Teens, You, and God
And we have something more sure, the prophetic word, to which you will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts.
2 Peter 1:19
A [few] years ago, during the Twilight craze that was sweeping the nation and the world and causing teen girls to violently debate the merits of “Team Jacob” versus “Team Whoever” (I can’t even remember the other guy’s name), I had the privilege to teach teens at a local Bible camp and later at a youth rally in North Carolina. The lesson I gave at these events was probably very different from what the teens were expecting.
I started out each session asking how many had seen Twilight (99% had), how many went to the midnight showing on opening night (again, 99%), and how many had read the books (99% of the girls had). From there I asked them to tell me the name of the female protagonist (immediately, 100% could), the name of the actress who played her (about 99% could), the names of both of her love interests (100% again), the actors who played them (99%), the name of the town and state in which the story was set (about 90% could answer this), the titles of each of the movies and books (100%), the name of the author of the books (95% could immediately answer this one), a summation of the plot of each book and movie (99% could do this off the top of their head), and how the books were different than the movies (about 90% could immediately answer this one.)
To give the long-suffering guys (who only went to see Twilight because they wanted to please their girlfriends) a chance to play, I asked them to name me their favorite professional athlete, his age, the position he played and the team for which he played, the stats concerning how well he played and the salary he earned, the stats about their favorite team’s standing in its particular league, their favorite video game, the plot of said game, their favorite movie, the star of that movie, the character he or she played, etc., etc. As with the girls, the overwhelming majority of the guys could answer these questions correctly off the top of their heads.
I then asked how many of them were Christians. 99% raised their hands. I asked them if they loved Jesus (100%). I asked if Jesus was #1 in their lives (about 95% said yes to this; perhaps the remaining 5% could see where I was going with this by that point).
I then asked them to quote me John 3:16 and to tell me who said and to whom he said it. About 40% could answer the first two questions, and none of them knew to whom Jesus was talking when he said that. I asked them to tell me what I must do to be saved. About 60% could tell me that I needed to hear God’s Word, believe in it, repent, confess my faith, and be baptized. However, when I then asked them to show me exactly where in the Bible I could find each of those commands, only 5% could show me right then and there. About another 5-10% could after about 5-10 minutes of searching.
I then asked them if they found worship services boring. About 80% raised their hands affirmatively. I asked them how many of them had jobs, and of those who did how many gave generously to the church every Sunday. Only about 1-2% raised their hands. I then asked them if they found Twilight or football boring, and if they would spend a generous amount of money to be a part of those events if given the chance. All of them raised their hands.
I then asked them if they thought God was going to allow them to go to heaven because they cared more about a movie or a sport than about worshiping him and learning more about his Word. The point was made.
Adults who are reading this…how different are we from those teenagers, really? As Peter said above, we all would do well to pay more attention to the prophetic word…