Rock slide and avalanche warnings are everywhere. I’ve seen them all week as I’ve been traveling through the mountains of Montana, Wyoming, and Idaho. Evidence of these very real dangers is all over the place out here. Especially notable are the spots on the mountains where over time – perhaps gradually and slowly, or perhaps in a few moments – rocks and gravel have come cascading down, filling in open spots and even falling to the roads beneath. On a couple of occasions we’ve had to steer around rocks in the road. Signs that tell drivers and hikers to “beware” are so common that after awhile they are easy to ignore. . . which of course says much about our human nature.
I can’t help but connect what I’ve been seeing with what I’ve been reading this week in the opening chapters of Jeremiah. He was living in a day and age where warning went unheeded and God’s people had slid – both slowly and quickly, I’m sure – away from truth and into lies and idolatry.
As I’ve been reading Jeremiah’s laments over the unfaithfulness of God’s people, I can’t help but think about two things. First, there are personal warnings to be heeded here. God, am I remaining faithful to your truth or wandering from your ways . . . especially as I teach and train those in our youth ministry world who are in turn teaching and training students? Second, I resonate with Jeremiah’s laments as I see many leaders of leaders and the leaders of the young themselves slide so quickly away from and off of “the ancient paths” (Jeremiah 6:16), choosing instead to embrace the lies of progressive theology, and thereby “nurturing” nothing but “stupid children” who have no understanding of wisdom and truth (Jeremiah 4:22). This is all serious stuff.
I have in recent years prayed that our ministry at CPYU, the teaching/resourcing that we have been called to do, and our very selves would remain faithful and truthful to the core. . . no matter the cost to us personally.
To this end we continue to forge ahead. . . against the flow as necessary regardless of the difficulty and opposition. We rest in these words of the Lord to Jeremiah: “Do not be dismayed by them. . . They will fight against you, but they shall not prevail against you, for I am with you, declares the Lord, to deliver you” (Jeremiah 1:17-19). These words are for all of us – parents, youth workers, pastors, friends – who are called to lead our children and teens with grace and truth.
One of the many voices for grace and truth I’ve come to appreciate is our friend Alisa Childers. She is helping so many of us see the lies for what they are, while reminding us of the truth that sets us free. I encourage you to read her newest book, Live Your Truth and Other Lies: Exposing Popular Deceptions That Make Us Anxious, Exhausted, and Self-Obsessed. I want to encourage you all to listen in to this conversation I have with Alisa on the latest episode of our Youth Culture Matters podcast. In a ministry world where “truth has perished” and it has been cut off from the lips of so many ministry leaders (Jeremiah 7:28), Alisa is an ally and resource for all of us who desire to serve the Lord with faithfulness wherever we are given the opportunity to speak, lead, and train.