Loving teens and letting them know it!

This is my first blog post from Microsoft Word. I thought I’d give it a shot, since this one may take a while to type up. You’ll understand, once you read it.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about Youth Ministry and my role and Jeff’s role. I get such a great sense of excitement when I go to 24/7 on Wednesday nights at Gaylord Community Church, the Jr. High and the Sr. High youth ministries at the Methodist church as well. But, more specifically at Gaylord Community Church. I feel the Lord is leading me to be more involved with the youth ministry there. I have such a heart for the teens, and I want to help raise them up, to be on-fire teens for God, and then continue on into adult-hood.

There are 3 teens right now, that Jeff and I have had the opportunity to minister to, as we give them rides home, almost every week. And it has been so neat, and heart-warming the conversations we’ve had. These 3 really seem to need some stable adults in their lives, and they are searching, they are asking questions about God and life.

One of the girls (they shall remain nameless for now), lost her mom when she was 8 to Lupus. And now she lives with her sister and her family. I can’t imagine how that must feel. Jeff and I do our best to love her up, and I know a couple of the other youth ministers are reaching out to her and her sister as well. Just keep this family lifted up in prayer.

The one boy we give a ride, he attends the Methodist youth group and the church on Sunday, as well as 24/7, so we’ve gotten to know him quite well. And he’s had some good questions, too. His home life his hard as well. It seems his mom has been in trouble with the law, and had to use the money they were saving to move, to stay out of jail. He has a girlfriend, who’s not a Christian, and he’s trying to figure that relationship out. Jeff and I encourage him toward purity, and we discuss the issue of being unequally yoked (though we don’t use those words with him yet). We listen while he tries to figure out why she doesn’t want to go to church, etc. We gave him the
Nooma DVD, by Rob Bell called Flame. In it, Rob talks about the 3 different words used for love, in the Hebrew Scriptures; Raiah, Ahava and Dode (I’m not sure of the spelling…). Anyway, Raiah, is the friendship, companion love we feel toward someone; Ahava is the strong commitment love, the love that keeps people together; and Dode is the sexual love. Rob goes on to explain that a relationship between a man and a woman probably won’t last without all 3 of them. Jeff played this video at the Sr. High youth last Sunday, and this young man wanted to show it to his girlfriend. So, we took it to him Wednesday and he showed it to her on Friday. He said she was responsive to it, and felt it strengthened their relationship. We shall see how this progresses, so keep them lifted up in prayer too.

The other young woman we give a ride, I have known for about 3 or 4 years now through 24/7. She’s had a rough life as well. It seems her step-dad is in jail, and she feels at blame for it. She lives with, or stays with her Grandmother. She’s opened up to me in the past with some of her issues, so we will continue to pray for her and how we can just love her up as well.

Well, all of this has to do with my call to minister to the youth in our area, and I am glad God is using Jeff and I to love up some of them. Now, I wish there weren’t teens who needed ministering to, who weren’t without parents, and who didn’t have girlfriends/boyfriends who weren’t saved. But, that is not the case. So, it is my prayer that God will use us to reach out to those who need it.

Of course this blog isn’t sounding anything like the one I was playing in my head on my way home from taking my kids back to be with their dad.

I really wanted to talk about some of the things God has been revealing to me lately.

One of them happened just the other night. I got to thinking; we are continually hearing how bad teens are; how they are so rebellious, how they are trying to be so independent, and make decisions that aren’t the best for them and so on. The teens hear this too!!! And isn’t it true, hasn’t it been proven, that people become what they hear, what they are told they are, what they are expected to be??? Then why do we continually speak this rebellion, this spirit of independence over them? We, adults, need to speak love and acceptance over them. We need to voice it loud and clear every chance we get! I love teenagers! I think they are great!

What can we do to change the heart, minds and attitudes of the millions of teenagers all over the world? Can I, one person, make a difference? In the lives of a handful of teens, probably, yes. But, how can we as a community of youth ministers do this??? How can we get the message out, that teens are good, and wonderful, and beautiful, and lovely and loveable, and worthy, and awesome, and peaceful, and peaceable, and strong and loved by God and by others? We need to start by the message we send out to them. Start at home, by speaking love into their lives, loving them for who they are, who God created them to be. How can we drive this message home to the parents of teens, of pre-teens and of children who will be teens in the near future??? Our youth ministry, I feel, needs to be parent ministry as well. But, how will we accomplish this task? How can we get parents involved? We already have kids who come because their parents think it’s the youth minister’s job to get their kids on-fire for God. Or parents who think youth group is a place for them to go hang out for a couple of hours a week with their friends. And parents who probably don’t even know where their kids are, sad to say.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I am not totally blaming parents here. I am blaming society, and ultimately Satan here. Satan knows the strength this generation has, so he is doing his darndest to stop this generation, and the ones to follow, from loving God. Teens see the hypocrisy at home, in their parents, in their teachers, even in their youth ministers, so why would they want to become a Christian, or live a Christian life? How is it different??? It’s our job to show them the difference!!! It’s our job to be a good example for them, to be their role models (our job as parents, teachers, and youth ministers), to show them how to truly love God and love others. Our walks need to be exemplary for them, and we need to be speaking out loud, in the media, how great and wonderful teens are!
This nonsense that teens are so bad and rebellious needs to stop!!!

Lord, it is my prayer, that you will help me to be a good example to the teens in my home, the youth groups, the community, the city, the state, the country, and ultimately the world! Help me get the word out in the media that we love teens!!! We want them to know they are loved and that YOU love them God and that you sent your Son for THEM! Help me show them that they don’t have to be geeks to be a Christian, that You created them just as they are for your purpose! In Jesus name, Amen.

I’ve also been thinking a lot lately, about my teens, my Kaleb and Karlie. They live over in Boyne with their dad. It is not a good environment at all. They live over there because that is where they grew up and they love the schools they are in, and it would be a detriment to make them change schools to live over here in Gaylord with me. So, Jeff and I have been praying about how to get moved over there. We have a home equity loan to pay off, so that when we go to purchase a new home, we will have enough down payment so we don’t have to pay PMI. We are hoping to have that paid off this next summer or fall. But, I am feeling led to get moved over there, the sooner the better. I feel one more day in that environment is one more day lost to leading them down the right road.

We do get great ministry opportunities when they are with us (just in the difference they see in our household and their dads) and the time we spend with them, just playing games, or talking, or just hanging out. Jeff and Kaleb have great conversations about music (they have the same taste in music).And I can see a difference in them from when they arrive to when they leave, in their personalities, the anger and attitudes they have when they first arrive and then the peacefulness after they’ve been with us. I’m not tooting my own horn here, it is all God! He has blessed me with a peaceful husband and we have a peaceful home, and the kids notice it! They tell me, not directly, but in the stuff I hear that goes on at their dads.

Oh Lord, I pray for my kids! I lift them up to you; guide and protect them and keep them safe. Help us Lord to get moved over to Boyne so they can be with us. In Jesus name, Amen.

May you be blessed and may you be a blessing to any teens you encounter. Love them and let them know they are loved and God loves them!!!


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