My random spouting followed by some solid John Newton
I think the concept generally goes like this. We want to make the gospel easy enough so that children will understand it, so we boil it down to "You sin. Christ lived. Christ didn't sin. Christ died. Christ rose. Belive this and you'll be saved." I grew up in a youth ministry that impacted my life greatly and is under the leadership of an amazing man who is passionate about students worshiping God and giving their lives over to Him. But sometimes it felt like I was learning the same things in 7th grade that I was learning in 12th grade, as far as corporate teachings were concerned. It was a struggle, because without the Holy Spirit's pushing to dig on my own and read on my own and His inspiring me with some great older believers, I feel like I would have been bored with God. I think that a lot of the kids I grew up with that fell away, fell away because God was easy to them. They were presented a boxed in God. In the beginning, it's a HUGE box so God seems huge. But as we memorize rote passages and learn the mantra of "Don't drink, don't smoke, and don't have sex" the box gets smaller and we get bigger and God gets smaller and soon, God doesn't amaze us. God doesn't astound us. God is no longer indescribable. (This isn't to say that this type of youth ministry isn't effective. I am a product of it, so clearly God does whatever He wants using whoever He wants. I'm just kind of talking here.)
God is so much stinking bigger than that, and I think we, as a Christian culture have become scared to admit that we don't understand God. We don't want to be seen as uncertain, so we present an easy God...one that people easily can understand and therefore feel that they have easily comprehended Him and then they move onto bigger and better things. THERE IS NOTHING BIGGER NOR BETTER THAN GOD. As Justin Taylor once said "Certain knowledge does not mean exaustive knowledge." I am CERTAIN that God exists. I am not certain of all things pertaining to Him...I am certain of very little. I said this on my friend Ryan's blog a few months back. The Gospel is most assuredly simple. It is most assuredly not easy.
Anyways, all this to say that if we as belivers were to wake up to the fact that we have a living breathing Spirit within us, (another Helper of the same kind as Christ),...I think that that realization would do us, as a body, better than yet one more sermon on dating, or one more blog post on a sermon on dating.
(One thing I've learned from blogs is that people reading this don't know me, therefore they don't know my background or my beliefs and statements I make can be seen as callous and off the cuff, so let me clarify. Sermons on dating can be edifying, sermons on modesty can be edifying, sermons on MOST things can be edifying. I, at this very moment, on July 6th 2006 at 1:10 AM just happen to be tired of the necessity of these sermons. If people would desire God and His Son and His Spirit as much as they desired rules to live a happy and fulfilled life...what a GLORIOUS THING. Secondly, I love my youth group and more than that my youth pastor and his family. And of course, even more than that, I love the God my youth pastor pointed me too. They spoke into my life for 6 years as a student and now I've had the opportunity to serve them back.
So, all this to say, I don't want to post on dating right now. I want to take a break and post some scriptural truths. Many will be from Hebrews (Cause that's the book I was going through). Some will be from Psalms. But for those of you who are reading and following this, I'm just updating you on what's going on.)
Now, because all of the above was just some girl randomly spouting off, I leave you with something to actually trust in and feast upon. A month ago, I sat under the teaching of Justin Taylor on the emerging church in a post-modern culture. Towards the end of his lecture, he quoted a passage from John Newton. While I take excellant and detailed notes, I couldn't get the whole thing down. So I emailed Justin asking for the quote. Needless to say, seeing the name "Justin Taylor" in my in-box was pretty stinking cool. He quickly passed on the John Newton quote on controversy and disagreemnt. He used it was a way to respond to the emerging church. Obviously, it applies it countless other ways. This quote spoke to me and I pray it will do the same for you.
"As to your opponent, I wish, that, before you set pen to paper against him, and during the whole time you are preparing your answer, you may commend him by earnest prayer to the Lord's teaching and blessing. This practice will have a direct tendency to conciliate your heart to love and pity him; and such a disposition will have a good influence upon every page you write. . . . [If he is a believer,] in a little while you will meet in heaven; he will then be dearer to you than the nearest friend you have upon earth is to you now. Anticipate that period in your thoughts. . . . [If he is an unconverted person,] he is a more proper object of your compassion than your anger. Alas! 'He knows not what he does.' But you know who has made you to differ [1 Cor. 4:7]."
John Newton, "On Controversy" [Letter XIX], vol. 1 of The Works of the Rev. John Newton (Edinburgh: Banner of Truth, 1985), 269.