I was really looking forward to teaching on the Rapture at youth group yesterday. I was planning on it since early August. What’s more fun than teaching eschatalogical positions to teenagers? That’s right! Studying the two other positions on the Rapture that differed from what I was originally taught, and therefore had never been looked at too closely. But alas, God was not with this lesson. I may reprise it later. I really want to figure out where it belongs in my Spring teaching. I felt Him pushing me last weekend to switch it, which is pretty cool, because that meant He was giving me a whole week to write my other lesson!
I had my lesson finished by Thursday. I looked over it and felt like something was missing. I was teaching on why we come to church, what we should be focusing on when we come to church, and the error we make when we allow someone else to supplant Jesus in our lives. We looked at the story of Jesus’ Transfiguration, where a select few of His disciples were present. Then, all of a sudden, Moses and Elijah appear. As it said in the story, Peter didn’t know what to say, so he said the dumbest thing possible. I, of course, can relate to this. So can you. Don’t pretend you can’t. Anyway, he suggests that there be three memorials built: one for Jesus, one for Moses, and one for Elijah. God the Father chimes in at this moment, because He doesn’t want anyone putting anybody else on par with His Son. He said, “This is my dearly beloved son. Listen to Him.”
I knew where I wanted to go with the this part, but I didn’t have a good story to tell about it. Then I visited The Edge Urban Fellowship on Saturday night, where I stood out like a sore thumb. They have two pastors there, who took turns giving parts of the message. Donny was talking about how early in his walk with Christ, his dad was the one leading him in his Christian life (a great thing for his dad to do, of course). His dad passed away, though, and he went off the deep end back into sin. Looking back, he realizes, his loyalty wasn’t to Jesus at all, but to his dad. That’s a big mistake that I think many of us make, and I used this story to make the point more strongly.
I talked about how commonly we make this error without even thinking about it. This was the most fun part of the lesson, too, because a sixth grade boy wasn’t paying close enough attention to hear what I really said. I said, “I love working for and with Pastor Dave. He’s awesome, but if he turned in his resignation next week, I would not quit my job.” I’m not quite sure what he heard, but he quickly blurted out, “Wait! What?” I then clarified that no one was planning to quit their job next week. It was pretty funny at the moment, but perhaps less so today as you read it. After everyone stopped laughing at this crazy moment, I finished and challenged the students not to follow other people so closely.
I ended challenging the students not to follow anyone as though they were God Himself. When your friends want you to do something, and it conflicts with what God says, you go with God. Doing otherwise is to seat your friends in God’s seat. If I, as their youth pastor, were to teach them something that is clearly contrary to the Word of God, they should listen to God and feel free to call me on it. It doesn’t matter who it is. Choose God’s Word. If you choose someone else’s words over God’s, you have made it clear that you follow that person, not God. That’s a mistake. Listen to Him.