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Fun, Games and Silliness / Re: Jokes Thread
« Last post by Kranky Kat on June 21, 2018, 07:05:21 PM »
A little boy watched, fascinated, as his mother gently massaged cold cream on her face.  "Why are you rubbing that on your face, Mommy?" he asked.

"To make myself beautiful," said his mother.

A few minutes later, she began removing the cream with a tissue.  "What's the matter?" he asked. "Are you giving up?"
Fun, Games and Silliness / Re: Jokes Thread
« Last post by Kranky Kat on June 21, 2018, 06:58:56 PM »
A man asked his wife what she'd like for her birthday.  "I'd love to be six again," she replied.

On the morning of her birthday, he got her up bright and early and off they went to a local theme park. What a day! He put her on every ride in the park: the Death Slide, the Screaming Loop, the Wall of Fear everything there was! Wow!  Five hours later she staggered out of the theme park, her head reeling and her stomach upside down. Right to McDonald's they went, where her husband ordered her a Big Mac along with extra fries and a refreshing chocolate shake. Then it was off to a movie the latest Star Wars epic, and hot dogs, popcorn, Pepsi Cola, and M&Ms. What a fabulous adventure! Finally she wobbled home with her husband and collapsed into bed.  He leaned over and lovingly asked, "Well, dear, what was it like being six again?"

One eye opened. "You idiot, I meant my dress size!"
Fun, Games and Silliness / Re: Jokes Thread
« Last post by Kranky Kat on June 21, 2018, 06:54:42 PM »

1. Vacuuming too often weakens the carpet fibers. Say this with a serious face, and shudder delicately whenever anyone mentions Carpet Fresh.

2. Dust bunnies cannot evolve into dust rhinos when disturbed. Rename the area under the couch "The Galapagos Islands" and claim an ecological exemption.

3. Layers of dirty film on windows and screens provide a helpful filter against harmful and aging rays from the sun. Call it an SPF factor of 5 and leave it alone.

4. Cobwebs artfully draped over lampshades reduce the glare from the bulb, thereby creating a romantic atmosphere. If your husband points out that the light fixtures need dusting, simply look affronted and exclaim, "What? And spoil the mood?"

5. In a pinch, you can always claim that the haphazard tower of unread magazines and newspapers next to your chair provides the valuable Feng Shui aspect of a tiger, thereby reducing your vulnerability. Roll your eyes when you say this.

6. Explain the mound of pet hair brushed up against the doorways by claiming you are collecting it there to use for stuffing handsewn play animals for underprivileged children.

7. If unexpected company is coming, pile everything unsightly into one room and close the door. As you show your guests through your tidy home, rattle the door knob vigorously, fake a growl and say, "I'd love you to see our den, but Fluffy hates to be disturbed and the shots are SO expensive."

8. If dusting is REALLY out of control, simply place a showy urn on the coffee table and insist that  "THIS is where Grandma wanted us to scatter her ashes..."

9. Don't bother repainting. Simply scribble lightly over a dirty wall with an assortment of crayons, and try to muster a glint of tears as you say, "Johnny did this when he was two. I haven't had the heart to clean it..."

10. Mix one-quarter cup pine-scented household cleaner with four cups of water in a spray bottle. Mist the air lightly. Leave dampened rags in conspicuous locations. Develop an exhausted look, throw yourself onto the couch, and sigh, "I clean and I clean and I still don't get anywhere..."
Faith / Re: Devotion
« Last post by CabbagePatchKid on June 20, 2018, 10:21:47 PM »
I AM is the God Who Fills in Your Gaps
May 30, 2018 | Sharon Jaynes

Today's Truth

‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me”   2 Corinthians 12:9

Friend to Friend

When I was six years old, I skipped off to school with a new box of crayons, a Swiss–polka dotted dress, and fresh hope that I would be smart. But first grade only confirmed my greatest fear. I was  “not enough.”  As soon as my first-grade teacher held up that initial spelling flashcard, I knew I was in trouble. We lined up our miniature wooden chairs in a row like a choo-choo train. The teacher held up a spelling flashcard for us to identify the word. If we missed the word, we had to go to the caboose. I spent most of the first grade in the caboose. I just couldn’t spell to save my life. For some reason, I especially had trouble with the word “the.”  I’ll help her, my teacher must have thought. She made me a nametag that read t-h-e, and I had to wear it for two weeks. Students came up to me and asked, “Why are you wearing that tag?” “Is your name ‘The?’” “You must be stupid.” “What’s wrong with you?”

Well, I learned how to spell the word the, but that’s not all I learned. I learned I wasn’t as smart as everybody else, and once again, not enough. And even though I ended up doing well in school, many times I’ve still felt like that little girl in the caboose of the spelling train.  Moses was a man who felt he wasn’t good enough. When God spoke to him through a burning bush and called him to lead His people out of Egyptian bondage, he had a big case of the “not good enoughs.”  That’s when he had a one-sided argument with God. Moses told God he was the wrong man for the job. He wasn’t brave enough, strong enough, smart enough, eloquent enough, charismatic enough, or confident enough.  At one point, Moses said, “Suppose I go to the Israelites and say to them, “The God of your fathers has sent me to you,” and they ask me, “What is his name?” Then what shall I tell them?  God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I AM has sent me to you’” (Exodus 3:13-14).

Moses was 80 years old when he had his argument with God at the burning bush. But even the weakest knees in the hands of I AM can become a mighty force to be reckoned with.  I’ll go out on a limb and say that you too, at one time or another, will struggle with feelings of inferiority, insecurity, and inadequacy just like Moses did. And the underlying statement feeding the sense of worthlessness is “I’m not __________ enough.” You can fill that blank in with any number of qualities.  But here’s what we need to remember: Whatever we feel we are not, God is. He is the God who fills in our gaps; He is I AM who fills in our blanks.

•   When we say, “I’m not strong enough,” God says, “I AM.”
•   When we say, “I’m not wise enough,” God says, “I AM.”
•   When we say, “I’m not bold enough,” God says, “I AM.”
•   When we say, “I’m not smart enough,” God says, “I AM.”
•   When we say, “I’m not good enough,” God says, “I AM.”

Once we let go of the lies that we are not enough and take hold of the truth that we are more than enough because of Jesus’s presence and power in us, then we will be set free from paralyzing insecurity and be on our way to experiencing courageous confidence to do everything He calls us to do. It’s time to get out of the caboose and sit up front with the Chief Engineer.  You want to know something amazing?

One of my greatest weaknesses as a child was spelling words. And now that is what God has called me to do today write with words. I stand with Paul who lamented about his weakness: “But he [God] said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me” (2 Corinthians 12:9 NIV).

That’s what happens when we allow God to fill in our blanks. He turns what we perceive as our greatest weakness into our greatest strengths.  What is God calling you to do today?

In what areas do you feel that you’re not enough?

Oh friend, because of Jesus Christ’s finished work on the cross, and His power in you, you are more than enough! Don’t forget it.
Faith / Re: Devotion
« Last post by CabbagePatchKid on June 20, 2018, 10:10:23 PM »
Are You Too Busy To Serve?
May 31, 2018 | Jessica Smartt

Today's Truth

But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him.  Luke 10:33

Friend to Friend

Four months ago, my friend Ashley moved away. I have missed her terribly. It wasn’t until this week that it hit me why her friendship is such a gift. Simply put, she has time for me.  I guess I don’t just mean time to talk on the phone, to chat over coffee, or meet up for play dates. It’s more than that; she has the mental and emotional space to love well. She’s not so stressed and consumed with her own life that she has no time or energy for anyone else. On the contrary, she has the capacity to be a good friend to pray for me often, to remember my appointments and concerns, to process and think through my questions and decisions.  I feel like this sort of friendship is very rare today. Most people (myself including) are so busy, so full, so preoccupied with our own plans, ministries, projects, and schedules.  But when I think to Scripture, I am deeply convicted. We should never be too busy to serve! Think back to the story, or perhaps read it in its entirety in Luke 10. Those who passed by the Samaritan were they not “important” people, on the way to “important” work?

I’m pained wondering how many people I pass by because I am “on a mission” simply too consumed with my own life to stop and help.  I do a lot of good work. My life is jam-packed, in fact, with noble projects and important events and all the things that I accomplish. But are these things interfering with my ability to stop and help someone in need?

Am I too stressed, too busy, too overwhelmed, too distracted to be a true friend to the people in front of me?

Think about Jesus. The Lord of the Universe, The Savior of the World! And he had time to talk with little children, to dine with sinners, to pause and heal the crippled. I heard someone once say, “Jesus was never in a hurry.” I don’t know that we can fully confirm that! But from the overall theme of the Gospels, it does seem to be the case that when people in His path needed help, He could stop and help without acting bothered or inconvenienced.
Faith / How Should Christian Parents Respond When Their Kids Are Bullied?
« Last post by Pippa on May 31, 2018, 10:12:57 PM »

How Should Christian Parents Respond When Their Kids Are Bullied?
Jen Oshman -
April 13, 2018

Recently my daughter told my husband and me the kind of story that simultaneously makes a mother want to weep and put on her boxing gloves. It took place almost three years ago when we were missionaries overseas and my girls were enrolled in the local national school, as well as a variety of after school activities. Suffice it to say, my daughter shared with us how she was bullied by students and teachers alike.  When the story was over I wanted to break down and sob on her behalf and I also wanted to board a plane, march back into that city, and impart a piece of my mind to her aggressors. Clearly, that’s not possible and it wouldn’t be wise if it was.  But what is the right response for Christian parents when our children are bullied?

Remember That Jesus Was Bullied

As Christ followers “we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses” (Hebrews 4:15). Rather we are loved by a Savior who was spat upon, slapped, mocked, betrayed, bound, falsely accused, stripped, beaten, flogged and ultimately killed (Matthew 26 and 27, John 19). Jesus, though he himself was perfect in every way, was bullied and mistreated. He knows what it feels like.

Remember That the Father Saw His Son Bullied

God the Father knows what it’s like to have a child unjustly hurt by others. The Father sees and knows and understands the pain of our children and the grief of our hearts as moms and dads. He has been there too. He is indeed the God who sees (Genesis 16:13).

Remember That We Are Called to Pray for Our Enemies

Admittedly, our first reaction to our daughter’s story was not to pray for her bullies. But Jesus clearly instructs us, “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you” (Matthew 5:44). When Jesus suffered the ultimate act of bullying and neared death on the cross he cried out, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34).

Remember That We Are Called to Turn the Other Cheek

Jesus is clear in his instruction and own example to us, “Do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also” (Matthew 5:39). These are hard words and run contrary to our immediate reflex. As parents we must bear in mind the words of Paul and also impress them upon our children, “Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, ‘Vengeance is mine, I will repay,’ says the Lord” (Romans 12:19).
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Remember That We Are Called to Protect the Vulnerable

We see clearly Jesus’s affection for children when he welcomed them, embraced them and said to his disciples, “Unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 18:3). As Christ followers we must tenaciously protect not only our children, but children everywhere. We must impart this truth to our kids and teach them empathy and to protect the weak as far as they are able. As parents we must be vigilant and watchful—quick to remove our children from harm’s way and willing to bring those who harm children into the light.

Remember to Trust God

Turning the other cheek while also protecting the vulnerable is not an easy and automatic response for parent or child. We must lean on the Lord and cry out to him for wisdom in each situation.  Ultimately, we are comforted and strengthened in remembering that Jesus was bullied, the Father watched his Son be bullied, and that the Lord “works righteousness and justice for all who are oppressed” (Psalm 103:6). We can trust his good and sovereign and just hands.  It’s too late for me to intervene on my daughter’s behalf to protect her from her bullies. I am sickened to realize that she was in harm’s way and I had no idea. But today we can rehearse the truth together and we can pray for her former bullies. My husband and I can commit ourselves to protecting our daughters and we can ask God to redeem for good what was meant for evil (Genesis 50:20).
Faith / Re: Devotion
« Last post by Pippa on May 31, 2018, 10:06:10 PM »
When It Feels Like God is NoWhere
Apr 24, 2018 | Elisa Pulliam

Today's Truth
The Lord will work out His plans for my life for Your faithful love, O Lord, endures forever. Don’t abandon me, for You made me.  Psalm 138:8

Friend to Friend
If you would have told me twenty years ago that I would one day find myself in a weekly dance class again, I wouldn’t have believed you. Back then, I was still grieving and fussing over the way my knee injuries disrupted my  dreams and stole my passions.  My mom enrolled me in my first dance class when I was three and by the time I was 10, I was fitted for my first pointe shoes. Although tap and jazz were more my thing, those pointe shoes represented so much potential until a series of knee dislocations and a failed surgery ended my dream of becoming a Rockette. I buried my sorrow as I went on living my “Plan B” life, until that night when I had another freak dislocation while gallivanting around Paris during a rendezvous weekend while studying abroad in London. I lay on that cold, foreign, isolated x-ray table, screaming at God for the first time, ultimately believing He was the cosmic killjoy of the universe. The “It’s not fair!” tape played over and over again in my head as I had to make the trip back from Paris to London and hobble around on crutches, missing classes and having to forgo a hiking trip to Wales.  Have you ever felt like God has been more about the business of re-routing your life rather than ordering it?

Do you feel like there is a roadblock at every turn?

That just when things are getting good, something else happens and it looks like God is no where in sight?

When I thought God was NOwhere, He was actually NOWhere.  God was there with me throughout all those freak accidents. He was there with me in London and Paris. He was wooing me towards Him, but it took another trial to make me look upward from that x-ray table.  In that forced slow down, I had a showdown with God.   He showed up in my life when I was at my lowest, utterly broken, disillusioned, and desperate. That is when I came to meet Jesus as my Lord and Savior.  I didn’t end up at the foot of the cross all put together and with all the right answers. I showed up in need of a Redeemer and Rescuer the Messiah, Jesus Christ. Through the pain my eyes were opened. The blinders fell away. And in Christ, I found life anew.  What a gift to discover that God takes us at our worst and transforms us into His best.  No, my dreams of dancing with the Rockettes never came to be. But twenty plus years later, I somehow have enough strength to shake it up in a dance class squeezed into a schedule packed with all the things God has ordained for me like telling others about the transforming power of Jesus and the hope we find in Him not only on this earth where suffering is real and loss happens everyday but an unshakable hope and the promise of eternity is for those who declare that Jesus is their Lord.
Fun, Games and Silliness / Re: Jokes Thread
« Last post by Grumpy Grandma on May 06, 2018, 11:18:08 PM »

Following the birth of my second child, I called our insurance company to inquire about my short-term disability policy.  "I just had a baby," I proudly announced to the representative who picked up the phone.

"Congratulations! I'll get all of your information and activate your policy," she assured me.

After taking down basic facts like my name and address, she asked, "Was this a work-related incident?" 
Faith / Re: Devotion
« Last post by Grumpy Grandma on May 06, 2018, 10:49:21 PM »
Living The Dream
Feb 23, 2018 | Gwen Smith

Today's Truth
For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.  Jeremiah 29:11

Friend to Friend
As I walked into the pink and purple bedroom to tuck in my little rosebud, she sat up in bed and began braiding her hair. She’d been waiting for me. News was bubbling in her heart that she simply  had to share. Through twists of hair, she began, “Mom! I know what I want to be when I grow up!”

“Well, tell me, Kennedy!” I replied, completely smitten with her 8-year-old enthusiasm.

“I want to be a beautritionist!” She gushed.

“A beautritionist?” I questioned, both amused and enamored.

“Yes, mom! I want to be a beautritionist!”

“That completely rocks, girlfriend! I’m so excited for you! Do you mean that you want to do hair and makeup and help ladies look beautiful?”


“Excellent!” I replied. “I think the word you meant to use was beautician, but I love the word you made up! The reason I love it is this: you combined two words, beautician and nutritionist. A beautician helps people to look beautiful on the outside by fixing hair and make up. A nutritionist helps people to be healthy and well on the inside. So, your new word is incredible because a beautritionist would help others to be healthy on the inside and beautiful on the outside! Yay! Fun! I want to be a beautritionist too, Kennedy!”

We giggled as I tucked her in snug as a bug in a rug and prayed for the Lord to help us be the women He created us to be inside and outside.  Downstairs, as I wrote in my journal about the exchange, it occurred to me that Kennedy was really telling me that she has big dreams in her little heart. She wants to make a positive impact on others. To matter. To live days filled with beauty and significance. She wants a life that’s the motherload of greatness.  She wants what we all want.  An incredible life.  We want it all. Everything God has for us. But we feel trapped by messy, earthy things. By kids that talk back, jobs that drain us, schedules that leave us stressed, and marriages that are far less than what we had hoped for or expected. We’ve stopped believing that life is the stuff of little-girl-dreams because way too often life hurts us. Others fail us. We fail ourselves. We flounder. We disappoint. And let’s face it our failures our sins affect our peace and our people and often keep us from the best things God has for us.  Reflecting on Kennedy’s fledgling desires, I’m forced to be real about the stuffed-down dreams in my own heart. I breathe deep. I’m sobered by the distance between where I am and where I long to be. I want to be a beautricianist too. I want to rise above average. I want to do more. Be more. Believe deeper. Love better. Worship wholeheartedly. Fly higher.  I find myself wondering how sitting in carpool lines, going to work, prepping healthy dinners that my family doesn’t necessarily appreciate, and hushing sibling squabbles will get me there. I want to be set free from all of these strivings that leave me sucking wind.  I want to live beyond ordinary. Don’t you?

Here’s the good news: God does too. He wants you and me to have a full, beautiful life in Him, through Him, and for Him. Truly. The Bible tells us so. God offers us joy, but not the world’s joy; peace, but not the world’s peace; power, but not the world’s power; love, but not the world’s love. God’s plan is a good plan for us, not against us a plan that is filled with hope and a future. His is a plan that leads us directly to His presence in worship, and, ultimately, to a deep and intimate relationship with Him.  And just like God spoke vision and life to the weary prophet Jeremiah thousands of years ago, His Word speaks vision and life to us today, and every day, reminding us of the beauty available to all in Christ. A beauty that brings Him glory.  That’s the ALL God wants us to want.  All of Him.  The power and plan that God has for you is revealed in His Word:

In Christ, you are saved by grace through faith. (Ephesians 2:8-9)
In Christ, you are forgiven and made righteous. (2 Corinthians 5:21)
In Christ, you are a new creation. (2 Corinthians 5:17)
In Christ, there is no condemnation. (Romans 8:1)
In Christ, you are justified and have peace with God. (Romans 5:1)
In Christ, you are his workmanship created to do good works. (Ephesians 2:10)
In Christ, you are chosen and made holy to proclaim his excellency. (1 Peter 2:9)
In Christ, you are a child of God. (John 1:12)
In Christ, you are a fruit bearer. (John 15:5)
In Christ, you are sealed with the Holy Spirit. (2 Corinthians 1:22)
In Christ, you are to be his witness to the world. (Acts 1:8)
In Christ, you are given a spirit of power, of love and a sound mind. (2 Timothy 1:7)
In Christ, you are equipped to live out his Word. (James 1:22)
In Christ, you can choose peace over anxiety. (Philippians 4:6)
In Christ, you can boldly approach God in prayer knowing He hears. (1 John 5:14-15)
In Christ, you can be content in every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether in plenty or in want and do all things. (Philippians 4:12-14)
In Christ, you are an overcomer. (1 John 4:4)

This list goes on and on. The promises of the Bible can and should fuel all that the Lord has for us.  Hear me, friend: this isn’t some fluffy, rah-rah Christian pep rally. I know many of you are going through difficult and painful challenges. Life throws curve balls that can leave us gasping for breath on any given day, at any given moment. I’m right there with you in the ditches of reality. God’s ways do not always make sense. They don’t always feel good. At times they even sting fiercely, but one thing is always true: the great life He intends for us to live begins and ends with the Word. The Word made flesh: Jesus. And though we remain broken and impacted by an imperfect world, we can rise above and get through anything in the power and hope of God, for His glory.
So, answer this: are you ready to be a beautritionist? Ready to live the dream?

His dream?

Everything God has for you is yours for the asking.  Are you asking?
Faith / Reaching Teens Must Be a Central Part of Your Outreach Plan
« Last post by Grumpy Grandma on May 06, 2018, 10:29:06 PM »

Reaching Teens Must Be a Central Part of Your Outreach Plan
Start a fire in the youth room and the rest of the church will be set ablaze for Jesus.

Charles Spurgeon once said that if you want to set a house on fire you should start the fire in the basement because fire burns upward. He was referring to the strategic nature of reaching the poor and broken of a city with the Good News of the Gospel. Spurgeon contended that as the poor of a city were reached that the fire of the Gospel would burn “upward” to the rest of the city.  This is one of the reasons why Spurgeon, while still in his early 20s, was pastoring the largest church in England in one of the worst parts of London. He reached the poor people of South London and the fire burned upward to the rest of the city.  While this principle stands true when it comes to preaching to the poor of a city, it also is true when it comes to reaching teenagers of a community. Start a fire in the youth room and the rest of the church will be set ablaze for Jesus. Reach the teenagers of a city for Christ and the adults will soon be reached as well. That’s one of the surprising reasons why focusing on reaching teenagers for Jesus is super strategic.

And this principle is proven true by my story.  I’ll never forget Ralph “Yankee” Arnold. He is the pastor who reached my entire inner-city family for Jesus. My family was full of rage and violence. My uncles made the Sons of Anarchy look like the Brady Bunch. My mom was like the woman at the well with a baseball bat. I never met my biological father who skipped town when he found out my mom was pregnant.  We were a broken, angry, ready-to-fight type family in a high crime rate area of our city. You could say we lived in the “basement” of Denver. But then a preacher nicknamed “Yankee,” who spoke with a southern accent (long story), came into our lives and set all of us on fire for Christ.  On a dare he led my Uncle Jack to Jesus. Jack had been in and out of jail and was always up for a fight. Although he was a bar-room brawler and arm-wrestled for cash, Jesus wrestled his pride to the ground and everything changed.  One by one my body-building uncles fell to the overwhelming power of the Gospel. And soon after we joined Yankee’s church.  Although Yankee challenged and equipped the entire church to share the Gospel, he looked at reaching teenagers as especially strategic. And, at one point, we had 800 teenagers in our youth ministry! As a result, our entire city was impacted by the Gospel, because these teens saturated it with Gospel conversations.  Yankee reached the poor and the young. He set the fire in the basement and it burned outward to the rest of the city.  That Gospel advancing DNA (especially when it comes to reaching teenagers) has been passed on to me.  As the leader of a ministry called Dare 2 Share, our vision is, “Every teen everywhere hearing the Gospel from a friend.” And our mission is, “Energizing the Church to Mobilize youth to Gospelize their world.”  The church is at the epicenter of making this mission work. So, whether you’re a youth leader, lead pastor, church elder or a member of the congregation, I want to give you five big reasons why reaching teenagers for Christ is super strategic.

1.  Teenagers come to Christ faster than adults.

We’ve all heard statistics that remind us that the majority of people who come to Christ do so by the age of 18. So, if this is true, why aren’t we putting more strategy, budget and focus on reaching this demographic?

Sometimes I wonder if it’s because (this is hard to type) teenagers and children don’t tithe as much as adults. But if our real kingdom currency is disciples made and multiplied, shouldn’t our focus be on reaching the demographic that is most open to the message of the Gospel?

2.  Teenagers can spread the Gospel farther than adults.

The average teenager has well over 400 online and face-to-face friends. In a Snap-Chat, Instagram or Facebook post, a teenager can trigger Gospel conversations with scores of other teenagers in an instant. And, if they are trained to navigate these conversations in a loving, intelligent way, then they can powerfully accelerate the spread of the Gospel with their peers.  Over the last 25 years I have had the honor of training a million-plus teenagers to share the Gospel through Dare 2 Share. At our events we have teenagers begin Gospel conversations with their friends through a call, text or social media post. This has led to countless new believers being added to the kingdom all because we leverage the influence that teenagers have with their own peers for the sake of the Gospel!

3.  Fully mobilized teenagers become fully mobilized adults.

There’s a great line in the classic movie The Untouchables where the character played by Kevin Costner is frustrated that he can’t find one good cop in the entire city (this movie is based in the mafia-saturated, Capone-dominated landscape of Chicago in the 1920s). The character played by Sean Connery says, “If you can’t find a good apple in the barrel, go to the tree.”

So he and Costner go to the rookie training center for cops and get a young, idealistic rookie (who had yet to be corrupted by the system) to join them in their quest of taking down Capone.  Church leaders need to “go to the tree” when it comes to mobilizing the church for evangelism. Teenagers have yet to be inoculated to the mission of the Gospel. They are young enough and idealistic enough to think that God can actually use them to reach their classmates and teammates for Christ. The system of “corruption” in the typical church is not boot-legging but butt-sitting (more and more meetings and less and less mission!). Unlike 1920s type mafia members, a sin of the typical church-going adult is a sin of omission when it comes to The Great Commission.  So here’s where the upside of working with teenagers comes into full play. Once teenagers become fully inspired and equipped to share the Gospel, it’s going to be way more likely that they are carrying that on into adulthood. To use a baseball analogy, think of teenagers as a farm club for your church. If you want soul-saving, disciple-making, homerun-hitting adults then focus on building your farm club by focusing on mobilizing teenagers for The Cause of Christ!

4.  Your adults will be inspired by the courage of your teenagers.

I love 1 Samuel 17 when a teenaged shepherd named David defeats a 9′ 6″ giant named Goliath with a sling, a stone and an unshakeable faith in God. What was the reaction of the Jewish soldiers? “When the Philistines saw that their hero was dead, they turned and ran. Then the men of Israel and Judah surged forward with a shout and pursued the Philistines to the entrance of Gath and to the gates of Ekron” (1 Samuel 17:51,52).

Inspired by David’s courage, the adult Israeli soldiers chased the Philistines down. In the same way when enough teenagers in our churches are defeating the giant of fear and boldly sharing the Good News, the adults will eventually catapult out of their pews and follow suit.  I saw this at Yankee’s church when I was a teenager. I saw this at the church I pastored for a decade in Denver. I am seeing this phenomenon happening all across the nation through Dare 2 Share trained churches right now!

5.  Every spiritual awakening in American history has had teenagers on the leading edge.

Jonathan Edwards wrote these words about the First Great Awakening, “The revival has been chiefly amongst the youth.”

Many of John Wesley’s circuit riders were teenagers. Many of the new believers were young people who had caught the fire of Edwards, Wesley and Whitefield.  It was true of D.L. Moody’s ministry as well. Moody Bible Institute stands as a modern testament to that fact. It was also true of the YMCA, which, at one point, was the largest missionary sending organization in the United States. The great movements of Youth for Christ, Cru, Young Life and countless others also stand to testify of the power and potential of unleashing young people with and for the Gospel.  But they also stand to testify of the failure of the church to do the same.  These ministries (including Dare 2 Share) would not have to exist if the church was doing its job. And a big part of its job should be to mobilize the most spiritually open demographic (those under the age of 18) to lead the way when it comes to making and multiplying disciples.  So rise up church and be the church! Go to the tree and mobilize your youth to Gospelize their world!  Let’s start the fire in the youth room and let the fire burn upward to the adults!
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