorated our home with the holiday d├ęcor.  With this in mind, I’m not going to go spouting off all kinds of Halloween history and stories involving witches to try to “scare” you away from celebrating Halloween.  I think most everyone knows what the holiday is about.  I don’t believe that’s the point.  You can decide whether or not you will celebrate an occasion or participate in activities even if the holiday isn’t Christian.  What I think is necessary, however, is to know how celebrating things like this impact our walk with Christ.

                First of all, is participating in Halloween or decorating for it a sin?  No, it’s not.  But simply because something isn’t a sin doesn’t mean we should do it.  Celebrating Halloween may not put us in the wrong place with God, but it can make it very difficult to stay in His footsteps.  Think about this: how easy is it to separate Halloween from death?  If you were to decorate your house for Halloween, could you do it in such a way to not make people think of death and darkness?  That’s not as easy.  As Christians, our goal is to proclaim life to those who need it.  Christ wants us to not focus on the death -on the darkness.  He wants us to focus on Him and His glory.  We put Christmas decorations outside in December proclaiming our Christianity and showing the wonder of Christ’s birth so that others see them and think of our Lord.  Would someone look at a house on Halloween and see the beauty of Christ portrayed?  I doubt it.

                So decorating a house for Halloween might not be Christ-like, but what’s wrong with Trick-or-Treating?  This one is a little tougher.  This yearly event seems innocent enough, so what could possibly be wrong with it? (Other than the cavities, of course.)  Actually, there are a few things wrong with Trick-or-Treating.  One of the worst things is that it teaches kids selfishness.  Not that they have big signs saying “Selfishness rocks!” or “Be greedy and you won’t be needy!”  It teaches selfishness subtly.  Selfishness is naturally ingrained in us.  We teach it to others by simply feeding the desire.  Think about it.  A Trick-or-Treater goes door to door simply accepting gifts wherever they go.  No work.  Nothing is given.  Many times, not even a thank you.  It’s important to remember that there is nothing in the world that does not teach something.  And if it doesn’t teach a good virtue, it’s teaching a bad one.  If Trick-or-Treating involved giving, I would have a lot less of a problem with it.  But the point is: it doesn’t

                 As I said before, many of my friends celebrate Halloween.  It’s sometimes hard to be one of the only people to find something wrong with it.  Spending a night dressed up as someone different and getting a whole lot of candy sounds like a lot of fun – but it just doesn’t sit right with me.  I don’t want to spend a day celebrating death.  I’d rather just wait a month and spend a day in thanksgiving to God for all that he’s done for me.  Celebration was a gift given to us by our Creator.  Let’s not waste it on death and darkness – the very thing from which Christ saved us.

                 This can be a very differential topic.  What are your thoughts?  Do you agree or disagree with a point that I made?  Please leave a comment below!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Mejores Amigos

                The past few days I have been reading in the book of Ecclesiastes for my Bible study time in the mornings.  Yesterday, I came across a quite familiar passage, but a powerful one nonetheless:
“Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their labor.  For if they fall, one will lift up his companion.  But woe to him who is alone when he falls, for he has no one to help him up.  Again, if two lie down together, they will keep warm; but how can one be warm alone?  Though one may be overpowered by another, two can withstand him. And a threefold cord is not quickly broken.” Ecclesiastes 4:9-12, ESV
                Most people would say they have a best friend, and some are even gifted with more than one.  This kind of friend will stick with you when you’re going through a hard time and will listen to anything you need to say.  Understandably, a friend like this is hard to find!  Perhaps you have a friend whom you've known since your childhood.  I've known my best friend for almost all of my life.  In fact, I don’t remember a time when I didn’t know him!  Going to the same church and being close in age, we hang out together all the time.  More recently, we’ve even started doing skits at our church every so often that we’ve seen from the Skit Guys.  (If you haven’t seen the Skit Guys, you should really check them out!)  Over the years, we’ve made fun of each other and laughed like crazy, but we’ve also talked about the things that really matter to us.  We’ve talked about scripture, what we’ve learned at church, and even how we can learn better.  Our pastor has even called us “David and Jonathan” because of how great of friends we are.  No matter who you are, I believe you need a friend who you can talk to about anything.
                There are also some of us who have more than one great friend.  That’s where the last part of Ecclesiastes 4:12 comes in: “a threefold cord is not quickly broken”.  Have you ever tried to tear apart a string?  Alone, it can be fairly easy.  If you braid three strings together, however, it’s much more difficult.  If you’re so daring as to braid four strings, it becomes even more difficult!  In other words, the more the merrier!  The body of Christ was meant to be like this.  In their book, “Do Hard Things” (One of my favorite books of all time) Alex and Brett Harris give the example of horses to demonstrate the importance of companionship.  Alone, a horse can pull 2,500 pounds.  So if you put two horses together they can pull twice that, right?  Wrong!  That’s what’s so cool about friendship!  If you put two horses together, then can pull not five thousand, not ten thousand, but over twelve thousand pounds!!!  Best friends are extremely important to have.  We weren’t made to follow Christ on our own. 
Do you have a best friend?  How have they helped you?  Leave a comment below about your friendship!

Wednesday, October 03, 2012

Rebellion: Not the Way They Tell it in Star Wars...

              For the past few months, I’ve been studying my Pennsylvania Driver’s Manual in order to get my permit when I turn 16 at the end of the month.  Prior to turning 15, I hadn’t even given a thought to the fact that I’d be driving soon.  It was actually my friend who got me excited about driving and motivated me to study my manual.  While reading more of the manual recently, I came across some fascinating statistics.  Not all of them were surprising, but one hit me a little differently:
“Recent Pennsylvania statistics show that 30 percent of drivers ages 16 to 20 who died in motor vehicle crashes had been drinking.  This is despite the fact that here in Pennsylvania, as well as in every other state in the U.S., there are zero tolerance laws, meaning you may not drink if you are under age 21.”
                This statement bothers me.  The fact that almost a third of crashes in my age group involved blatant disregard of authority is horrifying!  Knowing that drivers 16-25 years old have the highest rate of unbuckled seat-belts is not encouraging either.  I mean, how desperate to defy authority must you be in order to ignore something as simple as buckling a seat belt?!  The amount of rebellion in my generation today is staggering.  But it’s not just the unsaved.  I’ve seen this open defiance in places where I’m surrounded by those who claim to know Christ – in my homeschool group, and even in my church.  This kind of behavior honestly scares me.  We get so many examples of the consequences of rebellion in the Bible.  One such example is when King Saul wants to consult Samuel the prophet, who was dead.  He decides to talk to a medium (someone who uses witchcraft to bring up the dead) who lived in En-dor.

                                                      (Probably not the medium Saul talked to...)

                 Saul was already in trouble because he disobeyed God and spared some of the Amalekites and their animals against God’s command.  Trying to avoid God, he tries another route – bad idea.  His thoughtless decisions cost him his throne and eventually his life.  That story is just one of many in the Bible about rebellion; there are many others to go along with it.
                What frustrates me the most about the rebellion in my generation, however, is how many of the teens today use it as a separator between them and others – namely their parents.  Each new teen generation seems to have this crazy idea that they know more than the ones before them; that they have all the answers and everyone who believes differently is wrong.  What kind of insane idea is that?!  Ahem, ahem…
“The glory of young men is their strength, but the splendor of old men is their gray hair.” 

Sure, not too many people want grey hair nowadays, but back in Bible times it was a sign of wisdom.  Those who were older had a lot more experience and were much more knowledgeable than the younger men.  Sound a little familiar?  No matter how much it might disappoint, we as teens aren’t the wisest of the bunch.  Find some Yoda-type figure, and learn from the grey-headed!

I’m interested to hear your thoughts.  Post a comment below!

Saturday, September 15, 2012

What Would Jesus REALLY Do?

            One of the greatest novels that I have ever read was In His Steps by Charles Sheldon.  The book beautifully illustrates a church’s efforts to follow in Christ’s footsteps.  Members of the congregation vow to not do anything without first asking the question, “What would Jesus do in my place?”, and then faithfully obeying whatever they truly believe He would do.  
Sound somewhat familiar?  That’s probably because this book began the “WWJD?” craze of the 90’s.  Even though Christ’s message was spread broadly across the country, this period of Christian history is unfortunately often characterized as one being filled with people who simply chose to wear the name, the t-shirt, the bracelet, etc. – but who never really cared enough to live it out.  So was In His Steps really just something that simply passed away, having little lasting effect on the world?  I believe that though this book may have started a temporary craze, its message will not wither away. This is because the message of this novel was based solely on the Holy Word of God:
“For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in His steps” (1 Peter 2:21, ESV)
            For most of our lives we have been told that Jesus was the best example to follow, but I don’t believe I really understood just how true that was until I read this novel.  There are many examples to follow in the world, and most people have someone whose example they strive to follow.  Most choose someone well known; perhaps someone who has donated money to a charity, started a foundation to help the needy, or even risked their lives and reputations to change something for the good of others.  These things are great, but remember: none of these people are perfect.  Romans 3:23 says, 
“for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”
            They are all corruptible, just like you and I.  Jesus is the only true role model.  He alone was perfect.  Becoming a true Christian begins with deciding for yourself that you will follow faithfully in His steps. 
My challenge to you is to be like those in the book who took a vow to be faithful to the Lord.  This week, before doing something, first ask yourself what Christ would do if put in your place.  After asking yourself this, follow that decision – no matter how difficult it may seem at the time. Then leave a comment below saying how this effort impacted your situation.  Perhaps sharing your story could encourage someone else in their walk with Christ! 
May God help you and bless you as we endeavor together to follow in His steps!

Saturday, September 08, 2012

Am I a TRUE Christian?


What kind of thoughts does that word bring to mind? Do you think of words such as “immature” or “rebellious”? To many people, these words describe how the teens of today appear.

Sadly, I believe my generation is becoming more and more characterized in this way. Sin has no doubt taken hold of every generation in history, but I don’t believe it has ever been so applauded or encouraged as it is by society today. Media everywhere promotes teenage rebellion against authority and discourages responsibility. 

The world seems to think that the teenage years are meant to simply have fun and enjoy life before you reach the years of adulthood, in which you must take up responsibility and somehow “become” mature adults. What the culture fails to realize is that the words of Scripture have held true for all generations:

“Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.” (Prov. 22:6)

A teen that lives irresponsibly and in rebellion will eventually grow up to be – not surprisingly – an irresponsible and rebellious adult, seeking to please themselves instead of their Creator. Unfortunately, the story for Christian teens is not much different. In his book, Family Driven Faith, Pastor Voddie Baucham states,

“it is estimated that as many as 88% of teens who profess Christianity walk away from their faith by the end of their freshman year of college.”

If a teen comes to church every week and professes Christ as their savior, then why would so many be leaving the church? I believe that many times, a teen that simply professes Christ may not be a Christian at all. They may instead be what is called a nominal Christian, meaning a Christian “by name only” - someone who may say they’re a Christian, but who acts in an entirely different way when outside of a church environment. 

Now before we become quick to judge, the question needs to be asked, how are we any different? To the rest of the world, I may seem just the same as any other teen guy. How do we show that we are different? The answer can be found in 1 Corinthians 13:

“When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways.” (1 Cor. 13:11)

From this verse we can see that the “teenage” years aren't meant to be an in-between stage between childhood and adulthood. While we may not have the legal status of an adult, our teen years are still given to us by God to use for His purpose. We have the chance to serve our Savior more in these years than we may ever have later. 

But many times we let our age diminish our call. The fact that we are teens should not alter our role as followers of Christ – in fact it should enhance it. We’re not just teens. We’re Christians. That is what causes us to stand out from the world. Instead of letting the fact that you’re a teen decide your actions, let your Christianity decide. 

That’s what I want this blog to be about. I want to see my generation become true Christians. I want us to live for Christ unselfishly. I don’t want to wait until the world says I’m ready to be a true follower of Christ. I want to follow him now, even in the midst of trying times and persecution. But I can’t do it alone. 

So will you join me?