Discovering Discipleship with Young Christians

Category: Bible Thoughts

Why Devotions Aren’t Homework

Recently the youth group I serve in started sending home daily devotions that correspond with the curriculum we use. Immediately after the youth pastor announced this, a few youths exclaimed, “you’re giving us homework!?” That night I took a brief moment to explain why it was a good thing. Since then, I’ve thought about it more, and this open letter is the result. I know it won’t be directly beneficial to you if you don’t attend my youth group, but hopefully it can still explain why it’s important to know God more and encourage you to spend time getting to know him.

Dear Youth,

I know you probably don’t find the daily devotions we send you home with each week exciting. Maybe you don’t have any interest in them; maybe you think they’re boring. Especially since we want you to bring them back in to see if you did them. Maybe you think it’s too similar to homework.

I can imagine that you want to be done with school for the day when you get home, but you still have homework to do. Then you come to youth group. You get to see your friends and chill while hearing what the Bible says.

Then we give you “homework.” Not cool, right? I promise we don’t want to make your life miserable. Just the opposite! We want your life to be full of joy. In John 15:11, Jesus said, “I have told you these things so that my joy may be in you and your joy may be complete.” The way to have a life full of joy is to know God! We know him by listening to what he tells us through his word. If we listen to him and obey his word, we naturally grow closer to him.

Why Does Our Youth Group Have “Homework”?

For the same reason that school has homework: so you can learn. But homework from school is just learning about the world God made without saying anything much about God directly. Compared to that, the “homework” from Youth is directly about God. (It might be different for you if you go to a Christian school or if you’re homeschooled.)

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Wasted Selfies and Pointless Bible Reading

Can you remember how many selfies have you taken in your life? Dozens? Hundreds? Thousands?

Here’s a challenge: how many of them do you remember right now?

I bet it’s not many.

I have over 60,000 digital images in my photo library (not many are selfies, though).1 As long as I have a general idea of when the picture was taken, I can find it. But I don’t always remember the picture correctly.

For example, the other day I (temporarily) colored my hair blue for Crazy Hair Night at AWANA. I shared a picture with some of my online friends, and some of them wanted to see pictures of the other times I’ve colored my hair. So, I told them that the first time I colored my hair I had orange polka dots. I went on a hunt to find those old photos. It took a bit, but I found them.

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I enjoy making jokes or puns out of current events, trends, and hashtags (so long as the subject isn’t too touchy, and I feel like doing so). For example, the other day I had some fun with the #FakeLoveFacts hashtag on Twitter while it was trending (Here are some examples). So, naturally, the thought occurred to me that I could take the popular #notMyPresident hashtag and repurpose it for Valentines Day.

But then I had a thought. As a Christian, Valentines Day is my holiday. (And no, this is not a corny reference to Psalm 118:24. But the thought did cross my mind.)

Yes, I am single. But I still think that Valentine’s Day is for me. It’s for you as well, regardless if you are single, in a relationship, or if you are crushing on someone and have the perfect ship name and wedding colors picked out.

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