Colossians 2: 2-3 – I want them to be encouraged and knit together by strong ties of love. I want them to have complete confidence that they understand God’s mysterious plan, which is Christ himself. In him lie hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.
That is my prayer for the teens at The River Church and also for the church as a whole. This past Sunday we started a series titled “Rules, Religion or Relationship” that is based around the book “Crazy Love” by Francis Chan. I just really felt that as a group we really needed to grasp God’s relentless love for us. I don’t want our church or youth group to just be content with the status quo and I want them to grasp a hold of an authentic faith in Christ and to know His love for them in a deep and amazing way.
I had gone to the National Youth Workers Convention a few weeks ago and one of the things that hit me while I was there was that I want these teens to fall in love with God like I have fallen in love with him. I kind of stole the idea for the title of the series from an ad I saw as a teenager for the Bible college I went to and it was one of the main reasons why I went there. I didn’t want to follow a set of rules or just become a part of another religion. I really wanted to have a relationship with God.
God didn’t send His only Son to this planet just so that we could better understand rules or have a face to put to a religion. No, God sent Jesus here so that we could better understand the importance of having a relationship with Him. Jesus became God with us not above us. I think Jesus summed it all up when He was asked by the religious leaders of the day about what the most important commandment was and He didn’t even reply to them with one of the Big 10. Instead He replied with something completely different and said that everything was based on it and here is the exchange that takes place in Mark 12:28-34.
One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?”
“The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”
“Well said, teacher,” the man replied. “You are right in saying that God is one and there is no other but him. To love him with all your heart, with all your understanding and with all your strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself is more important than all burnt offerings and sacrifices.”
When Jesus saw that he had answered wisely, he said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.” And from then on no one dared ask him any more questions.
So If I want the teens at The River Church to get anything I hope that they figure out to love God and to love others, because then I know that they will close to the kingdom of God. This past Sunday I saw a glimpse that they were getting to that point as we discussed the mysteries of who God is and how our minds just can’t grasp all of who He is, but the overwhelming this is that He loves us. I am really looking forward to seeing more and more of our teens getting God and falling in love with Him.