Illustration results for Youth Service
C. Franklin Graham, son of Billy Graham, spoke at a memorial service for the slain youth of Columbine High School and prayed at the first inauguration services for George W. Bush. Each time he was criticized for talking about and using the name of Jesus Christ. He wrote a book about this called, “The Name.” He says, “Why is it than when people curse using Jesus’ name, hardly anyone complains, but if you speak about Him with respect, some people cry “foul.” What is it about this Name that brings such comfort and healing to millions yet provokes in others such venomous hatred and offense.”
"This is our supreme task as Christian educators, to gear youth into Christian service regardless of what the specific occupation may be and to encourage the utmost skill in the fulfillment of this service."
Sermon Central Staff
AFGHAN SPIRITUAL HARVEST
In his book What Good Is God?, Philip Yancey writes:
"This is a true story from Afghanistan that took place in the early 1970s, before the Russian occupation or the Taliban regime. At the time, the government allowed a small Christian church to service internationals who worked there, though no Afghans could attend. A friend of mine named Len organized a musical team of young people to tour countries in the Middle East. With some trepidation, he also accepted an invitation to extend the trip to Afghanistan for a concert in downtown Kabul. Len made the teenagers write out exactly what they would say, subject to his approval.
"This is a strict Muslim government," he warned them. "If you say the wrong thing, you could end up in prison and at the same time jeopardize every Christian who lives in this country. Memorize these words and don’t dare stray from them when you perform." The teenagers listened wide-eyed as he described the ominous consequence of a slight misstep...
The night of the official concert in Kabul, almost a thousand Afghans filled the hall and spilled outside the open doors to listen. All went well until one teenager on the team put down his guitar and started improvising: "I’d like to tell you about my best friend, a man named Jesus, and the difference he has made in my life." From the side of the stage, Len motioned wildly for him to stop, drawing his finger across his neck. Ignoring him, the teenager proceeded to give a detailed account of how God had transformed his life.
"I was practically beside myself," Len told me. "I knew the consequences, and I sat with my head in my hands waiting for the sword to drop. Instead, the most amazing thing happened. The Minister of Cultural Affairs for Afghanistan stood and walked to the stage to respond.
"'We have seen many American young people come through this country,' he said. 'Most of them come for drugs, and most look like hippies. We have not seen nor heard from young people like you. God’s love is a message my country needs. How thrilled I am to hear you! You are a prototype for the youth of Afghanistan to follow in the future. I would like to invite you to expand your tour so that you visit every college and faculty and also give this same message on Kabul Radio. I will make it happen.'"
Len was dumbfounded. That night he gathered the musical group together. "Did you hear what the man said? We’re changing our tickets, of course, to lengthen our visit. And he wants you to give this same message--you’d better not change a word!"
Over the next few days, the musical team held other performances. After each event Afghan young people crowded around with questions. Tell me more about this Jesus--we know of him through the Qur’an. You speak of a personal relationship with God. Can you describe it? How does your faith change you? Some asked to pray with the teenagers. Nothing like it had ever happened in Afghanistan.
On the last day, after a triumphant tour, the teenagers met J. Christy Wilson, a revered figure in Afghanistan. Born of missionary parents in Iran, he … [had] spent 22 years in Afghanistan, serving as principal of a government high school and teaching English to the Crown Prince and Afghan diplomats. He also led the Community Christian Church and founded the School for the Blind in Kabul.
Wilson drove the teenagers to an unusual tourist site, the only cemetery in Afghanistan where "infidels" could be buried. He walked to the first, ancient gravestone, pitted with age. "This man worked here 30 years and translated the Bible into the Afghan language," he said. "Not a single convert. And in this grave next to him lies the man who replaced him, along with his children who died here. He toiled for 25 years and baptized the first Afghan Christian." As they strolled among the gravestones, he recounted the stories of early missionaries and their fates. At the end of the row he stopped, turned, and looked the teenagers straight in the eye. "For 30 years, one man moved rocks. That’s all he did, move rocks. Then came his replacement, who did nothing but dig furrows. There came another who planted seeds, and another who watered. And now you kids--you kids--are bringing in the harvest."
"It was one of the great moments of my life," Len recalls. "I watched their faces as it suddenly dawned on these exuberant American teenagers that the amazing spiritual awakening they had witnessed was but the last step in a long line of faithful service stretching back over many decades."
(From What Good Is God?: In Search of a Faith that Matters. By Philip Yancey, pp. 219-222. Reprinted by permission of FaithWords, a division of Hachette Book Group, New York, NY. All rights reserved. From a sermon by Michael McCartney, Experience the Spirit in Service, 4/14/2011.)
PLEASE DON’T RETIRE
We’ve got a dangerous practice in America called "retirement." It’s a blessing in some ways, but it’s also dangerous because it implies that your productivity stops when you get to be 62 or 65. It’s dangerous in the church because people look forward to retiring so they can get out of all responsibility and relax and travel. While you may want to refocus your interests and redirect your involvement in the church, don’t quit. Don’t drop out of all responsibility. Don’t turn it all over to the younger generation. We need the vitality of youth, but we also need the example and the wisdom of those who are older. If you came to Southeast Christian Church during the week, you’d be inspired by many retired people who perform invaluable service to this church. Every Monday morning, one of our older Sunday-school classes, the Friendship Class, comes in and cleans the sanctuary. Some pretty sophisticated people are picking up gum wrappers, straightening up the books. Retired people are working in the yard, maintaining the vehicles, serving on the Tally Committee, setting up chairs, cleaning the sanctuary, greeting at the door. They have taken the focus off self and put it onto service. The Bible has many examples of people who kept enduring until the end. Abraham’s wife Sarah was 90 when she gave birth to Isaac. Moses was 80 when he led the children of Israel out of Egypt. Caleb was 85 when he conquered the hill country in Palestine. Simeon was an old man in the temple when he held the baby Jesus in his arms. History has all kind of examples that people don’t lose their purpose when they turn 62. Picasso was past 75 whe...
BILLY GRAHAM'S ARENA DREAMS
Billy Graham, in his book "Nearing Home: Life, Faith, and Finishing Well" (pp. 2-3, Thomas Nelson) writes:
I have remained a baseball fan, not necessarily of one team over another but of the game itself--the teamwork, the strategy, and the challenge of defeating the opponent. But baseball was not God’s plan for me. Nevertheless, He taught me how to integrate these important components into service for Him. The Lord has blessed me with a loyal team of men and women whose hearts are united with mine--set on leading others to an eternal home with Christ. Our team strategy has been to fulfill the Lord’s command to go into the whole world and preach Christ for the purpose of defeating the opponent--Satan.
When I started preaching, it was never my intention to preach inside a baseball stadium or any other stadium for that matter. I was accustomed to preaching in churches when I was pastoring and in auditoriums when I was traveling with Youth for Christ (YFC). At the close of the war in 1945, several of us on the YFC team had the privilege of preaching at Soldier Field in Chicago.
The details are sketchy now, but I recall the first time I stood in an outdoor arena to preach the Gospel. I had been invited to hold an evangelistic citywide meeting in Shreveport, Louisiana. When the local auditorium could not hold the crowds, the organizers had no choice but to move the event outside. Uncertain as to how people would feel about attending an evangelistic rally in a large arena, I was rather nervous. Then I thought about my boyhood dreams. Instead of bat in hand at home plate, I had what I now know is a much greater privilege: to stand behind a pulpit, with Bible in hand, immersed in the power of the Holy Spirit. I was not performing before fan-filled bleachers but pronouncing the Word of God to sin-filled hearts searching for truth.
Life, indeed, is full of surprises.
Love makes obedience a thing of joy!
To do the will of one we like to please
Is never hardship, though it tax our strength;
Each privilege of service love will seize!
Love makes us loyal, glad to do or go,
And eager to defend a name or cause;
Love takes the drudgery from common work,
And asks no rich reward or great applause.
Love gives us satisfaction in our task,
And wealth in learning lessons of the heart;
Love sheds a light of glory on our toil
And makes us humbly glad to have a part.
Love makes us choose to do the...
"Fathers, Serve With Intensity"
The Bible gives four Christian character traits that can build a lasting legacy for the Lord. The second is to live a life that serves with intensity. Colossians 3:23-24 says, "Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving."
Rick Warren once did a study of youth who were asked, "What do you want to be when you grow up?" Not one child said, "I want my gifts, talents, abilities and opportunities to serve others." Our American dreams and our way of thinking have caused children to set their focus on being like celebrities and winners at all cost.
A Christian father will strive to live before his children a life of servanthood with ambitions of serving for the purpose of glorifying Christ before those he serves. He serves hoping that the people he works with might ask about the things of the Lord. A Christian father who has been taught by the Holy Spirit how to work for the Lord is enthusiastic and eager to do his work. He serves with intensity no matter what he is asked to do. The happiest janitor is the one who cleans the office, the shop, or the bathroom as though Christ is standing right there beside him. The most diligent father is the one who manages his affairs and business in a way that expresses recognition of da...