Josh’s Blog – August 2016

Hi Church,

We have started this term in the youth group a series of doing hard things. And so I’d thought I’d share with you a little of what we’re going to be talking about. Nothing worthwhile is ever easy. It takes hard work and a willingness to work at something. You have to be willing to do the hard things if you want to succeed or if you want to feel as though you have accomplished something. In a Simpson episode, Bart gives up on trying to play the guitar. When Homer asks him about why he doesn’t play the guitar anymore, Bart replies “I’ll tell you the truth Dad, I wasn’t good at it right away so I quit – I hope you’re not mad” Homer, in only the way Homer can, says to him “Son, come ere’, of course I’m not mad. If something is hard to do then it’s not worth doing. You just stick that guitar in your closet next your short-wave radio, your karate outfit and your unicycle and we’ll go inside and watch TV.” “What’s on?” “It doesn’t matter…” That can be fairly a typical response for a lot of people, and we’re not just talking about those who are outside the church. Jesus said that the way is narrow – it is hard. “13 “Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. 14 For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.” Matthew 7:13-14 What do you notice about what Jesus said? The way to destruction is easy… Many choose the easy option… The best way is the hard way… Few choose the hard way… Jesus says that narrow gate leads to a “hard” road, one that will take us through hardships and difficult decisions. Following Jesus requires dying to ourselves (Luke 9:23, Galatians 2:20; 5:24; Romans 6:2), living by faith (Romans 1:17; 2 Corinthians 5:7; Hebrews 10:38), enduring trials like Jesus (James 1:2–3, 12; 1 Peter 1:6), and living a lifestyle separate from the world (James 1:27; Romans 12:1–2). When faced with the choice between a narrow, bumpy road and a wide, paved highway, most of us choose the easier road. Human nature gravitates toward comfort and pleasure. When faced with the reality of denying themselves to follow Jesus, most people turn away (John 6:66). Jesus never sugar-coated the truth, and the truth is that not many people are willing to pay the price to follow Him. Jesus said that He is the gate (John 10:9) and the way to Heaven (John 14:6). It, therefore, requires us to put our complete faith in him in all situations and do what he has asked us to do. This term in the youth group we are going to begin to explore some of these hard things. We’re gonna challenge ourselves, leaders included, to do the hard things in a life of faith. What are you facing at the moment that is really hard? Can you see which path to take? The easy path? The hard way? Maybe you might also take the challenge to do the hard things and walk the harder path.

Josh