School is back in session and Friday night football is in full swing. This time of year is my favorite. I love scrolling through social media and seeing videos, pictures, stories, of friends of mine in the stands at volleyball games, cheering on their high school friends. I well remember and still miss my days as a Young Life leader doing the same thing. It encourages and overwhelms my heart to see college men and women choosing to do life as an "outsider". For the most part, Young Life leaders are choosing to live a very different college lifestyle than their peers which, as fun as it is, can be a real challenge. I remember choosing to between spending money on gas to get to my friends soccer game or buying that outfit I envied at TJ Maxx. I remember missing things on campus so I could attend choir concerts or plays and I remember driving out of way, an extra 40 minutes or so to give a kid a ride home from Chikfila on Thursday nights.
I see you YL leaders! I see the Kingdom work you are doing. I see you choosing a life "outside" the norm. And if that doesn't help encourage you, know that God sees you too and that every time you make the choice to be an outsider, that old person in the student section, you are choosing to be like Jesus.
Today's Throwback Thursday post is something I penned over FIVE years ago as I was gearing up for another Fall, just like the one happening now for YL leaders all over the world.
So I am going to talk about Young Life again (it's my passion ok?!)
I have been reading straight through the New Testament.
One morning a few weeks ago I just picked up my Bible (The Message version) opened it to Thessalonians, & started reading!
It's been really great. I have been making a list everyday of 5 reasons I love Jesus. Sometimes it's more than 5.
I just find 5 things in the scriptures I read that remind me of how awesome my Lord is.
It's an idea I got from Tom Job, whom I love! Check him out here
Anyway, I have made it to Hebrews this week.
I love Hebrews. Especially chapter 11. I usually dwell in chapter 11, but I moved on to chapter 13 & WOW....some of this stuff hit me like a ton of bricks!
Verses 10-15 are talking about living as outsiders. Not being part of the religious traditions that followers were fighting against as a new church in those days, but instead embracing Christ's resurrection, preparing for his return, & living differently than everyone else.
Here is what it meant to me:
As Young Life leaders, we are NOT insiders. What we do is so very foreign to most everyone else. It just doesn't make much sense. "You 'hangout' with high school kids? What do you mean?" or "What do you do all day?" I get asked those questions a lot. The most annoying one is, "Why do you do Young Life? Those kids just party all the time. They don't go to church!" (a question that pretty much answers itself). We are definitely on the outside. We are not affiliated with any church, we don't have a beautiful establishment, & we don't hang out with the clean-cut kids. We hang out with the outsiders! It confuses most people.
YL leaders are outside, in the muck & grime of life, we are usually outside of our comfort zone, we are outside the norm of youth ministry, we stand outside the school waiting to talk to kids for even a second, we hangout outside at sporting events, & most people believe we are out of our minds! To them I say, "Yes! And i wouldn't want it any other way!"
Hebrews says "So let's go outside, where Jesus is, where the action is -- not trying to be privileged insiders, but taking our share in the abuse of Jesus. This 'insider world' is not our home. Lets take our place outside, with Jesus."
Jesus is on the outside! All the action is on the outside! There is nothing worth having as a privileged insider & the inside world is not our true home.
I guess you can decide for yourself what it looks like in your life to be on the outside. I think for me it mostly means sticking with Young Life & not worrying about having lots of money or stuff, or giving in to the temptations that make me just like everyone else. It's something I definitely struggle with. But Hebrews makes being an outside look so inviting!
If Jesus is on the outside, that's where I want to be too.
Written July 4th, 2012