>A Specific Request and a General Plea

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The young man is this photo posted the following on his very public Facebook. This is a brave step by a teen who I’ve always thought had so much going for him if he’d just sell-out/surrender to Jesus. He requests prayer, and I ask you to pray for him…and all other students who want to pursue the Lord regardless of what their friends or others in their sphere of influence desire.

Here is his note:

“After many years of DOUBT and CONFUSION, I can finally say in CONFIDENCE that I am DEVOTED to and in LOVE with the one we call SAVIOR! =D Camp was truly a blessing this year for I called, He answered, and came to my MUCH NEEDED rescue. Please pray for me.. as it will be hard not to fall into my many temptations and most importantly because I FEAR God.”

>Why I Am Still a Youth Guy

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I’ve wrapped up the last year of summer camp for 2009, with my 20th consecutive year at “Korean Kamp” in Quakertown, Pa.

Twenty weeks of speaking to mostly Korean/Americans. Somewhere around 180 weeks total since my first camp speaking in 1979. Thirty-one years of full-time, vocational (primarily) youth ministry.

Why do I do it?

Fundamental answer: God has called, equipped, and enabled me to so do.

Further answer: I love students, and I am thrilled that I get to try to influence them for Jesus and His gospel. And so many (and it gets worse every year) come from “good” churches and yet are very ignorant regarding the basics of the faith.

For whatever reason (and, yes, I’ve got a few dozen opinions!), most professing Christian teens have no assurance of their salvation. There is a mixed-up heap of thinking “since I prayed ‘the prayer’ (which is found no where in Scripture) I’m ‘in’ no matter what” blended with “if I sin I must not be a Christian at all.”

Why? They are all too often not told to “work out their salvation with fear and trembling,” and don’t understand that it is “God who is at work within (them) both to desire to do and do His good pleasure.”

They are all-too-often ignorant of the purpose of the book of First John, “that you may know that you have eternal life.”

They are all-too-often given lists of do-and-don’t, rather than challenged to “present (their) bodies as living sacrifices.” Some are challenged to focus on short-term mission trips while forgetting their full-time mission field is their home, their school, their community.

They are encouraged to read magazines and books about the Book, but not exhorted to read the Book (nor given practical training in how to so do).

All too often emotional messages are climaxed by a “every head bowed, every eye closed” invitation that, if responded to, results in a five-minute “counseling” session that produces far too many “decisions” that don’t last rather than disciples who do last.

So as long as the Lord God continues to open doors of service…whether from pulpits or camp stages or one-on-ones or jails or schools or….whatever…I’ll keep being grateful I get to do what I get to do, and will try to preach/teach/model the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Am I older-than-dirt? Yup. But I fully intend to go out as a (primarily) youth guy.

>The Lost Scottish Bagpiper

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Okay, I don’t know if this is true or not; but it is rather funny:

As a bagpiper, I was asked by a funeral director to play at a graveside
service for a homeless Scotsman who had no family or friends. The funeral was to be held at a new cemetery in the remote countryside and this man would be the first to be laid to rest there.

As I was not familiar with the backwoods country area, I became lost and
being a typical man, did not stop for directions. I finally arrived an hour
late. I saw the backhoe and the crew who were eating lunch but the hearse
was nowhere in sight.

I apologized to the workers for my tardiness and stepped to the side of the
open grave where I saw the vault lid already in place.

I assured the workers I would not hold them up for long but this was the
proper thing to do. The workers gathered around, still eating their lunch. I
played out my heart and soul as a salute to the fallen Scotsman.

As I played the workers began to weep. I played and I played like I’d never
played before, from “Going Home” and “The Lord is My Shepherd” to “Flowers
of the Forest
“. I closed the lengthy session with fine tradition with the
pipes by playing “Amazing Grace” and walked to my car.

As I was opening the door and taking off my coat, I overheard one of the
workers saying to another, Sweet Jeezuz, Mary ‘n Joseph, I have never seen nothin’ like that before and I’ve been putting in septic tanks for twenty
years!

>A Testimony That Resonates

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“Nothing I can remember to this day appeared to me so clear and distinct, as my own sinfulness, Christ’s preciousness, the value of the Bible, the absolute necessity of coming out of the world, the need of being born again…”

“All these things, I repeat, seemed to flash on me like a sunbeam in the winter of 1837…Before that time I was dead in sins and on the high road to hell, and from that time I have become alive and had a hope of heaven. And nothing to my mind can account for it, but the free sovereign grace of God.”

~ J.C. Ryle