Friday, July 13, 2007

Prayer is our battery, and we're still going.

Things are still going great with our youth group. I am in awe at God's sovereignty. Thinking about things, I cannot think of too much we've done different this year than the past four and a half. We pretty much stayed the same.

So, what is it about summer 2007 that has changed our youth group into a core of worshipers and seekers, ready to learn and serve Christ? What suddenly caused them to be better friends and cling to one another? Was it something I did? No. It was the Holy Spirit and desperate prayers.

Earlier this year we really were ready to quit. Mentally, it was taking it's toll. I was questioning my ability to influence and see a breakthrough. I even told people that this was the year it needs to happen or I can't go on like this any longer. God gave me a vision and it was to be fulfilled in 3-5 years. This is the 5th year. When I told that to a board member, he asked me if I was putting time tables on God. I told him I wasn't. I was putting time tables on myself. Whether I was capable of leading and influencing was my concern.

Then, about 2 months ago, I gave a list of students to our senior adult Sunday School teacher. They began praying for the kids and the youth ministry. This past Sunday morning, the Lord reminded me of this as I was getting ready for church. The faithful saints had been praying, I was desperate, and God answered our prayers.

So, here's my advice to all of you. When you are in need, find faithful people that can pray. Find the kind of people that quietly pray when no one is around. And seek God yourself. Get to the bottom of your rope and get desperate for God to move. When you do this, you'll probably come to the same conclusion I have - you'll realize that you can do nothing without Jesus. You need Him for everything good.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Devil - I'm still here!

The past six months have been rocky and busy. But, I'm still here.

After years of prayer and hard work, we're finally beginning to see a breakthrough in our youth group. Kathy and I have wanted so bad for these kids to have a hunger for the things of God and it looks like they are now.

It was frustrating each time they would be mean to someone else, or laugh at and mock the song service. I would hate it when they discouraged their peers from taking seriously a message or participating in an activity. Sitting with their arms crossed, they often talked and texted, even when they were asked not to. I'm so tired of hearing about "emergency" cell phone calls and "weak bladders."

We went to youth camp over a week ago and God really met each one of them in a special way. Something clicked and stuck. They woke up from their apathy and started realizing that Jesus Christ has a plan for each of us and that we ought to be in love with Him and know Him as much as we can.

They all became better friends during the week through being on the same team during rec games and praying for each other during altar times every night. Some of the older ones took up the mantle of leadership and reached out to the younger. Finally. They started acting like a family that cares for one another.

Now that we're back to "normal" life, they haven't let the fire die. One of them told his mom that he wanted to have family devotional times every week at home. He also organized a student led Bible study and they've already had a meeting on their own, without me! That's never happened before.

While we were at camp we had opportunity to discuss translations of the Bible and how the Bible came to be. They all expressed interest in taking a field trip to the Bible Museum here in the Phoenix area. We're taking that trip this Tuesday.

For the past two Sundays they have come down to the front of the sanctuary to stand and worship together. It has opened opportunities for prayer and encouragement. Even some who did not get to go to camp have caught the new zeal. And this past Wednesday night's youth service was great. They wanted to pray for one another and we ended up staying for an hour beyond our normal ending time.

In my High School Sunday School class they gave $62.50. Let's just say that's a switch. :)

For all who want to quit... For all who are frustrated and can't yet see the light... Don't give up! Stand your ground and keep fighting. Raise your hands toward Heaven and cry out "I'm still here." Though Satan would want to thwart your work, you stand as a testimony to the greatness of God. You tell the old serpent to get lost, you're not going anywhere. For as long as you have breath, you serve Christ!