Summer Servants for Teens

Years ago our church had a Summer Servant program.  The purpose was to train youth for Christian leadership.  Each prospective student for the program was given forty Bible verses, which had to be recited from memory before they could participate.

A white water rafting trip was planned as an outreach kick-off and each student was to invite an unchurched friend.  I remember the youth pastor delaying the bus departure to listen to several last minute students recite their verses.

I personally thought memorizing forty verses was a huge expectation. The pastor’s reasoning was that during the summer the students would build on those verses, by seven additional verses each week!  Wow!

I was impressed that so many kids did it!  I was impressed that the youth pastor expected them to do it.  I was impressed that for years afterward some teens kept their stack of cards with Bible verses next to their beds.  Why?  So they could review them and not forget the verses they’d learned.

Did it teach them leadership skills?  Absolutely!  A follower of Jesus who has God’s Word hidden in his heart will know how to model a godly life before others.  Moreover, when God’s Word is fixed within him, he will know how to live a life that is purposeful, joyful and pleasing to God.

  •  I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.    Psalm 119:11
  • SEVEN TIMES A DAYWords from Psalms 119 and 2 Thessalonians 3:6               Arrangement and music by Kathleen
  • This life is temporary. This life is short.  When this life is over, our bodies will die and become empty shells; but our souls will continue to live forever.  Where will the “real you” live?  Will you live for all eternity separated from God?  Or will you spend eternity in the presence of God in heaven?   Learn more so you can make your most important decision:    http://www.whoisjesus-really.com/ or https://somethingbetter.us/
    Wish to LEAVE A COMMENT?   Simply click on the title of this story, then scroll to the bottom of page.

     

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Is Abortion Bad?

I was 12 when I first learned about abortion.  I asked my mother, “Is abortion bad?”

“Yes, it’s bad!  Abortion is the killing of an unborn baby!  It’s a terrible thing!”

That was it for me!  If my mother said it was a terrible thing, then it was.  Years later as a registered nurse,  I watched a video of an abortion.  What affected me most was not the cries of pain from the unconscious mother.  It was the callous attitude of the abortionist.

He seemed unnecessarily rough as he jabbed at the mother’s insides.  I thought it was brutal.  He removed the baby’s body parts with a look of disgust.  Did he know he was being filmed?  If so, what must he be like without a camera on him?

I felt sickened and sad, not just for the baby and the young mother, but for the nurses and the doctor as well.  Everyone in that room would go home trying not to think about their day.

I wonder what happened in the earlier life of that doctor or the nurses?  What causes people to make baby killing their life work?  What do they talk about on their coffee breaks?  What kind of people are they when they go home at night?   I wonder if they ever think about God.  Perhaps they try not to.

  •  You shall not murder.    Exodus 20:13
  •  Children are a heritage from the Lord, offspring a reward from him.    Psalm 127:3
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    This life is temporary. This life is short.  When this life is over, our bodies will die and become empty shells; but our souls will continue to live forever!  Where will the “real you” live?  Will you live for all eternity separated from God?  Or will you spend eternity in the presence of God in heaven?   Learn more so you can make your most important decision:    http://www.whoisjesus-really.com/  and https://somethingbetter.us/
    Wish to LEAVE A COMMENT?   Click on the title of this story and then scroll to the bottom of page.

 

Posted in DOCTRINE, HERE & THERE, ILLNESS or HOSPITAL, PEOPLE | Tagged , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Should Christians Drink?

I still remember my first date in college.  We doubled with Gloria, a friend from high school, and her date.  I always admired Gloria for her good judgment.  I didn’t know then that this was because she was a follower of Jesus.

Alcohol was served and my date offered me a drink.  I had just turned 18 and felt a rush of excitement as I glanced at Gloria.  What would she do?  After all, we need to protect our reputations!  To my amazement, Gloria accepted one!  I did the same.

I soon emptied my glass and my observant date offered me another.  Again I stole a glance at Gloria.  She was already on her second drink!   I hesitated, but I was still thirsty so I accepted.  Halfway through the second drink it hit me.  As I noticed Gloria finishing hers, I said, “This is making me dizzy.  How are you doing?”

“Oh,” she replied, “I’m just drinking plain soda.”

Suddenly I felt embarrassed.  I had followed her example.  Yet in her innocence I had been misled.

It was years after my marriage that I came to Christ.  One night at a party I was holding a glass of orange juice when I was suddenly aware of the example I was setting.  For the first time in twelve years I thought back to that college party with Gloria—and the Holy Spirit spoke to my heart.

I rarely hold a beverage these days.  I’ll sometimes go without anything rather than possibly mislead another.  I would never say it’s because I’m a Christian that I don’t drink. After all, Jesus turned water into wine!  But to me, drinking in today’s American culture has a different connotation than it did for the early Church.

Jesus expects us to love our neighbors.  If by my not drinking, I can cause a weaker brother to feel comfortable doing the same, then I have shown love.  Who knows, there may be someone nearby just waiting to hear, “No thanks,” so that, with a sense of relief, he can say the same.

  •  Jesus said to his disciples: “Things that cause people to stumble are bound to come, but woe to anyone through whom they come.  It would be better for them to be thrown into the sea with a millstone tied around their neck than to cause one of these little ones to stumble.  So watch yourselves.”     Luke 17:1-3a
  • We Have One Business in Life:  Quote by John Wesley, circa 1780; Remaining words and music by Kathleen:
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    This life is temporary. This life is short.  When this life is over, our bodies will die and become empty shells; but our souls will continue to live forever.  Where will the “real you” live?  Will you live for all eternity separated from God?  Or will you spend eternity in the presence of God in heaven?   Learn more so you can make your most important decision:    http://www.whoisjesus-really.com/ or https://somethingbetter.us/
    Wish to LEAVE A COMMENT?   Simply click on the title of this story, then scroll to the bottom of page.

     

     

 

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Summit Ministries for Teens

When the twins, Jessica and James were 16, their parents  forced them to attend a two-week program at the Summit Ministries for Teens Conference Center in Colorado Springs, CO.  That’s right, they were forced against their will.

Their parents explained that this program would prepare them to defend their biblical worldview once they’re away at the university.  The teens felt there was no need—they were already grounded in their faith!  They did NOT want to go!

But they went.  They called home after their arrival.  The first meal was disappointing. The rules were too strict. Two days later more calls. “We have to listen to lectures the entire day and even in the evenings!  They don’t give us enough free time for sports!  They inspect our rooms!  Our beds have to be made perfectly!  My hairbrush must be out of sight!”

The complaints continued for a week.  Their mother encouraged, “You are already halfway through!  I’m praying for you.”

When they returned home both said it had been two of the best weeks of their lives! What?!!

They claimed the information they gained would prepare them for life.  Moreover, they met the most interesting young people from all over the country.  The hiking adventures and the white-water rafting were the best!   WHAT?!!

When Jessica had completed her second year at the university she made a surprising announcement.  She had applied for a summer position at Summit Ministries!  Being part of the staff at SM is still one of her favorite memories.

Teenagers are full of surprises!  Aren’t they fun?

  • For more information:  http://www.summit.org/conferences/student/colorado/
  • Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.    Ephesians 6:1

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[This life is temporary. This life is short.  When this life is over, our bodies will die and become empty shells, but our souls will continue to live forever.  Where will the “real you” live?  Will you live for all eternity separated from God?  Or will you spend eternity in the presence of God in heaven?   Learn more so you can make your most important decision:    http://www.whoisjesus-really.com/  and https://somethingbetter.us/

 

 

 

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My Mother’s Dying

A middle-aged man approached our Bible table at the beach.  Said his name was Raymundo and he’d noticed our PRAYER sign. “Would you pray for my mother?  She’s dying of cancer.”

I asked, “Does she have a faith background?”                                                                             “She was raised Catholic but she hasn’t been inside a church for years.”

We immediately gathered around him and prayed for his mother.  When we finished he wiped his eyes. “I can’t tell you how much this means to me.  I’ve been so worried.”

I said, “Listen, Raymundo, we are nothing on our own.  We simply approach God the Father through Jesus Christ and present our requests.  It’s now in God’s hands.  I think your mother is blessed to have a son who loves her as you do.  May I ask you a personal question?”   He nodded.

“If you were to die today, do you know where you’d go?”
“Truthfully, I don’t.  I do believe in God, but that’s all.”

I invited him to sit with me on a nearby bench. “Raymundo, do you know why Jesus Christ came to earth?”

“To die for us?”

“That’s right!  Jesus said, ‘I came to seek and to save the lost.’  The Bible tells us we are all lost because we are all sinners and deserve hell.  Do you believe that’s true?”

He said, “I do—and I know I’m a sinner!”

“Would you like to know how to receive God’s forgiveness and be saved so you will know you’re going to heaven?”  He nodded.

“Jesus has paid for your salvation already.  All you need to do is receive that free gift and be willing to turn away from your sins and follow Him.  Is this something you want to do?”

“Yes it is.”

As a strong wind picked up he prayed from his heart right there on the beach promenade. Through tears he asked God to forgive his sins and to give him the power to turn away from future sin.

“Raymundo, you’ve not only received Jesus Christ’s forgiveness, you have also received the Holy Spirit’s power so that you will now have the desire and the ability to resist future sin. It’s your choice to exercise that power.”  I invited him to church and suggested he get himself baptized.

Before he left I gave him a booklet by Bill Bright called Would You Like to Know God Personally?   https://www.cru.org/how-to-know-god/would-you-like-to-know-god-personally.html    I suggested he go through it with his mother so that she too can have the assurance of salvation.

He walked away happy, grateful and eager to share the good news with his mother.

  •  I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.  Luke 15:7
  • I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life.   1 John 5:13
  • For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”    Luke 19:10
  • John 3:16-18  put to music – Click here to listen:
    This life is temporary. This life is short.  When this life is over, our bodies will die and become an empty shell, but our souls will continue to live forever.  Where will the “real you” live?  Will you live for all eternity separated from God?  Or will you spend eternity in the presence of God in heaven?   Learn more so you can make your most important decision:    http://www.whoisjesus-really.com/ and https://somethingbetter.us/
    [Looking for SHARE buttons?  Wish to LEAVE A COMMENT or PRAYER REQUEST?   Simply click on the title of this story – then scroll to the bottom of page.]
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Suicide? Homicide?

It was an unusually busy afternoon at the beach.  Many stopped at the table.  Some were asking for prayer for numerous concerns. Others wanted guidance and direction about marriage, etc.

One such man, about 50, was feeling depressed.  He was looking through our book section for books dealing with rejection.  He said his girlfriend suddenly wants nothing to do with him.  She won’t even pick up when he calls.  Although she’s quite a bit younger than he is,  he didn’t see it as a problem.

He doesn’t know what to do.  He said he has thoughts of suicide and also thoughts of homicide.  I asked him his first name.  I also asked him what his girlfriend’s name was and our team joined with me in praying for both of them. He seemed grateful and thanked us.

I took time explaining the plan of salvation and how God loves him and will never reject him once he comes to Jesus for forgiveness and salvation.  I also explained that just because he loves a girl,  he can’t expect her to love him back.  She is free to choose whom she will love.   He left us with a new Bible, books and tracts.  But I was feeling uncomfortable.

I later called the non-emergency number for the police.  I was able to give the detective the girl’s name and the guy’s first name.  I was put on hold for less than five minutes.  Then… “We’ve located the girl.  She’s 32.  How old do you think he is?”  I told him around 50.

He thanked me and said he’d call back if they needed more information.

That was it.  Please pray with me for the girl’s protection, for the man’s salvation and that he will receive the help he needs.

  • And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.   John 14:13-14
  • SONG:  THESE INWARD TRIALS – Words by John Newton, circa 1779; Music by Kathleen

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    This life is temporary. This life is short.  When this life is over, our bodies will die and become empty shells, but our souls will continue to live forever.  Where will the “real you” live?  Will you live for all eternity separated from God?  Or will you spend eternity in the presence of God in heaven?   Learn more so you can make your most important decision:   http://www.godlife.com/gospel/  and  http://www.godlife.com/en/about-christianity


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Cohabitating with Girlfriend

A friend asked me to write a letter to her 24-year-old son who was cohabitating with his girlfriend.  “Tell him he’s living in sin—he won’t listen to me!”

Coincidentally, I wanted to write him anyway!  Ron and I had recently talked and he’d expressed his disappointment in organized religion.  He was restless, frustrated and searching for meaning to life.

I wrote, “Ron, you’ve been on my mind ever since we talked.  Is it because I believe that you and your girlfriend are living in sin?  No.  In fact, your lifestyle is no different from many your age.  According to the Bible,  we are all sinners.

“I’m concerned that you are unhappy and frustrated with life.  Jesus said, ‘I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.’  You don’t seem to recognize your need for a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

“I’m not talking about church here.  I believe someday you will turn to Jesus Christ.  You will receive His forgiveness and will want to surrender your life to Him.  You will then receive the Holy Spirit who will come to live within.  God will begin to speak to your heart and show you how He wants you to live.  He’ll also give you the power and the desire to do His will.  That is when you will begin to experience the wonderful peace and contentment  you are seeking…”

What a surprise when six weeks later we received an invitation to their wedding!  A few weeks later we received a note from his bride:  “I don’t want you to think we decided to marry because of your letter.  But I can’t say it was not the reason either.  Thank you.”

Ron and his wife became followers of Jesus.  Today they are raising their four children in the Lord.  They teach Sunday school and are leaders in their church.

  • I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.      John 10:10
  • For of this you can be sure:  No immoral, impure or greedy person—such a person is an idolater—has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.    Ephesians 5:5

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This life is temporary. This life is short.  When this life is over, our bodies will die and become empty shells, but our souls will continue to live forever.  Where will the “real you” live?  Will you live for all eternity separated from God?  Or will you spend eternity in the presence of God in heaven?   Learn more so you can make your most important decision:    http://www.whoisjesus-really.com/

Posted in Love & Romance | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Time for Divorce

Fifteen years is a long time to live with an unreasonable, demanding husband.  Susan had come to Christ ten years earlier and found great peace in experiencing God’s love and forgiveness.  Tom was not interested in spiritual things and continued to make life difficult at home.  It was time for divorce.  Susan made an appointment with a lawyer.

Later that day she attended an afternoon tea and met two missionary women home on furlough.  As they became acquainted one asked Susan about her husband.  Susan quietly mentioned that she’d just called a divorce lawyer.  The woman said, “We need to pray for you.”

They led Susan into a back room of the house, closed the door and began praying.  They prayed aloud for 10 minutes, then 20 minutes.  They would cry out to God, begging him repeatedly to save this marriage.  They continued praying this way until 40 minutes had passed!   Then they stopped.  One said, “God has healed your marriage.  Go home and love your husband.”

She did.  Susan and Tom have now been married over 30 years.  Tom has not yet changed. But Susan can honestly say she has never again been tempted to call a lawyer.  She has learned to smile at the storms and praise God anyway.  God has been faithful. Their children are following Christ with their lives.  She and Tom are more content in their marriage than ever before.

Susan often thinks back to the 40 minutes of prayer that saved her marriage.  Most people would have ceased praying after five minutes.  Yet those women did not feel released from the need to pray until 40 minutes had passed.  They continued to pray it through to completion, until they felt God had answered their prayer.

  •  “I hate divorce,” says the Lord, the God of Israel.   Malachi 2:16 NASB
  •  So they are no longer two, but one.  Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate.”   Matthew 19:6

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This life is temporary. This life is short.  When this life is over, our bodies will die and become empty shells, but our souls will continue to live forever.  Where will the “real you” live?  Will you live for all eternity separated from God?  Or will you spend eternity in the presence of God in heaven?   Learn more so you can make your most important decision:    http://www.whoisjesus-really.com/

 

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College Student with an Attitude

While on the college campus with our Bible table,  a student stopped to look over our books.  I asked her if she’d like a free Bible and she gruffly replied, “NO!”

Uh Oh!  The girl has an attitude!  I stepped back.  She continued to hang around, quietly checking out the books.  I have discovered that if I ask permission to ask a question people are more apt to cooperate.  So I said, “May I ask you a personal question?”

“Yes.”

I said, “If you were to die today, do you know where you’d go?”

“Well it wouldn’t be heaven!  God wouldn’t want me, not with the life I’ve lived.”

I said, “Oh my!  Did you know there is nothing you have ever done that God does not want to forgive?  He loves you.  That is why Jesus came, to live a sinless life so that He could die on the cross to pay for your sins and mine, so that someday we can both freely enter heaven.”

Her countenance changed as if she suddenly realized there was hope.

I said,  “I have a little booklet I’d like to share with you.  It’s called, Would You Like To Know God Personally?”

She came closer.  I walked through each page with her.  When we came to the little prayer at the end, I asked her if she’d like to turn away from her sins and give her life to Jesus.

She quietly answered,  “Yes.”

She prayed with us right there in the middle of the quad, then signed up to join our Campus Christian Fellowship and left with a new Bible.   An hour later she returned with two friends!  She said,  “My friends want Bibles—and they also want to join the club!”

  • Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come:  The old has gone, the new is here!   2 Corinthians 5:17

What do you think?  Was she was ready to receive Christ after such a short discussion?  Do you think she went away a changed person?

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This life is temporary. This life is short.  When this life is over, our bodies will die and become empty shells, but our souls will continue to live forever.  Where will the “real you” live?  Will you live for all eternity separated from God?  Or will you spend eternity in the presence of God in heaven?   Learn more so you can make your most important decision:    http://www.whoisjesus-really.com

 

 

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Chicken Evangelist

We recently returned from a trip to Texas.  Loved the church we visited!  The pastor had written a book I couldn’t wait to read:  The Adventures of a Chicken Evangelist, by Steve Nelson. It told of his experiences during 40 days of evangelism.  He asked the question we all have, “Can a chicken overcome his fears?”

The book did not disappoint!  Every chapter brought laughter along with encouragement and hope.   Yes there IS hope for those who are fearful of sharing their faith—as he was. Uh, did I mention he is a pastor?

I’m beginning to believe that pastors are most comfortable sharing their faith with people who come to their church and listen to them teach.  Going out and doing “cold-turkey evangelism” as he calls it,  is difficult for most, even pastors.  Yet Jesus told us to GO into all the world and preach the gospel.  He did not tell us to wait until they come to us.

Steve Nelson was compelled to obey God’s Word and go.  He would bring along his wife or one of their eight kids.  They went to parks, malls, the ice cream shop, wherever there were people he could engage.

He went out fearfully, but he went.  Just as with anything, the more he did it, the easier it became.  There were some disappointments, but there were wonderful, unexpected successes as well.  What joy they experienced as a family!

The book was a delightful read.  In my opinion it’s a must-read for pastors.  It’s also an excellent resource to help equip the church to be obedient, e.g., an exciting focus for a small group!

  • http://www.amazon.com/The-Adventures-Chicken-Evangelist-Evangelism/dp/1482393948
  • He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.”       Mark 16:15
  • So Christ Himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers,  to equip His people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up.   Ephesians 4:11-12    
  • What about you?  Are you fearless in sharing your faith cold-turkey?  Or are you like most — you’d rather leave it to the pastors and missionaries?
  • ONE BUSINESS IN LIFE – Quote by John Wesle – circa 1780; music and arrangement by Kathleen

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    This life is temporary. This life is short.  When this life is over, our bodies will die and become empty shells, but our souls will continue to live forever.  Where will the “real you” live?  Will you live for all eternity separated from God?  Or will you spend eternity in the presence of God in heaven?   Learn more so you can make your most important decision:    http://www.whoisjesus-really.com
Posted in DOCTRINE, HERE & THERE, RAISING KIDS | Tagged , , , , , , | 3 Comments