Thursday, March 16, 2006

You know, I really don't understand it. I was tired all day today. It's been a long week. We've had youth events 4 out of the last 7 nights. They have been really great. First we did our "True Love Waits" retreat. I don't know, there was somewhere around 50 there. Thirty-three signed commitment cards to remain sexually abstinent until marriage. (Maybe the others will remain sexually obstinate?) And then on Sunday night we went out together and ate pizza at Imo's until all I could dream of was cheese that night. Last night we had bible study and a lady from our church (who also works at the "Arms of Love Crises Pregnancy Center") came and talked about her experiences ministering in that arena.

And then tonight. Like I said, I was already tired. On top of the youth stuff I've been to some hospital's, visited some very sick people both there and at homes, worked on summer plans, and basically tried to stay out of trouble at the office. And at 7:00PM tonight JPL started. I went without much energy or desire. I had purchased supplies to run 7 games, knowing we would not get to them all. I just hate "down time" where I have to stall or kill time until bible study begins at 8:30. So I had the stuff all ready in the kitchen along with "bomb pops" and assorted flavors of soda. Music was playing on the stereo. The lights were up, the bull horns had fresh batteries, and Scott and I were as ready as we could be. But ... as I said ... tired.

Then the kids started arriving. First it was a trickle. Groups of 2 or 3 would enter and mill around the big empty room waiting for something to happen. Then some of the crazier ones came in and things would start popping. By now I had a couple of spare adults around to watch out for problems. College students actually. Their help is VERY appreciated. We were in the kitchen making final preparations and you could hear the growing roar on the other side of the door. 7:00 came and we stepped into the room, bull horns hanging from our shoulders, music blaring on the stereo ... and we cranked it up a notch. Let the fun begin! And did it ever.

It almost always happens. At that point I forget that I am tired. I suppose it's adrenaline that kicks in. Something does. And its a 2 hour roller coaster of fun mixed with work mixed with policing a ready to explode crowd of teenage energy. These are great kids. Many of them already know and love Jesus. Some have just begun on their journey. Others have made commitments and have not even had the chance to make them public in church yet. 4 of them are waiting for the baptistry heater to be repaired so that they can be baptized. How can a career youth pastor NOT get buzzed about that?

We closed out the evening with a rather odd bible study. I had a copy of some weird grocery store tabloid newspaper. The National Enquirer or something. I would read a bizarre article claiming to be true. One was about how a human virus had now mutated and was affecting computers. Riiiiiight. And then Scott would read a story from the words of Jesus taken out of Matthew's account of the sermon on the mount. I would read a story from the rag. Scott would read a story from the bible. It went back and forth like this for about 10 minutes. Then we told them about how there really is a "right" and a "wrong" in life. Situational ethics don't work. God's Word is true and ever lasting. And you know what? For the first (and only) time this night ... they listened. They were quiet. They paid attention. I told them that anytime they hear somebody tell them that they don't matter ... that they are no good ... that they are worthless ... it is just like the trash written in the tabloids. It is a lie. God made them, He loves them, and their lives have a plan and a purpose. It was not hard to see the wheels turning in some of their heads. Not all of them hear this at home. God, forgive us, but it's true. Some of these kids are pretty beaten down and live under a constant berating.

And so it's not really all that hard to come to JPL on Thursday nights. All you have to do is to stick 700 Q-Tips into a kids head (photo's available upon request!) and then they will listen to you tell them about Christ. I will never understand how those things connect. But they do. I've been doing it for quite a while now. How can I stop when they keep listening? It's a strange trade-off. But it is oh so worth it ...


Anonymous said...

We love Pastor Ron!

Anonymous said...

your games absolutely crack me's obvious you are just occupying their time until their parents pick them up.

thanks for the comment by the way :)