The Cost Follow Jesus

As we wrapped up another Wednesday night midweek last night, I cannot help but feel that youth went well overall. We had a pretty eventful night with many of our regulars back in youth, along with a few visitors again as well! As usual, we kicked it off with a game, followed by a few songs of worship, and then another message in our series.

We went old school and played a classic Minute to Win It game called Mad Dog. Two girls who are best friends went against each other and I am still confused how things played out. So in the game, the goal is you have 60 seconds to complete the challenge or get as close to it as possible. Well a Tic-Tac container is taped down to each end of a ruler and opened facing up and the ruler is held in the student’s mouth and shook like a dog with his bone. The goal is to get as many of the Tic-Tacs out as possible. Well these two girls played, and one girl emptied both in 19 seconds while the other girl hardly had ANY of her candy fall out and I have no idea how the one was so good.

From there we moved onto worship and we sang Lord I Need You and Come Thou Fount. The youth seem to be good sports about it because it is not smoothing out anymore than originally. If anyone has ANY suggestions on helping a student get better at playing the drums, but more importantly gain confidence playing (he honestly is not bad, just raw) PLEASE let me know. But it is moving along and I am hoping that this is helping the students realize that worship is not about the show, but rather the personal response.

From there we moved into the message continuing in week 4 of our series on the Gospel of Mark and what it means to be a disciple. I continued to hammer in the idea that discipleship to Mark requires bravery, which is part of the reason that church iconography has portrayed Mark as a lion. My laptop decided to install updates and not give me a choice to say no right as I started my message so I did not have my slides, but I usually preach just building off one point as Andy Stanley, Thomas Long, and many other preachers describe in their respective books on preaching, rather than your old school 3 or 5 point sermons. Building off one main idea, or focus, allows me to craft a message hammering and illustrating just one thing for the students to remember so my slides were to just help relay and portray this and not a list of my points. We looked at the story of the Rich Young Man in Mark 10 and how Jesus told him to sell all he had and give it to the poor then follow him. He had something which he was holding onto that prevented him from being all in following Jesus and we came to the conclusion that Christian discipleship costs everyone something, and so we said we must identify what it is holding us back.

Finally, we broke into small groups and I cannot speak for the other groups, but the group I filled in for as one of my leaders was out of town went fantastic. Our older guys were engaged and deep in conversation. We went down a few rabbit trails and goofed off as teenage boys are bound to do, but we had some deep and real conversations. When asked about what was troubling them this week, one of my guys said it bothers him how Christians his age show no sign of urgency in their faith. His statement was “you only live a little, but you will be dead a lot so you should probably worry about things when you are dead more than alive. George Washington lived a short time but has been dead a long time.” Deep stuff from a philosophical senior right there. Yet, how right is he? We are so caught up on the present and have 0 cares so often about the future. Yet we are to give up whatever is holding us back from Jesus.

In all, I think it was a great night and I hope to watch the Holy Spirit continue to move in our youth group. Please pray for them and our youth as a whole in America as ages 15-29 are shrinking in churches. Also pray for the churches working to reach them.

I love you guys, and so does Jesus. I hope you continue to long for this water, and continue to drink from it as well. Until next time, blessings to you and your family,

Josh Gentry

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