I’m in Canada right now with a bunch of teenagers. I’m leading a small, short-term mission team from our Texas church to help two churches in Alberta. The team includes four relatively sane adults and eight high school students. These four young men and four young women are loud, hyper, and always-hungry. And they aren’t shy at all when it comes to burping or making other “noises” in public.
I thought I knew what I was getting myself into. I’ve known these kids for years. They’ve all spent time in my home. I certainly wasn’t taken off guard by their “zest for life” or their voracious appetite. But they have surprised me.
Before we left Texas I selected a Bible study for us to do as a team. Each person works through the assigned material during their individual morning quiet time. Then we discuss it together during our evening team devotions. In addition to a time of service, I really wanted this mission trip to be a time of spiritual growth for these young people. I had it all figured out. I would be a mentor to each of them. A spiritual encourager. An inspiration! Well, the truth is, they’ve challenged me.
The Bible study we’re going through together as a team is on discipleship. We are exploring what it really means to follow Jesus? What does it look like in our day to day lives? Are we prepared to pay the cost? Because, like the author said, “You can’t go into discipleship halfway.” And “when you’re a disciple of Christ, there’s no graduation.”
I was prepared to share all my wisdom and years of experience of following Christ with these young Christians. But as they shared with the group I realized that they are truly living in the trenches of discipleship. I wouldn’t want to be a teenager today. I don’t know if I would take the stand for Jesus that these kids from my church make during an average day of high school. They love Jesus and they want people to know it. They’re my new heroes. Burps and all.
If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it. What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit his very self? Luke 9:23-25
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Doesn’t it feel like adults and teens inhabit 2 different planets? I am so thrilled God is allowing you this time to get to know the yutes better.It can be difficult to ‘get them’ at times, but loving this generation gives a whole new meaning to being “Twitter-pated”(remember Thumper the rabbit in “Bambi”?)
It is a little hard to believe that our Sovereign Lord has appointed the “armpit orchestra” you are travelling with for leadership, but try to see them through the Lord’s eyes as He looks at sinners like us. He doesn’t expect perfection, nor does He expect overnight results. Teens may be the reason our hair changes color, but an index card near the computer reminds me “Eric & Rebecca — “For you are our glory and our joy.
1 Thess. 2:20”
Although I fear my eyeballs may someday stay rolled up & facing the back of my head, and I fear all the botox in the world will never be able to remove the valley of creases in my forehead. I still ask myself, “Lord, WHY do YOU allow them to live?”
He reminds me, “The plans of The Lord stand firm forever, and the purposes of HIS HEART through ALL generations”. (emphasis mine) Psalm 33:11. He has plans and a purpose for all teenagers. Even those of us who have survived and never want to go back.
God has even give me a fresh wording on prayer intersession assignments for these young impatient lives.
Flash Prayer is like Flash Player it needs to be given time to update regularly. After I have downloaded my prayer, I have to be still and listen long enough to hear His instructions for what to do next.
Rest assured that God is honored in your labors of love, and He is the only ONE who can give strength and wisdom to fulfill such an important role as mentoring others. I deeply appreciate the sacrifices ya’ll are making in order to be there in Canada being the Lord’s hands and feet. You are AMAZING!