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Wednesday, June 18, 2014
"A Burden for Today's Youth"
“Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity.” --I Timothy 4:12
I have spent the last few weeks around many Christian teenagers. Between camps and youth conference, I have preached to hundreds of young people. I have really been burdened for the next generation, and I fear for them because of the conditions that they will have to face. As iniquity abounds, they will face much harsher conditions in their culture than we face today. I have observed several things that have severely impacted these young lives, and set them up for future failure:
1. Broken Homes
Many of the teens that I have talked with express the hurt of having a broken home. They live with step-parents, single moms, uncles and aunts, and often grandparents. These kids have never had a strong father who loves their mother and strives to build a secure family. The insecurity, the instability, and the lack of belonging that many of these kids possess as a result, are obvious.
2. No Barriers
Many of the teens that I have been around have little or no rules to govern their lives. They have not been given clear, defined lines of right and wrong. These young people are often left to figure life out as they go.
3. No Beliefs
What amazes me is the lack of heart-felt beliefs. Many of the young people have nothing to believe in. They question everything, and have no absolutes. Having heart-felt beliefs is what drives a life, and many of them don’t know what to believe.
As bad as things seem, I have also observed several things that really encourage my heart:
1. Teachable Spirits
So many of these young people have a willingness to learn. They are ready for someone to show them the truth. There is a yearning to hear from God, and to know what is the right way.
2. A Longing for Belonging
These young people have a deep need to belong to something bigger than themselves. They want to be a part of something, and have a place within a group. When they see that there is a fraternity of Christian believers that strive to be faithful to Christ, they want to be a part.
3. A Desire to make a Difference
They know that what has been happening to homes and marriages is not how things are supposed to be. They don’t want their kids to grow up broken like they have been. They are willing to have their lives changed if that change makes things better than what they have known.
My heart is broken for these young people. They have been assaulted by sin, broken by the culture, and not given any hope for tomorrow. However, when they have been exposed to the Word of God, and feel the breath of the Spirit of God, they are quick to respond. They see hope in God’s Word, and they see belonging in God’s family, and they find security in knowing the boundaries God has set. It has been amazing to see the response to the preaching. I have seen tears--tears over sin, tears of surrender, tears for others. Young people are looking for someone to say, “I love you, and God loves you, and this is what He wants you to do.” These last few weeks have burdened my heart for today’s youth, but also filled my heart with hope for tomorrow. Pray with me for the next generation.