Notes from Youth Lesson – Emptiness

Posted: September 23, 2010 in Uncategorized
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How many of you like to go bowling?  Most people enjoy bowling.  Imagine showing up at the bowling alley and you go to the counter to pay, they give you your sweet looking bowling shoes and assign you to a lane.  Then you enter your silly names in and grab your ball and you are ready to go!  You look down the lane and all of a sudden you notice something… there are no pins.  You figure you’ll try rolling the ball down to see if they reset… wrong.  No pins again.  You go to the counter, and the man behind the counter says “oh yea, we’re trying something new tonight… no pins”.

Do you like to read?  Can you imagine reading a book, and as you were getting very excited at the end of a cliff-hanger chapter, you turn the page to find the next chapter blank.  You flip ahead and the rest of the book was blank.

How about video games?  Can you imagine playing a video game like Halo and after you work super hard to beat a level, you watch a cool video to explain what’s happening and to set up the next level and when it starts you are in a wide open field… with nothing… anywhere?

In all these cases, there would be frustration and let-down simply because of one common factor: Something important is missing!

In my years working with teenagers, I feel like the biggest struggle in teens is something is missing.  Many are filled with emptiness.

I don’t know if this is because from a very young age we are constantly being entertained, and that mind-set carries into our adolescent lives.  The fact remains, most teenagers are empty on the inside and they struggle with the question of how to fill it up.

What are some things that emptiness can create in our lives?

  1. depression
  2. loneliness
  3. anxiety
  4. stress
  5. anger

Whenever there is a void, it must be filled with something.  Popular fillers include:

  1. drugs/alcohol: Great article about effects of marijuana/alcohol
  2. relationships/sex: Watching porn, having sex before marriage can cause you to not enjoy sex with husband/wife
  3. work/money: Will always lead to greed, selfishness, potentially damaging to your family
  4. thoughts suicide/cutting: Leads to depression, ultimately death

Can you imagine holding a firecracker in your hand and once it is lit just standing there and watching it explode?  That would be stupid, right?  Many teens are playing with fire when it comes to these areas in their lives.  Why do we continue to go down paths when we know there is potential for our lives to blow up in our face?

Imagine if one of you showed up next week dressed totally different.  Maybe you are not a skater, but you show up dressed like one, acting like one.  Perhaps you are not a gangster, but next week you show up wearing a gangster rag, pants draggin on the ground, wearing big $ bling around your neck, and talking like Flava Flav.  What would most people call you or consider you to be?

You know who the biggest poser, biggest faker, biggest loser, biggest wannabe in history is… The DEVIL!!  The Devil is trying to defeat you and we are falling for his tricks.

So, like Steven Furtick, I’m proposing that the next time Satan gives you a “what if”, respond with a “so what”

  • What if you lose friends… SO WHAT!
  • What if you look stupid… SO WHAT!
  • What if you lose a boyfriend/girlfriend or they break up with you for someone else… SO WHAT!
  • What if your single until your 25… SO WHAT!
  • What if you fail and look stupid… SO WHAT!

I with GOD, on GOD’s team!  So what!

Matthew 14:22-33 talks about when Peter walked on water.   Peter was far from perfect, just an ordinary guy.  When Jesus said “Come” I’m sure there were all sorts of “what if’s” that Satan threw at Peter at that instant.

  • Those waves are strong, what if you fall in?
  • What if the other disciples laugh at you?
  • What if the other disciples think you’re trying to be Jesus’s #1 guy
  • What if you are attacked by a sea creature  (ok I kinda doubt this one.. but you never know)

At that moment… Peter said “SO WHAT!” I’d rather be out there in the water with Jesus and EVEN IF I do FAIL and FALL IN – JESUS IS OUT THERE!  THAT’S WHERE I WANT TO BE!

Can we commit to giving God our best?  No matter what?  Are we willing to change the way we think?  I read an awesome illustration from a post at Bryanallain.com which explains when we allow “viruses” to fester in our hearts and minds – they will inevitably come back to haunt us, and potentially shut us down.  Romans 12:2 says to be transformed by the renewing of your minds.  In order to overcome the struggles we face as a result of our emptiness, we must choose to transform our hearts by renewing our minds and change the way we think about God.  We don’t instantly become involved with drugs and alcohol, we don’t instantly become addicted to porn, we don’t instantly fall into bed with a boy or girl.  We find ourselves with the opportunity to participate in these activities and we’re not prepared with what to do.  And we fall.  And we fail.  And the virus that is inside us has won. And will continue to win if we don’t remove the viruses by changing the way we think, transforming our hearts and renewing our minds.

When I went home yesterday to eat lunch, at one point, Vicki handed me Naomi.  As I held her up in the air she proceeded to spit up on me.  At that moment I had a decision to make.  I could clean off the milky blemish on my dark black shirt or choose to put on something new.  If I choose to live the rest of the day “as is” I would carry this with me.  People would notice, and after a while it would probably even start to smell.

Is Satan is spitting up on you?  Through your thoughts or attitudes?  Perhaps you are using drugs, alcohol, or have other addictions such as work, money, sex, relationships, pornography that you are allowing to blemish your life. Is Satan is causing you to become depressed, angry, stressed out and full of anxiety.  Will you allow him to continue?  Or will you change the way you think, the way you live, the way you are… WHO you are?

Don’t give up on God.  FILL UP on God and trust HIM to do the impossible.   But be prepared for pain, hurt, battle.

Are you willing to give God your BEST?  It will be worth it… I promise!

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