Hold on!

Being a Christian today and following Jesus is not so obvious and certainly not easy. This certainly applies to teenagers, they have a lot to deal with. There is a lot of distraction, temptation and deception. Last week I was allowed to lead the Royal Adventure teen program at the Betteld campsite in Zelhem. Royal Mission has been leading children’s and teenagers’ work there during the summer holiday weeks for about 7 years now. Since this season we also do this during the autumn holidays and the May holidays. It offers us inspiring opportunities to bring teenagers, who are on holiday with their parents and relaxing, into contact (again) with the King of Kings. There is often a lot of openness and time to allow God’s work into your heart. Special things happen. Teenagers who come to faith from nothing, but also touches by God’s Spirit in healing and liberation. Teenagers discover again that they are made in God’s image and likeness and discover that they can find their identity in Jesus. These are impressive experiences for the teenagers who see and experience this. When a large group of teenagers are together like this and are excited about following Jesus, it is like a blazing fire. When they are back home after a week like this and are on their own, the challenge of persevering begins again and again. The burning coals seem to extinguish somewhat without each other. It really turns out to be a choice to have quiet time alone and to seek moments with their Heavenly Father every day. Their own patterns, which were often formed in the past in all kinds of circumstances, often resurface. I totally recognize that from when I was a teenager myself. I also went to various teen camps and events where I was nourished and built up in my relationship with God. Those were wonderful times. I met new friends there, we did great activities, they were wonderful experiences. My relationship with God also developed in that casual, pleasant and safe atmosphere. Wow, when I think back on that, I notice that I really learned to believe there. There my faith descended from my head to my heart. There a living relationship with my Lord and Savior was born. It was at that time that I gave my life completely to Jesus and have never regretted it until today. When I brought my own children to such a wonderful event today (SQUARE), my prayer was also: ‘Lord, touch them as you touched me’. However, my teenage years were also a time of choice. What did I do if many students in my class cursed and smoked? Did I dare to pray for my food during my internship? I dared to tell them what I had done during the weekend when my classmates asked if I had experienced anything. The answer is ‘yes’, but that was not easy. I was sometimes laughed at, but to my surprise I was also respected. I dared to be myself and that was appreciated. Do you dare to be yourself? Do teenagers you know dare to be themselves? Today, in a society that calls itself less and less Christian, this is often even more difficult than 20 years ago. On the other hand, it also offers great opportunities. Teenagers find it interesting when you really believe in a God who created everything instead of the stories they hear at school about evolution. Especially when you can tell that God has touched your life and you want to trust and follow Him. That’s very strange and makes you curious at the same time. I learned then that after one of those teenage camps where I had been close to God, I could continue for longer and longer periods of time and continue to build my relationship with my Heavenly Father. It worked. The dips that came over time became shorter and the periods when I spent time with Jesus became longer and longer. At a certain point I could conclude that following Jesus had become part of my life. I was about 18 years old at the time. Following Jesus gives the life you are looking for. This applies not only to teenagers, but to everyone, at any time and in any place. Following Jesus costs a lot, but it brings you everything you long for deep down. Hold on! Hebrews 12:1-3 1 Now that we are surrounded by such a multitude of witnesses of faith, let us also throw off the burden of sin that keeps entangling us and run with determination the race that is set before us. 2 Let us keep our eyes on Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith: thinking of the joy that was set before him, he was not deterred by the shame of the cross. He stood his ground and took his place at the right side of the throne of God. 3 Consider how he stood his ground when sinners so opposed him, so that you may not lose heart and give up.

About Gerlof Wiersma

Man van Margreet - Vader van drie kanjers - Jeugdwerker, spreker en gepassioneerd voor de PKN

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