Countless hours of homework, numerous extracurricular activities, and special school events are quickly coming to a close as another school year ends. The days will soon be filled with sunshine and lazy afternoons as your teenager "recuperates" from the rigors of learning and socializing. However, there is a great hazard that lies beneath the façade of iced lemonades and freedom from structure. Bored minds are dangerously fertile breeding grounds for apathy It is a common scene that can be found anytime, anyplace, anywhere: your teenager slumping around the house when not zoned out in front of the television and the only multitasking being done is texting while vegging rather than growing and developing in maturity.
I would like to encourage all of you as parents to be strong advocates for your teenagers this summer by actively being involved in their lives from engaging their minds to challenging them to pursue positive changes in their lives that result in spiritual growth in a manner that enables them to make a difference that goes beyond their own life and impacts everyone around them. The responsibility we have as parents to pour into the lives of our children is one that should not be taken lightly and far too often gets neglected due to the busyness of our lives. Psalms 78, clearly lays out the fruit of pouring into our children a solid foundation in Christ. Look closely at the tragic results if we as parents neglect this responsibility.
"So each generation should set its hope anew on God, not forgetting his glorious miracles and obeying his commands. Then they will not be like their ancestors— stubborn, rebellious, and unfaithful, refusing to give their hearts to God."
(Psalm 78:7&8 NLT)
How do we teach our youth to embrace a lifestyle of pursuing positive changes? We teach them by being a living example of what it means to make God's changes in your life. We disciple them with patience, time, and effort because it takes the foundation of consistently making sound decisions.
Our society is one of constant change and the next generation deserves to have the stability and structure it takes in order to develop character traits vital in leadership. Rather than letting our children succumb to the temptations of secular advertising and propaganda, we need to fight for them and their future by being involved in every aspect of their live and being available to guide them. Our own example should be the greatest influence in their lives, not the latest marketing gimmick in the war of new and flashy.
Once the foundation of pursuing positive changes is established, we need to trust them and allow them the opportunity to take decisive action. When my daughter, Hannah, first went on her Junior Missions trip at 11 years old to Costa Rica, it was amazing to hear her stories afterwards. She sat down in my office for 2-3 hours and shared story after story of miracles and how the Lord had used her to minister. At the end of our conversation, her lips began to quiver and her eyes filled with tears. She exclaimed, "Papa, I just feel God wants to use me to do something to reach my generation!" With that said, she began to sob uncontrollably. Nothing I said would have made that impact in her life. It was when Katie and I let her go that God ignited destiny inside her heart where she realized He is not just here for fun; God has her here for a reason. Even growing up involved in a teen based ministry and traveling all over the world with me did not have the impact of the experience of ministering herself. As you find opportunities to get your kids out of the box so they can choose to act on their dreams, God can ignite the destiny inside them,
One such opportunity is a national or international missions trip with Global Expeditions. Each trip partners with local missionaries that come alongside trained leaders to coach your youth on how they can effectively share the passions God has placed within them. For trip details and information on the ministry go to www.globalexpeditions.com.
This will be added at the end of the article for the Love Express version
"Teen Mania's BattleCry is coming back to the IZOD Center April 17-18, 2009! Upper Level seating is currently available at the Super Early Bird price of $44! Please call 800-329-3473 to order." This is such a celebration of life that the kids can have.
Ron Luce is the founder of Teen Mania, one of the world's largest Christian youth organizations, which inspires, empowers, and equips teens to reject the negative influences of pop culture and embrace the "coolness" of Christ. This year, Teen Mania is rallying hundreds of thousands of teens in the BattleCry movement to save their generation. For more information, visit www.BattleCry.com.