After spending the past weekend at EAGLE RETREAT 2008 with teenage students growing up in ministry households of the Kansas Nebraska Convention of Southern Baptists (now there’s a specific audience), I am struck with a thought: I’m glad I am NOT a teen anymore.
I remember how hard it was to survive in the social climate of high school, “Bullies, cheerleaders and jocks, O’ My! There’s no place like home, there’s no place like home, there’s no place like home.”
I remember how hard it was to struggle with a desire for independence and still do right by your mom and dad; a CBS after school special waiting to happen.
I remember peer pressure, personal insecurities and the impending threat of global thermonuclear war started by the Soviets. For all the 30 somethings, wasn’t high school just peachy?
But, these students have an even more difficult variable in their equation: they are growing up as minister’s kids. So, throw a good dose of 24/7 religiosity, elevated congregation member expectations and the never predictable church culture in on a teenage life and you should be able to expect a complete adolescent meltdown in 3, 2, 1.
But amazingly, these students were incredibly healthy in body, mind and spirit. And, they seemed pretty happy, too.
Hmmm, maybe there is a God.
Since I hope a few of those Eagle Retreaters will check out this blog I’ve included the summary theme video from the weekend right here. You can also download your own copy right here (right click the link and select “Save Target As”), and you can access all the individual pics here.
BTW (That’s text lingo for ‘by the way’ which I learned from them this weekend, by the way), if any Eagle Retreaters are here, please leave a shout out for the rest of us as a comment.
And, YES, those things that look like cowpies; that’s what they are. Disgusting.
Theme Video from Eagle Retreat 2008
But, onto the real question. How do teenage students with every kind of pressure, plus some most of us never experienced, walk away from their lives happy, healthy and functioning? My bet is that God is good.
I see this pattern in this passage from the book of Acts:
Now that’s a growing church!
Just a few days ago the church ballooned to 3,000 on the Day of Pentecost. Pretty cool by any standard, but this undeniable troop surge (Onward Christian Soldiers) of an additional 2,000 seems mind boggling to me because of when it happened.
This growth blossomed out of a time of persecution and incarceration.
Apparently, God could work even if Peter was in the clink, the pokey, the big house, the joint, Up the River, in the pen, the cooler, the hoosegow, the slammer, incarceration city, the Hard Rock Hotel, enlisted in the Orange Army, staying at the Stoney Lonesome, playing at the big house, getting away to club fed.
Here’s the issue; God is more in control than most of us think. Oh, we say we believe He is in control, but our actions tend to share a different story.
I must admit, I was worried that things wouldn’t be right without me this past weekend since I wasn’t at my post at the church. But, here’s the amazing thing:
- Worship happened
- Offerings were taken
- A great message was preached
- Lives were changed
- Much coffee was consumed
Wow. All of that can happen without me? At first it feels like a bummer, but then I get my head screwed on straight and the right emotion prevails: thankfulness.
Thank God He doesn’t need me
Thank God His plan is dependent on me
Thank God He can take care of me
Thank God He is better, stronger, wiser, and everything else than me
The same reason these ministers kiddos can come out of their high pressure/stress lives as happy, functioning young adults is the same reason we can come out of our circumstances.
When you’re persecuted for sticking to what you believe. When your imprisoned in depression. When you’re locked up in doubt. When you’re chained to obstacles bigger than you ever imagined, God is still working.
Outside the bars God is starting a revolution, and tomorrow we’ll be set free to see what God has been and is doing in our lives.
Have no fear friends, when we feel broken down and brought to a stand still, God is not deterred.