Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good!
Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!
Psalm 34:8 ESV
Tonight during devotions, after my kids and I were done laughing about Balaam’s talking donkey, we got into Joshua. (This is in their kids bible of course and daddy added a little humor to the story) I was struck by an interesting part of the story. God tells Joshua to let everyone know that after 40 years of waiting for spineless, disobedient people to die, His people were finally going to cross over the Jordan river into the promise land. SWEET!!! The instructions were simple but profound.
The Ark of the Covenant would go first. As soon as the priest feet touched the water, the river would stop flowing. Apparently, crossing rivers has alway and will always be a big problem for large groups of people. The Turkish Army has these cool special boats that turning into an instant bridge. More Info God’s method is way cooler!! Then, the head of each family was to grab a bolder or very large rock from the middle of the river. Once the feet of the priest left the river, it would begin to flow again.
What did Joshua do with these 12 very large rock. He build a monument, a road side attraction of sorts. That way, every time a dad and his son walk past the monument, the dad would be able to tell his kids all about the amazing thing that God did when God gave them the land they now call home.
In my experience as a youth pastor and missionary, God give his people numerous opportunities to experience His raw, unbelievable power. I think about our trip to the Hover Dam last year before World Tea Expo. One of the first amazing challenges of building the dam was rerouting the river. It took a long time and an incredible amount of resources. We serve a God who did that by simply having a few guys with a gold box step in the river. (NOTE: please do know think I desire to minimize the sacred nature, role, and position of the priests and the ARK)
That would have been a really, really cool thing to see God do. God, I’m hungry. Puff, Manna. God, I’m thirsty, Puff, water flowing from a rock. (This was the power of God, Moses beating the death out of the rock had nothing to do with it)
Students today are struggling to see the power of God by squeezing a banana through a panty hoe or being crowned the warlord of a video game. I understand there is absolutely a real value to those relational tools and do not seek to minimum their value in youth ministry. However, youth ministry must not be build on top of those experiences.
I have had the opportunity to spend the last several weeks networking with community leaders and youth pastors. It is one of my favorite parts of my job. A younger ministry leader ask me this question this week. “Why do you think kids aren’t growing more in their youth groups, or are they?” I strongly believe that many students are growing in the youth groups. However, I believe many students should be challenge more to experience God through serving our community, being giving opportunities to love people, and being put in sometimes uncomfortable situations where they are going to have the privilege of failing with grace or seeing God provide in miraculous ways. Barnabas Student Ministries exists today because God provided exactly what we needed when we needed it, often in the most unlikely ways. Every student who has been involved with our ministry has had the opportunity to see and experience these journeys.
The students that leave the church leave for two reasons; ONE: They have not encountered God in a way which solidifies their faith thus providing experiences to rely on when things are challenging. TWO: Student are not equipped to deeply study GOD’s word thus obtaining the answers to the impossible questions they face in academia and life.
Challenge Point: GOD IS ALWAYS AWESOME!!!! Everyday, look for His awesomeness, remember it, and tell your kids stories of God awesomeness all the time.
Prayer Request: Please pray that God would allow me to remember to take the time to tell my kids the stories of God provision through BSM. Please pray that God would give me the patient to see God through their lives every day.