Wednesday, June 29, 2005

[NOTE: 3 different responses are below]

[Below are replies to Andrew Strom's article, "TO THE YOUTH OF AMERICA" - which can be found at- ]

My name is Jenelle. I am 19 years old. When I was younger my family and a lot of our friends went through a lot of bad stuff with this church we went to. There was a church split, a lot of corruption, and some real cultish stuff between the pastor and the congregation.

My family and many others were ostricized for having disagreements with what was going on, and that scarred my family, specifically my three sisters, who one by one got caught up into the world and themselves. I decided I never wanted to get sucked into all the things they went through, and I kept seeking God for guidance.

High School was very hard for me. I had friends, mostly everyone liked me. I was funny, outgoing and I was a good friend. That was the problem. Everything was too good. I was never satisfied with always trying to satisfy. I wanted to be different, set apart. I didn't feel comfortable being comfortable. You get the point. I was basic- ally the only Christian in high school. I didn't know how to really be set apart, so I just prayed. I prayed and wept for my friends almost every night my junior year, and things started happening. My friends started to come to me and open up and ask me questions about God. It was really exciting for a while, but then they slowly stopped asking questions, and for whatever stupid reason, I stopped praying. I became very frustrated and I lost hope. I had planted the seeds, I listened, I waited, but I was done waiting. I wanted results. So I basically gave up. I figured it was my turn to have fun and so I acted as perverse and foolish as everyone else. I said my little prayers once in a while to check in with God to make sure He hadn't abandoned me yet, and God forgive me, I kept Jesus on the shelf for when I needed Him the most. Next thing you know, I was standing in front of hundreds of people accepting my High School Diploma. While I stood there smiling at the crowd, I looked at the faces of all the students and teachers, and I felt like a failure. I had gotten two awards, something I had been waiting for for years, and I couldn't shake the thought... "Would I, if I had never given up?" I realized then I never gave up on the students, I had given up on God.

Since this time last year, I have gone to Africa and preached, and written worship songs that the adults ooh and aahh over. And I feel I am right back where I started, trying to make all my friends happy. I won't be satisfied anymore with adults looking at me and saying "You are so special. You have such a heart for God." If I'm so special and if I have such a heart for God, then why am I sitting in this pew hearing the same message about "God is so good" and "He will never leave nor forsake us." Why am I not out on the streets telling people about it? Too many Christians have way too much knowledge, and far too little faith, including me.

Going to church is stressful for me. I have a lot of walls up from bad experiences with pastors and "organizations." I can't sit in church without thinking at least 5 times, no matter how good the sermon is: "Why are we sitting here... why is everyone in here a firm believer in evangelism, and yet there are no unsaved people?" I recently read your article "To the Youth In America." I immediately went in my room and wept and repented for my complacency. I used to see this vision when I was alone. It was only a moment but it sticks clear in my mind. Thousands of teens together, praying and singing. But, they are never jumping up and down or enjoying a moment of blissful worship. They are weeping. They are on their knees, wailing for God to use them and to save this generation. There's a stage too, but the person on stage isn't calling out "repent, repent!" They are on their knees as well, asking the same: Forgive me, use me, and save this Generation.

I believe the church does need to repent (more than once have I had to walk out of a service to stop myself from screaming or breaking something), and I believe the youth of this generation are called to not be comfortable and to challenge the religious. What you wrote in that article reminded me of a song I just wrote. It's about America in it's sickness, and how the only way for it to heal, is to start with ourselves. It's not just about the government or the rich, but for me, it's especially for Christians. [-BELOW]-

"God Save America"

We've got all this and we've got all that
And we know who we are
We've got the sick and
We've got the orphans
How are we any better?

God save America
We've lost ourselves
Stand beside us
Forgive us
For the poor are still poor
And I've lost nothing

Some lose hope and never find it
Some succeed and
Live life blinded
When we lose we
Still have more than
Some could ever dream of having

God save America
We've lost ourselves
Stand beside us
Forgive us
For the poor are still poor
And I've lost nothing

God Save America
We've lost ourselves
Stand beside us
Forgive us
When we gain more we forget all the poor
We gain more and forget all the poor.

Me and three other young people are "taking over" (with the board's permission, thank God) this Christian coffeehouse that has become a little non-denominational performance thing for Christians. (The original vision was for teens, but it failed). It is in a perfect location for outreach, and we are very excited because there are so many youth groups and barely any outreach in my area. Please, I ask you to pray for this coffeehouse, because there is already opposition and we are so desperate to see change.
(2) "LET the YOUTH RISE UP!"
- by 'Revolution'.

It is time for the youth to get serious about God! Why are we letting the devil take over our world, schools, and even our churches? Why are we sitting by and watching our friends get further and further from Jesus? Lets take no more of it! I myself am a teen so I know what supposedly Christian teens are doing. We are letting our friends and people in our church gossip, lie, etc! We are afraid of g anything because we don't want to appear uncool or a goodytwoshoes. Well, the choices are now in front of you.You can't be in the middle any more! It is time for you to stand up or sit down!
(3) KIRSTEN writes:

I am 17.... I see what you see, and my heart groans and weeps. The Lord moved me to Mexico for the summer. I have no room, I live out of a suitcase of freebees and thrift shop clothes.... all I have to do is learn Spanish to widen my sphere of who I may minister to. I have nothing to do but meet with God and encounter Him in His word.... I dont know the whole reason, but that is what I am doing....

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