Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Jennings Youth Rally 2013

I had the pleasure and honor of bringing our youth group to the youth rally in Jennings, LA this past weekend.  I grew up attending that youth rally, so it was neat to go in the role of mentor rather than youth.

We brought a great group--especially considering it was planned on kind of short notice--9 kids and 6 adults.  Patrick Mead was the speaker (he has been gifted incredible talents in research, wisdom, and delivery) and the praise team from the South Baton Rouge Church of Christ came to lead worship.  There were over 300 people there, fellowshipping and growing together through worship and study and play.  There were also multiple denominations represented, and it was refreshing to be a part of that unity.

The rally was focused on Matthew 6:19-21, themed "Journey to Treasure".

Here are some of the highlights I recorded from the lessons that Patrick delivered, as well as the Q&A session he offered (he tells it like it is, giving these kids the open, honest, and merciful answers they need, crave, and learn from--powerful time):

  • Pack Light.  The more you have to carry, the worse off you'll be.  Learn to let things go.
  • You are far more unique than the universe in which we live (here he gave the exponential combinations of DNA vs. the exponential combinations of atoms).  The world will try to make you popular by making you meaningless--you blend in.  It strips you of your uniqueness and what makes you, you.
  • Most of the enemies of the Cross don't know they are.  They don't usually wake up with the intent of working for Evil.  Church-going doesn't protect us from the enemies and allies of evil.
  • You'll get scars along your journey--they're your medals.  Rely on the power of the Holy Spirit to carry you through it.
  • Satan uses our strengths and things that are created for good to his advantage and plays them against us.
Common Monsters we face along the journey (commonly known as the 7 deadly sins):
  1. Lust
  2. Gluttony
  3. Greed
  4. Sloth
  5. Wrath
  6. Envy
  7. Pride
  • Jesus does not sit on His throne at all time--He stand when one of His dies in honor.
  • Gluttony is not only overeating--it is overfilling on anything.  When you fill your life with something, it crowds out the treasure hunt.  Don't settle.
  • The Devil's message:  God's holding out on you.  Truth:  He's not.
  • Be as patient with other people as you want God to be with you.  Anger is different from wrath--use anger as energy for the long haul to motivate change and growth.
  • Finding God requires a search, it requires work.  We're told to seek, ask, knock; not sit.
  • We need every talent in the body--embrace yours and play your part.
Weapons we are gifted to defeat those monsters:
  • Defense:  Sword of the Spirit
  • Offense:  Love and Faithfulness
  1. Chastity:  don't put ghosts in your head, your spouse is your focus.  Be Pure.
  2. Temperate:  draw limits, learn to say no to yourself.  This enables you to say no anywhere.
  3. Charity. Love. Self-Sacrifice.  The way to lead people to the Cross is to love them to it.
  4. Diligence:  Work. Patience. Effort.
  5. Kindness:  doing good with no other motive.  Be impressed with the preciousness of others.
  6. Humility.
Question & Answer session:
  • God's plan for you:  Be a Christian wherever you are.  Be available for Him and love Him.  We are given choice and ability--use them wisely.
  • How you are wired is one thing; what you choose to do in another.
  • No matter where you are, your job is service and in turn, sacrifice.
  • Psalm 139:5--you are designed to be here.
  • God will not agree with you about everything...understand that.  Your prayers will not always be answered the way you wish they would.  He is God, you are not.  
  • Your faith is hard work--it will be what you put into it.
  • God did not create us to live by our urges.
  • Do not identify yourself by your struggles.  Your identity lies in Christ.
  • Feelings and Facts are two different things.  You may feel broken and lost.  The fact is you're forgiven.
  • How do you lead people to Jesus?  Don't start with Jesus and baptism and eternity.  Love people until they ask you why.  Then you can introduce Jesus.

Isn't that grand?  Love people until they ask you why.  Our love should be so deeply rooted in the pure and perfect love of Christ that people just can't help but know where it comes from.  You won't win them over with rules and judgment and tradition.  Love is the only embrace they can't escape.

To learn more from Patrick's studies, experience, expertise, and wisdom, visit his blogs--Tentpegs and PatrickMead.

Spending that day with those teenagers and the adults who love them enough to chaperone them touched me to my core.  They're passionate--don't snuff them.  They're excited--encourage them.  They're hurting--be merciful to them.  They're growing--help them.  They need you--love them.

Don't limit the power of the Holy Spirit and the Lord's work because of personal comfort zones.  Break out and be freed.

love, angie

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