Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Not Just Grown Ups, but Messengers

Thanks for dropping by today! If you read todays Proverbs 31 devotion, you already know how important it is to reach todays teens with the Word of God.

With two teen daughters of my own, I come in contact with so many girls who need Jesus. From beautiful girls dressed in the trendiest clothes, to girls who favor the look of the dark side. From Student Council members to students barely getting by. From cheerleaders, to the unpopular. From star athletes, to those sitting on the bleachers. Girls of every color, size, shape, ethnicity and culture.

But no matter what type of the girl they are, they are a girl who needs Jesus. The hard part is figuring out how to build a relationship with them that will foster opportunities to share Christ.

As I mentioned in the devotion, we have a small window of opportunity to reach teens with the love of Christ, whether it be middle school, high school, or college age girls.

Do you remember what you were like in high school? I certainly do, and since during that time of life I was smarter than my parents and anyone else I knew (ha ha!), I may not have been receptive to preaching and teaching about Jesus had I not grown up in a Christian home. So, it is not hard to see why kids who have never been exposed to Jesus, and never had a loving adult help them see the importance of a Savior in their heart, would tend to be turned off by religion. Its not their fault, they are just a victim of circumstance who never got the message.

My heart actually breaks for teens who are so lost, so unaware, and dont even know it. If only they could seek Gods wisdom in prayer, instead of seeking attention and popularity, at all costs. If only they could feel the love of a devoted Father, instead of sacrificing their purity in an attempt to gain an empty love. If only they could see themselves through Gods eyes, instead of just what they see in the mirror. I wish I could just put my arms around them and tell them all these things, but I know they would look at me like I had two heads.

I am the first to admit, it is hard to reach girls in this age group. For one, we dont want to mortally embarrass our own teen daughters by acting like religious fanatics, or so they would say. Secondly, it is not always comfortable to approach someone who you dont know all that well. And thirdly, nobody likes rejection! We often fear that reaching out to the younger generation is beyond our capability, that we are not equipped, or that they wont be interested in what we have to say simply because we are a grown up.

Many teens may react that way, but it could be simply because they have not ever experienced Gods grace. They have never known that peace is attainable, because they grew up in an home full of turmoil. They have never seen the power of prayer. They have never had anyone share their testimony with them. They have never known that Jesus saves. They are simply unaware.

As Christian adults, we are not just grown ups, we are messengers. Messengers with a message that can change the lives of those who receive it. Messengers who are equipped through our faith and commitment to Christ to get the message out to those who need to hear it. Messengers who dont need to be biblical scholars or trained counselors, but who simply need to use the voice God provided them to relay The Message.

A message of hope and love that can turn someones life around forever.

Think about the young girls, from 12 years old to college age, who God has placed in your life. Those girls did not just happen to cross your path, they were divinely placed there for such a time as this. Are you taking advantage of your open window?

If you have ever felt God calling you to reach out to young girls in your neighborhood, school, or community, then Proverbs 31 offers a great way to help you get started, called Gather and Grow groups.

Gather and Grow groups are membership-based groups that meet locally on a regular basis all over the country. Proverbs 31 provides the group leader with spiritually encouraging materials from the Proverbs 31 Ministries Resource Center, that are designed to lead discussions that will offer godly perspectives to the issues facing today’s teens. The goal is to provide a setting for girls to talk about their feelings and learn about Jesus in an atmosphere that they are comfortable with.

Groups can meet anywhere, anytime, and as often as you would like. For more information on Gather and Grow groups, visit the P31 blog for teen girls, at http://www.radrevolution.blogspot.com/, and click on the "get connected" tab. You can also email Lynn Cowell with any questions, at Lynn@proverbs31.org .

But whether you feel called to take on a leadership role to organize a group, or you just want to reach out to a teen that God has placed in your life, I urge you today to pray for Gods wisdom, strength and courage to take that first step. With each day that passes, our window of opportunity gets just a little smaller, and you never know what the future holds.

Several years ago my daughter knew a young boy who was killed in a tragic accident. The loss was very sad, but her heart also broke because she wasnt sure if he knew Jesus before he died. A tear came to her eye as she said, "I wish I had shared Jesus with him when I had the chance". A message from God out of the lips of a child, straight to the heart of a grown up.

One life can change countless lives, and procrastination sometimes closes the window altogether. So many young girls are unaware, and the urgency is now.

Our willingness to step out of comfort zones and share Gods love with those who need it, even it feels a little uncomfortable, could impact the Kingdom of God for generations to come.

*Click on the Next Generation tab above to view my youth event speaking topics. If you would to check my availability for your upcoming church event, please email Barb@proverbs31.org.

*Your prayers would be coveted for the sweet boy injured in the accident mentioned in todays devotion. You can visit his website at www.prestonloyd.com

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Sharon@JoyInTheTruth said...

Tracie: Will be praying for this precious young boy. Thank you for sharing this.

And what an important age group the "Next Generation" is reaching. So thankful for that! My cherubs are not yet teens, but I am already praying ahead for those years. I received Jesus into my heart when I was a teen...He literally picked me up by His grace and set me on His narrow road.

A friend of mine is prayerfully considering starting a G&G for her teen daughter and their friends. (My friend is part of my adult Gather & Grow group). May His fruit, love, truth and life change and mold hearts forever!

"Don't let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity." 1 Tim. 4:12

Rachel B said...

Oh, Tracie! Boy, was this a timely message! I have my 17 year old niece here spending the week with us. My heart is aching to share Jesus with her, but feeling so many of the things that you wrote about. Just before reading your message I was praying first for the opportunity and then the strength and wisdom to witness to her. My husband and I are praying that she will see the reality of Jesus in our lives this week. So much in my heart...but I'm rambling. Once again God has used you to speak to my heart. I'll close with saying THANK YOU! Thank you for giving me this extra push, a sense of urgency and courage to look for opportunities to share.

Joyful said...

Tracie, your devotional left me covered in goosebumps. And a little child will lead them....

Needing to be more intentional,