Advice for Christian teens . . . by JAMES KNOX

You're young, on fire for the Lord -but where do you go from here?
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If you continually say "yes" to God, He will take you to undreamed of heights & give you the confidence & capability to do things you never thought possible. Becoming Christ-like is a lifelong journey. Some things you may consider . . .

1) Read the Bible. It is difficult to share or defend the faith unless you have substance to back it. Read 3 chapters a day & you'll finish the Bible in a year. Get a Study Bible (Ryrie or Life Application) that will explain what you read. NKJ + NAS editions are in everyday English. Memorize verses that are helpful ie to deal with anger: "Let the peace of Christ rule in my heart." -Colossians 3:15 Jesus used Scripture to fight temptation.

b) If you're into computers -get a Bible Software package. This will help you find verses/topics. Dave Pohl (800) 598-0777 has one starting at $45.

c) Get Classic Christianity Illustrated by Bob George -an enjoyable paperback explaining our faith.

2) Meet with other Christians in your school/youth group. They will support you & help you grow. Some of the best times & longest-lasting friendships will be made here & in Inter-Varsity Christian clubs in college/university.

3) Attend a Christian camp as a camper, counsellor-in-training or as a worker. There are many great Christian camps in Canada & the U.S.A.). Apply early and at several camps in case openings are full.

4) Don't place all your hope on other Christians -they are ONLY human. Look to Jesus for perfection. A mouse in a cookie jar doesn't make it a cookie -just as a person in a church doesn't make him/her a Christian. Judge others by the fruits of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22). Those who condemn are often weak in the areas they condemn.

5) Learn to organize your thoughts. Read the Letters to the Editor section in the newspaper. Time magazine has the best quality letters (I have yet to have one printed here, though I have had many printed in the Toronto Star speaking out against Christian-bashing)

6) Take a public speaking course. Sooner or later you are going to have to speak in public. I was terrified yet they will teach you tricks & improve your confidence. Watch Pastor John Hagee (check T.V. listings) or Rev. Billy Graham

7) Separate yourself from friends or things that will lead you astray. The toughest decision I had to make was to cut ties with my best friend who was leading me astray. We can be friends of the world but not if it is going to compromise our relationship with Jesus. God's Spirit lets us know right from wrong.

8) Self-conscious? There is nothing like helping others to take undue focus off ourselves. Helping out at a Food Bank is an easy way to start feeling better.

9) GIGO "Garbage in=garbage out" -your body (including your mind) is a Temple for the Holy Spirit -treat it as such.

b) Be selective in the music you listen to. Don't throw out all the rock'n roll but listen to some Christian music. Larry Norman is my favourite Christian singer. He has been blessed by God in a special way both in music & in message. Visit: www.larrynorman.com or contact your local bookstore or Phydeaux Records: (408) 479-8321 4398 Lucy Way, Soquel, CA 95073

10) Dating. If you aren't willing to marry the person, Don't date! Guys -treat women as your sisters until you are ready to settle down. Girls -Don't be pressured by the lines guys use -tell them "True love waits!" If you've over-stepped God's bounds, ask for forgiveness & healing. (Request a copy of "True Love Waits" from Evangelical Fellowship of Canada 905 479-5885)

11) Suffering -as Christians we are not exempt from the trials & tribulations of life. In great pain (physical & emotional) -I have sometimes wondered where is God? yet God still loves us & wants us to live out our lives for Him. One day we will have all the answers.

12) Workout -join a fitness club. You will not only look better but feel better. Jogging, swimming, cycling are great for relieving stress. A long walk can help you "get-away-from-it-all" & return renewed. Talk to God.

13) Be baptised. I was infant-baptised (dedication is a more appropriate term) but was recently immersed. There is nothing magical about being baptised but baptismal classes will help your understanding & the event is Bible-based & will give you greater assurance. It is also a wonderful testimony to the congregation. If your church doesn't baptize, go with a friend & find one (Baptist/Associated Gospel) that does.

14) Tithe. Give 10% to the Lord. Also save & invest $1 out of every $10 you earn. This money over time will grow- compounding is called the Eight Wonder of the World. Sound financial principles practised in youth will continue in adulthood.

-James Knox
 
"He who began a good work in you will perfect it
until the day of Christ Jesus." -Phil. 1:6

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