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How I Began Thinking about How to Help the Next Generation Know Jesus Personally
Recently a young woman contacted me on Instagram. She said that she was starting a business and wanted to help people with their mental health.
In order to do this, she was making videos via zoom with people from all different points of view.
She asked me to come on her program as a woman of faith and share about how to have better mental health from a faith perspective.
Initially, we talked several times via email and then on a phone call.
Then, she did share with me that she had been hurt in a church experience and was not actively involved in one at the moment.
However, when I was invited, I was told I could openly share whatever I wanted to share.
On the Day of the Recording
On the day of the recording, just before we were about to go on air, she got very serious. She wanted to talk to me about something.
First, she said, “Many of my followers are offended and put off by faith messages. They don’t want to hear anything about God or religion. It could turn them off. Or offend them.”
Then she asked,
“So, what would you like to do today?”
“Either you can LEAVE OUT everything about your faith and take all of the God and Bible and faith references out.
Or I can put a SPECIAL DISCLAIMER on this episode… letting people know there may be some offensive faith messages in this interview.”
(I’m not making this up!)
She gave me just a moment to decide what to do.
Within minutes, we were about to go live.
It was very uncomfortable for about 5 seconds.
But, very calmly, I knew what I had to do.
So, I looked at her and said,
“I am so connected to my faith that I can’t talk about hope and better mental health without talking about God, the Bible, and my faith.
I just can’t disconnect the two.
It’s not possible.
Even if I tried, I know I’ll probably say something or make a reference that would be Bible or faith-based.”
So… for the next hour, we went back and forth in the interview.
Yes. I shared what I had planned on sharing.
However, I found myself very burdened and at times uncomfortable because I felt like I had been put on notice about my faith.
At times, I hemmed and struggled a little bit.
As I would mention the Bible or faith or God, I would watch her grimace a smidge.
It was noticeable that she was likely the one MOST offended by my faith.
And I did share the hope that we have in Jesus, but I was so saddened and perplexed by the fact that she was going to have to add a disclaimer to our session.
She was going to have to put a “Warning Label” on my talk.
We finished and everything went OK.
And I pray that I showed that young woman great grace and kindness in the whole effort.
Yet for the next few days, it’s all I thought about.
Truly, I thought about the fact that apart from Christ there is no hope. Really… I know no other message of hope that we can give to people today.
Absolutely, there is no counselor, no therapy, no drug, no new theory, that is going to meet the deepest needs of people’s hearts.
But you see, we are living in a very strange day.
Honestly, we used to only put warning labels on cigarette packages, poison bottles, toxic waste, and R-rated movies.
But now, are we going to have to put warning labels on anything that mentions the name of God or Jesus or the Bible or the Christian faith?
Let’s Talk about How to Help the Next Generation Know Jesus Personally
Yesterday I opened my Facebook app on my phone, and I noticed a news article.
The article said that 25% of people affiliate with no faith anymore.
So now communities are forming outside of churches to meet the need that once was met inside the local church.
Community. Fellowship. Encouragement.
Truly, these are no longer primarily happening in churches… especially in the younger generation.
This makes my heart SO SAD.
So, what do we do?
How do we respond?
How do we reach the next generation – our kids, grandkids, neighbors, co-workers, and friends??
Author and speaker Jenny Allen recently shared a post on Instagram that I found interesting.
This is what she said, “Everyone is asking how to reach the next generation?”
“I tell them the gospel and tell them, like me, they are sinners, and they need to confess their sins, and they do it.”
“So maybe we should just try being straight up with this generation.”
Great Bible Verses about Help the Next Generation Know Jesus Personally
We read in Matthew 5:14-16:
“You are the light of the world.
A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden.
Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house.
Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.”
Today, I want to give you a Visual today – it’s Light!
Be the light!
Think about it… A small candle or flashlight can light up a very dark room.
Indeed, you and I need to be the light.
Beautiful, attractive, loving, warm lights that shine brightly to all who are around us.
How do we do this?
A Few Opening Questions to Consider as We Think about Help the Next Generation Know Jesus Personally
My friend Ellen, a long-time ministry partner of mine, says this.
People want to know several things:
- Are you for real? Authentic?
- Do you care about me?
- Is your God for real?
- Can He do for me what He has done for you?
Let’s look at how we can share the Gospel well and shine brightly this year!
Next, I want to give you 3 very practical things you can do to reach those God has put around you!
First, we personally fill up on Jesus.
You and I should be the most joyful, gracious, kind people because of Jesus.
Accordingly, we fill up at the well and slosh out Jesus everywhere we go.
We pray, spend time in the Bible, and we fill up with lots of Hope!
As a result, we will be LIKE A BREATH OF FRESH AIR!
BE LIKE ONE OF THOSE CANDLES THAT EVERYONE CAN’T GET ENOUGH OF!
- You know the kind – we got one for Christmas.
- When people come into the house they ask, “What is that smell??”
- Wow, that smells so good!
Our light and our scent ought to draw others in.
Not push them away!
After all, we can’t and we don’t badger, cram, bug, lecture, or push anyone to Jesus!
Instead… we pull them.
We draw them in!
Then, we speak the truth in love!
Moreover… don’t be silent when granted an audience or given the opportunity.
But we must earn the opportunity.
We can’t be mean and fussy and then push them to come to church.
Nor can we be unkind to them and then send them Bible verses.
And, we can’t be rude to them as they wait at our table for a meal or check out our groceries, and then leave them a tract. NO!
Who wants that?
Why would they want our Jesus??
Instead – BE LIKE A MAGNET!
Gently pull them in!
Don’t bulldoze them.
Think about it.
God is like this with us.
Romans 2:4 says this:
“Don’t you realize how patient he is being with you?
Or don’t you care?
Can’t you see that he has been waiting all this time without punishing you, to give you time to turn from your sin?
His kindness is meant to lead you to repentance.”
The first way to reach others for Jesus is to be a light, a sweet aroma, a sweet fragrance of the knowledge of Christ that others will be drawn to.
Second, to Help the Next Generation Know Jesus Personally, We Must Share When We Get the Chance.
Share when you get the chance – at every good opportunity!
Open your mouth and talk!
- Share boldly.
- Share plainly.
- And, share Jesus.
- Share Scripture.
- Share hope.
- Also, share how Jesus has worked in your life.
Adrian Rogers once said: “A Christian with a testimony is never at the mercy of an unbeliever with an argument.”
2 Timothy 4:2 tells us:
“Preach the word!
Be ready in season and out of season.
Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching.”
Jonetta Fargarson, a family friend and long-time Bible Study Fellowship teacher once taught us,
“You can only really give people a few things that matter prayer, hope, Jesus, and truth from the Bible.”
So, that’s what we share – hope, Jesus, Bible verses, and prayer.
Picture yourself like the Dunkin Donuts Sign.
Turn the “hot donuts” light on.
- Like I did the day the young man was opening the pool at our house. He wanted to talk about his broken heart. We did.
- Then, there was the young girl at the voting place who wanted to talk about the stress of her job. We did.
- Also, sometimes my kids and their friends want to talk about life, decisions, disappointments, and what’s next. We do.
When they come to us, they are much more likely to hear what we have to say.
But we earn the right, and we wait for them to approach us!
So, we fill up with Jesus, we share when the opportunities arise, and we…
Third, to Help the Next Generation Know Jesus Personally, We Must Pray Like Crazy for Them!
Pray like crazy for them!
Pray and pray and pray. And pray some more!
One of my friends, Lysa, shares the story of a season in her daughter’s life when her girl was away.
She was away at college and away from the Lord. Her name is Hope.
My friend began to pray for Hope – daily, consistently, passionately, and with everything she had.
She only prayed one simple prayer –
“Lord, I pray that Hope will fall in love with Jesus again.
And I pray that you will put authentic, Jesus-loving people around Hope who will draw her to love you more.”
For months, my friend Lysa told no one what she was praying for.
She just faithfully lifted her daughter.
Months later, my friend was visiting her daughter’s college dorm at a weekend parents’ event.
As she entered Hope’s room, she saw her Bible open on her bedside table, along with a journal.
Hope’s whole countenance was changed. She had a joy and a peace about her that was telling.
My friend’s prayers had been answered.
Hope had fallen in love with Jesus once again!
What a sweet answer to prayer.
Then, I heard Hope share what had happened when her mom started praying.
It was so fun to hear the other side of the story.
While Hope was at college, she stayed on campus one weekend when all the rest of her friends went home.
It was on this weekend that she met the most amazing group of students.
They were exchange students from other countries who had very little and had nowhere to go on the weekends.
So, they banded together to eat, hang out, and enjoy the community.
And they were all passionately in love with Jesus.
Although they had very little as far as wealth or possessions or popularity goes, they had someone that drew Hope in.
These students from other countries had unexplainable and undeniable joy and contentment.
And it drew Hope to them.
After spending time with these students, Hope began to fall back in love with Jesus.
Her mother’s prayers were answered.
Listen, it may not seem like it, but our prayers matter!
Your prayers and my prayers ARE making a difference!
God works through our prayers for our children, our grandchildren, and those we love.
So, keep praying!!
Pray that they will be drawn to Jesus and will fall in love with Him!
A Few Final Thoughts about How to Help the Next Generation Know Jesus Personally
Let me close with this.
I believe the day is coming when everything may have disclaimers & where we may even be limited in what we are allowed to share online and in public.
BUT WE DON’T HAVE TO LET THIS STOP US!
God has us on this earth today for a reason.
We were put here for such a time as this.
For me… Next time someone wants me to be in their program, I’ve already decided. There will be no apologizing.
I will not stammer.
But I will lovingly share the Gospel.
Indeed, I will share the Hope and let them decide what disclaimer to add!
And I will continue to pray for this young woman who had me on her show. I’m praying that she will fall back in love with Jesus and heal from the church hurt she has endured.
For you… I encourage you to be a bright light.
Even a bit of little light counts!
Be a sweet aroma of Christ to those around you.
Draw them into the Jesus inside of you.
Then, share when you get the chance. Speak the truth in love. Share the hope!
And… Keep praying!
Today may be the day when God answers your prayers.
A Great Resource for Reaching the Next Generation
As we think about reaching the next generation, I’m so excited to tell you about a new resource.
It’s a brand-new devotional especially written for the 18–30-year-old woman. (Or any woman really!)
It’s called Just Rest, and it was just released!
About the new book – Just Rest: A 90-Day Devotional Journal.
“There has never been a more nervous, anxious, or challenging season in recent history than the one we are living in now…especially if you are a young adult.
With suicide, alcoholism, drug use, and despair on the rise, today’s young women could use a big dose of hope and encouragement!
Just Rest is a 90-day journey to find peace, calm, and soul rest. Included among the pages of this short devotional is an area to journal thoughts and prayers while reading this encouraging book.”
You can get a copy of the book on Amazon.
Here is the link https://amzn.to/3r0h4bE
Remember as you are going this week – Keep shining!
Don’t let any warning labels keep you quiet about the hope that lives inside of you!
We are just ordinary women, but we serve an extraordinary God who has us on this planet at such a time as this!
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