Hurry, Hurry, Hurry; Go, Go, Go!
This summer has flown by. We are over half way from when school dismissed in early June to the start of a new school year. As some of you know, this is my crazy time of year. Between youth group trips and the normal craziness that comes with having a family with young kids, it’s just a whirlwind for me! The first “big event” each summer for the Youthreach is a trip to IMPACT at Lipscomb. The event itself feels like it was ages ago (I’ve been to Charleston, SC and Spring Mill since then, and am in Chicago this week). However, the message at the heart of IMPACT really stood out this year and gave us a lot to chew on. There have been several times in the last couple of weeks that I’ve gone back to think on it more and to really unpack how it applies to my life personally. There were several facets to the message, but one of the aspects that really hit me was the concept of living within our present reality and being used by God for opportunities that are right in front of us.
Ironically, it is this time of year that is so full of ministry opportunities that I can easily miss out on the heart of what God wants me to see. I can get so busy planning, organizing, and running at full speed in youth ministry that I look right past something powerful that God might be trying to show me. I might miss the point of why we are so busy; I have to be careful to stop and re-center so that I don’t just survive the blur of a summer schedule, but rather experience the greatness of the mission I’ve been invited to participate in with the awesome teens in our congregation. I am afforded the opportunities to see how God cultivates spiritual growth in them, how He exposes them to their gifts and how to use them to minister to the world, and witness the development of community in our group that reflects Christ. Hopefully, the distraction of busyness doesn’t make me miss these powerful opportunities to see God’s grace and mercy play out in His Kingdom.
Not everyone shares the same distractions as I do. For some of you, summer is the most laid back and relaxing time of year. However, distractions can take many different forms. For many of us, we’ve allowed our technology to consume us. We become so tied to what is on our phone, TV, or social media that we don’t know what is going on the in the reality around us. Some of us have turned things that aren’t overly important into idols that devour our time, energy, and focus. I’m always amazed at how sports, designed as games for recreational activity, run the lives of so many families in our culture and create so much stress and frustration that they are now counter-productive to their original intent. For some, the drive for success can lead us to a perverted sense of what is important. Sin can darken our hearts from allowing God to lead us in his desires. Whatever the case might be for you personally, I hope that you will step back and ask honestly what it is in your own life that keeps you from living out God’s full plan in your life. I hope we can be a people who seek after God with all our being and witness the great things that he has in place for us. As the author of Hebrews states in 12:1, “let us throw off everything that hinders, and the sin that so easily entangles”!