In this regular feature, Dave and Tom respond to questions from listeners and readers of The Berean Call.Here is this week’s question:“Dear Dave and TA:By the grace of God, our church has avoided getting caught up in the Purpose Driven promotions, but now I am a little concerned about what I’m hearing from my son about what our youth pastor is introducing.It sounds like he’s trying to raise the spiritual bar for our young people through some of the methods I’ve read about in the contemplative and emerging church movement.The pastor is a terrific young man who loves the Lord.Do you have any suggestions as to how I should approach him?”
Well, he could use the approach of Isaiah through the Holy Spirit to the law and the testimony, if they speak not according to this Word there is no light in them.So, I think, Dave—well, first of all let me say this.I think being a youth pastor is one of the toughest jobs there is on the face of the earth.You want to say about pressure to keep the kids in, you want to talk about pressure to keep all these young people—not in line per say, but keep them interested in the Word of God.It’s like an impossible task, so I would say you have to go to—and this young man in this case—very carefully with prayer and speak to him about what he’s doing and have him show you chapter and verse as to why it’s true to the Word of God.
I got a little bit confused there, Tom, about raising the bar, lowering the bar, I would say.But then you could say, Well, he’s trying to make them more spiritual by the wrong methods.Well, Tom, how to interest young people in the Word of God.Peter says:As new born babes, desire in the sincere milk of the Word.Now, how in the world are we going to get a baby to be interested in milk and wanting to feed?Well, if it has life, that’s what it’s going to do.And if there is real life in these, you know, and I think there is probably not real life in many, if not most of these young people.They’ve been raised in so-called Christian environment, maybe Christian parents in this church.A lot of it has been emotionalism.I was just talking to my barber today and cut my hair.He goes to a church, and I said to him, I’m sorry, but definitely emotionalism over there.You guys get all excited about getting excited, about getting excited about God or about Jesus.We need some doctrine, we need some Truth, we need facts to base our experiences upon.And maybe, a lot of these young people, that’s what they’ve been kind of raised on, and this is what they want.So, Tom, as you’ve often said, I’ve often said it, if you’re going to bring them into the church with entertainment, you can only keep them by entertainment, and you’re up against the big entertainer—Hollywood, and the world out there—and I don’t think we can compete.In fact, we’re not supposed to compete, and Tom, I just keep going back to a letter from a communist down in Mexico, young man that Bill McDonald quotes,I think it’s in True Discipleship.This young man was engaged, he went to Mexico on a mission, not for the Lord, but for the communist party, and he finally wrote back breaking his engagement.He said:I am involved in something that is far more important than myself or my own selfish desires.I will die for this.Now, this is not entertainment, this is something.Christ surely is worth living for and dying for and following Him, and He said:Take up the cross and follow me, deny yourself—contrary to what we’ve been talking about in psychology, self-actualization, self-esteem, self-love and so forth.Christ said:Deny yourself, take up your cross and follow me.Now Tom, life is very short, and I know it’s hard for young people to understand that, but I have seen young people who would give their lives for Christ.Some of them would go on the mission field willing to die.We’ve got suicide bombers, Muslims, they are willing to die because they think that will get them to heaven.We’ve got Christian young people—Tom, I’m really getting angry now—Christian young people, all we want to do is entertain them, make them feel good about themselves.This is not Christianity, this is not what we are called to.Let’s give them something worth living for and worth dying for, and you don’t need that kind of entertainment.
Dave, I’ve asked you this before, and I love just hearing your answer.Now you’ve been reading the Bible for at least 70 years and more, and I’ve been hanging around you for 30 years and it’s like every year you’re more excited about the Bible this year than you were the year before.How is that?I mean, you read something over and over again, it doesn’t get boring or stale—we’ve been told that—we need something new, we need to get something going here, we need to reinvent this and that.
The simple secret, Tom, is that it is the Word of God!This is God’s love letter to mankind.And since God wrote it, it is beyond plumbing the depths of this, it just goes and goes and goes.Every time I read it I get new insights, I mean, look at that, wow!Well, you know, I am so stupid I didn’t see that there before, and I’m sure when we get to heaven God will blow our minds.Well, we will suddenly know as we are known, but now we see through a glass darkly.But Tom, look, I often used to say to young people, the quarterback- that just won the super bowl—Oh, he’s a good friend of mine, let me introduce you to him—Oh, Wow, you kids would be all excited!Wait a minute, let me introduce you to the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, who created this universe, who came to this earth, loved you so much He died for you on the cross.Okay?Well now, if I paid you—look, what do you want, a hundred thousand dollars a year?I’ll pay you a hundred thousand dollars a year if you will spend one hour a day in Bible study.Wow, they would all sign up!Well, wait a minute, how about eternity?How about an eternal reward, infinite reward forever and ever?You’re going to have to have a heart for God, you’re going to have to have a love for His Word, and somehow, it’s not going to be instilled with junk food—spiritual junk food and entertainment.