Summary: Daniel and his friends might have just been teenagers but they stood out, stood together, and stood up for God.
Alien Youth: The Invasion has Begun
Pastor Jeff Williams
It really all started back in 1938 when Orson Wells threw the nation into hysteria with his all-too-real radio broadcast of an alien invasion called, “The War of the Worlds.” Visitors from other worlds have always had a place on our small screens. T.V. shows such as “My Favorite Martian”, “Mork and Mindy”, “ALF”, and “Third Rock from the Sun” used comedy to explore the philosophical implications of alien visitation. Within the last twenty-five years, Hollywood has capitalized on this growing interest and continued this tradition with movies such as “Aliens” ,“Close Encounters of the Third Kind”, “E.T.: The Extraterritorial”, “Men in Black”, “K-Pax”, and just recently with a feisty blue alien critter that loves to imitate Elvis in “Lilo and Stitch.”
While our fascination with these fictitious aliens goes back many decades, do you realize that an invisible invasion began in 1984? This invasion was imperceptible to the normal human but slowly their numbers have grown. There are now twenty-two million of these aliens living in the United States alone. There is a good possibility you may actually know one. You may have one living in your house. Please use extreme caution when trying to communicate with these strange beings. They are not like you and me…
They think Jay Leno has always been the host of the “Tonight Show.” They have never heard of 45s or Henry Kissinger. They have never known a world without microwaves, cell phones, and video games. They have also never known a world without AIDS, car-jackings, child abductions, gang wars, and internet pornography. When you asked them for their address it often ends in “dot com.” They have PDAs to organize their day, MP3s to organize their music, and they still can not keep their room clean. They spend hours developing relationships, dating, breaking up, and getting back together, (sometimes all in the same day), while sitting in their PJs in front of a computer screen. They consider music from the nineties “old” and buy their pants three sizes too big. They have access to more information than anyone in the history of the world and yet many of them can not find Iraq on a map. The invasion has begun, the alien youth have landed and their goal is to take over the world!
The challenges of reaching this generation for Christ are enormous but well worth the energy and effort. Many of us who work with youth believe strongly that these students are the revival generation. Keeping this in mind let me introduce you to the mission statement of the student ministry.
PBC’s student ministry exists to IMPACT students with the truth of the Gospel and to EQUIP them to be ever-developing and fully devoted disciples of Jesus Christ.
You may notice that we call it a “student ministry” as opposed to a “youth group.” A student ministry gives students the opportunities to have ownership in the church. We have students that play in the band, do announcements, lead junior high chat rooms, and run the sound board. While some churches would describe the youth as the future of the church, I am glad that Pontiac Bible Church’s attitude toward our youth is dramatically different. They are not the future of the church…THEY ARE THE CHURCH!
This morning, we would like to accomplish three things:
• Using the Biblical example of four bold Hebrew teenagers, we will give you a picture of a student ministry team is passionately devoted to teaching and reaching your students.
• We want you to meet some of our students and hear first hand what God is doing in and through them in on their campuses.
• We’ll give you practical ways to encourage and support our students and the student ministry team as they minister to some of the most incredible kids you will ever meet.
Turn with me to chapter one of the Old Testament book of Daniel. A little background is helpful so travel with me back 2,600 years ago to the country of Judah.
A little background
The year is 605 B.C. and the world is in chaos. The Egyptians have attempted to invade Babylon. A young prince, by the name of Nebuchadnezzar, soundly defeated the Egyptians at Carchemish. Not satisfied with his victory, he pursued the Egyptian army all the way down the Sinai peninsula. Along the way he conquered the city of Jerusalem, who had been loyal to Pharaoh instead of trusting in their God. Israel had been conquered by the Assyrians in 722 B.C. and now Judah is subdued by these Babylonian blasphemers. God is allowing these foreign countries to conquer his prized possession as a consequence for their disobedience. The inhabitants of Jerusalem must have felt completely abandoned by God as they watched the Babylonian army walk right into their temple and take the articles used to worship their God. The ultimate blow came as the officers rounded up the best and brightest of the Jews and marched them right out of Jerusalem and back to Babylon.