Wednesday, May 25, 2005

It was a fun night

I was invited to speak at my old youth group tonight. It was flattering to be invited back. It was even more flattering to have so many kids applaud when I finished speaking. Not that I need or want the adulation or praise, but it made me feel like I really did have an impact on the teens at that church. I hope they applaud Jesus more by living their lives to serve Him.

It's funny. You spend almost six years at a church and sometimes you really don't feel like you're making much of a difference, but then God gives you just a little glimpse of some of the things you did or said that did have an impact. I started something when I was there called "It's All Greek to Me." It's a segment of my lesson where I teach the students a Greek word and what it means. I did it tonight for old time's sake. I couldn't believe when I did, they cheered. Here are a bunch of Junior and Senior High students CHEERING at the prospect of learning a Greek word. That amazed me.

It was great to see so many old(er) faces. I didn't even recognize many of them until they told me their names. What was funny was that I was nervous before I spoke. I haven't gotten nervous before a youth lesson in a LONG time, but tonight I was. The Lord worked it out though and three students even gave their lives to the Lord!!!

To any teens from COD who read this. Never, EVER forget...FIX YOUR EYES ON JESUS.

Friday, May 20, 2005

Amazing Grace for the Moment

So, about a month ago a new Jr. High Student started attending. Rough story. Dad died in a car accident, mom drinks and smokes heavily. But, his mom was at least concerned enough about her son to look up churches in the phone book and call around looking for some place where he could belong. No one in the family is a believer, but she wanted her son to make friends and feel comfortable being himself.

Anyway, there is an 18-year-old kid living in their house who got kicked out of his own house. So, he lives with this family and drives the kids everywhere. He comes to our youth group as well. When I first met the kid, I had an uneasy feeling and so did some of my other adult leaders. He had an arrogance about him and seemed like bad news. He spent most of his time hitting on two of our 9th grade girls which only added to my concern.

Unfortunately (and sinfully I might add), I allowed my feeling about him to grow into judgementalism. I didn't like or trust him and honestly would have been happy to see him go away. But, he has kept coming.

Yesterday morning I was praying and God impressed on my heart that this kid was hurting. I didn't know "his story", but the Lord made it clear to me that he had one and it was a painful one as well. So, I asked Him to open a door for me with this kid.

So, last night only 13 kids showed up (we usually run about 30) and the young ladies he usually gets distracted with weren't there either. Our lesson was on God's Existence - how do we know He exists and can it be proved. I got about 2 minutes into my lesson before this guy starts asking questions and I spent the rest of the time answering question upon question from him as well as the other 13.

When it was over, I spent an hour talking with the guy. I didn't even initiate the conversation...he did. He shared his life with me.

Then he said some things that impressed me. He had just taken his first High School equivalency test, got a new job and bought his first car. Then HE ASKED ME if we could get together next week. He sells knives and gets paid to make presentations and wanted to know if I would sit through one. So, next week, I'm taking him out to lunch and then sitting through a kitchen knife demonstration.

I don't know what will happen next week. I don't know if he will trust in Christ or not. I can't control any of that. All I can do is be available to God and willing to let Him use me. I can tell you I'm excited to see what God is going to do.

I also learned or was reminded of a few things last night...

I can be a judgmental jerk sometimes.
God answers prayer.
People surprise me.