I’ve been oddly and unexpectedly reflective these last few days, mostly due to a conversation I had last week that was a kind of perspective on working with youth . . . and ultimately how it’s changed since I my days as a teenager.
I found the conversation frustrating, even though what was being said was pertinent and powerful. But I felt . . . still feel . . . that something was missing, like an unnecessary sophistication had taken over. That joy and happiness and something about a deep knowledge of Jesus through the Spirit was missing. That something about sin had been psychologized in a way that might help as an adult but maybe not as someone younger with wider eyes (who is utterly aware of the depths of the sinful nature).
Two things in particular have come back to my memory. One of them was the role that Chuck Swindoll’s teaching shaped me. There was one particularly series, a short one titled Intimacy with the Almighty, that started by articulating two understandings of intimacy. First: actual closeness with someone. In devotional terms, this is time spent alone with God. Second: a kind of becoming like someone because of that proximity. At least that’s how I remember it. And I like the “handle” of it.
The second memory was of going through the youth edition of Experiencing God with the youth group. I’ve been thinking about the “seven principles” of the series and have found them wonderfully beautiful-yet-packed in their simplicity. A more complicated me sees them and can easily say “but what about” in the way the principles are articulated. And yet . . . it is true that God is always at work around you and that He desires a love relationship with you.
Surfing the web today I discovered that Steven Curtis Chapman had penned another song and released it a few months ago. Not sure how I missed it. But I am glad that I found it this afternoon after an unexpectedly long and frustrating day. The guy has aged . . . as have we all. And that’s okay. Here’s the video for the song. It’s a nice blessing at this point in the journey. I don’t plan on being swamped in nostalgia. But I want to “remember to remember” and to mindful of the deep joy and gladness to be found in Jesus that kind of feels at odds with the way so many of us now talk about the Christian faith.