Teens Talking

This was sent in by Claire in Half Moon Bay:

Hey, I’m Claire. I’m 17, and I teach kids Bible clubs with Child Evangelism Fellowship (CEF). I came to Covolo to teach the Sunday school class for the Faith Tabernacle Church on one Sunday. Afterwards, I was sitting in Loretta’s car with my friend and fellow teacher Tamara when Israel, a 19 year old guy we had just met a short while ago, came over and asked what we were doing. I responded “Just baking in the car”, because it was a really hot day, and although we had the car doors open, it was still stuffy. He asked if he could join us, sat in the back seat with Tamara, and promptly asked us what kind of drugs we were doing. I didn’t realize until later that “Just baking in the car” could be taken as a drug reference, so it’s important to watch what I say. After it was straightened out that I don’t do drugs we talked about church and how to get to heaven.

His understanding was that you won’t get into heaven if you do bad things. Of course his standard of right and wrong were relative and came from himself, not God. The conversation led away from morality, to personal life and I got to know a little more about him, but I was praying for it to transition back to God so I could give him the gospel. It finally did, and since he thought morality led to salvation, I took him to the law.

I pulled out my Bible and went over the 10 Commandments, in order to prove that mankind cannot be made right with God on our own. From there I explained how Jesus fulfilled the law, and died to take the punishment on Himself that we deserved. I used the example of a courtroom, with God as the judge, Israel as the guilty, and Jesus stepping forward to fulfill this undeserving teenager’s sentence. Loretta also helped explain the atonement, and how God is merciful to us, yet just because sin must be punished. It was hard to keep the conversation centered on the gospel because he was clearly interested in Tamara and myself, so we ending up talking for more than a half hour. He had a lot of questions which I did my best to answer, but I had to leave before I could finish the message of the gospel. We gave him a New Testament and encouraged him to read the book of John. I haven’t heard from him since then, but I keep praying. God brought him right to us, and I know what I said made him think. It was such a blessing to give him the truth in a confident, straightforward way! God is so good!!

Car Conversations

My car has become the site of some interesting witnessing conversations over the last year as I give my kids’ friends rides home from the high school and various teen activities. I am so thankful for this opportunity, as I fondly recall that God revealed Himself to me when I was in high school. Here’s a peek into some of the conversations in my car.

‘Susan’ asked me out of the blue what how I became a Christian and wanted to hear my testimony and the gospel. She then asked me heartfelt questions. Now she wants her own Bible to read.

‘Tony’ wanted to know what the difference between “going to church” or “church traditions” and a relationship with Jesus was all about and why.

‘C.J.’ questioned me about my belief in God, in a mocking- scoffing sort of way, as he is a proud atheist, evolutionist, modern intellectual.

Two boys on campus. There was a t-shirt wearing “outreach” event that the kids had at the school. The shirt features the Greek phrase, “He Gives”. So the kids are supposed to wait until someone asks them what the shirt says, and “what that means”, and then they can witness with their answer. (By the way, according to the instructions, they were not to be didactic or preachy, and only positive.) So two fifteen year old boys were wearing the bright orange “He Gives” t-shirts in the student parking lot. I was in my car waiting to meet up with one of my students, and so I gave the boys the opportunity to “practice” on me. I called them over and we chatted at my car window. I asked them what the shirt says, and then, what it means. I played “average inquiring person” for them, trying to get them to think and tell me the Gospel, until they figured out I was a Christian who was teaching them some doctrine. (So much fun!)

They proceeded to repeat the modern cotton candy gospel, which they have heard at church, Christian Club, and youth group. I kept asking them “why” Jesus was given. They were not really sure. They suggested felt needs. They told me part of the good news, but they were not sure why it was good news. My child was delayed in coming out to the car, so I had lots of time to tell these boys the “other parts” of the gospel, and teach them how to witness biblically. It was exciting to observe the lights going on. “Now it makes sense!” And they say you can’t evangelize on the high school campuses…

‘Cora’ was telling me from the back seat, how she is a “student leader” with a local parachurch youth ministry. I asked her some basic questions about her relationship with God and beliefs and she had absolutely no idea what I was talking about. She went on about all the fun they have in their group. I hope to chat with her again sometime.

‘Lily’ is a “pastor’s kid” (…her mother is the pastor…)and I’m not sure she’s heard the gospel. I asked her some questions about her view of God, and she admitted that she is not sure she “has a clue” or “gets it”. She started crying due to news that a fellow classmate and friend of hers died in a tragic accident during a music department trip to Canada. I think we made relational contact (and I hope, seeds were planted) as she listened to me relate my testimony of how this exact situation– a classmate dying in a tragic accident when I was in high school–was what God used to ultimately bring me to the place where He revealed Himself to me as the REAL, saving, forgiving, redeeming, healing and powerful God.

Most teenagers in our culture have not been taught or told much of anything real by parents, schools, campus ‘Christian Clubs’, churches, youth groups, and even many “Christian leaders and ministries”. Most ‘churched’ kids have not heard the true gospel. They are being brought into youth groups for fun,”belonging to the group” and socialization. What they really need is the real Hope of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Related post: Educate Me

Unreached People in Your City

You don’t have to go halfway around the world to find “unreached people groups”; they are right in your city. The San Francisco Bay Area is one of the most spiritually needy, neglected mission fields in America. This is not exactly the place where many American missionaries and evangelists want to come though. My prayer is that God would raise up more laborers from His church that already resides here among the 7.4 million people. Here are a few urban “unreached people groups” that the Lord has put on my heart. How many more do you see in your city?

-High school students. Most have been raised by secular parents in our pagan culture and in the Humanistic-Relativistic-Nihilistic-New Age government school system. They have never heard any Truth from God’s Word much less the Gospel. I also must include here, churched kids who attend ‘fun and entertainment’ oriented modern Evangelical churches or ecumenical Liberal churches that do not believe or teach the Bible. These kids go to church but they have not heard the Gospel.

-The hidden, forgotten and “unwanted” ones: the homeless people who live out of shopping carts, in cardboard boxes, and under the freeways and city streets. They suffer from a myriad of spiritual, mental, emotional, physical, medical and economic problems. They need our love and care. But more than clothes, food and health care, they need Jesus the Deliverer.

-Runaway street teens who have left home, school and parents to wander the urban jungle.

-People from all the nations; for the world has come to us. America’s cities are some of the world’s most strategic mission fields in the world since they are destinations for people from all over the globe, including the world’s most closed and dangerous countries. It is so exciting to meet a businessperson, professional or university student who has come from some closed nation on the other side of the earth. Every day I see dozens of new people from Mexico, Central America, India, China, North Africa and the Middle East. No airplane ticket or visa necessary to go to them! You can bring the Gospel to the unreached Internationals in your city.

Discipling Young People

Many laborers in the harvest have been working for 20, 30, or 40+ years, sowing seeds of the gospel. (How did we get this old?) We don’t plan to retire, but to serve Christ, “til we drop” (to quote John Piper). As Paul trained Timothy, we know that part of our job is to teach and train the younger generation to carry on after us. So multitasking becomes part of our repertoire. As we sow the good seed out to many through evangelism, we pour ourselves into a few through discipleship.

How is this done? Find a young believer, and teach them everything you have learned. Take them with you when you go out witnessing. Teach from the Bible, and teach by modeling and mentoring. Pour yourself into them. If you are a parent with children or young teens, your job is to pass on the faith. Just teach the Bible and talk about everything. You could try adding a little Worldview and Apologetics. There is also Church History and Christian biography to inspire and challenge them. Teach them something of the persecuted church around the world, to give them some perspective.

No matter where we are in relation to the “end of the age” (Matt.28:20), when our work is done and the Lord calls us home, we will be leaving behind the younger generation. It will then be their turn to give testimony of the gospel of Jesus Christ and witness of the Word of God.

O God, Thou hast taught me from my youth; and I still declare Thy wondrous deeds. And even when I am old and grey, O God, do not forsake me until I declare Thy strength to this generation, Thy power to all who are to come. Ps. 71:17-18