During our Senior High Wednesday Night C.A.Y.A. (Come As You Are) we began a summer series called Life 101. This was a response to a questionnaire I gave our students a few weeks earlier that asked them to answer the following question anonymously on a card. The question was "If you could meet Jesus at a McDonald just to talk, what would you ask Him?" Their responses were overwhelming. Most would simply talk to Him about finding direction and purpose for their life.
A great resource for this is a book called "Life, Any Questions?" by Greg Laurie.
The first message was "Why Do I Feel Empty". I have my fair share of "empty" feeling times. If something doesn't go the way I would hope or I see others around me living below their potential, I wonder what "I" could have done to prevent it. Emptiness effects us in different ways. I have grown to realize this fact. We are all born with a God shaped void in our lives. I often try to fill that void with a busy schedule, a great church program, teachable moments, even time with family but the bottom line is I must fill it with Him.
Emptiness occurs when there is an absence of God. I don't know about you but that takes me a moment to comprehend. When I was not a Christian I didn't know I was empty. As I Christian now, I am fully aware of my emptiness. When i was a teen I can remember trying to fill that void with bad habits and destructive friendships. My emptiness would always follow me the harder I ran. The substance abuse, partying, and awful disrespect of my parents were all symptoms of that emptiness. I guess one thing that helped me was the group of friends I began to hang around that had established a personal relationship with Christ. A cure to the emptiness. Once I filled my life with Christ by becoming a Christian, I no longer felt empty.
As I grew in my faith, I thought I had it all worked out and then it happened. Emptiness came knocking on my door again. I am a Christian, I'm not supposed to be empty right? I realized that Christ filled and continues to fill my life, when I am open to it. I remember an Illustration that my former youth pastor Stephen Talbert shared one time. If you go to put gas in your car and never park it, never stop, never turn off the engine, then you will run out of gas. God is always there to fill us but we must be willing and hungry to stop and take the time to be filled. Becoming a Christian saved me from my emptiness. My dependence on the Holy Spirit of God sustains me in the midst of my emptiness.
Now, how do I communicate that to teenagers? Lord I pray that you surround these teens with those who have found a cure for their emptiness and that they would be hungry for their cure. Thank you for giving me such a great group to serve with. I am grateful to have a God that loves me, a wife that I cherish, family members to support me and a ministry to serve in.
James 4:8 Come near to God and he will come near to you.