It was not you who chose me, but I who chose you… John
A good number of us wake up each morning and choose to pray and
invite God to help us live a saintly day. I don’t know about you but I put the whole weight of discipleship on my shoulders. I thought Christ’s love was connected to MY choices, My sins, MY behavior and actions…but in reality, this passage from John’s Gospel makes it very clear that before I even came into being, I was chosen by God the Father. The whole truth is, He
picked us first and we are His no matter how much we goof up our relationship with Him!
Now I’d like to tell you that I discovered and pondered that revelation while in a quiet and peaceful lakeside location…and I contemplated it some more as I strolled through a majestic forest while listening to the birds and smelling the flowers and admiring God’s colorful handiwork in nature. But…that would be a lie! I tend to think I can only come to these great discoveries in stillness and prayerful connection to God, but…just because He can…He taught me some amazing things this past weekend in the craziest, loudest, most electric place possible! I had the enormous pleasure of chaperoning a bus load of high school students to the Steubenville Youth Conference at Franciscan University this weekend. After we checked into our luxurious accommodations…oh wait it was a dorm room….we walked to the Field House and were greeted by about 2,200 teenagers….and a band…and beach balls bouncing through the crowd, and lots of jumping and singing and screaming and …I’ll stop before you all need to go find ear plugs or take a Tylenol just imagining it! It wasn’t a rock concert or a ball game, it was praise and worship adolescent style and I am changed because of their passion and their faith and the their enthusiasm!!!
The theme of the conference was “Chosen” and we spent the weekend
learning and understanding that we are chosen, loved and accepted unconditionally by our Heavenly Father. That was a powerful revelation for hundreds of teenagers this weekend, and having a part in watching those revelations occur was a blessing beyond measure. It’s a very humbling and
amazing experience to hug a teenager as they laugh or weep deeply because they have been able to push past every obstacle society puts between them and God’s love and then watch God fill them so full it leaks out all over! It’s incredibly powerful to see more than two thousand kids kneeling in bleachers or a gym floor so completely immersed in prayer that an hour passes like a second. It’s incredible to watch the power of the Holy Spirit fill a teenager so full of courage and hope and holiness that they crave God’s word and they dedicate their heart to the Father and not to the world. I can’t even describe what a splendor that sight is to behold!
If you’re watching the news, reading the paper or having conversations that include topics like, government healthcare, Monsanto, the IRS or just about any other worldly topic, it’s easy to feel like someone just pulled your plug and drained out a good share of your hope and optimism. I am here to tell you to lift up your heart because what I witnessed this weekend proved that THEY are our hope. If we want to make a difference in this world there is a natural resource we need to protect and nurture and it’s our youth! They have a fire, a hunger and an ability to bring about greatness…the greatness of Christ. Youth who love Christ and are armed with the knowledge that they are CHOSEN are a powerful ally in the battle for truth and goodness!
I’ve felt their passion, I’ve seen their enthusiasm and I’ve heard their voices lifted in praise and I’m tellin ya…they are a mighty force. They are the body of Christ NOW and they need our prayers and our support and ou interaction NOW. As adults we tend to view them as the future of our church when actually they ARE the church and they are hungry for a place to love and serve the Lord. In many cases they know more than we do, they love Christ more deeply than we do, they have more passion than we do and they certainly have more energy than we do. We need to stand side by side with them and set about the work of those who know they are CHOSEN! If you don’t think working with teens is in your set of gifts, then pray for them or financially support their spiritual development. If you doubt the power of a teenager, I’m guessing you’ve never seen firsthand what happens to one who allows the power of God to work through them. That’s something EVERY person should see, they will amaze you!
A Seed to Plant: Get the names of some teenagers from your church and begin to pray every day for them by name. At some point this week pick out a teenager and have a conversation with them and encourage them in some way.
Blessings on your day!
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