After 20 years of working with students you learn a thing or two. At least I hope I've learned a thing or two. After all the message prep, study, writting, rewritting, teaching, preaching, discipling, and praying there are three simple messages that I want students to know and remember. Aside from all the series, topics, and crazy intense discussions, I believe we can boil everything down to 3 simple lessons; that we LOVE GOD, LOVE JESUS, and LOVE EACH OTHER.
Simple? Yes, I know.
Obvious? Maybe. But maybe not.
Lately, I have been thinking alot of about what it looks like to be a follower of Jesus. What is it that the Bible teaches the most about how we are to live? What themes or principles are constantly reoccurring in what God wants, in what Jesus teaches, and in how we are commanded to be? In just about every case you can bring it back to these three things, to LOVE GOD, to LOVE JESUS, and to LOVE EACH OTHER.
These are the themes that I find myself most wanting to practice in my life, as well as being the top three themes I want to teaching to my family and my church. But as I think about these themes and the simplicity of each one, I often wonder if we skip over teaching them because it's just assumed that we know them. Sometimes I think we might take for granted that our student know and practice these 3 topics. But I have learned never to take anything for granted, especially when in comes to students and expecting them to know what God requires.
Along with all that we teach our students, whether it comes from up front, in small group discipleship, or in one-on-one discipleship, these three things must be reinforced every opportunity ou have.
1. LOVE GOD.
No brainer, right? Our students could probably quote back to us, Matthew 22:37 & 38. We are to love God with our heart, mind and soul. Ask your students, how are we to love God, some of them might actually say, Love God with heart, mind and soul. But it's another question to ask them, What does it look like in your every day life for you love God? Or even better, let's ask it the way Rick Lawrence, author of The Jesus Centered Youth Ministry. He suggests that we ask such questions by way of the surprise, the specific and the personal. So we might say, "If you were to open up your weekly calendar, at what points during the day, and in what ways might you demostrate your love for Go? (Okay, Rick might not ask it this way because I have 2 questions in one.) But you get the point, right?
Tell our students to love God is great. But what are we doing to making that statement something thats tangible in their lives?