Wednesday, August 31, 2011

To The Youth

About a year ago I started gonig to Park Ridge Baptist. It changed my life. I finally found a place that would give me so much fulfillment with my life. The biggest passion I have is teenagers. I love them! I'm a firm believer that they have what it takes to change the world. But I also know that teens have it much harder than most of the rest of us, as far as a spiritual walk goes.
I remember when I was in high school it was the hardest time in my life to be a Christian and actually live the part out. Trying to be a Christian in a world that is determined to take God out. And In all of the chaos, the one place I had to turn to was my youth group. I had such an amazing youth pastor Ryan Gillespie. His wife Mandy, and also my small group leaders Heather Collins and Sherry Wright helped me in so many ways. Sherry was actually the one who prayed with me when I accepted the Lord! The best part about it was that they weren't judgemental towards me. They listened to my stories and when I vented about life.  I opened up to them in ways I've never done with anyone. I was comfortable enough to do that because I knew they would never judge me or look down on me.
So many people now look at the teens of this world and pass judgement towards them. So many people point fingers at them and try to tell them how to live their lives and how to make choices and if they don't do it that way then they're doomed for Hell.

So here is my letter of promise to the youth at Park Ridge and any others I may come in contact with in my life,

I've prayed long and hard about my relationship with you guys. Prayed that I could be the kind of influence on you that I had in my small group leaders. Prayed that I could build strong relationships with you, that you could feel comfortable with me, and share with me. Prayed that I could be that person you confide in and trust. Because I won't pass judgement. I understand where you're coming from completely. I was just there a few years ago! I promise that I will never tell  you that you're "screwing up your life" or that you need to change. I know that no one is perfect and everyone on earth is flawed and makes mistakes. So who am I or anyone else to tell you that you're wrong? God even tells us not to judge one another, because that's his job.

"Do not speak evil of one another. He who speaks evil of a brother and judges his brother, speaks evil of the law. But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law, but a judge. There is only one law giver who is able to save and to destroy. Who are you to judge one another?"
- James 4:11-12
"Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen"
- Ephesians 4:29

 So my biggest promise is to love you like you are my own family. Love you like God would have me to. I promise to listen to you when you come to me. I promise to have compassion and understanding. I promise not to pass judgement but to give advice when you ask me. I will never think any of you are "hopeless" or "a waste of time". We are all children of God and we are all equal. It is my duty as a Christian to do whatever I can that is in my power given to me by God to help you follow him. Not push you away.

"Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring peace to God"
- Romans 15:7
"Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves"
- Romans 12:10
"Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in God forgave you"
- Ephesians 4:32

I am here for you. To help you and to guide you. To love you and care for you. To laugh with you and to cry with you. To help you up if you feel you have fallen. To rejoice with you when you do well. To encourage you and strengthen you. To build you up. I am here to help you do good. But most of all, I am here.

"Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share"
- 1 Timothy 6:18