but in this moment


It’s so strange—and in a way sad—to think that this is the last bit of my childhood.  I’ve gone from infancy to childhood to teen, which are all stages in and of themselves, but soon I’ll be an adult and I will never get these carefree years back.  After this will come responsibility, many new experiences.  After this year, I’ll never again go to youth to participate in the activities, or go to Sunday school, or go to high school.

It makes me realize how important now is.  Not in the sense of “live for now, in the moment, for your own satisfaction,” but in the sense that you’ll never get this time back.  This moment, right now, is your only chance to be Christ to your high school friends.  It’s your only chance to be there for your friends at youth.  It’s your only chance to do the things only teenagers can do.

If you let this moment pass you by, what about the next, and the next?  Will you give up an opportunity to glorify God in this situation?  You’ll never get another one quite like it.  It doesn’t matter if it doesn’t seem to be successful.

Our part is simple: our responsibility is to obey God and leave the details up to Him.  Will you hear this call?

a glorious surrender


You know how close others seem to be to God? Well that’s what I want. I became a Christian when I was younger but was never really “close” to God…at least, I didn’t feel like it. So I tried doing more devotions, different ways of devotions, tried to change my attitude toward others, etc. But it never helped. I think it’s because I never experienced a change of heart and I never surrendered completely to God — not just my life or future plans, but my heart as well. At Acquire the Fire, they spoke of how people say “the prayer” and ask Jesus to come into their lives, and they go to church, etc. but still have not experienced glorious surrender to God. And that was me. Although I had physically done everything I needed to, I hadn’t done everything I needed to spiritually and emotionally. Something had been missing, and that was a change of heart. I never asked Jesus to give me the heart of a follower of Him. Another speaker at Acquire the Fire spoke about how when he became a Christian, he went into his room and destroyed everything that was not God-honoring. He spoke about how we cannot compromise our faith in any way for being normal, accepted. After all, how can we stand out if we’re listening to the same music as everyone else, and acting the same as everyone else, and speaking the same as everyone else?

 

years to treasure


I’ve been thinking a lot lately about teenagers. I go to school and see so many teens wasting their time, it seems, heartbroken over a lost “love,” coming up with ways to get back at those who hurt them, trying to keep up their marks and all the while working to afford post-secondary education…and their iphones.

I look around, and I don’t see teens going that deep; focusing on what really matters. Girls are too obsessed trying to get guys’ attention but be secure in who they are, while guys are too obsessed with x-box. COD. Halo. Whatever.

It’s sad, really.

Have you ever thought what it’ll feel like to be thirty years old and look back on your teen years and go, “Wow. I did nothing…I wish I had done so much more while I had the chance. Before life got really crazy. Before I had 50 million responsibilities”? Not many people have. I’m not saying you should take a step back and know you’ll live to regret your life; I’m saying that you should use these years to your advantage.

I often say to my mom, “Teenage years are often harder than a lot of adults think.” What I mean is this: sure, the problems of the average youth may seem trivial to adults since they’ve already gone through them and faced bigger things, but it’s when you’re trying to get into college/university, trying to decide what to do with your life, getting your first part-time job, getting your driver’s license, and all the while juggling sports and social life…it’s a time full of firsts. And probably one of the biggest periods of “firsts” in your life.

This stage of your life will make you what you are as an adult. It’s when you shape and mold your character. It’s when you choose your friends. When you seriously begin to follow God with an adult-like faith (no longer a child-like faith).

I see the teen years as a prime time to serve God in big ways. God sets before us tons of opportunities to give glory to Him. Often, though we don’t recognize them. We sit back and go to youth, church, maybe join a small-group Bible study. But when it comes down to practical things, we don’t do much.

Although the teen years are busy, they are critical for serving God. They are the years which make you into the adult you will one day be. It’s so important to spend these years closely following God. Reading the Bible, becoming involved in youth activities at church, and focusing on God instead of the latest celebrity magazines are all ways to deepen your relationship with Him.

Ask God to use you to do big things for Him. He may not give you much at first, but as you honor Him with little things, He will give you bigger and bigger things for you to do for Him.

But above all, everything (everything) must be for His glory. Never for your own glory. Don’t go on a missions trip so others will see what a good Christian you are, etc. Ask yourself: if I was the only person on this earth and God was in heaven, and no one else saw me do this but God and I, would I still want to do it? This is a good way to check if you’re doing things for His glory or your own.

These years are the time in your life when you’ll have the most time and maybe the most money to do things like go on a missions trip. Don’t waste it on things that won’t matter in two years. Instead, invest your time and energy into things that will last you an eternity. Things you can stand in front of God for one day and say, “I took this time on earth You gave me and used it for Your glory, not my ‘down time.’ ”

Glorify Him always, and He will bless you and keep you and you will be rewarded.