Be A Colorful Christian (Youth Sunday – 5/1/2016)

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The writer of this Psalm 71 appears to be an older man who’s asking God to strengthen him. His enemies see he is losing his strength so they’re attacking him. He starts out by asking God to strengthen him, protect him and deliver him for his enemies.

Psalm 71:1-8 In you, Lord, I have taken refuge; let me never be put to shame. In your righteousness, rescue me and deliver me; turn your ear to me and save me. Be my rock of refuge, to which I can always go; give the command to save me, for you are my rock and my fortress. Deliver me, my God, from the hand of the wicked, from the grasp of those who are evil and cruel. For you have been my hope, Sovereign Lord, my confidence since my youth. From birth I have relied on you; you brought me forth from my mother’s womb. I will ever praise you. I have become a sign to many; you are my strong refuge. My mouth is filled with your praise, declaring your splendor all day long.

The author says he has followed God from the moment he was born through his youth into adulthood. Later in the psalm, he states that as an older man, he’s still trusting God.

There are a lot of older adults in worship throughout the week who have also been trusting Jesus since they were infants. They were raised in the church and are still practicing their faith. Unfortunately, there are also a lot of people in our community who were raised in the church but aren’t worshipping the Lord anymore. They’ve turned away from walking with Jesus and serving him.

This happens because of the illusions the world tries to teach us. The world tries to convince us that we don’t need to follow Jesus when we grow up. It says other things in life are more important than Jesus. Making money and buying things is what determines how successful the world says we are. It also tries to tell us that being a Christian is boring. If you and I aren’t careful, we too can fall for these illusions and quit following Jesus.

There is one simple thing we can do to help us stay faithful to Jesus. Do you know what that is? Never grow up. Jesus said in Mark 10:13-1613 People were bringing little children to Jesus for him to place his hands on them, but the disciples rebuked them. 14 When Jesus saw this, he was indignant. He said to them, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. 15 Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.16 And he took the children in his arms, placed his hands on them and blessed them.

Do you notice that Jesus didn’t say our faith needs to be like an adult’s, but like a child’s? So the next time your mom is frustrated with you in church and says, “Will you grow up?” you can look at her and say, “But mom, Jesus says I don’t have to.” Actually, please don’t do that. In most areas of life, we do need to grow up and you must listen to your parents. Even our understanding of Jesus should mature. But our faith should always be like that of little children. If we keep our faith like this we’ll be more colorful Christians. Children are typically more colorful than adults are.

 In what ways should our faith be childlike and colorful?

The first is in the area of Fun. Some people forget how to have fun when they grow up. They’re just too serious. They think people in church should always be solemn because we don’t have time for foolishness. They’re afraid that if they laugh in church their face will freeze and bust apart like the Kraken did at the end of the Clash of the Titans movie.

Christians should not quit having fun when they grow up. Several years ago, I went out for breakfast with a friend of mine. I ordered a western omelet. After we ate I stepped up to cash register to pay bill. The lady behind counter, who attended another church in the area, asked “Was everything OK?” The simple answer was “Yes” because the meal was good.

Before I proceed with the story, let me ask you something: “Has someone ever asked you a question where the answer should have been a simple “yes” but another answer popped into your mind and you couldn’t help but share it because it was so brilliant?” That’s what happened to me so I said, “Well, the menus said ‘western omelet’ but the eggs tasted to me like they came from the east coast.”

If someone said something like this to you, would you take it serious? No, I wouldn’t either. But this Christian lady looked at me and sarcastically said, “Well, ‘western omelet’ just means what ingredients are in it.” I wanted to say, “Instead of giving the tip to the waitress, I should give it to you so you can buy a sense of humor.” But I didn’t. I knew to stop talking.

This Christian lady forgot how to have fun and laugh. Never do this. One day in the future you will be leaders in the congregations you attend. In many ways you’ll do church much different than we do. Don’t forget to keep it fun as you minister to others.

The second way we should be colorful and childlike is by doing exactly what Jesus said. We need to be childlike in our Faith.

When my daughters, Katie and Rachel, were young, they would run up to me so I could toss them in the air and catch them on the way down. As I was doing this, my mom would comment, “They have no fear.” They weren’t afraid because they trusted me to catch them.

Too many adult Christians are afraid to trust Jesus to catch them when life knocks them down. They’re afraid to step out in faith and follow Jesus into areas that might be a little scary. Don’t do this. Walking with Jesus should be an adventure that takes us out into the world. We aren’t supposed to hide in the safety of our homes or churches because we’re afraid.

One of these days when you’re old and look back at your life like the writer of Psalm 71 did, will you find that you had fun walking with Jesus and that you trusted him? I pray you will. Please don’t grow up and believe the illusions of this world.

Keep walking with Jesus. Keep having fun and laughing. Keep your faith.

….and stay colorful.