these are real questions from real students

although i am the youth director, this is not my youth group. it is for your kids, the sixth to twelfth graders that come together to be themselves and get to know about Jesus. we have student leaders that lead the small group discussions. we plan together. we openly talk about life, family, and faith.

so, from time to time, i pull out a blue bucket, grab some index cards and youth group becomes bucket of questions – an open time without judgment or criticism where the students provide questions and answers, i challenge the students to root their answers in the scripture, to expound upon the verse they picked, and as best as i can, tie things together to encourage and grow our students.

these are real questions from the youth group. [bold means we got to these questions]

why does God give us such hardships? 

how do i grow in my faith / how do i grow in a twenty-four/seven, non-stop environment?

my parents have always been on my case about everything. what do i do? how do i take all the heat off me? 

how do you know God loves you? 

does God get ‘angry’? if He does, how? 

my point of this post is very simple: there are kids in your house that need you. they need direction. they have questions about life and faith. they see the family struggling with finances, sickness, a loss of a family member, and they want someone close to them to tell them “God is not doing this because he is angry at us (romans 8:28-39)”.

they see you running around from event to event, or pushing them to event to event, of allowing them to be pushed from event to event and they know they should do something to grow in their faith, but they do not know how to do it. they need someone – someone who is a part of their twenty-four/seven, non-stop environment – to help them grow in their faith because they do not know how to do it themselves. (deuteronomy 4:6-9).

most importantly. your son or daughter need to know that you do not love them because of their performance. your son or daughter need to know that you love them despite their performance. your son or daughter need to know that you want the best for them but even if they never make it, they will still be loved fully by you. your son daughter need to know that you want them to experience true and meaningful joy and have abundant life.

because friends – that is the gospel. you and i need to know that our Father does not love us because of our performance. you and i need to know that our Father has loved us despite our performance. you and i need to know that our Father wants the best for us – He wants to transform us into the likeness of Jesus – and even as we still battle sin in our lives, we will still be loved fully by God – Jesus paid for all our sins – past, present and future – on the cross to show his love for us. you and i need to know that the Father wants us to experience true and meaningful joy and have abundant life found in His Son, Jesus.

friends – may we continue to point your children to our Jesus. as we do, we will find that we too will grow in grace.

[digging deeper]

the best book on parenting 

romans 15:1-7

1 We who are strong have an obligation to bear with the failings of the weak, and not to please ourselves. 2 Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, to build him up. 3 For Christ did not please himself, but as it is written, “The reproaches of those who reproached you fell on me.” 4 For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. 5 May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus, 6 that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. 7 Therefore welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God.

what does this verse say about us as parents, leaders, ‘mature’ christians?

what is paul’s reasoning for this obligation? how is that encouragement?

how are we called – in the passage- to glorify God? How can we do this practically within our context as parents?

how do you know God loves you? romans 5:8. 1 john 4:9-10.

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