Thursday, August 18, 2011

#12 - Beyond Ex-Teenage Dreams

While my silver hair can't help me remember where I parked the truck coming out of the store, only a few minutes ago, I can, however still remember my teenage dreams of standing in the shoes of David, defending God's honor and army. No giant was so big to make me shake and skedaddle to safety. We all need a hero male or female, no matter our age.

I rather doubt today's teens have any God-honoring hero; or even any to choose from. It's like society is saying it's not possible to be a courageous bold leader in today's world. Courageous leaders ... and calling down fire from heaven to consume evil, well, those days are gone.

More than that; how about having a balanced life of peace, purpose, joy, and love. Ex-Teens see that life maybe available on another planet, or, only in heaven.

The key verse of a youth evangelism organization*, I was once employed by, was the anchor to their Balanced Life program. It was called balanced life because it quartered the life of a teenager in a way attention could be given to each part. The balanced life quarters were Mental, Physical, Spiritual, and Social. The program gave the teen and his/her mentor a starting point to see God has provision for every area of those stressful teen growing years.

The next level broke each quarter into 4 more quarters, as follows:

Mental: Thoughts, Attitudes/Motives, Meditation, and Studies

Physical: Cleanliness/Appearance, Control of Sex, Health, and Discipline.

: Faith, Love, Obedience, and Prayer.

Social: Associations and Witness, Activities, Abilities

Whether you think of the subdivisions listed above as 'intermediate goals' or a 'divide and conquer' process, it is a powerful way to guide a teen into looking at ALL areas of his/her life. Now before we dig deeper, I want you to look at the key verse the youth evangelism anchored all this to. Bible scholars consider this scripture to refer to the teen years and above, of our Savior Jesus Christ,
since it follows a historical account of Jesus as a 12 year old.

Look at Luke 2:52. "And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man." Consider carefully the four areas of Jesus' life. I'll add links in brackets: And Jesus increased in wisdom (mental) and stature (physical), and in favour with God (spiritual) and man (social).

As an exercise, think of some hurdles in a teen life and discuss which of the 16 areas would help a teen to zero in on making it a stronger part of a teen balanced life. Maybe even some hurdles from your own teen years ...

Hopefully, God will give us the right words to magnify the Lord Jesus as a worthy Hero for every teen to look up to and strive to emulate. After all, isn't that what the word CHRISTIAN means?

More than win (against giants of every kind).

I've loved to sing the song VICTORY IN JESUS for more than 6 decades. But the song only carries half the promise. The other half you seldom hear about, and never teach a teen (but should) uses the word MORE. Teens and most all youth, especially boys, are competitive and certainly want to win - that's the VICTORY IN JESUS. But a strange promise in scripture tells us there is another step above the Olympic's Bronze, Silver, and Gold. This strange concept taught nowhere else on earth, is that a person can MORE THAN conquer that giant in their life. Romans 8:37 says, "Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us."

Now the 'through him that loved us', that's Jesus. You know, the One with the balanced life. As you mentor an ex-teen, begin by dividing up his challenges into pieces. Maybe do it as you and the ex-teen boy take a screwdriver to a junk computer, or layout all the ingredients to making a cake, with a teen girl. Who knows, maybe the process will help conquer some giant fears or unknowns in both your lives. The key is the 'through Him that loved us.'

Can you ever imagine what can be accomplished with love, sacrifice, and God's precious word?

* Youth For Christ