School has officially begun, and there are a few things that I’d like to say to our teens and parents during this challenging time.
1.Young people, God has plans to use you as His “instrument of righteousness” (Rom. 6:13) during school this year. This means that He would like to give you some opportunities to serve Him and to live out the message of the Gospel in front of some people who are lost in sin. This might mean that you will have an opportunity to influence a teammate, or maybe the person who sits across from you at the lunch table. This might mean that you have an opportunity to talk to one of your teachers or coaches about why you are so “different.” But here is the bottom line: you will not get these opportunities if you don’t “present yourself” to God to be used by Him. If you’re unavailable, too busy, or too concerned about getting what you might want from your school year, those opportunities will pass you by. You will become the 1-talent man in many ways, burying the opportunities that God has entrusted you with. I want to encourage you to pray about these opportunities, and then begin looking for God’s will in your life this year!
2.Young people, please don’t forget that your Christian brothers and sisters need you during the school year. You are – for the most part – separated from each other more than you were during the summer, so you need to take full advantage of every opportunity to be together and to encourage one another. Come to Bible class. Come to as many BYG activities as you can. Text and call your Christian brothers and sisters during the week and see how they’re doing. Don’t forget that we are the body of Christ, and that we must continue to support and be there for one another, no matter what time of year it is!
3.Parents, please put some things in place to ensure that your teens remain spiritually strong. I know that they have homework (lots of it); I know that they are involved in sports, band, and other extracurricular activities; I know that they are being pulled in every direction; but God wants their hearts, and it is our job as parents to put some boundaries and limits on the things that threaten to pull them away from God. No one else in their lives can do what God has commanded us, as parents, to do. We are to “bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord” (Eph. 6:4), and that takes time, effort, and sacrifice. Place a priority on spiritual things, and try not to let the things of this world crowd them out. Have spiritual discussions and Bible studies at home. Pray with and for your children every day. Bring them to Bible class on Sunday morning, and make Wednesday night Bible study important. They need your spiritual guidance, and they need the encouragement of other young Christians.
4.BYG families, please know that I am an available resource for you and for your teens. I pray for them - by name - on a regular basis, and I want to be part of their lives. If there is anything that I can ever do for your family, don’t hesitate to let me know. Please invite me to your games, concerts, track meets, etc. and I’ll do my best to come. Ask me Bible questions and I’ll get you the answers. If there is a particular subject that you or your family would like to know more about, let me know and I will study it and write an article for you. In short, I am here to minister to you so that you can minister to those around you. I love you, and I appreciate the trust you have placed in me.
Let’s work together, and let’s trust God to use us in powerful ways this school year! Let’s change the culture of our schools, teams, and even our youth group by giving MORE effort this year, and by spending MORE time with our God & with our church family!
May God bless you and your family this school year, and may you see Him working in your lives every day!!!