Last week I spoke to a small group of teens for five days in Colorado. Just prior to that I spoke to scores of inmates at Sterling (Colorado) Correctional.
The difference I see in teens this summer season, even moreso than last – they are scared.
They notice the terrorist attacks (and most of them correctly call them Islamic terror attacks ). They observe – even if they don’t want to – the political idiocy. Most of them discern the growing, overt distrust, disgust, and even hatred of “Christians” (though most of the antagonists could not define one).
And they wonder about their future…short term and long term.
They have every right to be worried. Parents, pastors, and youth leaders have no right to tell them “don’t worry.”
Granted, we can tell them God is in control. We can share verses like Proverbs 16.4, “The Lord has made everything for its purpose, even the wicked for the day of trouble.”
We should encourage them to join the psalmist, (Ps 73.28) “But for me it is good to be near God; I have made the Lord God my refuge that I may tell of all Your works.”
Don’t ignore the last phrase – “…that I may tell of all Your works.”
Yes, the situation is dark.
Yes, our Pledge of Allegiance should be edited – “…with liberty and justice for all – except evangelical Christians.”
Yes, anyone with a functioning brain is waiting for the next big terrorist strike within our nation.
But the light always shines the brightest against a dark background. Our teens (and we!) must be equipped to share the gospel intentionally, intelligently, and naturally.
They (and we) need to see evangelism as obedience in action; and as a lifestyle as opposed to a “knocking on doors,” “mission tripping to the beach,” sporadic event.
They (and we) need to understand that as redeemed people life is a missions trip.
As we see 2 Timothy 3.1-5 in a growing light, we focus on the Light, and ask Him to use us….and use these teens…to go against the flow, to stand when others cave, to speak when others are silent.
Easy? Of course not.
Where is it written that following Christ in obedience is “easy.” (though it is too often ‘preached’) Where is it written that it is about comfort, wealth, and health? It isn’t (except in books that should be labeled “fantasy fiction”)
So, parents, pastors, youth leaders – don’t lie to the teens, regardless of your motive. It will get tougher. We’ve no idea how tough, though we could ask our brothers and sisters in places like Afghanistan, North Korean, Russia, China etc