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WAITING FOR GABRIEL
I was picking up my son at a youth event, and I saw Darl, who was doing the same. Darl’s oldest son is Gabriel. I asked him how he was, and Darl said, "Just waiting for Gabriel."
I responded, "Well, aren’t we all?"
Bob Russell who preaches in Louisville was raised on a farm in Pennsylvania and he tells the story of his first youth minister who was a city-boy. Now his youth group was made up mostly of kids from the farm so they didn’t think they would have much in common with this city slicker and so weren’t much ready to listen to him. The entire youth group was at Bob’s one Saturday and it came time to milk the cows. This youth minister said, "Can I go down to the barn with you and see what is all about?" Bob said, "Sure," and Harry Orn, the new minister, headed with the others to the barn. What the youth group didn’t know was that Harry had worked each summer on his grandfather’s dairy farm. Well, Harry watched the milking for a little bit and then sheepishly said, "Could I try that?" Bob said, they welcomed the idea because they knew that it would be good for a laugh. So he sat down tentatively on the stool and he grabbed the cow in the appropriate place and 2 or 3 of the boys leaned way over to get a good laugh when this city slicker couldn’t get any milk out of the cow. And Bob says, "he suddenly turned that cow’s spicket right up at us and squirted us right across the face." Everybody thought it was hilarious. And you know what? He was an instant hit. Well, Bob says, maybe not instant, it took a couple of minutes, but Harry Orn was able to fit right in with the kids and had a great ministry. Listen, God can use any talent that you have, even milking cows.
Little Johnny’s grandfather was something of a philosopher and never missed an opportunity to give out bits of sage advice to his grandson.
“Yessirree, Johnny,” he said one day, “remember, fools are certain, but wise men hesitate.”
“Are you sure, Grandpa?” asked Johnny.
“Yes, my boy,” said the old man, laying his gnarled hand on the youth’s head, “I’m absolutely certain.”
Bits and Pieces, January, 1990, p. 9
Unfortunately, some people assume they must get all their Bible teaching from some kind of religious “expert.” The idea is that Joe Average is bound to get it wrong if he tries to understand the Bible for himself, so he needs an expert to interpret it for him.
Which reminds me of a story I heard about one of the most notorious bank robbers from the days of the Wild West. Pepe Rodriguez would regularly sneak across the border into south Texas to rob a bank, then escape back across the border before he could be caught.
The story goes that eventually the Texas lawmen cornered Pepe in a Mexican bar. Since Pepe didn’t speak English, they asked the Bartender to translate. With guns drawn, they told the bartender, “Tell him if he doesn’t turn over the stolen money right now we’ll shoot him dead on the spot!”
The Bartender translated, and Pepe started shaking in fear. In Spanish Pepe said, “Tell them the money is in the town well. The loot is hidden in a pouch behind the seventeenth stone counting down from the handle.”
The Bartender turned to the Rangers and said in English, “Pepe is a very brave man. He says you are a ...
Sermon Central Staff
PASTORAL SEARCH COMMITTEE OF THE FIRST LUKEWARM CHURCH
I was recently contacted by a pulpit committee that was interested in my ministry. I met with Chairman of the Disenchanted, Bro Tepid. He described his church; First Lukewarm Church of the Apathetic. “Nothing too boring, nothing too exciting. We want it to fit into our American Culture Christianity. No songs too slow, no songs too fast. Nothing from the ancient songs and nothing after the 70’s.” Nothing ever challenging. We want encouragement and comfort.”
He sang to me the Churches Theme Song.
“Sitting on the premises of Christ our friend.
Through eternal ages let the service end.
Glutted to the highest we will moan and sing.
Sitting on the premises and dead.
Sitting on the premises, sitting on the premises,
Sitting on the premises of Christ our servant.
Sitting on the premises, sitting on the premises,
We’re sitting on the premises and dead.”
He proudly described the Church as irresolute and uncommitted. He introduced to me the other committee members; Bobby Bored, Connie Cool. He described the great teachings the women received who participated in the Church’s The Women’s Indifference Society. There seemed to be great growth in one class; The Mellow Sunday School Class. They were excited about an upcoming event; The Men’s Worldly and Wise Conference. An upcoming revival was going to be led by The Reverend Marvin Mundane. The church had started the Spiritless Seniors group who were going to focus on traveling to entertainment locations like Branson Missouri and Las Vegas. This would bring the Church back into balance because of the growing the Unresponsive Youth Program.
They were looking for a pastor who could scratch their ears, stir their emotions, help their self-esteem, complement their current spiritual condition and validate their unchanging ministries and priorities. On the bright side, they were going to pay well and the benefits were killer.
The problem? That pig won’t swim.
(From a sermon by Tim White, When Pigs Can’t Swim, 8/22/2011)
TOP 5 SIGNS YOUR CHURCH IS TOO CONTEMPORARY:
5. At the annual meeting, you play Survivor to elect new leaders
4. When asked what church things begin with "J", the youth in church shout "Java" before "Jesus"
3. When asked, "Who wrote the Bible?" most members say "Eugene Peterson"
2. To be user-friendly, the building committee installs a Jacuzzi rather than a conventional baptistery
1. The "Left Behind" Bible isn’t the one you forgot at church
K. Edward "Ed" Skidmore
This reminds me of two elderly sisters who lived in Arcadia during my youth ministry days. One named Alpha, was always sick with some sort of ailment or another, the other, named Virginia, still worked in a county office even though she was in her late 70’s and never seemed to suffer from any kind of sickness. But the healthy sister would call me often to go to the hospital and visit her sick and dying sister. She would say, “Alpha is in bad shape. She could go any time now. Get over there as soon as you can.”
So I would drop what ever I was doing and drive 30 minutes away to a hospital in Clear Lake City to see Alpha, thinking that she surely was hooked up to machinery and on her last leg like her sister said. But when I arrived at the hospital and got into the room, Alpha would be sitting up in bed talking on the phone and watching TV. Now I’ll admit that there were many times I rushed over only to see that Alpha was no where near death, and in the end I finally learned that it wasn’t necessary to “rush” over to see Alpha. In fact, poor sickly dying Alpha lived for another 12 years after I left Arcadia. She outlived many other people supposedly more healthy than her.
This account of Jesus being called by Mary and Martha to come at once for Lazarus’ sake kind of calls to mind sickly old Alpha in Arcadia. And I noticed, that as I eventually learned to do, Jesus also felt no need to rush over there the moment he was called, although His delay was for a different reason.
K. Edward "Ed" Skidmore
So I’m going to share with you a list I came up with of Seven steps guaranteed to embitter your Children:
1. Discipline your child only when you lose your temper. Let him get away with everything, then without warning, let ‘em have it! Blow your top! Scream and Yell! Let ‘er Rip! Go Crazy! That’s the way to let your child know “who’s REALLY in control around here.”
2. Give your child everything she wants right away. Don’t make her earn it! Gadgets and Toys and Video Games and Designer Clothes and Cars and good old Cash --- all of these make a GREAT substitute for your love and attention. And don’t worry; it won’t take long for your child to prefer the STUFF you provide over spending time with you.
3. As often as possible, compare your child to someone else --- a brother or sister is usually the best choice. Statements like, “Why can’t you be like Johnny” are sure to spur your child on to success!
4. Don’t let your child suffer the natural consequences of his actions. If your child gets in ANY sort of trouble, jump right in and make lots of excuses for him. Argue with his teachers; blame his friends; leave the church; sue the school --- but don’t let anyone hold your child accountable. … If you don’t come to the rescue every time, your child might develop respect for authority … and where will THAT get him in life?
5. Don’t waste time LISTENING to your child. Jump down her throat as soon as she opens her mouth. After all, you already know everything she’s going to say, right? Besides that, if you’re understanding and reasonable, she might start wanting to talk things over with you … and that would NEVER do!
6. Treat your child with constant suspicion. Expect the worst. Classic comments like “Can’t you do ANYTHING right?” or “You’ll never amount to anything.” can save your child from aiming too high in life.
7. If your child does anything wrong, NEVER let them...
There is generally a staff of three in our building, our secretary Patsy, youth and children’s minister Sandy, and the warden, me. One day this week, at a particularly still and quiet moment, there was an incredible BOOM that shook the building. Sandy and I hit the hallway at the same time – we looked like two “does in the headlights”. Patsy was nowhere to be found. We called her name, checked her office, went upstairs to seek her in the sanctuary or anywhere – nothing! I never admitted it to Sandy, but as we continued to frantically search I remember thinking to myself as I descended the stairs, Man, the rapture’s come and the only one who made it is the church secretary! We later found her outside, gazing over to the far reaches of the church property where they were probably excavating with dynamite; she was just taking a break.
BURIED CHICKENS, BURIED SIN
One of our youth, Andrew Plasier, shared this true story about an uncle of his in South Dakota and what happened a few summers ago.
His uncle raised chickens, about 1200 of them, year round. In July the fans to the chickenhouse malfunctioned and stopped fanning the 1200+ chickens. The July heat killed the chickens and now the chickenhouse became a chicken mortuary.
The uncle had to find something to do with the chicken corpses. He took his backloader and dug an enormous hole on his property and dumped all 1200 chickens in a mass grave and covered it with dirt. R.I.P. poultry - or so they thought.
As the days went on in the hot July South Dakota sun, the packed down dirt covering the decomposing poultry started to grow and balloon upwards like an emerging volcano. Within a week, chicked parts erupted all over the farmyard. "It was disgusting." said Andrew.
In time, buried sin can do the same.