"Teenagers are our future." How many times have you heard that? Last week I read this post on Simple Mom that challenged that statement:
"The problem is not that the statement is wrong… teenagers really are the future leaders of our organizations. The problem with the statement is that it’s incomplete. Teenagers are our future, but they are also our present. And the view that only sees their value in the future is short-sighted.I highly recommend you read the entire article if you are a teen, have a teen, work with teens, or know a teen. You'll be challenged and encouraged.
When we shift our thinking from “what could teenagers accomplish in the future” to “what do they offer in the present,” we begin to look at them in a very different light."
The theme verse for our youth group is 1 Timothy 4:12: "Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity."In a concise package, that's really what we want for our teens.
So when Handlebar Publishing sent me a copy of Living For God As Courageous Teens to review, I jumped at the chance. One of the authors of Courageous Teens is Michael Catt, the executive producer of the film Courageous, Fireproof, and Facing the Giants.
The book uses examples of Biblical characters who demonstrated courage to challenge and encourage teens to take steps of courage in four areas- Faith, Leadership, Priorities, and Influence. The topics covered include courage to "face an uncertain future,""lead on all levels,""face persecution,""face criticism," and "stir up the fire." It concludes with a resolution, similar to the resolution signed by the men in the movie Courageous.
With the recent topics we've studied in youth group, and what I've been learning personally, this paragraph struck me as the author discussed Abraham's choice to obey God when called to leave his family and home to follow God to "the land that I will show you" (Genesis 12:1).
"We need to be identified as followers of Christ, not by the clothes we wear, the stuff we have, or the car we drive. Life should not be about stuff, it should be about the Savior...When God called Abraham, Abraham moved. He didn't ask for details, look for perks, or negotiate. He just got up and got going. God's call is not a vacation; it's our vocation. It's time to get going. We can't sit on the sidelines any longer. We must hear God and follow hard after Him" (pg. 15).This book includes discussion questions at the end of each chapter, so it works well for a small group or individual reading. I believe the teens who read this book will be challenged to follow God even when it's hard, seek His purpose for their life, dream big, and do the things God has called them to do.
If you are a teen, work with teens, or have ever been a teen, you can answer this question in the comments: In what area of your life right now do you especially need courage? What gives you courage?