You know the 19th infomercial in a row, selling some product you know isn't as good as this guy is telling you it is? Or maybe it's the 100th excuse from a teenager caught doing something wrong . . . or maybe it's your pastor. YIKES!
So here goes . . .look out toes.
I was just at youth camp for a week, and one of the things that really hit me was something really basic that the speaker said. In order to be an ambassador for Christ you have to do some things BEFORE you can tell people about Jesus.
Your heart must truly be broken for lost people. Is your heart so hardened to the lost that you don't really even care if they spend eternity in hell? It's easy to get calloused to those around us who continue to benefit at our expense or seem to get everything they want while we go without. But these people (lost people) don't have Jesus, isn't that enough to break your heart anymore? Pray for the lost with a broken heart.
You must truly love and/or serve others. "Yeah, yeah, I hear what you are saying, but LOOK at what you are doing!!"
If you don't show God's love to other people, how will they know. This means loving people who are hard to love or even mean. Jesus commands us to love, I have said this before, but this story really brought it home to me.
Afshin Ziafat talked about a Muslim teenager who, with a bunch of his friends, would throw rocks at the Christian women who were carrying jugs of water on their shoulders. One time in particular this boy nailed the jug a woman was carrying and it shattered. When he turned to run he slipped and fell which cut up his leg. He couldn't run and the Christian woman was closing in on him so he held up his arms to defend himself . . . only to find that she was helping him. This one act of kindness when he didn't deserve it stuck with him and years later when some Christians were witnessing to him, he remembered her love and kindness and was converted. Love and serve others, even if they don't deserve it.
You must tell your story . . . not just the dusty old story about how once upon a time you walked down the aisle at your church and got baptized, but the fresh new stories about what Jesus is doing in your life today, yesterday, last week. If He's not giving you new stories maybe it's because He misses you. Tell people what God is doing in your life NOW.
FOURThen . . . . you can tell the story about Jesus. You have to do these other things first, or why would anyone listen to you. Tell people about Jesus.
Pretty good, huh?
The other thing is this, not all of us are called to be youth pastors or evangelists. If we were no one's accounting would ever get done. But my friends and the people I come in contact with are different from the people you know and meet. This is how the word about Jesus is spread. Your friends wouldn't listen to me tell them about Jesus, any more than my friends would listen to you tell them about Jesus. That's how it works. . . so bloom where you are planted. Don't sit around complaining that you aren't a pastor or you haven't written a Christian book, talk to the people you know and find out where they are going to spend eternity. It's up to each of us as an ambassador for Jesus to work in our own field. Kind of like we are undercover agents for Jesus, cleverly disguised as accountants or computer programmers or doctors or lawyers.
People don't want to hear it, if you are not living it. If you don't show them love, why would they listen to you talk about the God of love?
Here's a couple of black and white shots from camp. Hope you like them.