By Barry Holbrook My God is a God of intimacy. He is the Lover of my soul. He is the bridegroom eagerly awaiting His bride. His passion for me surpasses my passion for Him. In His wild and inexplicable love for me is where I find peace and joy.
Is He aware of my sin—more than aware, He foreknew it—yet He still passionately embraces me! He chose me—while I was wallowing in my hopelessness.
Relax and think about your love affair with this God of passion.
Theology seems to be making a comeback in youth ministry these days. Maybe it's the anxiety and spiritual confusion of our time, or maybe it's the graced evolution of our field. Whatever the reason, more and more youth ministers are heading to forums and programs organized by major seminaries to ask the hard questions about their work:
What does God have to do with this anyway? Are the armpit relays and hot topic lessons really faithful to God's mission to young people? What would Jesus do? Is the quoting of Bible verses going to be enough to reach the millennial soul? How do we contend with the saturation bombing of youth culture by digital media that promote the world of cool and the false gods of consumerism? And what about all of this new spirituality stuff? Are candles, labyrinths, and chanting really the answer?
Why is it that we'll forget what the sermon was about last week but notice if the preacher repeats a story from last year? Why can't we remember the seven points of whatever, but can use the seven illustrations in our own talks? Why does my mentor remind me so often of the children's story that changed his life? There's something profoundly touching about a narrative. Something inherently life-changing goes on in the depths of our souls when we become a part of someone's journey.
By the twenty-first chapter of John's Gospel, the risen Jesus has appeared to his disciples on two occasions. But here, seven of his followers are in a quandary. (They still don’t get it—encouraging, huh?) Frustrated and discouraged, they decide to do the typical “guy thing.”