Learning my lines . . .
. . . discovering what it means to follow Jesus, seeing my story swept up into his . . .

Who’s Changing Who? Youth Ministry, Culture, and Truth. . .

It’s  been an interesting couple of weeks spent with my good buddy Duffy Robbins. I’ve been poked, prodded, and pushed to think about new things in new ways, and new things in light of old ways.

Last week it was facilitating a Symposium on Traditional Biblical Sexuality in a Changing Youth Culture on the Massachusetts campus of Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. We spent four intense days with a group of youth workers thinking about what we know Scripture tells us about all aspects of the good gifts of sexuality and gender, and how to ponder cultural shifts and trends in light of God’s plan and design. It wasn’t an end-all-be-all, but a wonderful time for working through real issues impacting real people in deep, significant, and sensitive ways.

This week it’s been co-teaching a Master’s level class on youth ministry at the Gordon-Conwell campus in Charlotte, NC. Again, a wonderful time where I not only get to engage in teaching, but I actually walk away having learned so much.

Last night and this morning I spent time pondering all the stuff that’s rattling around in my head as a result of these two weeks.  In a changing youth culture, it’s so easy to get blown around by the winds of change and go off-course. I’m not immune from that. None of us are. Last friday, after spending a week talking about sex, gender, and the shifts in thinking we are seeing in the church, families, and our youth ministry world, I read the Sermon on the Mount. At the end (Matthew 7: 12-27), Jesus follows up with four statements that push-back on our tendency to be like our first parents. . . who heard God speak but then were lulled into asking, “Did God really say. . . ?” In my own life, I live in this reality every day. Jesus tells listeners what to do what He, as God, really says.

First, there’s a way. . . and few find it. That tells me I’m prone to wander.

Second, there’s a warning. . . liars, beguilers, false prophets, and wolves in sheep’s clothing will be there to lead us astray. Following Jesus is not easy.

Third, there’s a whammy. . . or a surprise of sorts. Only the one who does the hard. . . yes HARD. . . will of the Father, will enter the Kingdom of Heaven.

And fourth, there’s a word on wisdom. . . we must not only hear, but do.

And so this morning, as I oftentimes do, I scribbled a couple of notes to myself in my “notes to self” journal. They are strong reminders for me. Perhaps they will be for you as well. . .

It is a tragedy when our kids reject biblical orthodoxy and the human flourishing to which it leads. It is an even greater tragedy when those charged with the task of teaching and leading kids into biblical orthodoxy and the human flourishing to which it leads fail to even give them truth to reject.

As a believer I have to keep telling myself. . . circumstances change but Truth remains the same. I cannot give in to changing the Truth to fit my circumstances. Rather, I must respond to my changing circumstances in light of the unchanging Truth. It is never promised to be easy. I can rest in the fact that it is all for my good and His glory.

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