July 2, 2011
Why kids? Why not me”
Once again I just finished a week in the wilderness between races. I left for what we call NIKO on Monday and returned late Thursday night just before flying out to here to Irwindale early Friday morning.
We use Niko, which is a Leadership and Teambuilding 5 day training program to impact the lives of people preparing to go on a missions trip or even just to learn excellent principals in leadership and how to successfully build a team around individuals strengths and weaknesses.
This team of participants this time ranged from age 12 to their mid 30’s.
In the 35 of them I have done we have had ages ranging from 11 (our daughter Sarah was the youngest) to almost 80 years old participate. No matter what the age the profound impact has astounded me since the very first one in ’94. We have seen firsthand and heard upon their return from overseas about what they had learned and carried off in their hearts to impact other people along their way.
Kathy and I led numerous mission trips into the former Soviet Bloc countries before and after the Berlin Wall fell and religious freedom came to those countries. Our teams included our daughters from an early age along with other small children to teenagers, college students, young married, families, and grandparents to like I said, nearly eighty.
The principals are the same for all ages however I always found that the youngsters have the most immediate impact on lives they touch …including mine. I find young people amazing and we sure have a lot of them here with us in this series these days.
I think maybe the fact that they lack life experience yet display such wisdom, commitment, determination and grit in the face of fear and their immediate circumstances that is so contrary to the norm is why this shows itself so true.
In those days our team could have an excellent impact on people on the streets of these countries. However, let our kids out on the street and they were inundated and surrounded with people asking questions, others dynamically focused on their words spoken, or the action they mimed or sang no matter how the message was presented. I still stand in awe today as I think about how much more they accomplished in a far shorter time.
However, let me share with you some of what I see. And, don’t forget that the principals are the same for all of us despite our age.
Those with the biggest impact for Christ match the characteristics that the Apostle Paul told his protégé Timothy about in 1Timothy 4:12. In this instance Paul was trying to convince Timothy that his youth did not deter his usefulness or effectiveness to those around him.
Paul told Timothy to simply “be an example” in several areas:
In words or speech:
- Young people who make a difference for Christ control what they say, avoid negative talk, and speak words that honor God and those they communicate or hang out with.
- 1. Ephesians 4:29:
“Let no unwholesome word proceed from of your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so it will give grace to those who hear.”
- 2. Colossians 3:8:
“But now you also, put them all aside: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and abusive speech from your mouth.”
- Young people who practice discretion in their behavior shine for the whole world to see.
In love for God and neighbors:
- By taking heed to Jesus words to love God and their neighbor please Jesus and touch hearts of other people around them.
- 1. Matthew 22:37-39:
And He said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the great and foremost commandment. The second is like it, You shall love your neighbor as yourself. “
- Young people who tend to put their faith into action radically change lives of those around them.
- In this world and society today it is tough to be morally pure and doctrinally sound, but young people who are can set the bar high for the rest of us. It certainly rocks the boat!
- 1. 2 Timothy 2: 22-23:
“Now flee from youthful lusts and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart. But refuse foolish and ignorant speculations, knowing that they produce quarrels.”
These points are not only are referenced over and over in scripture, but Paul point blank speaks all these words in one verse:
- “Let no one look down on your youthfulness, but rather in speech, conduct, love, faith and purity, show yourself an example of those who believe.”
As I have said before …I have seen our youth rock the world both here in America and abroad many times over. Watching them excites me!
My question to us today is …”Why not us?”
Paul’s words are NOT just for the young generation! Jesus command to “GO” is not just for them either.
All of us should be an example to everyone around us…
…whether here at the racetrack…
…or anywhere else we might be at any given time.
I find it interesting that in our youth, and I not it being the same today, that peer pressure ranks as one of the most dehabilitating problems junior high age and teens struggle with. It takes years and often well into the twenty’s before it is overcome. However, I see these young people ignore the whole peer issue are in this case.
What makes this different?
We as adults lived through it and supposedly are not susceptible to it anymore.
Then, where is the problem? We seem to have gone the exact opposite as adults in respect to our youth in this area?
ALL of us should be an example of in our words, conduct, love, faith, and purity at all times.
These are things that cannot be left to the kids, the pastor, the missionary, the teachers among others.
It is up to each one of us. Jesus commands us to “Go…”
- Mark 16:15:
Go into all the world and preach the Gospel to all creation.”
Now, one last thing…
When it comes to sharing Christ the very best way to share your personal testimony or Jesus Christ is showing them …
…NOT what you think Jesus can do for them…
But, what Jesus has done for YOU!
A great Biblical example of this is one of my favorite stories in scripture:
John 9: 13 -25:
“They brought to the Pharisees the man who was who was formerly blind.
Now it was a Sabbath on the day when Jesus made the clay and opened his eyes to see.
Then the Pharisees also were asking him again how he received his sight. And he said to them, “He applied clay to my eyes, I washed, and I could see.”
Therefore some of the Pharisees were saying, “This man is not from God, because He does not keep the Sabbath.” But others were saying, “How can a man who is a sinner perform such signs?” And there was division among them.
So they said to the blind man again “What do you say about Him, since He opened your eyes?” And he said, “He is a Prophet.”
The Jews did not believe it of him that he had been blind and had received sight until they called the parents of the very one that had received his sight and questioned them, saying, “Is this your son, who you say was born blind? Then how does he now see?”
His parents answered them and said, “We know that this is our son, and that he was born blind; but how he now sees, we do not know; or who opened his eyes, we do not know. Ask him; he is of age, he will speak for himself”
His parents said this because they were afraid of the Jews; for the Jews had already agreed that if anyone confessed Him to be Christ; he was to be put out of the synagogue.
For this reason his parents said, “He is of age; ask him.”
So for a second time they called for the man who had been blind, and said to him, “give glory to God; we know this man is a sinner.”
He then said, “Whether this man is a sinner or not, I do not know; one thing I do know, that though I was blind, now I see.”
(…or read the whole story from verse 1 through verse 41 of Chapter 9.)
Have you stopped to think lately what Jesus has done in your own life?
The most valuable commentary on the Bible is YOUR godly life!
Have a safe and prosperous race today!
Have a great July 4th!
Remember our Troops around the world…
Freedom isn’t Free!