Today, over at Kelly's Korner, everyone is chatting about their ministry. I am truly looking forward to relaxing after a long week (the first full week I've had in a LONG time) this afternoon and reading some of her followers' stories and passions.
I don't have an incredible tale of trial and redemption. In fact, I honestly can relate more to the 2nd son - you know, the lame one who stayed home and pouted at the party - in the Parable of the Prodigal Son. I like rules. I like "being good." I thought for most of my life, that these things made me a Christian. Thankfully, my sophomore year of high school, a few young adults chose to invest in my life and my heart through the ministry of Young Life, and things have never really been the same...
For those of you unfamiliar, Young Life is a worldwide Christian outreach ministry that aims to show teenagers the joy of the Lord. Our philosophy is to meet young people "where they are" - in the high schools, at sporting events, etc. etc. etc. - and offer them a FULL LIFE through a relationship with Jesus. We don't just TALK about this relationship... We live it. At fifteen, because my YL leaders cared enough about me to invest their own precious time in my little life (and trust me, now I KNOW how precious that time really is), I began to understand the concept of grace for the first time, and being loved not because of who I am, but because of who Jesus is. Young Life introduced me to a God of adventure and freedom... Not just a God of rules and traditions.
Since high school, I have had the opportunity to become a volunteer YL leader myself in Clemson, SC and back in Roanoke. And, this year, Jeff and I stepped into the (very grown up) role of YL Committee. Incredibly, the ministry has not only drawn me more towards communion with God, but it has also showed me a tangible picture of true community through WONDERFUL friends in each stage of my life. (I promise, if you are ever moving to a new city and want to meet amazing people, contact the local Young Life director. Seriously.) In addition to this, more than ten years since first being introduced to the ministry, I continue to see God coming ALIVE in kids lives through Young Life. Working in the high schools, I see SO many teenagers hiding behind masks and fake identities... When I get the chance to sit in the back of a YL club or camp and watch "tough" guys sing their hearts out and laugh until it hurts... that is when I know my Jesus BEST.
To sum up... here are a few pictures of some of our recent "adventures" loving teenagers - and the wild extremes we sometimes take... because, after all, Jesus was all about wild extremes and breaking social norms. Thanks for visiting!!
"If we are out of our mind, it is for the sake of God; if we are in our right mind, it is for you. For Christ's love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.
So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men's sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ's ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ's behalf: Be reconciled to God. God made him who had no sin to be sin[a] for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God." - 2nd Corinthians 5: 13 - 21