Who will show this kid the way?

Sadnessi’m going to go ahead and state the obvious.   if you’re not interested in thinking about the spiritual realities of our life together, it’s ok to move on.  you could check out the espn site or maybe some youtubes of the VMA’s.  my sleep will not be hindered.

here it is:  the most important thing in my life is to help people experience the life that jesus died to give us…and to experience it everyday.  everything else is a collective second place.  a very distant second place.

it is what i devote myself to as a husband and a dad.  it’s what i do everyday as a neighbor and friend and a part of the community.  it’s how i define my role as a minister and counselor and teacher and discipler.

i love sports and music and cool television shows and home improvement projects.  i love eating out with friends and talking about social issues and jeep rides in the country.

i’m a normal guy…nothing special.  god didn’t give me anything that he hasn’t given freely to everyone else.  i don’t have more of his “spirit” than anybody else.  my understanding of the bible has come from simply studying it.  my love of people and patience and contentment come from the exact same source available to anyone who chooses to humbly walk with god.

i’m absolutely weary of people thinking that because i’m a “pastor”, god did something to me or somehow made things more clear to me…that my calling to serve god is heroic or my life ambitions have come from a special spiritual hotline.

i’m naturally an introvert.  i’m spontaneous and horribly undisciplined.  i’ve had a closet attention deficit problem most of my adult life.  i’m uncomfortably self-conscious.  i hate being up in front.  in my twenties, i was deathly afraid of public speaking, let alone preaching.  i lead singing in worship settings for years, but i’m totally intimidated by my below average singing voice.  kids used to make fun of the way i sang…and my nervousness secretly overwhelms me to this day when i have to lead singing.

prayer is usually difficult for me and bible study is most often a grind, because of attention issues.  at heart, i think i’m really more self-centered than others-oriented.  i am often controlled by fears and doubts and questions that plague my spiritual journey.

so what made the difference?  is there anything at all that separates me from you?  yeah.  maybe.  so don’t miss this.

again…here it is:  when i was a young man, i had people who inspired me.  i had people who lived their lives close to mine and challenged me to follow their lead.  i had people who modeled lives of spiritual discipline and passion for the things of god.  i had people who spoke truth to me.  they challenged me to swallow my fears and refuse to listen to the lies that came from the darkness of media or thoughtless critics.

i had people who told me they believed in me and that they would be there for me, no matter what.  i had people who refused to let me give anything less than my best to god.  they would call out my sin and they would celebrate my faithfulness.

here is now the greatest sadness in my life:  over the past 25 years, there are fewer and fewer men and women who invest deeply in the lives of kids and young adults…to show them the way…to teach them the riches of god’s words and the joy of serving him.

my childhood and youth was filled with faithful bible school teachers and good-hearted young couples and spiritually mature adults who saw it as their responsibility to pass on faith and godly values and a holy life purpose to the next generation.

my college and young adult years were heavily influenced by dedicated youth leaders who showed me how to live out my beliefs in a difficult and complicated world.  and they left me no room but to follow in their footsteps and do the same for young people who would follow in mine.

this is how the “christian life” works.  this is god’s only plan for passing on truth and raising up the church and leadership in any future generation.

and there are simply fewer and fewer people who are willing to accept that mantle of responsibility.  there are lots of people who have no problem accepting god’s goodness for themselves and their own children…yet the void of servants and disciplers and teachers and leaders of kids and spiritual mentors continues to deepen.

apparently, there are three or four less hours in the week than there were a few years ago.

anybody else have a better explanation?

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5 thoughts on “Who will show this kid the way?

  1. -There is no money in it

    -I will also admit for me personally, I need some tangible ROI sometimes. I am a sinner

    -All the people who inspired you back in the day didn’t have a fraction of the day to day distractions we have now.

    -Remember Johnny Carson used to be that last thing on at night before the Star Spangled banner. Your Faith can’t compete with DirectTV

    -Servants back in the day with kiddos, didn’t have to attend multiple “select” sports leagues for their children, have a cell phone strapped to their head, wasn’t on call with their office, basically 24-7. Then get home and get distracted by ipads, Breaking Bad, Facebook.

    Shall I continue?

  2. -The mentors of today have have:
    Johnny football
    Miley Cyrus
    Trayvon Martin
    Obama care
    Bush
    Game of Thrones
    Words with friends,
    “I was just thinking”
    Summer movie flops
    Broken PCs you have to call tech support to fix so you can get back on TMZ.com
    Paula Dean…

    all the stuff above takes time to think about so you can make sure you have an OPINION – that’s prolly another couple of hours you could take out of the day.

    I Guarantee my mentors didn’t have this stuff around them. Would they be able to handle the distractions of today? Probably not, maybe, idk.

    1. You’re right. They had other stuff around them to distract them. Not more distraction, not less distraction. Just different.

      I don’t give a rip if a youth leader/mentor/influencer has an opinion on those things. I care if they have an opinion on Jesus.

      Maybe servants today with kiddos could take a student to their own child’s game to show what healthy family looks like. Maybe they could text a kid with that cell phone they have strapped to their head while they are on call with their office 24/7. Send them a facebook message while they are distracted on their ipads. Invite a student over to watch that direct TV that apparently can’t compete with their faith, and then form an opinion – with them – on that pop culture that we apparently don’t have time to form an opinion on. Shall I continue?

      I get that we lived in an over-programmed culture. Maybe we can’t do as much… but we can do some. It isn’t going to look like it did 20 years ago. It probably shouldn’t. We live in a different culture. So as people of Jesus, let’s figure out what works for our culture.

  3. AR
    The Rector ask for an explanation, I gave it.
    You gave an outline on what to do with my excuses. Great!
    It got me worked up for about a sec. Strong words though.
    You said “let’s figure it out”. Sure let’s have meetings on it, go to a few workshops on it, Plan, plan, plan…

    My most influential mentor opened the church for me and about 5 kiddos to play basketball on Wednesday nights. that was it. I remember every word that man said. I was learning and didn’t even know it
    We did that for about 3 years. The moms, who happened to all be divorced, started having a bible study while we played.

    All this from a simple turn of a key and a few hours.
    Your are right about letting youth into our daily life. But I think the quality of the relationship is benefited when there is an escape from distraction.

    1. Nobody said anything about meetings. Better idea is to just look around us and start. We are on the same page here.

      Your story illustrates the point exactly. Find a way to engage and engage them.

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