One of the key problems facing parents and their teenagers today is a lack of effective communication. Teenagers complain, “My parents never listen to me.” On the other hand, parents feel as if what they are saying to their teenagers is just going in one ear and out the other.
Good communication is the key to building strong relationships in your family. Yet, for most parents there seems little or no time left at the end of a long, hard day to share what is on their hearts, to talk about problems they are facing, or to get to know one another. As a result of poor communication in the family, barriers of resentment, bitterness and a lack of trust are often built between parents and their teenagers.
At a very crucial point in young people’s lives when they are experiencing so many changes physically, mentally, emotionally, they often have no one to talk to who they feel really understands them and the problems they are facing.
The special youth section and survey has been developed to help improve communication between you and your teenagers. At this time when they are struggling to find themselves, it is so important for you to love them, to listen to them, to give them guidance based on God’s Word, to encourage them, and to pray with them.
God wants your relationship with your teenagers to be WHOLE! Below are some guidelines which will help you this month in improving your communication:
1. Read the entire section including the survey questions. Make a list of any additional questions or points you would like to make during your discussion.
2. Set aside a specific day and time each week this month to discuss the key issues which were covered in the lesson. After you decide on a time, make a firm commitment not to allow anything to hinder your time together.
3. Begin each session together with prayer. Ask God to improve your communication together and build the strong relationship He intended for it to be.
4. Discuss the lesson together. Allow your teenager to share openly and honestly how he/she feels concerning God’s plan and purpose for his/her life and the key issues discussed in this lesson.
5. Take time to really listen to what he/she is saying. While your teenager is talking, don’t be thinking about how you are going to respond. Really listen and try to see what he/she is saying from his/her perspective. Don’t interrupt. Show them you are interested in what they have to say.
6. Accept what they have to say without being judgmental. While you may or may not agree with what your teenager is saying, they need to know you are glad they felt free to share honestly how they felt.
7. Don’t criticize. Let them know that regardless of how they may feel, while you may not agree with them, you care about them and are willing to hear them out.
8. Share how you feel about the same issues based upon the standards in God’s Word. Look up the scriptures and read them together.
9. Go through the survey together. Have them share their answers with you. Answer any questions they may have.
10. End your session with a time of prayer together. Encourage your teenager to lead the prayer.
11. Encourage your teenager to share the survey with his/her friends as a means of sharing his/her testimony.
12. After you have completed the survey together, make a commitment to share at least five minutes every day, at the same time, away from any distractions. If you find you have difficulty doing this, reevaluate your priorities …your teenager needs you!
IMPORTANT: Let your teenager know that what he/she thinks is important and make sure they return the survey to me.
Who am I?
As a young person growing up in a world plagued with fear, violence, war and uncertainty of the future, you have more than likely asked yourself that question many times.
At this point in your life you still may not know the answer. You may feel unsure of yourself and your future. More than likely, you have wondered where you are headed and what you are going to do with your life. In view of the threat of nuclear war, you may have wondered IF you will have the opportunity of growing up and having a family and career of your own.
With so many changes taking place within you as you grow into adulthood, you may have a very limited vision of yourself and what you are capable of accomplishing. You may feel clumsy and stupid. What you are thinking always seems to come out wrong…you say the wrong things to the wrong people or the right things at the wrong time.
At home you may suddenly find it is more difficult to talk to your parents about your problems. Your parents may be too busy working to become involved with your needs and problems. Or, you may be afraid to talk about the things that are bothering you or ask questions because you feel your parents wouldn’t understand you or wouldn’t agree with how you feel on certain issues.
You may feel unimportant. How many times have you said…
“No one really cares about me.” “No one cares how I feel.”
“No one really understands me.”
You are IMPORTANT! You are SPECIAL! Someone does care and understand!
You are THE ENDTIME GENERATION and God has a special plan and purpose for your life!
You are THE ENDTIME GENERATION!
God is a God of PURPOSE, PLAN, DESIGN AND OBJECTIVITY. Nothing happens by chance. God has planned this hour and for you to be a part of it.
You are not just one small, insignificant being in a world of five and one-half billion people…God knows you by name. His Word tells us that even the hairs of your head are numbered (Matthew 10:30).
“I am THE ENDTIME GENERATION! I am special to God. He has a plan and purpose for my life.”
You are living in the ENDTIMES…the final days before Jesus returns. You may wonder, “How is it possible to know that we are living in the end times?”
Jesus has given us signs that enable us to recognize the end times. Open your Bible and read the entire chapter of Matthew 24. The disciples clearly asked Jesus, “…what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?” (Matthew 24:3).
Jesus told them wars…famines mines…pestilences… earthquakes…false prophets…increase in sin and violence were signs that His second coming was near.
The Apostle Paul described men in the last days as, “…lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of tne good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God” (II Timothy 3:2-4, NIV).
Look at the world around you. These signs Jesus gave us are coming to pass now…in OUR AGE!
Jesus said, “…when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors. Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled” (Matthew 24:33-34).
What generation was Jesus talking about in this verse? He was talking about THE ENDTIME GENERATION…the generation that sees these things coming to pass!
TO FIND YOUR TRUE IDENTITY YOU NEED TO KNOW GOD’S WILL
As part of THE ENDTIME GENERATION, God has a special plan and purpose for your life. At this point in your life, as you are searching for a sense of identity…determining your values…determining what
you want out of life… deciding what you want to accomplish in your lifetime…it is important for you to KNOW and EXPERIENCE all that God has planned for you.
Satan doesn’t want you to see your full potential as a child of God. He will distort the truth and make you think that the Bible is not relevant to the problems you are facing. He will try to make you think that living according to God’s standards is old-fashioned…that being a Christian is a “drag”…that you won’t be able to enjoy life.
On the other hand, he will paint a beautiful picture of the pleasures of this world…fame, success, wealth…and will try to convince you that the way to find yourself and true happiness is through drugs, alcohol, sex and obtaining the material possessions this world has to offer.
Like the philosophy of the rich man in the Bible, the world cries out, “…eat, drink, and be merry” (Luke 12:19). There are many young people today who have fallen into this trap. Not knowing the truth…not knowing the future…not knowing who they are or what God has intended for them to be…they begin to experiment with drugs, alcohol and sex.
Their main purpose in life is to be a “Party Animal” and have a good time! They are willing to do anything to “get high.” Instead of finding happiness and fulfillment, they only find more emptiness and pain. Caught in a vicious cycle, they go from one “high” to another until their lives are wasted and ruined.
For years, your parents have been teaching and training you certain values through their example and their words. They have established guidelines to help you in making the right decisions. You have now reached a point in your life where your first tendency is to reject the values your parents have taught you. You feel as if you are being pushed into a mold of how your parents think you should think and act. You want to establish your own values and make your own decisions.
Don’t do it! Don’t throw aside all that your parents have taught you. God has given you parents who love you and are concerned about your well-being. While you may not agree right now with the standards your parents have set, instead of rejecting them altogether use them as guidelines to help you in determining your own values and making your decisions.
Don’t get caught in the trap of basing your decisions upon what your friends and the other kids at school are doing. Like yourself, your friends are at a point in their lives where they are also searching and seeking to establish their own identity.
Don’t fall into Satan’s trap of following after the crowd…wearing the same clothes, doing and saying the same things just because everyone else is doing them. Be the leader God has planned for you to be!
The only way you are going to be able to “find yourself” and reach your full potential is to KNOW God’s plan and purpose for your life.
The only way you are going to know how to determine your values and set your own standards for living is to KNOW what God’s Word says and base your decisions on His Word.
The only way you are going to find true happiness and fulfillment in this life is to KNOW Jesus Christ and live your life according to His Word.
THE FUTURE BELONGS
You do not need to be fearful or unsure of the future…you are THE ENDTIME GENERATION. God is in control of the world, not Satan. The future of the world is not in the hands of Washington, D.C.; Moscow, Russia; or any other government. Even before the earth was formed, God developed a plan and timetable. Nothing is happening by chance…God is in control!
As part of THE ENDTIME GENERATION, God has planned for you to KNOW the future…to know the final things which will take place upon the earth. You are part of His ENDTIME PLAN. You are living in the time known as the CLIMAX OF THE AGES. Read the following verses aloud:
Making known to us the mystery (secret) of His will—of His plan, of His purpose. (And it is this:) In accordance with His good pleasure (His merciful intention) which He had previously purposed and set forth in Him, (He planned) for the maturity of the times and the climax of the ages to unify all things and head them up and consummate them in Christ, (both) things in heaven and things on the earth. In Him we also were made (God’s) heritage (portion) and we obtained an inheritance; for we had been foreordained (chosen and appointed beforehand) in accordance with His purpose, Who works out everything in agreement with the counsel and design of His (own) will.
(Ephesians 1:9-11, TAB)
Through His Word, God has made known unto you His plan and purpose. He has planned to bring all things in heaven and earth together under Christ. The future does not belong to the devil, it belongs to God’s children. THE FUTURE BELONGS TO YOU!
As one of His sons or daughters, you have obtained an inheritance. Your heritage is not weakness but POWER…not darkness but GLORY…not defeat but VICTORY!
GOD HAS GIVEN YOU
A NEW IDENTITY
As part of THE ENDTIME GENERATION, God has planned to use YOU to reveal His power and glory to the world. In these last days before Jesus returns, He plans for you to be part of a powerful army of believers that will shake this world. He wants to pour out His love…His healing power…His truth through you.
From the beginning of time God had a desire. He desired to have a people who would delight themselves in Him…a people who would love Him with their entire beings. He desired sons…sons who would bear His image and likeness.
Because of this desire, He developed a plan so that, through His Son, many sons could be born into His family.
He sent Jesus into the world to destroy the works of the devil, to redeem (free) us from the power of sin and to bring us into a position as His own sons, with His life flowing through us.
But as many as received him, to them gave the power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.
As you responded to the drawing of the Holy Spirit and surrendered yourself to Christ, you were given the power to become a son of God. The very life of Christ has been conceived in you through the Holy Spirit. You have a new identity…removed from the sin of the world.
You do not need to turn to drugs or alcohol in an attempt to find yourself. You no longer need to spend your life seeking after the pleasures of this life to find fulfillment and happiness or the real purpose and meaning of life.
God has planned to conform you into the image of Jesus.
In Christ you have found your real identity. You are a son or daughter of Almighty God!
God has birthed Christ’s life in your spirit, which was once dead by reason of Adam’s sin. Your spirit is alive, but it is not your life. It is a new life…it is Christ’s life.
Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
(II Corinthians 5:17)
With His blood Jesus has redeemed you, He has cleansed you of every sin. You are righteous in God’s eyes. You belong to Christ. You no longer are bound by sin and the desires of the flesh. You are set free by the life that now lives in you. You can live your life by Christ Who lives and dwells in you.
You no longer need to feel unsure of yourself…to think that you are weak and powerless, incapable of accomplishing the goals God has given you…in Christ you are made WHOLE!
YOU ARE A CHILD OF
In Christ is all the fullness of the Godhead. In Him is all righteousness, all wisdom, all faith, all love, all POWER!
For in Him (Christ) the whole fullness of Deity (the Godhead), continues to dwell in bodily form—giving complete expression of the divine nature. And you are in Him, made full and have come to fullness of life—in Christ you too are filled with the Godhead: Father, Son and Holy Spirit, and reach full spiritual stature. And He is the Head of all rule and authority…
(Colossians 2:9-10, TAB)
Since Christ dwells in you, the Godhead…Father, Son and Holy Spirit…dwells in you! Do you realize what that means?
There is no room in your life for defeat because there is a life within you that has never been defeated.
There is a life within you that created the universe…that spoke the sun, moon and stars into existence.
There is a life within you that heals the sick, casts out demons and raises the dead. There is a life within you that faced
Satan, conquered him and destroyed the powers of sin, sickness and death.
The same life-giving flow that was in Jesus Christ is in you!
Because God has made you one of His sons or daughters, you are now able to live your life through Christ Who dwells in you. And because the Father dwells in Christ, He also dwells in you! Jesus said, “If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him” (John 14:23, NIV).
It is in this union…God the Father dwelling in Christ; Christ, the Son of God, dwelling in you…that you, as a child of God, are able to live as the express image of Christ on this earth!
God has chosen to make known His power and glory to the world through you. As you continually abide in Christ (through prayer and reading the Word), and allow Christ’s love, joy, peace, longsuffering, righteousness… His glory and miracle power…to be released through you; the world, your friends, your parents, all those around you, will sit up and take notice. They will know that Jesus Christ is in you, that He was sent by God, and that just as God the Father loved Jesus, He loves you.
GOD HAS PLANNED FOR YOU TO BE THE ‘MIRROR’ IMAGE OF CHRIST!
As part of THE ENDTIME GENERATION, God has planned for you to be the “mirror” image of Christ here on earth…NOW! This is God’s plan and purpose for your life!
While Jesus lived His life on earth as the Son of God in the form of human flesh, He was the EXACT IMAGE…the visible representation and manifestation …of God to men. To see Jesus was to see God.
As Jesus was a visible reflection of God’s power and glory to the world, God has planned for you to be a visible reflection…a “mirror” image…of Christ upon the earth today. He has planned for you to think, walk, talk and act as Jesus did!
As a young person, you may look at your failures and human limitations and wonder HOW this is going to be possible in your life. You may wonder if it really is possible.
IT IS POSSIBLE!
Not only is it possible but this is God’s plan and purpose for your life. He has planned to
conform…change…you into the image of His Son. Not only has He drawn you by His Spirit, cleansed and freed you from all sin, and placed His Spirit within you; BY THAT SAME SPIRIT THAT IS IN YOU God is going to change you into Christ’s image.
Look at Romans 8:29:
For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.
I realize this is hard for you to understand…how you, with all your human limitations, can be CHANGED into Christ’s same image whereby the very life of God is flowing out of you as it flowed out of
Jesus…healing the sick, casting out demons, setting the captives free.
The disciples didn’t understand how Jesus…a Man Whom they walked, talked and lived with…could be an outward manifestation of God. When Philip asked Jesus to show him the Father, Jesus said, “Don’t you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father…” (John 14:9, NIV).
It was not Jesus’ physical features that were the exact image of God. His body was only a vessel, an earthly habitation, where God dwelt. His body was only a vessel through which God lived His life and worked His works.
It is not your physical features that are being CHANGED into an exact image of Christ. Your body is only a vessel, a temple, an earthly habitation where Christ dwells: “But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us” (II Corinthians 4:7).
Just as the glory of God shone forth from Christ, He has planned for Christ’s glory to radiate through your life.
And all of us, as with unveiled face, (because we) continued to behold (in the Word of God) as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are constantly being transfigured into His very own image in ever increasing splendor and from one degree of glory to another; (for this comes) from the Lord (Who is) the Spirit.
(II Corinthians 3:18, TAB)
This transformation into Christ’s image will not be accomplished by your own limited human efforts but BY HIS SPIRIT that dwells in you. He does not intend for you to try to be a VISIBLE REPRESENTATION of Christ to the world in your own strength. He doesn’t want you to struggle to follow Christ’s example…to think as Jesus did, to walk as Jesus walked, to talk as Jesus talked…in your own power. It’s impossible.
But, it is possible through the powerful life that lives in you.
It is God’s will that you be transformed into Christ’s image. He planned it before the foundation of the earth. He drew you by His Spirit. He has made you His son or daughter. He has placed Christ’s life within you. It is by the glorious working of that mighty power in you that you will be changed into Christ’s image.
This is your inheritance as a child of God!
Satan is trying to conform your mind to the standards of the world.
YOU CAN LIVE YOUR LIFE IN THE SAME POWER AS JESUS DID!
As part of THE ENDTIME GENERATION:
You are IMPORTANT TO GOD…
God has a special plan and purpose for your life…
You can know the future…
You are part of a powerful army of
believers God is going to use to reveal His power and glory to the world…
God has planned for you to be a “mirror” image of Christ to the world.
Let these truths fill your heart. Think about how they apply to your life. What are the problems…the decisions…facing you right now? What are you using as a basis for the decisions you make? At school, are you facing your problems from a position of knowing you are a child of God…knowing God’s plan and purpose for your life…knowing God’s will?
Regardless of the difficulties and struggles you may be experiencing right now as you seek to establish your identity; remember, you are THE ENDTIME GENERATION. God has not planned for you to be defeated.
As you seek to know Christ with all your heart and build your relationship with Him through consistent prayer and study of His Word, God will continually change you by His Spirit living within you into a “mirror” image of Christ, where you are thinking, talking and acting as Jesus did!
This doesn’t mean God is going to change your entire personality. What it does mean is that when you are faced with decisions regarding things that are questionable, you will be able to make the decisions Jesus would’ make. You will have the answers and know what to do, based on the Word of God. When your friends come to you troubled, not knowing which way to turn, afraid…you will have the power of God operating in your life to give them the answers and minister to their needs.
As you are being changed into Christ’s image, you are going to be able to become all that God intended you to be. Knowing He is living His life through you, you will not be fearful but will have great confidence knowing God is at work in your life. You will be able to reach your full potential in whatever path you have chosen to follow.
Satan doesn’t want you to come into this revelation of who you are in Christ. He doesn’t want you to face
your problems, battles and decisions from a position of knowing God’s plan and purpose for your life. He wants you to be fearful, unsure of yourself, confused. He will do everything he can to keep you from knowing and experiencing the power of God in your life.
Using every possible method, he will attack your mind and try to cloud your vision of God’s purpose and plan for your life. One of the major weapons he uses to attack your mind is television. Using “soaps,” movies and other TV programs depicting men and women living together, having one affair after another; programs involving homosexuals and immorality, Satan will try to conform your mind to the world’s standards concerning sex…that sex outside of marriage is all right, that homosexuality is a normal alternate lifestyle.
In the course of one year, the average TV viewer will see more than 9,000 scenes of suggested sexual intercourse on prime-time television.
Using the television, Satan will try to program your mind to conform to the materialistic standards of the world. He will try to make you think that your major goal and objective in life should be to obtain the “good things” in life…to have an expensive car, expensive clothes, a beautiful house, expensive furniture and all the other pleasures money can buy.
What you see is fed into your mind and will eventually affect your spirit and your relationship with Christ. It’s like the statement “we are what we eat.” If you eat ice cream all day long and never eat anything nutritious, most likely your physical body will have a lot of sickness.
If you feed your spirit with images of sin, your spirit will get sick. Spiritually, your heart will become hardened. Sin won’t be so bad because you are so used to seeing it. If you don’t fall into the actual sin itself, you will become ineffective for God because you will fail to take an active stand against it and forget how bad sin really is.
YOU ARE THE REAL
GOD HAS GIVEN YOU
Now that you know who you are…that God intends for you to be CONFORMED into Christ’s exact image…that you are part of THE ENDTIME GENERATION..