Just came from our Youth Victory Weekend in Antipolo. What a truly awesome time we all had. It wasn't without its challenges but I believe God was there in our presence and the young people who participated encountered Him.
It was my first time to teach in Victory Weekend. I taught on how to have victory over addictions. I was so nervous being up there teaching. But it's something I've always wanted to do but was too scared to. Thank God for His grace that is always more than enough. I know that the Holy Spirit had His way with me because what I ended up saying was far from what I had on my first draft. The ideas and illustrations that came to mind days approaching Saturday helped the young women understand and identify the addictions in their lives and how to overcome them.
God has taught me so many things these past few days (again, some of them I learned the hard way aka I made some mistakes but the Holy Spirit quickly pointed them out):
1. I need rest. I slept a total of 10 hours the past three days. Two hours on Thursday, Two hours on Friday and six hours last night. Not good. God's been dealing with my lack of rest. When I don't rest, I become irritable. Again, not good. Tonight, I will get eight hours of sleep.
2. Security comes ONLY from God. If you try to find it elsewhere, you end up hurt and even more insecure than you were in the first place. God's been dealing with a particular thing the past few months. I thought it would never come but it's true God will cut off branches that do not bear fruit.
3. People are not perfect. You may want them to be, you may pray that they would be but because we live in a fallen world, they never are. I need to learn to accept and embrace just as God did and is still doing with my severely imperfect self.
4. Church is family. This is connected to #3. Just because people love the Lord does not mean that they will not offend you. But when they do, you need to forgive and get over it. No matter how utterly infuriating some people may be, I need to love them. Why? Because church is family.
5. Christianity is all-access. You can't be Christlike only in chosen areas of our lives. We can't say in ministry, in church, in leadership, at work, I will be like Christ but in other areas, I can be whoever I want to be and act whatever way I want. Christianity comes with a hefty price tag and Jesus never hid that fact from us. Having said this, as Christian leaders, we need to be especially careful with the choices we make, the jokes we choose to say, the way we act, what we talk about when only close friends are around. Fun is good. I'm all for it. But not at the expense of Christ-like character, not at the expense of the very people we are trying to mentor.
6. Practice what you preach. We cannot be teaching people things we are not prepared to do... Wait, let me rephrase, we cannot be teaching people things we are not doing in our own lives.
7. Discipleship is teaching people to follow Christ. Not us. Not what we do. Not our attitude. Not our flawed characters. Not our faulty ways. We point them to the Word and teach them to obey what it says.
8. Ladies, it's important to set our standards high. Do not have someone in mind when setting standards. If you have a particular guy in mind that you're interested in at the time you do this, chances are you will set your standards to fit him. Ask God what you need to be looking for in a man. He will be more than pleased that you asked. Also, do not just listen to what a man has to say, look at his character. He can scream all he wants about integrity, purity, faithfulness, but it amounts to nothing if it's not evident in his life.