It has been so long since I've written. What happened after my initial excitement? The daily "To Do" list got longer and longer. The opportunity to write got more and more difficult to find, and the months flew by. Well, my boys gave me a laptop for Christmas which has made it much easier to find a place and a time for reflection and writing. Don't know how long it will last, but at least I'm starting again!
A theme that's been coming at me lately is relevance....how to make this life in Christ relevant to others....how to make it real....how to "prove" that it really does work. Especially in working with youth. Relevance, many times I think that's what others see missing in our Christianity today. Maybe the Christian life was important years ago, but not in our world today. How do we show others that it really does work, that it really does have an impact on our lives everyday not just on Sundays - at home as well as at church.
Just yesterday, I watched a DVD of a powerful sermon from a local church's youth Sunday. As I reflected back on it today, I considered how this pastor was able to get his message across so strongly. Granted, he had a drama that grabbed you right away. However, one thing that hit me is that he did not back down from the difficult issues...teen sex, illness, life problems. We sometimes skirt the tough issues. I think a lot of times it's because we don't know what to say - how to address them. We fear that we will say the wrong thing. Maybe it's because we don't like to admit that as Christians we have these problems or at times get our own selves into such problems.
But I guess as much an impact as his honesty made, even more so was his genuine emotion. You had no doubt what he believed. You had no doubt how much his Savior meant to him. You had no doubt that it was real in his life. You had no doubt that it had changed his life. If you did, he gave rock solid examples of how Christ had impacted his life. And that takes courage. Most of us feel very private about our faith - especially the emotion of it. Oh yeah, we don't want to look too vulnerable or want others to think we are silly.
In talking with someone the other day about making Christianity relevant to youth, they said, "That's why it's important we include an opportunity for them to do service work." Now don't get me wrong, it is very important for us all to reach out and serve others - especially those who don't have the things, money or opportunities that many of us have. However, I think this person didn't understand where I was coming from. I want CHRIST to be relevant to them - a relationship with CHRIST to be important to them. If we get that - we can't help but serve. But, and maybe I'm wrong, I think you can serve your fingers to the bone and still not have Christ. Yes, that's living a "good" life and making an impact on others' lives, but you've missed the most important part - Jesus. If you've never known Him, you can't understand it. If you truly know Him, you can't imagine life without Him.
So after all these words - what's my conclusion? I hear an inner voice whispering, "Make Jesus relevant in your life and it will show to others." We can't control anybody else's life - but we can try to live our Christianity "out loud" in our own lives. Have the courage to tell your story - the difficult parts as well as the good. We don't have to get graphic or go into any more detail than we feel is necessary. But we don't have to act like we never made wrong turns or have never experienced family or relationship problems. Be real - tell others what Jesus means to you - tell about the impact He has had on your life - tell how He is there for everyone. Maybe if people can see the impact of Christ in our lives, they will be able to see how He can truly make a difference in their lives. Making a difference in every life - right now - that's relevance!
Love to you all,