Youth of Today
This past week Free Indeed was honored to bring its message of hope to junior high and high school students ranging from ages 11 to 18. We were invited by the youth pastor Matt, who felt that the best way to confront societal issues was to confront them head on, while giving the young people an opportunity to know that the church (and he) not only care and understand but are concerned as well.
Our first group was the 11 to 13-year-olds.
Brandon and I spent over a week trying to put together a message that would seem cohesive, friendly and easy to understand. At the same time trying to keep it out of the realm of highly sexually sounding or charged. Then there was the matter of making sure it was not too dark or ugly. Our concern naturally came out of the fact that we did not know what they had learned at home but we knew what they were getting at school and talking about in their daily lives.
Fortunately, we didn’t have to worry about what to say because God brought it all together for us. It was very well received and a beautiful message (He is so Faithful). The young people understood exactly what we were talking about. In fact, when I asked them what they thought of when I said the word “gay”, they immediately said, “homosexuality”. Homosexual behavior, of course, is the act of two of the same sex having sex. It was also likened to, “liking someone like them” (sexually) and one eye opening definition was, “different than me”. We were able to take a few moments to explain that gay was simply a label. We used a very graphic illustration and if I may request your patience as this does develop even though it seems a little crazy. I explained it this way, “That life which is given by God is like a delicious brownie, sin (in this case homosexuality) is like a piece of dog poop that’s baked into the brownie”. Sounds disgusting I know but just wait a moment and I’ll develop this further.
What Satan does or what the world does is add layers of frosting to the brownie to make it, “not so bad”. To try to make it seem that, “its okay”, that it smells good, that it feels good, that it tastes good… it’s okay to partake of it. Yet, for those who know or believe that the poop is a bad idea, they don’t like the fact that they can still see it or smell it. So society (over time) adds another layer of frosting. Meanwhile Satan tells them to continue to add layers knowing the poopy brownie is still in the middle. Add the soft, sweet fluffy layers on top until no one can see it (the brownie) or feel it. Then the people who look at the big fluff ball (known as alternative lifestyle) don’t even necessarily believe that there’s really a poop brownie in the middle. Now, it’s okay to hold it, touch it, taste it, make it part of your life. It can’t be harmful after all, you don’t see it. You might summarize by saying, “Looks normal to me!”
But there are still people who do know the difference. The one person we know has given us clear vision as to what is right and wrong. He has told us the truth. His word has never changed and He never changed the recipe of the brownie. This is God! He’s always told us what to look for and shown us the truth every day. We need only to seek Him. He will show you the truth.
That was a little crazy huh? Well, the kids (and adults) got it so I continued.
We went on to discuss personal situations and other kids that these children knew in school and out. They were asking what to do to help them and wanted to understand how to be Christians. How to bring the Christ they serve (and want to serve) to these people. Their curiosity was strong when it came to loving SSA people and being a friend. Oddly enough, they never asked how to tell them they were wrong. They never asked how to condemn them over what they were doing or wanted to do in their private lives. They never asked about the bad things that could happen to them (ssa people) for living a lifestyle or thinking about living a lifestyle that wasn’t in their (the youth’s) belief system.
They wanted to know how to be Christian to Christians and non-Christians. It was the most beautiful thing you could have ever seen, to look into their faces, to listen to their voices and to feel their hearts. Sadly, adults want to know why we would tell children about this lifestyle and why we would present Free Indeed. I mean, they’re just children. Right? I assure you, we were schooled not the kids! We know that schools indoctrinate children. At the same time society tells them what to think, what to believe, how to feel and what to accept. Again, they are the layers of frosting on the poopy brownie. It’s easy to see why we were so excited to present the truth about God in a loving way. In a way they could understand and accept. This has opened them to know they can now go to their pastor (who is in his early 20s) and talk to him and not be afraid. Hopefully, if they themselves were struggling (or thought they might be) that he would be a man they can trust just like Jesus.
I praise God for the adults that were present. They had never heard our message and certainly didn’t know what to expect when we started. Their idea (the battle line the church has drawn) is, “It’s wrong to be homosexual!” without thought to the fact that we aren’t even talking about the sex act. We’re just talking about the people. The sin is separate from the heart of the person to whom we minister. Let us separate the person from the sin, once you do that all you see is WHO is standing in front of you. Now you can bring Christ to Christians and non-Christians. The adults struggled with how to make sure that they let the person with same-sex attraction know that they were wrong and how you tell them. How do you bring conviction upon them? It is very interesting that only the adults thought of these things not the kids. We took time after both meetings to explain our concept (to the adults) more fully so that they too could grasp the simple message of Grace and the Love of Jesus. The fact that when he died and he said, “It is finished” that all sin was condemned and crushed with Him and when he rose again He brought us into his life with the opportunity for all to turn to him. The high school was just as interesting and fun. In fact, I was surprised to see that they were almost less attentive. To them it was more of a subject of, “Why would we be talking about that? We already hear enough bad things about those people”.
God bless them for sitting there and taking the chance to listen as they found out that we didn’t want to talk about “those people”. We wanted to talk about them. We wanted to talk about Jesus and they too opened up like the younger group. These are young adults who are going out into the world of adulthood, not just school. They are ready to impact the lives around them. The Bible calls us to go out and bring the gospel to the world. I reminded them the world isn’t necessarily some far-off mission in a faraway place, its right here with the people that are around them each day. That’s their world! Bring Christ to that world! They wanted to know how. They wanted to know what to do. Many came up with examples of gay kids at school. They knew that some were afraid, that some were very pushy about it and some were hiding it and didn’t know where to turn.
Now they have an answer, they have a resource, they have, “Free Indeed”! They have a place to come. They have a place to send their friends, a friend’s family member or even their own. They can ask the difficult questions. They have a pastor that cares and wants to know more and wants to touch their hearts and lives. It is not for us to take the opportunity for them to meet God away from them. It is not for us to decide how they will meet the Lord or what kind of relationship they will have with Him. Our job as Christians is to bring Christ to them. Bring the Cross to them and to love them by the knowledge of Jesus. We had different adults at the high school meeting. In fact, other churches were there and we have been invited to bring Free Indeed to more churches and other youth groups.
We praise God for this opportunity to bring “Free Indeed’s” word of truth, grace, love and peace to all who seek.
God wants us to reach out. In fact, I would dare say that it’s even easier now that there’s openness in the media though it is a bit depressing to the Christian mind. At least it’s out in the open and we can see these people. You can look right next to you in your daily life, find that person and reach out to them the way Jesus would. Reach to them with love first and never talking about their sin or the wages of sin. You don’t need to do that not when you’re reaching out to get their attention to the Cross. Let God take care of that. Let his Word take hold and know that it has the power to change. God does the work. You simply be the worker ready to do what God has called you to do and no more.
John, who lived in the lifestyle for 30 years and returned to Christ full force, and Brandon, a 21 year old straight man also in love with the Lord Jesus. A team of two brought together by God to act as one. One gay one straight both in loving relationship with Christ.