“They come from another planet!”
“I've read those words on the faces of many of today's parents and church leaders. And I hear the words, =Many of the youth today don't dress, eat, and act the way you and I were brought up to act.= That has also been voiced with frustration by the parents of most every generation, even before Jesus walked this earth.”
“Let's begin with prayer asking God to give all of us here, open humble hearts in the sight of heaven and all that we've been blessed with.” The youth pastor of Ross and Hope's church led a down deep prayer for guidance in reaching a starving generation living within sight of each of us.
The pastor began, “My heartfelt thanks for inviting me to your Quilters for Christ fellowship here today. I compliment all of you on your spirit of outreach to those who will be our leaders in the very near future. Many folks, with much less silver hair than all of you, stretch out their hand toward the horizon and proclaim =it's someone else's job to 'teach them youngin's the error of their ways'=. But you have taken the first and foremost step that pleases the one true God and Creator of all who breath.”
“To make sure we're all on the same page, here, I need someone to define for us, the meaning of the English word 'ALL'. Simple enough - ALL” The pastor wrote the word in large letters at the top of a nearby marker board. Then in the back of the room, Jeanie didn't think the pastor was looking for some complicated answer, so she just blurted out, “Nothin' left out!” Pastor Tim liked the answer and wrote it next to the word ALL.
“I notice most of you have brought your Bibles. I think that's great. That tells me while you've come to partner in making quilts, you also see the need to bring your Bibles with you. I love it! Evidently most of you have noticed the pair of verses that give the reason and scope of Heaven's 'How-To' manual. In 2nd Timothy 3:17 we're promised that scripture throughly furnishes us unto All good work. Now 'all good work' would certainly refer to communicating with those who seem to be from another planet. Right?”
With just a hint of a smile, pastor continued. “Now remember what Jeanie said about all? Well, the verse in front of verse 17 tells us what part of scripture is important to us; all scripture; 'Nothin left out'. So then from our God Who cannot lie, we receive direction and a guarantee of harvest for reaching out to others. While there are many promises and directives in scripture, one of my favorites promises me a harvest if I plant and water the seed properly. It's Psalm 126:6 He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him. I call your attention to the words 'doubtless' and the word 'rejoicing'. But the my heart cleaves to the word 'weepeth'.”
“If each of you, in your own heart don't have the proper seed and are willing to plant it with tears of compassion, you should probably stay home till you do.”
“Now, I want to take my few minutes here to tell you about those you think are from another planet. You know - those leaders of our tomorrows – our youth. I'll warn you first. I'm about to make a statement you'll probably find odd. But keep listening to me and the Holy Spirit speaking to your heart. OK. Are you ready? Here goes.”
“Youth today, believe the church leaders and adult attenders are from another planet. (Just as you think they are.) I better repeat that. Youth today, believe the church leaders and adult attenders are from another planet. You see, they know you won't listen to them and their heartaches because you have already prejudged them; you've prejudged them contrary to the mercy and grace directed in scripture.”
“Now listen carefully. I haven't said that everything youth do today, is OK; far from it. But the big difficulty is they are trying to find their way without any compassionate mature leadership – without YOUR help. They feel like travelers caught in quicksand with no one to even passionately listen to their help cries.”
“Further, youth see churches around them are addicted to presentation and administration technology almost as much as girls are addicted to communication technology and the boys to competition (gaming) technology. To help you see this, ask a teen to give up their hand-held gadgets for a week and see what they say. Their response will be exactly the same as if you tell the church to do without technology for a week – you know, the wireless microphones, music, audio, video systems and all the office computers... etc. etc.”
“Now what REALLY puts the church folks on a different planet, in the minds of youth, is the total absence of messages and lessons that magnify the Bible's guidelines in technology control; both in the church and in the hands of youth and their parents. Youth want adults to understand that while no requirements exist requiring the church to use technology, by contrast youth cannot achieve passing grades in school; even in the elementary grades without DAILY technology use. Do you see the contrast here?”
“All of our technology, is God's gift to us – from our lifesaving heart pacemakers, to page magnifiers for the vision challenged, and GPS when we're lost. But He also gave us scripture to help us honor Him with technology's use. Instead, we've relinquished our discipling role in guiding young hearts and minds, even though scripture commands you and I otherwise. Am I coming through? A boyscout compass or a satellite GPS system are both God's gifts that were introduced in different generations for the same purpose. But they both need faith in God and His laws to best use them.”
“Now the bottom line to effectively reaching out to youth, is to be able to take all this technology the schools and society have thrown at them and see it in light of the same verses you apply to your quilting efforts. You folks pour many long hours and prayers into your quilts. Those quilt patterns are as varied as the children in our town. Set your hearts and vision, in firm unity, on bringing Jesus' love and warmth to those who maybe don't even know where to look for it, how to obtain it.”
Pastor Tim paused for a few seconds and then spoke. “May I make a few suggestions? One great idea I've already heard a few of you talk about. Your 'Adopt-a-Teen' is a marvelous way to show love while you're learning about the many struggles and stress our youth must deal with, today and their tomorrows. Get to know them. Plant that precious seed in them with patient cultivation. Do you remember the tears in our Psalms verse? Let those youth share their heart with you as you lovingly share Christ's heart with them.”
“I've put two stacks of take-home handouts on the back table. The blue ones give some of the many promises God has for those who reach out to youth. The white ones explain how to begin including Bible verses for using computers, in safe ways that honor God.”
“Oh by the way. Don't let the words Twitter and tweets throw you. Your Bible contains many short statements our youth would call tweets, all ready for you to savor and share. The book of Proverbs is bursting with them all ready for you to show others, how up-to-date our Bible really is.
“Ummm. Wouldn't it be really neat to make a quilt of kids hearts?”