Here are a few ways your gift will help bring the gospel to fatherless youth!
Outreach project to provide Bibles and devotional journals to fatherless youth in juvenile centers across Tennessee, Indiana, and beyond. Our other project is to provide Christmas gift bags to 200 or more teens in juvenile centers in Tennessee. Each teen will receive a gift on Christmas with personal toiletries, a Bible, and a devotional book. Your gift will impact hundreds of youth.
Some people struggle their entire life dominated by a specific sin and never experience relief. They even memorize Bible verses about it. They quote the verse when temptation comes. That’s supposed to work, right? Like taking a pill for a headache and expecting it to go away or spraying for ants and watching them roll over and die! The Bible says, “Thy word have I hid in mine heart that I might not sin against thee.” It’s right there in Psalm 119:11. So what’s the deal with all this ongoing struggle and lack of victory in our life?
Here is how the Bible solves our sin problems.
It Starts with a Complete Reliance on God.
The phrase “Thy word” tells us that God is the source of all truth and He is the source of all strength and victory. He has proclaimed Himself through His written word and His word is powerful. People have great ideas, good advice and can give all kinds of opinions but ultimately we should believe and know that God’s word trumps all other sources of wisdom. When we become fully persuaded in our heart and mind that God and God alone is enough and He is at the core of all that we believe, we are on the right foundation to experience victorious living.
We Must Allow His Word to Be Carved into Our Character.
To “hide God’s word in our heart” is much more than memorizing a Bible verse. It’s way more than that! To “hide” means to essentially be so convinced of the truth of His word that it becomes carved into the fabric of our hearts. Our heart is at the depth of who we really are… it’s deep into the core of what shapes our character and our entire belief system. We are so convinced and convicted of its truth that we are willing to say, “I don’t know that I could ever disobey God in this way… this is just so wrong and unacceptable.” It’s not that we will never sin again… but it takes our commitment to obediently follow Him to a whole new level.
The Bible Breaks the Bondage of Sin.
If I understand that He is so powerful and He is the source of all truth, and I allow His word to be carved in to the core of my heart and character, then I will experience much more victory over what used to be the bondage of sin. Sin will not be so powerful because the light of who God is will be so much more powerful.
Realize this… you and I have been given a powerful source of truth and an instruction book for life called the Bible. People throughout the ages have tried to eliminate the Bible from civilizations and many people that have gone before us have died for their belief in the Bible. People have spent their lives in prison to defend the Bible and others have sacrificed everything just to have one page of scripture. Please don’t take it for granted today and commit yourself today to start reading God’s word and trusting it with all your heart!
If you struggle to read the Bible you are not alone. When I was a youth pastor in Indianapolis, IN I surveyed our youth group of almost 100 teens about their relationship with the Bible. Most of them were living in strong Christian homes and were attending church and youth group weekly. I found that only 20% of them ever opened the Bible on their own during the week. So, 80% of them never read the Bible on their own. But let’s be honest… this struggle is common among so many of us!
As I think back to my teenage years, I remember struggling with Bible reading too.
One of the reasons I struggled with my relationship with the Bible is that I thought I needed to read A LOT of the Bible for it to count. But I learned later on that it’s not about reading chapters and chapters in the Bible, it’s that we just get into the Word, that counts.
So, I created a process to encourage teens to read smaller portions of scripture and make short entries in a spiritual journal. I learned that reading literally 5-15 Bible verses a day was a game-changer. After deciding to read smaller portions in the Bible, over 80% of the teens in the same group were reading the Bible at least 4 out of 7 days each week!
Think about this quote. “You will be the same person in five years you are today except for the people you meet and the books you read.” Charlie Jones, author of Life Is Tremendous.
So, if reading can change a person so dramatically… imagine how much more enriched our life would be if we read the Bible… the most powerful book ever written?
So here’s my challenge to you… begin to read with a desire to grow! This is different than reading out of obligation to complete an assignment. And make reading the Bible a top priority.
Here Are 9 Benefits of Reading the Bible From Psalm 119
1. Victory Over Sin In Your Life
Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee. Verse 11
2. Cleansing From Sin
Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to thy word. Verse 9
3. More Joy
I have rejoiced in the way of thy testimonies, as much as in all riches. Verse 14
4. Wisdom and Direction
Open thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law. Verse 18
5. You Will Be Revived… Rejuvenated
Consider how I love thy precepts: quicken me, O Lord, according to thy lovingkindness. Verse 159
6. Renewed Strength
Hold thou me up, and I shall be safe: and I will have respect unto thy statutes continually. Verse 117
7. You Will Experience Liberty and Freedom
And I will walk at liberty: for I seek thy precepts. Verse 45
8. Less Shame and Embarrassment
I will speak of thy testimonies also before kings, and will not be ashamed. Verse 46
9. Comfort in Affliction
This is my comfort in my affliction: for thy word hath quickened me. Verse 50
Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me. Psalm 51:10
Have you ever heard the phrase “they don’t know what they don’t know?” If you have, you know this; it wasn’t a compliment.
You really can’t afford to pay the high price of living life in ignorance. The saying, “Ignorance is bliss,” doesn’t produce a fruitful life.
Proverbs 1 talks about the beginning of knowledge and wisdom. Where does a person start if they want to be wise? It begins with listening.
Some of the most repeated phrases in the vocabulary of a parent might be,
“Are you listening to me?”
“You’re not listening.”
“Did you hear me?
It’s not that all children struggle to hear the sounds of their parents’ voices; it’s just that they struggle to desire to hear parental instruction.
If you become a person of character, you won’t get there by ignoring God’s instructions for living.
Proverbs 1:1-7 talks about where the starting point is to achieve wisdom and character. Knowing, understanding, and receiving God’s wisdom begins with a teachable spirit. That teachable spirit, rooted in humility, is manifested in a heart that desires to listen and hear the instructions that come from God. You can start right where you are, even if you feel you are so far behind and begin right now attaining God’s wisdom.
Let the wise hear and increase in learning. Proverbs 1:5
And the one who understands obtains guidance. Proverbs 1:5
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction. Proverbs 1:7
Here is the reality. You can live however you want. God doesn’t make you listen to Him, and He doesn’t force you to obey Him. But He warns you; it is a foolish person who chooses to live life despising the wisdom and guidance God can provide.
It starts with doing what you know He says to be true. Start today by obeying Him as you read and understand the instructions He gives in Proverbs 1.
Do you not yet understand, or remember the five loaves of the five thousand and how many baskets you took up? Matthew 16:9
Don’t forget the bread! That was Christ’s message to His disciples. He could have said; it’s not really about the bread.
Here is a problem Christians face, and it is a problem the disciples dealt with while walking with Jesus. Jesus had just been talking with the Pharisees and Sadducees. They left this discourse, and the disciples realized they had forgotten to bring bread to eat. They were pretty stressed about forgetting the bread and wondered how they were going to eat.
Jesus said, “Do you not yet understand, or remember the five loaves of the five thousand and how many baskets you took up?” Matthew 16:9.
But He wasn’t really concerned about the bread. He was addressing another issue. The disciples were very good at standing against those who outwardly stood against Christ. But they were often vulnerable when they interacted with hypocrites. People who presented themselves as sincere, and religious. The disciples (and Christians today) can be susceptible to help and believe those who say the right words. Sometimes we engage with people we think are sincere but turn out to be nothing they claim to be.
Jesus was very concerned about the impact the Pharisees and Sadducees would have on His disciples. He called them the “leaven.” He warned them not to get involved with them because spiritual people united with hypocrites were like bad leaven that spoiled the entire loaf.
Jesus was saying, “It’s not about the bread. I will provide for you. It’s about you choosing wisdom in your relationships.”
10 Bible Verses To Bring Comfort2 Corinthians 1:3-4
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.
Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; For You arewith me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.
This is my comfort in my affliction, For Your word has given me life.
For He shall give His angels charge over you, To keep you in all your ways.
He shall cover you with His feathers, And under His wings you shall take refuge; His truth shall be your shield and buckler.
He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High Shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.
Thought For Today
Nothing has changed my life like the Word of God. The scriptures are a powerful source of comfort in difficult times, but I’ve noticed something about my relationship with God. If I turn to the scriptures as the source of truth for everything, His Word becomes deeply comforting when I need comfort.
If I neglect the scriptures and only read the word when I “need something” it takes longer to get my mind and heart in the right place to process all that God has to offer. Make your relationship with the Word a regular part of your life. Learn to enjoy Him daily.
After twenty-one years in church youth ministry I established an outreach ministry in 2008 with a key focus on reaching troubled youth in the community of Indianapolis, Indiana. Our ministry moved to Tennessee in July 2010 and I continue to minister to high-risk and fatherless youth.