Posts Tagged 'teens'

Walking in Two Worlds: Love in Action

Walking in Two Worlds: Love in Action Sermon Audio Here

1 John 3:16-24

This Sunday is our congregation’s Youth Sunday. Our teens are providing all of the ministry functions in the service, from Lay Leader to leading music in worship, taking the offering, and running the Fellowship Hour. Three of our students – Isabelle W., Wyatt N., and Elizabeth B. were challenged to share their thoughts about Love in Action from today’s Scripture.

The difference between TALKING about love and WALKING in love

We Are Called To Walk
verses 16-17, from Isabelle W.

  • v16 talking about love and what Jesus SHOWED us it means
  • v17 are being called to do to WALK in the love he gave us
  • cf. 1 Thess. 5:11-14 (encourage one another)
  • cf. 1 Cor. 13:3 (without love we gain nothing);
  • cf. Eph. 4:21-32 ( being made new);
  • cf. 1 John 4-20 (summary on loving one another)

We Are Called To Truth
verses 18-20, from Wyatt N.

  • v18 can’t just say you’re Christian; you must uphold God’s word
  • v19 if we’re saved, we must pursue The Father
  • v20 we must lift up the Father higher than we hold our selves

We Are Called To Believe
verses 21-23, from Elizabeth B.

  • v21 share w/ Christ freely about what is on our heart
  • v22 when we ask in God’s will, we receive more than we know
  • v23 invest our love in each other

We Are Called By The Spirit
verse 24, from Pastor Ed

  • v24 We don’t carry out God’s commands in OUR strength alone.
  • cf. II Cor. 12:9 – powerful ability in weakness is completed;

the presence of the Spirit makes this possible

Honor vs. Fame

famous face I attended a local area youth pastor’s meeting today. Our guest speaker was a youth parole officer for Washington state. He gave us some interesting challenges to think about, primarily that young people need a supportive support system (my condensed version, not his).

In other words, it’s all well and good to have a support system in place for teens who are at risk, but if that system isn’t actually supportive of the individual (rather than just making sure that services are provided for while the teen is at risk), there will be little actual change.

This is what got me thinking: I believe that a fundamental shift has occurred in American society: we have moved from an honor base to a fame base. Instead of living one’s life in such a way that long-term decent behavior is rewarded with increasing amounts of honor and respect, the emphasis has shifted to fame or notoriety. That which gets one noticed is more important than the content of the action.

I think I see evidence of this especially on the MySpace pages of the teens with which I work. The pages are electronic monuments to self; more than just avenues for self-expression, I’m often seeing desperate attempts to garner attention from an ever-increasing fan base. The more “friends” one has, the higher self-perceived value one has.

I realize that this is just my opinion (I have not yet run across any sociological studies that deal with honor-culture vs fame-culture), but I’m pretty sure I’m correct: we, as Americans, lift up that which is famous (or infamous) as worthy of contemplation. Witness the proliferation of celebrity magazines and websites which only to feed the appetite of a fame-addicted culture.

This thought came about due to the observation given in today’s meeting: what kind of difference is there between providing a teen with positive affirmation (read: honor) as opposed to primarily providing corrective attention (read: infamy).

Perhaps if we all chose to show honor to those in our own circle of influence, we could counter the addiction of fame in our lives, and in the lives of those for whom we care.

Fame is fleeting and ephemeral; honor is more difficult to attain, but worth the extra effort.

Pastor Ed Backell

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