Friday, March 14, 2014

Middle School Creatures Can Praise God

My TIE Value: Commit our way to the Lord

     Middleschoolers are interesting creatures. I have been watching them for two years at my son’s school. They come in all sizes, shapes, and proportions. There are students over 6 feet tall while others are under 5 feet tall. There are students with either long bodies and short legs or long legs and short bodies.  

     Middleschoolers are fun to watch. They can be loud and silly. They are able to mull and squirm like a hybrid bees with worms. Those with the out of proportioned bodies were move around like baby Giraffes trying figure out their long legs and necks can possibly work together.

     Middleschoolers have other mutations as they are transitioning from being a child to a teen. Their voices at times can squeak as they begin to develop their high and low vocal ranges. They can mysteriously disappear in a crowd when they do not want to be noticed. Then suddenly reappear full of life and spirit when something they love is offered.

     Middleschoolers are amazing young people with big and creative dreams. I love the multi-dimensional corporations they can dream up. They can combine video gaming with grocery shopping. They can understand sports fundamentals in terms of Mario games. Indeed their minds go different directions all at once.

     However, middleschoolers need to discover that their God is on their side as they grow to discover His way of life. Romans 8:31 states, "If God is for us then who can be against us?” I love how God answers this question in this passage (Romans 8:28-39) God is for people who live Him and are called according to His purposes. God sent His Son to change one’s destiny from being condemned to being justified. Nothing can separate one from God’s Love. And no matter how one’s life unfolds in their highs and lows, God makes one more than a conqueror. This is an amazing passage that middleschoolers need during their stage of awkward transitions.

My TIE Moment

     This week I was fortunate to attend the middle school portion of Teens Conference here in greater Toronto (Ambassadors for Christ Canada – East). For two days I was surrounded by middleschoolers who were reluctant to share their lives at the beginning of day one to sharing their challenges, hopes, and desires in their walk with God throughout day two.

     The success of a conference depends on key people surrendering to God. Our team had two grade 10 captains who dedicated six months of training and spiritual preparation for just two days. A few college students from my current church drove back and forth for training from their respective universities each weekend. Even the aunties and uncles who served the food bathed the hotdogs, rice, and noodles in prayer. Their prayers weren't to make the food taste better but that lives would be transformed as the various teams ate together. God really made Himself known as I would estimate 8/10 attendees deepened their relationship with Him either by entering the way of salvation or dedicating themselves to God’s way of living. They Got the Message of the theme that “God is with us.”

     As I was sitting in the middle of almost 500 middleschoolers praising God, I was hearing loud praises being lifted up. Their voices sounded strong and bold. Their heart was full of passion. They even cheered at the beginning of the sermon. I was amazed that many were listening to the sermon! For this night, this could have been a church named, “The Church of the Middle-Schoolers.” I was experiencing that middleschoolers can be interesting creatures who can come together to praise God as they surrender to Him. I felt the truth that God is not only with us, but He is also for us!

     Then in the moment, I remembered how God came to me as a middleschooler who needed a Savior and thus begun a crazy life’s journey along the way to adulthood. In the aftermath of this week, I realize that people of all ages are interesting creatures too. We all feel awkward, insecure, and strange in all of life’s transition. However, the basic truth that those who daily surrender to God and take up their cross or purpose in following Him will have no doubts that God is with us and for us.

     I praise God that He created middleschoolers who can praise Him!

(1) Thank you Kristy and Grace for your creative poster.
(2) I am referring grades 7-9 as middleschoolers in order to emphasize their common experiences of life development. I realize that I am writing to both Canadian and American audiences who have different classifications for this curious age group.

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