So, last night we had our first mid high summer youth group gathering. We met at the house of two of our mid high youth and they have a pool! We swam, ate dinner (in the pouring rain), had a devotion, and shared in fellowship. It was fun.
I tried to get the group to play "Pool Bowling" but they looked at me like I was crazy ... which I probably am! :) If you've played before you know that in pool bowling you have volunteers to be a "bowler" and a "bowling ball" and then you have the "pins." It's a little tricky! Basically, the bowling ball person gets on a raft and sits. The pins do a handstand and hold it and the bowler "pushes" the ball into the pins. If you've never played, it's acutally hilarious and worth a shot! Mostly, everyone just wants to be the bowling ball. Seriously, you need to try this game ...
After dinner, I started off our devotion time by asking the youth if they could think of a time that involved Jesus and water. They named several but their first guess was Peter and Jesus walking on water. So, I felt convicted and pushed them on this. I read the account to them from Scripture.
They decided that Peter began to sink because of fear. So, we discussed what things we fear. They all agreed that they get afraid from time to time and one person even shared about being afraid of death. We also talked about how our hearts shouldn’t be “hard” or “closed” like the disciples were that day (as it says in Scripture).
And here is where I am stuck (which is a good thing because I'm really praying for my youth about this right now). Here's the thing about opening our hearts - it forces a change in our lives. Jesus calls us to a higher standard, afterall.
(Sadly) Often times, that change, the committment required to open our hearts, is not something we are willing to do. For example, not having closed hearts might mean we are called to hang out with different people or limit the time we spend with those whom we do not want to be like. For we know from 1 Corinthians that bad company corrupts good character. How many students do you know that might be willing to change their friends or limit their time with people they've been hanging with, especially in the summer?
Okay, so where am I stuck? How can I as a youth minister share this message in practical ways? I truly beleive that we, too, can walk on water (or at the least help rescue someone else who is sinking or afraid) if we do live our lives differently/with open hearts where Christ is central. What I feel convicted to do is find the best way(s) to take Martin Luther's thought and have the youth in my church live it! Luther said something like: "It is more about knowing Jesus, it is about possessing Jesus." That's where I am stuck ... making that practical for today's youth, so that they might set that example for others (1 Tim 4:12).