This weekend I got the lovely opportunity to volunteer as a Saturday greeter at the Jesus Culture Conference in Atlanta, Georgia at the Georgia World Congress Center. Normally, merchandise is my area of choice when giving time to such events, but circumstances voided that as being possible and I now know why ... I needed to be given a new dose of perspective.
By no means was I what I refer to as one of the "lucky ones" in my own youth. The kids and teenagers that grab a hold of the truth of salvation, and just DON'T LET GO. They embrace Jesus and the truth of the Bible with all of their heart(s), and from a very young age seek to do His will, and in the process end up sparing themselves a lot of pain and regret (that we bring upon ourselves for the sake of/fight for "independence"). I believed in Jesus, trusted Him as savior, was baptized, did Bible-drill, choir, and various other church participation things, but did not really experience Him (as I know now He can be experienced via the Holy Spirit) until I was out of high school. Not to mention that time in my life was a bit out-of-the-box as far as environmental factors go, but I digress.
To say that I have an optimistic view of the world be far from the truth. I would most likely be considered realist (some circles may even say pessimistic). I believe what the Bible says about the later days, and stand in agreement with many others that we are in them. I don't believe social security will be around by the time I hit retirement age (if the world even stands that long), I think that we are distracted by many unnecessary things, and are (as believers and followers of Jesus) more focused on making people happy with what we speak, rather than speaking the truth (salvation comes through Jesus Christ alone, would be a prime example). However, make no mistake, while I denote realist instead of optimist, I do have HOPE .. HOPE and FAITH that all things work out for those who call upon God as Father. HOPE and FAITH that one day this world will end, and those who have accepted Jesus as Savior will bask FOREVER in His greatness with no more sorrow and no more pain. If you have had a chance read 31 Rays of Hope then you know I also view the word FAITH as KNOW.
Saturday, I saw that hope manifest itself in a room of children, teenagers, and (a handful) of adults alike. All worshiping the Father in one accord, giving thanks to the Son, and giving reign to the Holy Spirit. You see as a greeter my job was to stand in the ballroom, and help assist people with finding a place to rest their laurels, and the perk being I got to see the worship bands and the speakers. I got to commune alongside of a variety of faces, in which admittedly I was curious if many of them even gave a hoot about God and the great commission, or where just there for some awesome music. Of course the church I attend rarely has youth (homeless ministry in Little 5 Points, Atlanta, Georgia), so color me floored when Lou Engle announced partner prayer time, and two delightful teenagers asked if they could come pray with me.
We grabbed a hold of each other's hands and took turns praying for our loved ones, our hometowns, the future of this nation, and on about the third go around, I remembered what it was like to be a teen. The words that escaped my lips were utterances for the youth that feel abandoned, that feel like they have no value ... the ones that seek to end their lives, the ones that cut themselves, the ones that feel unloved, and are victims of abuse (all forms). As the words in Jesus name amen passed my lips, the pressure tightened on my left hand, as the young woman who was standing on that side started to cry. As the tears rolled down her face, she spoke to God, and asked Him for protection, and strength to get through all that she had to encounter in her life which touched on sexual purity, drug resistance, (being a victim of) bullying, and a variety of other things. My heart broke as I heard her honest confession. You see I know what age we are living in, but I failed to think about the emotions of the generation who are being brought up it. A generation that is without-a-doubt hurting, but who still demonstrate a desire for God, because they know it is Him who provides their strength!
Their light has to shine brighter, their focus as to be spot on, their convictions grounded in Truth , and their faith has to be unwavering as to not be persuaded by one of the mixed "religions" that are being peddled. They must be brave, and willing to stand up and proclaim I AM COUNTER CULTURE and I AM OK WITH THAT because I SEEK TO PLEASE GOD rather than man.
What can I do? What can you do? Well most importantly PRAYER. Pray that the almost-growns, semi-littles, and uber-littles of this world be "lucky ones". That they develop an unquenchable thirst very early in their lives for Jesus, and for spreading the Truth of the Word. Next, and just as important, would be to simply show love to whomever you meet (*LoveIs* John 15:12 after-all), as you never know what small act you could do for someone could spark their path towards salvation, or point them in a direction towards their destiny.