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The biggest problem facing preteens and teenagers is their view of Jesus Christ. The next generation is holding onto a “Little Jesus.”

It is convenient to view Jesus as small enough to fit in your pocket. However, the problem with this way of thinking is that if Jesus is small enough to fit in your pocket and only be pulled out when needed, then He is small enough to be put right back into the pocket and forgotten.

Preteens and teenagers have a weak view of the Messiah, and guess who gave it to them? You and me. We have lived in front of these students with a weak faith and an inadequate view of Christ. This weak faith is leading them to walk away from church at an alarming rate. Now, the view that we have passed on to them has put the future of their faith and the Church in jeopardy.

For a better understanding of the faith of preteens and teenagers, I encourage you to read this article on the research from the National Study of Youth and Religion at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

So what is the solution to this problem?

The solution is a “Big Jesus.” The solution is to help the Church—students and adults—to unpack who Jesus really is. Talk about it, teach it, live it. Do everything to help them see the full glory of Christ. When we find out who Jesus really is, it changes everything.

So, who is your Jesus—big or small?

How do we teach preteens and teenagers to view Christ as who he really is?

(Want to understand more about the Supremacy of Christ, start with reading Hebrews 1)

If you’ve never shared Christmas with a 16 month old, I highly recommend it. It was a special time at our house as we got to discuss God’s gift of Jesus (or “she-suz” as our daughter says). The lights, the presents, and visits with family were all so much fun, but my favorite moment was one small present.

The present was a small 5×7 photo frame that held a blessing for our daughter. The blessing is an affirmation of worth and calling. The blessing is to help our daughter recognize her purpose in God’s story, and to request His presence in her life. It simply reads:

You are a blessing from God. He created you in a wonderful way for a wonderful purpose, and He has great plans for you.

May the Lord show you His grace and peace each day, and may you shine His light to the world in everything you do.

We wrote this blessing and placed in the frame so that it could be a part of our every day routine. Each night as we prepare for bed, we hold the frame in the lap of our daughter and read these words to her. It has become a part of the routine that she expects and reminds us to do.

When she opened the gift, she tossed it to the side in favor of some toys and crayons, and I know she doesn’t fully understand what we’re saying to her as we read the words. However, I know that the daily reading of this blessing will help her to understand her value to God and help us all to rely more on Him for her upbringing.

If you are a parent, especially of a preteen, I encourage you to find a way to bless your child. In a period where they are seeking value and purpose, a blessing can help them to focus on how to engage the purpose that God has created them to fulfill.

If you’re interested in learning more about writing a blessing or being a part of a new movement related to a child’s blessing, check out Blessing Your Child by Dr. Trent & Focus on the Family.

If you’re a sports fan, you’ve probably heard the recent news about University of Georgia football coach, Mark Richt. Apparently, Richt violated NCAA policies by paying his staff members out of his own pocket because he felt they weren’t fairly paid. Randy Chambers, with BleacherReport.com, reports that Richt and his wife have 2 checking accounts. The first is for their own needs, and the other has become known as “the giving account.” This account was used to help his staff members when they were in need.

For example, Richt personally paid an assistant coach’s 5-year bonus of $15,000 because the university refused to pay. The coach had taken another job just shy of the actual 5-year date, but Richt did the right thing and paid the bonus. According to multiple reports, Richt used over $25,000 of his personal money to compensate his staff.

While the NCAA may need to “punish” him for breaking a rule, don’t you want to work for someone like Mark Richt? He literally put his money where his mouth is to show his staff that they had value to him. That is a sign of great leadership.

I can remember attending Catalyst a few years ago and hearing John Maxwell speak on “Adding Value to People.” The main point of his message was, “If we don’t value people, we will devalue people.” Maxwell gave these 4 points on how to add value to people:

  • Value People
  • Make Yourself More Valuable
  • Know and Relate to What Other People Value
  • Do the Things God Values

Here is his talk from Catalyst:

Last week, I entered a time of rest. My family and I rented a cabin in the Ozark Mountains, and we just got away for a few days. It was an awesome time spent with my wife and daughter, but it was also a sweet time of peace for me.

I decided before leaving for the trip that I would not be taking my computer or anything work related. I limited the use of my phone to a few minutes in the morning and a few minutes at night. Our daughter is 1 ½ and needs naps, so we worked naptime into the schedule for everyone each day.  I spent the days resting, connecting with my family, and just having a good time.

I’ve been guilty of stuffing vacations so full of activities that you need a day to recover from the vacation! This time was different. We shared some great family time, but it was much more about taking a moment to catch up and breathe. I’m so thankful that my wife got to have that time, and I feel blessed and refreshed after our trip.

I hope that you can take a moment in this season to get away and rest.

5 Yes, my soul, find rest in God;
   my hope comes from him.
6 Truly he is my rock and my salvation;
   he is my fortress, I will not be shaken.
7 My salvation and my honor depend on God;
   he is my mighty rock, my refuge.
8 Trust in him at all times, you people;
   pour out your hearts to him,
   for God is our refuge.  

Psalm 62