being dumb a couple weeks ago and bruised rib still bothering me :(
people have their reasons and God has his.
In this passage Jesus readily invites us to seek, to inquire, to not stop looking until we find! I have to admit that I have been guilty of stopping short of the goal line at times. Jesus’ invitation to seek His Kingdom should be like a running back’s magnetism to the endzone.
We can be so easily satisfied to pick up a few yards carrying the ball and think that’s seeking. Not really. There’s no running back who is carrying the ball who would ever stop short of the endzone without being stopped. His drive, passion and goal is the endzone and nothing short of it. Ever.
Is it possible that this is what Jesus meant when he said seek his kingdom? We tend to believe that seeking God’s kingdom means praying. It is! But not that alone! Every team has a huddle (prayer) but unless they break the huddle they will never truly seek the goal!
Seeking means pushing forward. It means dragging every force of earth and hell forward with you. It means shaking off things that cling to you and throwing off the opponent that is dragging you down. It means getting back up every time you get knocked down. It means never stopping, never quitting, not even a thought of it until you are in the endzone.
Seeking means looking in directions you weren’t planning. In all athletics, gamebooks and plays are designed for certain situations. However these plays can be blown at the onset and force creativity.
A running back is gonna juke, fake, lunge, and jump in order to seek the goal. Don’t be afraid to improvise. God is the King of improvisation. Who knows? Maybe you’ve got some moves the world has yet to see but will only been seen as you seek!
Seeking means have your eyes open. No one runs with their eyes shut! How is it we try to seek God’s kingdom and yet keep our hearts, minds, and eyes closed to the people and needs around us? How can we seek the Kingdom of God and expect to find it without being willing for God to show us new and different things!
Each quarter in a football game the teams switch endzones. Don’t run in the wrong direction. There are two endzones but only one is yours! Make sure you are running in the right direction! Keep your eyes open and know your surroundings!
God invites us to seek his kingdom. To do so means we need to run toward all that is good and godly while it’s being formed around and within us. Until then keep seeking and never stop! There’s only one endzone at that’s heaven!
I just finished reading a little article about 5 things teens hide from their parents (http://www.radicalparenting.com/2011/09/24/the-5-things-teens-hide-from-their-parents/). It is an enlightening article written from the view of teens speaking to adults. Reading the article as a “parent” I can certainly see how some of these things have played out in my life with “kids” I have adopted and worked with in youth groups. The challenge for me is how do we deal with these things and address them? Even though I may be in the “know” a little quicker than some parents there is still much I’m learning in this fast changing culture of “teendom”. Here are a few precautionary tips I’d suggest in dealing with and working through these wild whitewater issues of teens’ lives.
1) A Date Isn’t A Date. I’ve seen this time and again. Teens in love don’t want to really DTR (Define The Relationship). Now whether this is because of embarrassment or fear of rejection or whatever, this is certainly a quick way to build a wall instead of a bridge. It’s oh so easy to kill the openness with your kid by overkill on the love jokes, the “like” jabs, and the poking fun of he/she being”in love”. Treading water here is tough as the fluid emotional tugs of hearts and heads and other body parts reel in wonder.
What can you do? Pray. Pray for the wise decisions. Pray for the boy/girl in the relationship. Pray for purity in their relationship. Pray for God to be the center of the friendship/relationship. Be attentive to openings to share about your own “first loves”. Don’t come at your kid with guns loaded, firing off tons of anti-sexual behavioral rhetoric. What they want most from us is freedom to express and feel love. We have to gently guide them with what proper affection and godly relationships look like. Loving on your kid is the best way to help your kid have the right kind of loving relationships. Don’t be afraid to hug your kid and say “I Love You”. They need to hear it and feel it as much as you need to say it!
2) A Spade Isn’t A Spade. Isn’t it all black and white? #@!* no! As a youth leader and even adult “parent” figure in several kid’s lives, I have had to grapple with this much over the last several years. The waters that were white-water rapids have become quite muddied with this topic. “Forbidden” language, behavior, humor and life has drastically changed from a few short years ago. Foul language, inappropriate gestures and innuendo have increased with our access to the internet and sites like http://www.urbandictionary.com. As a parent it is important to note that what we deem as unacceptable is probably very widely accepted in teen circles. Video games, movies, and music are laced with verbiage that would make any puritan blush pure red! Not to mention the violence, sex and drug/alcohol usage that is widely portrayed in almost every movie, music video and video game rated higher than “E”.
What can you do? My suggestion is make sure you are careful with what you watch and how you speak. If there’s anything that a teen needs to see in the vast sea of filth, it’s some fresh water. When we are inconsistent with what we watch, laugh at, or how we speak, it sends a mixed message. Furthermore, parental guides and locks on the TV and computer are also great places to start.
Moreover, keeping track of history, music downloads, and media of all sorts can be a great challenge but it is necessary to help your child navigate the language and temptations of life. Whether the issue is language, computer usage, video game play, there is no doubt that every parent has a great amount of which they are unaware. Learning to ask questions, doing your own homework on lyrics and keeping track of what’s being pumped into your home is part of your job. Waiting for the right timing and asserting the correct response is an artform only the Holy Spirit can guide you in!
3) Broken And Sold Out? If you ever wonder if teens have loyalty simply ask those questions. You will never get a straight answer. They will certainly defend themselves but they will never “betray” their “homies”.
What can you do? As a parent, the best thing to finding out who did something is knowing who is with your child. It narrows the field of possibilities significantly. Also make sure you pay attention to details. Your kid is very unlikely to “give up” their friend but if you are aware of as many details of your of kid’s life and surroundings, it will be easy to note when something is missing, broken or gone awry. Being attentive is the key to knowing who did what and when.
4) Forward And Standing Still. Teens don’t seem to want to pick a particular field or profession too quickly. As parents we must be careful when dreaming aloud for our children. Every parent has dreams and goals and aspirations for their kids. However, living vicariously through our kids will certainly shut down the relationship and bring you to a stand still. Many teens and children will do things to please their parents but don’t think for a second they are always gonna love you for it.
What to do? Praying for God’s best in their lives and His equipping them for His glory is far better than us pushing them or “shaping them” to our liking; even if they seem to be excelling in an area. As we have conversations about the future, it’s important to listen to what’s not being said as much as watching where their passions lie. Encouragement goes a long way. Overbearing goes nowhere!
5) Not To Read’em Is To Weep. Although I know many teens, I’m not sure how many of them are involved with gambling. I’m sure it is a problem for some. Like many other issues in life, teens who struggle with or have any kind of addiction: gambling, porn, cutting, etc. are prone to do their best to hide it from parents and other adults. It is easy these days for teens to be involved in many “hidden” activities that could amount to much debt and costly emotional and physical damage.
What to do? I cannot say it enough but pay attention to details. One thing a teen counts on with questionable/dangerous behavior is that their parents will be so busy and consumed with their own lives they won’t have time to notice the warning signs. To be sure Satan is counting on that too! Pay attention. Pray. Listen and learn. Watch and watch out because there are many rapids ahead. Almost everyone falls out of the boat at some point…but we don’t have to let anyone drown!
“refuse to expect or accept any praise that belongs to God”. swindoll