In our current summer series “R U in DRIVE”, we have been studying how the gears of our transmission are a lot like our spiritual journey. And…sometimes it seem like you will never reach your destination. Take heart…the journey is lifelong.
Anyway…this past week we looked the functions on a GPS. We asked the question, “What is you favorite feature/function on a GPS (or your phone)?” We came to the conclusion that “re-routing” is one of the most useful features a GPS can have. If you find that you have taken a wrong turn or are following someone who really doesn’t know where they’re going…much less how to help you find your way…re-routing is an amazing feature. We discovered that re-routing is a lot like repenting (a word we don’t talk about much any more in churches). But repenting is nothing more than changing direction (aka re-routing).
Following that same train of thought…repenting or re-routing is very similar to making a 3-point turn. When you take the driving portion of the test to get your license, most places ask you to performa 3-point turn. Basically, you acknowledge that you need to turn around and go in a different direction. So, at that point you must 1) stop your forward motion, 2) move out of the flow of traffic, 3) wait on traffic to clear, 4) let others know your intention to change direction, 5) move to the other side of the road, and 6) begin moving again in the opposite direction. That’s re-routing! That’s repentance!
So…if you realize it’s time to change direction. DO IT!
So…if you’ve been driving for any length of time, you understand the basics of how a transmission works (hopefully). P=park and you use that when you….”park”. R=reverse and is used for…you guessed it…backing up. N=neutral…and that won’t move you anywhere…unless you’re on an incline. However, the gear used most frequently is D=drive, for moving forward. Sometimes, though, when you become a Christian and you decide that Jesus is who the Bible say He is and that the Bible is actually the Word of God, it can be easy to slip from Drive (moving forward) into Neutral (going nowhere) or even Reverse (moving backwards from where you’ve come). That being said, there are times where you need to rest from moving. That doesn’t mean you stop growing and maturing. Life will keep moving forward regardless of what “gear” you find yourself in. It doesn’t stop…it won’t stop. Occasionally, there are seasons of life we all go through that will make you feel like stopping…maybe even backing up. You may even feel that it’s not worth the trouble to keep “doing this Christian thing”. The “Christian thing” is so much more than just keeping rules and a bunch of “do’s and don’ts”. It’s totally about having a relationship with the person of Jesus Christ. Let Him be your example. Not what you watch in movies, hear in music or see in social media posts. His love for you is greater than any of those things. His compassion for you in your season of Park, Reverse, Neutral or Drive is greater than you can ever imagine. So, whether you’re in P, N, or R…just now that you can (and will) shift into D. You will move forward from this season and you will make it!
At Echo Student Ministries, we are going through a series where we’re challenging each other to live in one direction (not related to the boy band). Basically, we have to be like coffee….now stay with me…even if you don’t like coffee. We will pray for you later. For coffee to be its best…the purpose for which it was grown…the beans must be ground up and then have steaming hot water come in contact with the coffee grounds. After that the liquid is FILTERED before the amazing nectar that is coffee flows into its container. After that you may choose to alter the taste to you liking. This is how it is (or should be) as a Christian. We have got to learn to FILTER anything we say or do through the LOVE that is Jesus Christ. If we aren’t filtering our life through Him first…we can be very bitter to a world that is crying out for a purer love. So…let’s be like coffee…FILTERED for His purpose on earth.
Reading a book by Phil Joel, bass player for Newsboys United and founder of the band Zealand. He made a comment that has stuck with me and is challenging me as well. He said that “it’s inside of us to want these things, and it’s okay because that’s how God made us”. He points out that we all want to be seen-recognized (some more than others-my own observation). We also want to be understood-approved of. And the third thing Phil saw was/is that we all want to be loved-deeply valued.
In my years of youth ministry, I totally agree with these “desires”. I further agree with Phil Joel that it IS OK to want these things. My question is to youth and adults alike is this. How do we try to meet these legitimate needs? I have spent plenty of time in my life trying to meet these legitimate needs by illegitimate means. I’ll end with a quote from Jim Carey. He once said; “I think everybody should get rich and famous and do everything they ever dreamed of so they can see that it’s not the answer.” Be careful who you compare yourself and your life to, especially on social media. Remember, you’re only getting the “highlight reel”.
A brief snapshot of Echo Student Ministries…in case you ever wonder what we do. The Lord named the youth ministry of Father’s Vineyard “Echo” several years ago from the scripture in Ephesians 5:1 (NLT) “Imitate God, therefore, in everything you do, because you are his dear children”. We do not want to merely “parrot” what Jesus says…but imitate Him in His love for others, His compassion for the hurting and His words of truth to everyone He met. Of course, to be completely honest…there was also a great quote from the movie Gladiator, featuring Russell Crowe, when he said; “What we do in life echoes in eternity”. Now that’s a sobering thought! If we truly lived as if we believed that statement, I think we all would act, speak and treat others a little differently. So, let’s imitate the one Who we can truly count on…because His truth is still echoing into eternity.
As youth pastor, I get have the unique privilege of seeing the world through the eyes of young people. A few months ago we had a service where I asked one of our youth to look at the rest of the group while holding a red lighting gel to her face. Guess what? Everything and everybody looked “red”. As long as she held the “red” lighting gel against her face…her world had a red tint to it. People, buildings, chairs, everything…looked red, even though in reality it wasn’t. I’m beginning to see that we are all looking at the world, including our own lives, through a certain “lens”. Depending on your life experiences, that lens could color your world in a way that is less than accurate. 2 Corinthians 3:16 says that when “someone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away”. I’d like you to join me as we look through some lenses and see how that affects our perception of the world. Yo may ask…for what purpose would I do that? The answer is fairly simple. It’s so you and I can begin…maybe for the first time to see others, ourselves and the world around us through a different “lens”.
Do you ever stop and think about you are treated? I do…and then I have to stop and ask myself how I am treating others. Paul…who wrote most of the New Testament, said in Philippians 2:3 3 Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves.
As we enter into the crazy, wonderful sometimes sad, amazing, beautiful, season of Thanksgiving and Christmas…remember how much you are loved by the God who created this whole universe! It’s just a better perspective.
Our 2nd Annual Boston Butt BBQ fundraiser. Support Echo Student Ministries and get some great BBQ from award winning Mountain View BBQ in Columbus, NC. Only $40 gets you 10lbs of BBQ plus sauce. Contact any youth or email me at email@example.com. We will be taking orders until May 26th and you can pick up your BBQ at Father’s Vineyard on June 9th from 10am-12pm.
You can also order below by filling out this form.
A huge THANK YOU to everyone who participated in the annual spaghetti fundraiser at Father’s Vineyard! It was a huge success. Thank you students and leaders for working together like the amazing team you are!
Thank you pastors for being willing to “take one for the team” and get the pie in the face. All monies raised will go directly toward our Forward Youth Conference. Check it out here.
Thank you Father’s Vineyard church family for your generosity! Have a great week…and go make some spaghetti!