|Rock Your World: How You Can Make a Difference|
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Do you want to make a difference in your world? Then you've come to the right place. In Rock Your World, author Susie Shellenberger will show you how to be the light of Christ wherever you are.
Rock Your World includes great stories of teenagers who are making a difference at home, at school, and around the world, all because they chose to be used by God. Read terrific stories from real-life teens who served on short-term mission trips and discover the impact they had on those around them. Gain information on how to coordinate a trip, as well as practical examples of things you can do right now, right where you are, to make a real difference. Some of these examples include ideas on raising money for worthy causes, and how to be a good caretaker of God's resources.
This is more than just another book about missions. It is first and foremost a book about being available to God, whatever that might mean for your future. It is a call for you to give yourself so entirely to God that He can use you to forever change your world whether that's in your neighborhood or in a far off country. Are you willing to take a chance and see what God has in store?
The World Needs Changing
It's easy to feel as though we live in a world where wrong seems right and right seems wrong. Know what I mean? For instance, I'll bet practically everyonein you class cheats. It's almost the norm, right? And for you to take a stand against that would seem … well, almost abnormal. You'd be going against the flow. So many students cheat; in a way it's become expected. But it's the one who chooses not to cheat that stands out.
How can that be? It's because cheating is wrong. It's taking something that doesn't belong to us. In fact, one of the Ten Commandments echoes this: "Thou shalt not steal." I'd say it's clear that means we shouldn't take something that doesn’t belong to us, wouldn't you? Yet, somehow over the years, we've broken the rules. And somehow, what's wrong doesn’t seem so wrong anymore.
You're Not Alone
If you're committed to taking a stand against sin (including cheating), you are probably feeling outnumbered. And even though it may feel like you're standing alone, you're not.
Compromise, sin, and breaking the rules have been around messing up this world for a long time. Check out what the prophet Isaiah said almost a bazillion years ago: "Our courts oppose the righteous man; fairness is unknown. Truth falls dead in the streets, and justice is outlawed" (Isaiah 59:14 TLB).
Sound like a fair description of our world today? We sometimes feel as though our judicial system has gone bonkers, good people aren't treated fairly, and not a single person knows what truth is – or even cares about finding it.
Why do we feel this way about the world we are living in? Maybe it's because a thousand voices are screaming their own philosophies, opinions, alternative lifestyles, and ideas at us. And when those voices clearly shout the opposite of what God's Word teaches, it's tempting to sit down instead of stand up. It's also easy to become confused.
Does any of this sound familiar? According to TV, magazines, advertising, and popular culture, it's OK (and sometimes expected) to:
dress provocatively to arouse interest from the opposite sex.
engage in sexual intercourse outside of marriage (as long as you use protection).
drink (as long as you don't drink and drive).
sexually experiment with the same sex (just to know that it's like).
bend the truth, deceive, or lie if the situation calls for it.
abort the "mistake" if you get pregnant and don’t' want to clutter your life.
So What's True?
Even though all of the above clearly go against the Bible, we're tempted to think, "it's OK" simply because "everyone else is doing it." The truth is, not everyone else is doing it. But we'll talk about that in a few minutes, OK?
Ultimately, you have a decision to make. You have to decide who you're going to listen to. And you're not the only one making this decision. Jehoshaphat, a very cool king form the Old Testament, had to make the same decision.
The stage for this story is set in 2 Chronicles 17 and 18. Lots of action! Jehoshaphat was known as a godly man and a wise king. But his friend King Ahab was not a godly man. He wanted power, power, and more power. Pretty selfish, huh?
He decided he'd like to expand his land by conquering another city – Ramoth-gilead. (That's a mouthful. How would you like to write that on all your envelopes? We'll just call it RG for short.) When Ahab asked Jehoshaphat if he'd support him in war against RG, Jehoshaphat gave him a smart answer: "Let's check with the Lord first" (2 Chronicles 18:4, TLB).
So King Ahab summoned 400 of his prophets. They were people who sounded good (maybe like some talk show hosts you've heard), looked good (maybe like some celebrities you've seen), and acted right (maybe like some friends of yours), but they weren't committed to God's Lordship.
Those 400 prophets were enthusiastic! They held a giant pep really, made up "RG cheers," and handed out friendship bracelets to everyone who supported them. They screamed to King Ahab in unison, "Go ahead, for God will give you a great victory!" (2 Chronicles 18:5, TLB).
But Jehoshaphat wasn't convinced. It wasn't that he didn't want a friendship bracelet; they were awesome. The problem was that he didn't hear God's voice among the prophets.
You'd think 400 good people all shouting the same good message would be enough, wouldn't you? After all, they were so positive and enthusiastic! The sounded good, looked good, and acted good.
But Jehoshaphat stood alone. He had asked for a godly prophet. It's like he was saying, "It's tempting to believe the celebrities. I'm really impressed. But I'm listened for God's voice, and you know what? I don't hear it! Even with 400 good prophets sending 400 good messages that sound tempting, I'm still not able to discern God's voice."
He asked again for a godly prophet. "Isn't there some prophet of the Lord around here too?" he asked. "I'd like to ask him the same question" (2 chronicles 18:6, TLB).
King Ahab squirmed and cleared his throat. "Well, yeah. There is this one guy. But I don't like listening to him. The stuff he says isn't always fun to hear. His name is Micaiah. Bring him in."
The Tension Builds
Micaiah was prompted before he was brought to the king. One of the servants warned him that the other 400 prophets had already encouraged Ahab to go to war. "If you know what's good for you, you'll do the same," he pressed.
But when Micaiah was brought before the king, he spoke the truth. He explained that the Lord had put a lying spirit in the mouths of the 400 prophets, and that they were actually telling him to go against God's will—even thought it appeared to be a godly message!
Hmmm. Sound like our culture today? We're literally bombarded by thousands of screaming voices that may sound good, but unless those voices agree with the Word of God, they are deceptive, dangerous, and full of lies.
So, choose your pep rallies with caution and decide very carefully to whom you'll choose to listen. It isn't always the enthusiastic voice that conveys truth. Rather, it is the Voice that speaks through the Bible, your heart, your pastor, and other spiritual leaders that ultimately proclaims the truth.
Let's start digging into the truth. When we hear so many different voices screaming so many different things, how can we really know what's right and what's wrong?
If you've accepted Jesus Christ as Lord of your life, you're basing your lifestyle and your thoughts around His Holy Word. The catch? Just this: Is He really Lord?
Did you know "Lord" is mentioned 7,540 times in the Bible? Hmmm. God must think it's pretty important, huh? "Lord" means one who has control. He is the one who has absolute authority.
It's God's will that we live under the Lordship of His Son, Jesus Christ. Bottom line: It means He is Boss! He is the supreme controller of the universe.
In John 13:13, we see that the disciples addressed Him as Lord. They probably called Him Jesus, too, but when they addressed Him, it was Lord.
Remember the violent storm on the Sea of Galilee? (You can find the whole story in Matthew 14:22-32.) The disciples – grown men of whom some were professional seamen – were scared to death! Peter screamed, "Lord! If it's You, ask me to come to You." Even in fear, he referred to Jesus as Lord.
And after Chris had broken out of His grave clothes, conquered death, and escaped the tomb, the women who went looking for Him declared, "They have taken our Lord." Not Jesus. Not the Messiah. But Lord.
So? What's all this leading to? Stick with me, OK? We'll wind up at truth in a minute. And that will help you discern to whom and to what to listen. But first we've gotta go down the right road to get there.
What's It All Mean?
Jesus Christ wants to be much more than number one in your life. Being number one isn't good enough. He wants to be your life. You see, He knows that whatever or whoever we place at the number one position in our lives can eventually get shoved to the number two spot. Or number three. Or four.
We always talk about Jesus living in our hearts. But guess what? He doesn't want to settle for just your heart. He wants to live in your mind too. He wants to permeate you being. He wants to possesses your thoughts but not control you like a puppet. He doesn’t work that way. But he wants to possess your thinking in such a way that the things that break His heart will also break your heart, and the atrocities that bring tears to Christ's eyes will make you cry. And the injustices that cause Him to stand in righteous anger will cause you to stand in righteous anger.
He wants you to be saturated with Him. To be almost obsessed with becoming all He calls you to be. We're not talking about ordinary Christianity, are we? Nope, we're talking about an intense commitment. A holy focus. A godly mindset. We're talking about Lordship.
Jesus Christ begs you to move away from casual Christianity. The world is filled with too many weak-kneed, wishy-washy Christians. He has a much higher calling on your life, and He asks for a much deeper commitment from you. He wants your all! He wants to be your Lord.
You see, He's interested in every single area of you life. The big stuff and the little stuff. He wants to be involved in your friendships, your dating life, your extracurricular activities, your part-time job, your family, your dreams, your fears, your celebrations, your everything. Why? Because that's what Lordship is all about. Is God nosy? Well, maybe a little bit, but it's because He loves you more than you'll ever imagine. And this is why He wants all of you. We're often tempted to say, "Yeah, OK. You can be Lord. But stay out of what I buy. Don't get involved in how I use my free time." But when we're sick or our back is up against the wall, we call on Him. We want to choose when He's Lord.
But this full commitment we're talking about won't work that way. You see, Jesus didn't come just to save us. He also came to master us, to break us and reshape us in His image, and to empower our lives in order to bring glory to Him.
Whew! That's a high calling. But Jesus invites us to participate in the highest calling imaginable – to make Him Lord. And we're talking Lord of all.
And if you so choose, this decision will affect every aspect of your life: How you dress, the jokes you tell, the stuff you watch, and what you listen to. Oh, you'll still make mistakes – that's what grace is all about. But the difference that you're changing your focus. And you're allowing Jesus to break and reshape your heart, your desires, and your will.
What About It?
So, I'm wondering. Who will take their dreams, their relationships, their talent, their future, their attitudes, their all, and pray, "Jesus, I'm Yours. You have permission to break me and reshape me into all You dream for me to be. I even give You the stuff I don't know about yet – the stuff that will happen in the future. I don't want to settle for casual Christianity. I do not want a surface-level relationship with You. I want all of You. And I want You to have all of me. Take me, Father. Fill me, saturate me, permeate me with Your Spirit, Your power. Energize me. Guide me Take me where You want me to go. Tell me what You want me to do. I'm here to bring glory to You.
Who will do that? I know a 17-year-old girl from Germantown, Tennessee, who's doing just that. Laura Roberson asks herself the question, "What would Jesus do?" before everything she does. And you know what? It's changed her life.
"Sometimes I'm sitting at home of Friday nights instead of going out with my friends," she says. "They may go see a movie that I know Jesus would want me to see. But you know what? It's OK! The rewards in my life and the spirituals growth that He's brought are simply incredible! It's worth far, far more than missing movie every now and then."
What will happen if you ask that question? If you pray that prayer of Lordship? Well, things will change. Not only your lifestyle, but your thinking too. Even how you see truth. Speaking of truth, that's what we were talking about way back in the beginning, wasn't it? Hmmm. Well, let's tackle it in the next chapter. Don't worry. I'll make that part short so we can hurry up and get into more real-life stories from dedicated teens like Laura, OK?
Rock Your World
By Susie Shellenberger
Copyright © 2003, by Barefoot Ministries of Kansas City
Used by permission. Unauthorized duplication prohibited.