The Heart of the Issue
Part of the beauty of NGA is the diversity of evangelistic ministries. One message, many expressions, right? Today, we hear from Bob Lenz, one of our NGA cabinet members who speaks across the country reaching youth for Jesus Christ through his ministry Life Promotions. In this post, hear his plea to reach the heart of youth with the power of the Gospel in the midst of the broken chaos of our world today.
Columbine, Sandy Hook, and now Parkland, Florida.
More than 150,000 students have experienced a school shooting since 1999. Enough already! Something must be done. The fear, the loss, the grief, the pain, the anger. The senseless deaths! What will make a difference? And what do we do about it? Our discussions turn into sound bites on social media. The empty rhetoric leaves us divided as a nation and divided as a people.
There is a war against our youth. The enemy has targeted them. His tactic is to divide and conquer and it seems to be working again. For only when we unite and stand will we win. The enormity and complexity of this issue is staggering, so please don’t hear me oversimplifying this. We must each engage and do our part to encourage change. We should not let our diversity divide us. Rather, let us together seek an answer. Let us be unified at the core. The reason? The lives of our youth and their future is at stake.
We must treat the core issue behind the shootings and not just the symptoms. Proverbs 4:23 says, “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it” (NIV). That’s the heart of the matter. It’s a heart issue. We must teach our youth how to guard their hearts and how to deal with their emotions. We must teach them how to deal with anger, grief, loss, trauma, and conflict. The problems they are facing include failure, rejection, divided homes, lost dreams, bullying, broken relationships, anxiety, abuse, neglect, depression, pressure to perform…just to name a few!
I cannot write a sermon that will take away all the pains of life. I cannot take away all their past struggles. But we must teach youth that they don’t have to let their problems, pain, or past take away their choices. They self-medicate with drugs and alcohol. They self-harm, looking for a way to deal with the pain inside. We lost 17 lives in the tragedy in Parkland. It is senseless suffering and the pain will never go away. The problem? The sin of the heart. The shootings are the pain coming outward. Matthew 6:21 says, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” What have we valued in America?
Less than 18% of our nation’s youth will be in church this Sunday. We haven’t valued the Creator and we haven’t valued life itself. Let us remember that every human being has dignity. As Thomas Jefferson penned, “We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”
The only thing that will change our nation is the change of our hearts. What will change our hearts is to know that we have been made in the image of God.
When Jesus gave up his life on the cross 2000 years ago, He said, “Enough already!” He said, “It is finished.” With His life and His death, he showed us a glimpse of the enormity of His love. The way to stop the senseless killings is to reach the hearts of youth with that love. It’s called the Gospel. It is the good news of Jesus Christ and it is found in creation and the Cross.
Check out the video version of this blog post here.
Author and international speaker, Bob Lenz, has an intense passion to share the love of Christ, reaching nearly half a million people with the gospel each year through community outreaches, festivals, church events and conferences. Bob is considered among the best school assembly speakers in the nation, presenting value-based messages on anti-bullying and suicide prevention. Bob is also an annual speaker at Lifest. You can find out more at lifest.com.