Monday, September 17, 2012

The Ride

What a ride! I was able to spend all day Saturday at the roller coaster capital of the world, Cedar Point in Sandusky, Ohio. There are dozens of coasters and big thrill rides that will quickly take you hundreds of feet into the air, spin you around, and send you hurtling back toward the ground only to pull you out of a nosedive at the last instant. There is nothing like the feeling of g-forces pressing you down into your seat followed by the negative g's lifting you back out of it. But none of these are the ride to which I am referring.

Although the screams in the air and my calls for mommy combined with the other noises filling the park were powerful, the reason I was here was even more so. This was PointFest weekend where in addition to the amusement park experience, there were musical performances by some of today's best Christian  artists and speakers, including but not limited to Skillet and Bob Lenz. I have been to some of the largest secular concerts ever and have never seen a spectacle the likes of this: coreographed flames and steam shooting into the air, perfectly timed fireworks blasts, spinning drumsets, and singers & musicians that truly understand excellence of craft. But again, this wasn't the "ride".

The ride I am writing about is in spending time with some of God's best invention: todays youth. Specifically, this was a test of sorts in that it was the first outing that my wife and I, along with some very brave chaperones, have ever led with our newly formed teen class. We found out that not only do our youth know how to have a good time, they know how to have a God time. We prayed together, played together, praised Him together and rocked our faces off together.

Many of today's youth are staring at a future of uncertainty which they didn't cause and are dragging behind them the baggage of poor decisions made by parents, grandparents, teachers, pastors and other trusted adults. They deal daily with the effects caused by divorce, drugs, death or prison. And on top of that they are forced to make decisions daily about which of the many voices they will follow, often to the point where they become numb to much of what they are hearing. 

The ride is in being a voice they can learn to trust. The ride is in being transparent enough to share our foul ups and what we learned through them. The ride is in building relationship with them and being honest about not having all of the answers. The ride is in the willingness to help them figure out this life and letting them know that it is worth the figuring. The ride is in letting them know that they matter. The ride is in overcoming the many poor diversions placed daily before them and instead pointing them to the voice of Christ.

This weekend was just a a small but fun leg on that ride. I gave my best effort in keeping up with these awesome teens and young adults which is no easy feat for this middle aged man. But after several weeks of planning, some hesitation, some fundraising (we still have more fudge for those interested) and lots of prayer, this particular trip was worth it. But the ride itself is just starting. I hope that you will join me in helping to make a positive difference in the lives of those youth in your sphere of influence. Be a voice that they they can follow, a voice reflecting the love of Christ. And while we are at it, let's pray for one another.

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