[CF Devotionals] 2013-10-18 - The Rules

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I don't know how many youth leaders are out there that read this but maybe this will help them if there are any. If you're not a youth pastor I hope parts of it will still help you.

The mission of our group is summed up in three words which we have gone thru multiple times in the past: worship, repent, and serve. In order to stay on mission the youth group took several weeks to come up with the rules to help us accomplish that from week to week. We boiled down a list of dozens to just a few that we refer to as our values. As you'll see later it really could have been boiled down to one.

  1. Show respect. This applies to God, authority, others, and property.
  2. Show decency. This applies to clothing, speech, and displays of affection also known as PDA.
  3. Stay seated. It's okay to get up to go to the bathroom or to get away from distraction.

So why have values? Why does our group or any group need them? Why do we need rules? Let me give you just two little sound bit comments to help answer these. The first is simply "think positive". The second is "think of God".

The first comment is to think positive. These rules aren’t restrictive. They don’t say what you can’t do. The first rule is "Show Respect" not "Don’t be disrespectful". Having a set of values to guide us frees us from lots of rigid rules that cover just a list of things we must do and things we mustn’t do. Too often we as Christians are known for what we stand against so as I consolidated all the rules which our group of teens defined into these three common themes and phrased them all as freedoms not restrictions. You can do anything you want as long as it shows respect, shows decency and allows you to stay seated at appropriate times

The second comment is to think of God.

Matthew 22:36-40 (NASB)

  1. “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” 37 And He said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the great and foremost commandment. 39 The second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.”

Respect God because you love him. From this one principle, really all others flow. If I think of Justin, my son, and consider his feelings in things, I can do lots of fun stuff. He came to the office with me a few weeks ago and he drew a drawing. I have had it hanging on my wall until now. As I spoke these words to my youth group, I pulled out the picture to show them. It's pretty awesome, right? You can almost make out a face with two eyes and a nose. There’s a light pencil scribble for a mouth, but it has faded, due to direct light but … At this point, I quickly ripped the picture apart. Every teen's jaw dropped to the floor, as their eyes enlarged.

That didn’t really respect Justin, did it? I bet he’d be crying and probably angry, if he were up here. Oh and don't really worry, the original is still safe in my cube at work; this was just a color copy. Tearing up something that someone else created, though, is offensive and disrespectful - so if we respect God, we will respect others naturally, when we realize he created them. Further, the Bible tells us that all authorities are in place because God put them there.

Romans 13:1 (NASB)

  1. Every person is to be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God.

1 Peter 2:17 (NASB)

  1. Honor all people, love the brotherhood, fear God, honor the king.

Respect God means we respect others who he created and especially others he has put in authority.

That just leaves property but we covered that with the picture thing right?

So respect seems pretty well wrapped-up, so let's consider the next rule - show decency. This is really a respect issue, too. Each of you are a child of God and worthy of respect – a precious jewel. Respect yourself. A few weeks ago, after a Civil Air Patrol meeting with my older son, we stopped at the McDonald’s in Wal-Mart. I sat us by a window because I love to people watch, and Wal-Mart seems to be a great place to people-watch. As we were eating, one girl came by pushing a cart. She had a very loose tank top with the armholes down to her waistline, and you could see her very lacy bra. Then she had some of those cut-off shorts that are so short, that pockets hang out the front. There was very little that her outfit left to the imagination. I told Jordan to never date a girl that dressed like that, because if she doesn't respect herself, she won't respect you. A few minutes later, another girl walked by wearing jeans and a t-shirt. I pointed her out and told Jordan that he needed to find one like her, who knew how to dress. Two girls walked by with very different attire. One respected herself; the other didn’t. The clothes revealed the character. Taking that further, a person who dresses by showing off their stuff is not only disrespecting themselves, but also, others causing them to potentially stumble.

1 Corinthians 8:9 - But take care that this liberty of yours does not somehow become a stumbling block to the weak.

You are free to wear what you want, but respect others and yourself, not to wear as little as you can.

Decency in tongue is about showing respect, too. Then there's decency in PDA; that is about having boundaries that respect God and your boyfriend or girlfriend. If you can’t go an hour without rubbing all over someone, then you don’t love them for what’s on the inside.

Lastly, that brings us to stay seated. That’s about having respect for the person who has prepared a message, be it me or anyone else.

So you see, really we could just say we have one rule – show respect.


[email adam] adam@cfdevotionals.org

All scripture references from KJV unless otherwise noted

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