This weekend our group attended FM419. This is the student version of The Billy Graham Christian Life and Witness Course. The Afters led worship. Three guys led us in the Bible study time. It taught us about sharing our faith and I think it was a great substitute for Dare 2 Share and they weren't nearly as annoying about us coming.
I wish we would have taken a larger group. We had 13 students. A small turnout since we run between 45-60 on Wednesday nights. But I do believe, as always, God had whom He wanted there. That included me.
I have been a Youth Pastor for nineteen years now. You get a little jaded about events like this. I am finding out more and more that I feel even a little awkward being the "old guy" in the place. Still, I love students and they at least pretend to love me. I have no ideas of wondering off into another area of service anytime soon. It is just as I get older I feel a little more disconnected from things. But it amazes me that God still speaks to me at times like this. And this weekend he did.
Most of the time I was going through the motions. I had been through the adult version of this course in 1999 when Billy Graham came to St. Louis. So, the information wasn't new to me. I enjoyed the worship. Most of the time that is the part of events like this that I like the best anymore.
But God spoke to me at the final worship set in a real way tonight. I have been so worried and burdened by the junk going on in our group lately. It has hurt my heart and it has worried me. I use the word worry because concern would be a copout. I really feel like I have crossed the line into ungodly territory in worry. I haven't let go of these situations. I have let them burden me way beyond how I should.
So, today, we were singing GOD OF THIS CITY (which has already been chosen as the theme for our mission trip) and as I belted out the line, "greater things are yet to come and greater things are still to be done in this city", I felt the spirit wash over me in a way I haven't in quite awhile. I turned and saw one of our sophomore guys really worshiping. He was singing out and had his hands raised and eyes closed singing to the Lord. Maybe that doesn't sound so impressive but this is a kid who was a 7th grader when I got here. He has nipped at the heels of the "cool kids" in the group since he got here. He has always been a kid who I wasn't real sure where he stood with God. Was he someone who got it or was he living this life for his parents.
Over the past six weeks or so I have seen such a different side of this kid. He is very much as close to the center of the issues in our group as anyone could be without being directly involved. He has reached out for my guidance twice in this time. During our conversations I have seen a whole new side to him. It as if a light came on and he woke up one morning and said, "This is my faith and I really do believe these things. I need to live them out". He has taken some major stands when he has felt convicted. He has confronted sin and shown grace beyond his age. He has impressed me.
He has never been one to sing. Never. Generally he stands with his arms crossed and is motionless during worship in song. He always strikes the "guy pose". I am sure many of you know exactly what I mean. But today was different. He was positively glowing with the love of God and singing his heart out. We talked a lot about adversity creating Christian character this weekend. I am sure that is what has happened to him.
As I watched him, my throat tightened and my eyes got moist. I sang those lines from the song even louder as I felt the Spirit say, "the things going on right now are not as bad as you think. I am still in control. I still love you. The attacks of the enemy will come but this round is because he is scared beyond belief at the greater things that are still to be done. Just like that boy over there has had to take awhile to discover my plan, other students will come in time. Greater things are still to be done in my ministry that I have entrusted to you".
Suddenly, things felt right. A weight was lifted. I felt the love of my savior holding me and saying, "It's alright, son. I have everything under control". I worshiped from there with reckless abandon. How great is our God.
I know we are far from out of the woods in the areas where there are issues in our group right now. Still, today, God gave me a reminder that He has it all under control. My job is to be faithful to His leading and His Word. He will take care of the rest. I think that is a pretty awesome message to hear.