Today’s devotion was shared by Adam Dorband:
9 How can a young person stay on the path of purity? By living according to your word. 10 I seek you with all my heart; do not let me stray from your commands.
Do you remember when you were 13?
Do you remember when you were 16?
Do you remember when you were 18?
Do you remember when you were 21?
Do you remember what life was like when you were 25?
How does a young person stay on the path toward purity through all these different stages of life?
(The path of purity is bigger than just sexual purity, it is essentially the path towards God who is perfectly pure & holy)
How does a young person stay on this path?
By living according to God’s word.
How do they live according to God’s word?
By being a part of a church like Summit who will help them!
Think about all the things that happen when you are a teenager and a young adult… – Key and critical life changing decisions are made during this time of life.
Whether you will follow Jesus for yourself or not.
Who you will date & who your best friends will be.
If you will go to college & where you will go to college. What career you will pursue. If you will get married, who you will marry. Where you will live and many more…
This is a CRITICAL time in life!! Where your decisions have Long term consequences- ether good or bad. A time when more than almost any other time, you need wisdom & guidance.
So how do we become the kind of church that reaches and helps young people Grow?
(or raises them up)
This is a HUGE question, and today I am going to give you 2 thoughts(there are several other factors as well) on it & then we will pray.
Growing Young Research.
The default belief system of American teenagers.
Researchers identified the dominant, de facto religious belief system of teenagers today as moralistic therapeutic deism.
It is moralistic, meaning that religious young people equate faith with being a good, moral person (generally, being nice).
It is therapeutic, so faith becomes a means of feeling better about themselves.
And it is deistic, meaning God exists, but this God is not involved in human affairs with any regularity.
Thanks to moralistic therapeutic deism, or MTD for short, God has essentially become a heavenly butler for teenagers, inspiring them at best to become cordial to others.
– This halfhearted religious worldview leaves teenagers and emerging adults adrift in a ho-hum
sea of bland religious niceness.
– While high school–aged participants in our study exhibited signs of MTD coupled with Golden Rule Christianity, by and large churches growing young sidestep this pothole in their quest for a more robust faith.
According to the “growing young” research, churches that communicate the gospel of Jesus as the centerpiece of God’s story are more likely to have young people with greater faith vibrancy and maturity.
1. Young people want & need churches who take Jesus message seriously.
Churches that are Growing Young are churches who take Jesus message seriously.
All of it. The ones that seem like he gives too much grace, and the ones that seem like they demand too much! The Gospel absolutely needs to include the death & resurrection of Jesus. The fact that Jesus died in our place for our sin. It must include the fact that we cannot be good enough to get to God on our own & that’s why we need Jesus.
It also needs to include the fact then when you put your faith in Jesus as Lord of your life- that means that he becomes the one leading your life- life is no longer about you it now revolves around Jesus!
(My story- I thought I was all for Jesus- but life still revolved around me!)
Young people want to be challenged!
Teenagers and emerging adults in churches growing young aren’t running from a gospel that requires hard things of them. They are running toward it.
• Taking Jesus’ message seriously means churches pay attention to the life and words of Christ.
2. Young people are looking for a place to belong.
And the church needs to be that place! If they find a place to belong here, then their heart will soften to the message of Jesus! If they do not feel like they belong, they will leave!
They need to feel like this is their family, Summit is their family. Not just Elevate, not just their small group, but they need to feel like “Summit Church is like family,” where adults know them and care about them and pray for them.
I am asking you, for the sake of the next generation to put in extra effort every time you see younger people in our church, be warm towards them. Hug them. Say Hi to them. Ask them to tell you their story, get to know them. It doesn’t matter if you are cool or not. Students mostly want people to pay attention to them and care about them!
Summit, both as a church and as individuals, 1. lets take Jesus message seriously, and 2. lets create a culture where we embrace young people and literally get excited every time we see them in our church until they feel like this is family!
Pray the scripture- Explain how to do this.
Look at the Pray First book page 14 during your prayer time today.
At the end- we will pray the scripture for the youth & young adults in our church & city.
Here are some great Scriptures and focus points that can be used during your prayer time as you pray for Students & Young Adults:
- Pray that Summit Church and the families of Summit Church would clearly teach the next generation the greatness of God & knowing God, so they would whole heartedly follow Christ.
Psalm 78 4 We will not hide these truths from our children; we will tell the next generation about the glorious deeds of the Lord, about his power and his mighty wonders….7 So each generation should set its hope anew on God, not forgetting his glorious miracles and obeying his commands.
2. Pray that young people would REALLY experience God’s LOVE within and through the people of Summit Church.
1 John 4:11 Dear friends, since God loved us that much, we surely ought to love each other. 12 No one has ever seen God. But if we love each other, God lives in us, and his love is brought to full expression in us.
3. Pray for students who are hurting- depressed, suicidal, alone, bullied, abused, afraid, etc.
Psalm 34:18 The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.
4. Pray that our young people will find their identity in Christ & not in the things of the world.
Ephesians 2:10 For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.
5. Pray that the young people of Summit Church would be known as a generation who seeks God’s face & spends time in his presence.
Psalm 24:3 Who may ascend the mountain of the Lord? Who may stand in his holy place? 4 The one who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not trust in an idol or swear by a false god. 5 They will receive blessing from the Lord and vindication from God their Savior. 6 Such is the generation of those who seek him, who seek your face, God of Jacob.
6. Pray for the parents of teenagers to have strength, wisdom, and help from God as they parents their kids.
Ephesians 6 Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. 2 “Honor your father and mother”—which is the first commandment with a promise— 3 “so that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.” 4 Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.
7. Pray for our students and young adults to be strong spiritually.
John 15:5 “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.
8. Pray for salvation for many students & young adults in 2018
2 Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.
9. Pray for the young people of Summit to be leaders in the way they live boldly for Jesus, in the way they love people, in the way that have huge faith, and in their lives of purity.
1 Timothy 4:12 Don’t let anyone think less of you because you are young. Be an example to all believers in what you say, in the way you live, in your love, your faith, and your purity.
10. Pray that we will take this message of Jesus seriously. Pray that as a church we will deny ourselves in order to do whatever Jesus wants us to do!
Matthew 16:24 Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. 25 For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it.
11. Pray that we would have a passion for Jesus that the young people would see and follow and Pray that students & young adults will live unashamed of Jesus.
Romans 1:16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.
12. Pray that students and young adults would find Summit to be a place where they genuinely belong!
1 Thes 2:8 so we cared for you. Because we loved you so much, we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well.
13. Pray for purity and obedience to God’s world in a culture that makes obedience difficult.
Psalm 119:9-10 How can a young person stay pure? By obeying your word. 10 I have tried hard to find you—don’t let me wander from your commands.
14. Pray for our students to have ownership, find their role in the church, and do their part!
Romans 12:4 Just as our bodies have many parts and each part has a special function, 5 so it is with Christ’s body. We are many parts of one body, and we all belong to each other.
15. Pray for Elevate and our Young Adults groups to have a genuine friendship culture.
Romans 12:9 Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good. 10 Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other.
16. Pray for Adult leaders to come and invest in Middle School & High School students’ lives at Elevate.
Matthew 9:37-38 37 He said to his disciples, “The harvest is great, but the workers are few. So pray to the Lord who is in charge of the harvest; ask him to send more workers into his fields.”