Teenagers are no longer children nor are they adults. They seem to be a mixture of both. At times they seem to be more like children and at other times they can be very adult like. Parenting, teaching, mentoring and ministering to teens can be somewhat confusing at times. It can be difficult to teach, lead, and develop teens because from one minute to the next they seem to be on a up and down roller coaster as they grow in stretching spurts toward adulthood.
It is tough enough to be a teen but then add their distinct personalities and their lack of experience in learning to understand themselves and others around them. Their lack of years add to their lack of understanding life in general. If they have chosen Christ as Savior they are certainly young Christians meaning they have yet to have time to mature into complete and victorious Christians. They are still in the process of decision in many areas of life. For many teens they just want to have fun and hang out with friends. Work is moving from chores to personal responsibilities. So much change so fast!
Personally I love being around teens. Yes they CAN BE lots of " pain in your side" but at the same time they can be " partners by your side". These young lives can be very sensitive, very mold-able,
and at the same time they can be easily provoked and moved to frustration causing conflict and rebellious actions.
Leading teens can be very heavy stuff but the potential they hold for our individual families, churches, nations and the cause of Christ is worth every ounce of energy and influence we can pour into them. Developing partnerships, friendships, and eternal relationships with them should be our utmost concern. I often think of the LORD JESUS CHRIST and meditate about how He would be with teens. He understands the potential for their personal joy or misery in life. He understands they will spend eternity either in heaven or hell. He understands their potential in rearing their own children and influencing others for Christ in their lifetime. Satan also understands the potential of teenagers. And he works very hard in these few short/important years of development to see to it that these young people will develop into selfish and sinful adults. Adults that only produce more messed up children and relationships into this world.
Having said all that what can we every parent, pastor, youth pastor, teacher, coach, mentor, church member do to aid these precious teens during this important time of life? How can we help them to come to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ? How can we help them to live life well. How can we help them to be SUCCESSFUL IN LIFE ND ETERNITY!
1. BE GENUINELY CONSISTENT !
If you want to help develop your teen’s heart into a deep love of God, it is imperative that they see you love God. And that you love God so much that you are determinedly consistent in your pursuit of God. That moment by moment you are seeking to know God, to become like God, to serve God, and to please God at all times. I am not talking about never failing or being perfect, but I am talking about being single focused and not double minded in your relationship with Jesus. Not being hypocritical, but being exactly what you are everyday of the week and whether you are in public or just at home.
Teenagers are uncanny in their ability to sniff out hypocrisy and inconsistency. They may not say a thing but they register it in their minds and it provokes them to bitterness and wrath. Saying what is right to do and not being consistent in doing it ourselves only breeds contempt and disillusionment.
Perhaps the most powerful way you can help your teenager is to be consistent—in your parenting, teaching, mentoring, pastoring and leading.
2. BE ACCEPTING!
Teenagers are no different then adults in the matter of needing acceptance. They need the constant assurance that their authority figures will accept them at all times. we adults may know that we will accept them at all times but when is the last time we said it and showed it? We need to say we love them and stick with them and then we need to show it when they have sinned or failed. Showing genuine love has never been natural with sinful man but it is desperately needed in all our relationships. As believers it may still be awkward to say " I love You" or to " Give a Hug" but these and other ways of AFFIRMING teens is vital to their developing into mature adults. Being assured of our unconditional love infuses trust for us in the heart of our teens.
3. BE FIRM IN SETTING STANDARDS & RULES!
Teenagers tend toward excess, and they need you to set and keep clear sets of rights and wrongs, do's and don'ts for them. Rules and regulations will be disliked and challenged but they will provide security for teens during these years of formulating their own sets of boundaries. Boundaries in technology, communication, entertainment, foods, dress, friendships, pleasure, speech, sports, dating, social media, finances, work and so many other areas of life.
Setting clear standards and rules will certainly be challenged and unliked.Your teen may not be experienced enough to appreciate your regulations. You may be thought of as OLD or OLD SCHOOL and you may be challenged to catch up with the times. Nonetheless clearly communicate the rules beforehand and lovingly enforce them for their own good and security.
4. BE STEADFAST IN DISCIPLINE!
I am not promoting physical abuse. Man's anger never produces anything good. I am promoting steadfast , loving discipline that is meant to hold boundaries while reaching the heart.
To never discipline our children when they resist and rebel against the the good set of standards is not fair to them or to our society as a whole. We only need to turn on the news and see the result of adults not disciplining children and teens. It has produced an "out of control" person, home, school, and society. When we choose to take the easy and unloving way of not setting boundaries, communicating them clearly and insisting that they abide by them. When we fail to do so and they learn to live in such a way the future consequences for their life is only difficult and defeat is sure to make up their life.
5. BE EXPECTANT OF RESPECT!
Teenagers like children and yes ADULTS struggle with giving respect to authority. Yet we find much in the Bible declaring to respect those in authority. We are to honor parents, pastors, teachers, police, coaches, our elders, government officials, everyone in authority. Teenagers think that authority is temporary—part of childhood and thus they begin to resist the obedience of others in authority. This is true of young adults who are out of the home for the first time as they enter college or careers. The truth is, authority follows us through life. From police officers to bosses, having someone over us is part of life for our entire life. Certainly we are to submit to God's authority and to understand it is a good thing to do not a bad thing.
Teaching our children and teenagers to respect and honor authority is one of the most important things we do for them and the world we live in. When they have a conflict with a teacher, coach, youth pastor —or even with you—teach them the answer is never to demean, detest, disrespect, or talk back to authority, but to respond and respectfully work out differences. Teach them to appreciate , pray for, and respect the authorities in their lives. This will open up avenues of advancement and the opposite is to find roadblocks all along their ways of life, and eternity will bring loss of reward for believers and perhaps eternal loss for unbelievers.
For some it seems very hard to repent and receive Christ as Savior. According to Matthew 7 receiving Christ is compared to a Narrow Gate and a Wide Gate, so certainly any time someone TRUSTS CHRIST for Salvation it was not an easy decision. But for me trusting God for His forgiveness and salvation concerning eternity was easier than trusting Him for some of the things in this earthly life. Yet the Lord God can be trusted in all things.
Following are a few of the things I have seen in 42 years of ministry that seem to be the hardest things to trust God for in this life.
Earthly life is too short and eternity to long to do anything but God's Will.
A great concern for all of us should be not to WASTE our LIVES! To get to the end of life and realize we accomplished a bunch of things that did not matter and that will all burn up at the judgement is a real tragedy.
What we do with our lives as a career, who we marry, do we have children, where will we live, what church will we attend are all major decisions—which is why I believe if we make God a priority and not just a passing thought that He will make our path straight in regards to what we are called to do. We can TRUST HIM to work out His will for our lives. Yet if we always resist His will we will not be able to trust!
Each one of you reading this right now has been custom designed by the Creator of the Universe on purpose, with a purpose to fulfill in life. Trusting God for that purpose is to find real joy in life and to make an eternal difference in the life of many others. Yet it can be hard to TRUST the LORD and to reject the ways of the world in that purpose of life. The world has a way for our life and the Lord has a way. God's way will provide a better today and tomorrow and a rewarding eternity!
I am certain that every parent has struggled trusting Jesus with their children. Karen and I are prividged to have four children. Beth, Abby, Matt, and Rachel. As small children I had major concerns for them. Concerns for their saftey, provisions, even their salvations. Who would they marry? How could they stay pure and holy in this unclean world? Would they marry the right mate? Would they find God's will for their carrers? These and many other concerns were mine but the only thing that really helped me to have peace in all of it was to TRUST the Lord. He is soverign and all mighty and afterall He loved my children before I ever was born AND He loved them more than I could ever love them. He wanted what was best for them and He had a plan for them. What could I do? Lead them toward Him and teach them about Him and pray much for them! All the time TRUSTING GOD for their lives. God honors faith and faith honors God.
Loving our children can bring great stress but knowing God loves them more and leading them toward God is the answer for our stress. Day by day trusting the Lord. Being confident that the Lord will bless our faithful walk with Him. He will bless the Biblical teaching to our children. He will honor our faithful living as our children watch us live out trusting lives. He will reward the trusting prayers for our kids. And these truths will apply to our GRANDCHILDREN as well! I think about my grandchildren every day and as I pray I must TRUST the Lord who is in charge of this messed up world to take care of our next generation in the days ahead.
Perhaps a some parenst who are reading this blog are having a difficult day, month or season with a child or children. Trust the Lord with your life and your child's life. In due season your trusting in the Lord will break forth in great victory and rejoicing! Hang in there by trusting in there!
If you are in a marriage that is struggling right now then I know you are having a serious bout with doubt in regards to whether or not you can trust God. If you are having a serious relationship of any type the anser is to trust the Lord to work in that realationship. To work in you and the other. And if the other resists you can still find answers how to move forward in peace and fulfilment.
You will always be able to trust that Jesus loves you, your marriage, and the other person you are struggling with today. He can and will give you the power to do what is right and best if you will make the conscience decision to choose to glorify Him in the situation. Trusting Him will lead you to patience and forgiveness. Waiting on the Lord will bring us to another day of the Lord's working out things, things including our own angers, bitternesses, confusions. Trust takes time! Trust the Lord to change others and ourselves.
Perhaps money is the most unsurrendered part of most people’s lives.
As I have ministered to people over 40 years I can also say it is one of the most out of control areas in people's lives.
And until we allow God to be in control, things will be out of control. We need to study the Bible and find out God's principles concerning money and the with great TRUST begin practicing those principle on a daily basis.
Money is huge!!! Jesus said that where our money is that is where our heart is (Matthew 6:21), He said that money is that money will attempt to control our hearts (Matthew 6:24) and later on in the Scriptures Paul said that the LOVE of money is the root of all kinds of evil (I Timothy 6:10. We can either Love God or we can Love Money! We can either Trust Money or we can Trust God! No middle ground on that one!
I remember my mentor, Pastor Ralph Rickner teaching on money just after I was saved. He said that a " Mans Wallet" would reveal much about a mans life. He continued and said, how a person handled money would reveal much about a persons faith and trust in the Lord. I have often remembered those words and now over 40 years later I would heartedly agrree. The use of our money will always reveal the condition of a believer's maturity. Trusting with how we gain money, spend money, save money, give money, invest money will bring great dividends to this life and the next. Money Fear is slavery and Trusting Faith in the Lord is peace and freedom.
Do you have UNINVITED GUESTS in your living room, bed room, office, car or many other places?
Americans view an average of twenty-eight hours of television per week, the highest viewing rate in the world. When an American turns eighteen, on average he has seen 16,000 simulated murders and 200,000 acts of violence. Nearly two-thirds of sampled programming in the 2001–2002 season showed sexual content.
World population statistics as of June 30, 2015 shows 7,260,621,118 people now live on this earth. The worlds internet users are now reported to be 3,270,490,584 revealing a 45.0% penetration of the entire population. North America boasts the highest percent of penetration with a 87.9% of its population connected. As with television many unwanted, uninvited and unsafe guests are entering our lives and the lives of our family and friends via the internet connection.
Newspapers, radio, magazines, books, videos, movies, utube, newscasts, and a host of other unclean and unacceptable influences must be guarded against in the hour in which we live. Influences which the " prince and power of the air" that now " work in the children of disobedience."
You may be very careful about guarding your front door from unwanted strangers, but are you just as careful when it comes to guarding your television, radio, computer, notebook, cell phone, and other means of media access? How about your home library for adults and children?
I am not suggesting that the use of modern means of communication and technology should not be used for the gathering of news, education, and enjoyment. But what I am strongly encouraging is to be careful and cautious as to what is allowed to come into your minds and the minds of your children. There is no doubt that modern technology has increase and improved the way we can learn about everything including learning about God and His Word. Personally I am not wanting to go back to the days without internet and the speed with which I can study God's Word and connect with many ministries as well as the untold ways afforded me to share the gospel and influence thousands and thousands from my desk or couch. Yet I must beware of who and what is attempting to sneak in unaware and influence for wrong. And I hope as you read this short Bishirblog today that you will do the same.
SOMETHING TO THINK ABOUT IN THESE LAST DAYS!
Terry has been the Senior Pastor of Liberty for 30 years. He and his wife, Karen, have 4 children, 11 grandchildren, and 1 spoiled dog named Cooper.