Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Never Been Kissed!

I know these guys for about 6 years now. They have been faithful YPG members since I can remember. They never rushed with their love life. Never pushed, but trusted in God. The rest is history. I'm very happy for them. Just read below.

'We all know how it feels when you’re in school and puberty hits. All of a sudden you are highly aware of yourself and how attractive (or not) you are to the opposite sex. Suddenly, passing that spelling test is not as important as being the only one without a boyfriend. God forbid that you can’t contribute to those conversations about the “best kisses” and “greatest sexual experiences”. Unfortunately, that’s the world we live in today.

So, picture this: A 16 year old girl, in her last year of school is with a group of her girlfriends and the subject turns to boys. She smiles and nods as everyone makes their comments - no matter how outlandish - just as long as they don’t ask her! Then they start going round the group and everyone starts talking about their first kiss... Her brain frantically starts working its way through all the excuses, fancy stories and blatant lies to cover up the fact that… “Whaaaat!” they say. “You’ve never kissed anyone?!” The roar of laughter and the mountain of ridicule bring a heat to her face - so hot that all she can do is shrug her shoulders. “But you’re so late. EVERYONE has kissed by now!” they taunt. “Are you a lesbian?”

I’m sure you get the picture now. Could you feel the embarrassment of that poor girl?! Now imagine that same conversation – only this time the girls are 20 years old. Find it hard to think of? Surely not these days... Now imagine they are 23; or even 24?

It’s kind of hard to imagine that sort of scenario in today’s world. But why should that girl feel embarrassed or ashamed? Did she do anything wrong? No. Do you expire if you don’t kiss a boy by a certain age? No. So think about this: Who do you want to share your kisses with? Or rather, who should you want to share your kisses with?

I’m not talking about the platonic Hollywood air kisses reserved for acquaintances; or the peck on the cheek that you give to your family and friends. I’m talking about that kiss. Yes, the one you dreamt of sharing time and time again with that one special person you love...Now ask yourself: What happened to that dream?

The problem is that so many young women no longer believe in true love or even in finding ‘the one’. So now a kiss is just a kiss. Nothing more. No meaning. It's a quick one with a random you just met at a club; a passionate one with your latest boyfriend (that you’re not really that into...); or the crazy one due to an outburst of excitement at Glastonbury... There’s no denying that the kiss no longer has the value that it used to.

Well, I admit it, the girl in the story is me. From a young age I dreamt of falling in love, getting married and all of that good stuff! From as long as I can remember I had that dream. It was as though it was embedded as part of my original design and I held onto it like it was the truth. It was only when the complexes and peer pressure set in that my dream started to fade. When boys seemed to give me a wide berth... everyone else was dating... and magazines confirmed that I was behind the times...I was desperate to catch up. However, I didn’t want to be sharing things I considered private with just anyone. “So, who was going to be my prince?” I thought.

After a painful and fruitless journey of desperation (and still no kiss!) I finally learnt that my ideals were not so “behind” after all. After discovering that ‘There’s Only One’,I changed my perspective. I learnt that I was meant to be with one person: a person I loved and who loved me in return; someone with whom I was compatible. So, I made a vow to myself and to God that I would hold out until someone proved themselves worthy of me; someone who would appreciate all the love and sacrifice that I was prepared to give. While you’re waiting, you have a great opportunity to grow as a person and think carefully about the kind of person you want to be with. If you don’t know what you want then how can you find it? There is someone out there for you and even if you don’t believe it, it doesn’t mean that it’s not true. You’ve lost your dream because something or someone has stolen that from you. Get it back. Take it back! He is out there.

If you believe in this as I do and as I did back then, waiting for the right person to give yourself to won’t seem like such an arduous task. If you value yourself in the way that you should (you are unbelievably special by the way, if you only knew…), then you will thoroughly check out every suitor, to ensure that he is indeed suitable and compatible. Any nice guy won’t do. Now the thing is, we are only human and can only see so much so I advise you to pray - even if you don’t usually. My theory back then was that if God really did exist, then when I was praying for my future husband, in that very moment, God could see exactly who he was even when I had no clue. And if I could believe for one moment that He would honour my request, then the future of my love life was safe and I could concentrate on other things.

How many frogs do you have to kiss before you find your prince? My answer is none. If you do your investigations right, you can expose the toads, the frogs and the frauds. At the end of your trials you will find a few real princes and then after further research and testing, you will find theone for you. Don’t let time, society or the changing morals of this world bully you into giving up your sentimental values and dreams. Be proud of being “behind” for the sake of sticking to your convictions. Once you get to that point in your life when you’ll be free to give yourself to that one person at the right time, you’ll be glad that you waited. If you’re reading this and you say "But I’ve already kissed (or more) many frogs!" Don’t worry; this is not some purity pledge. More like self preservation. Sometimes we do things because we don’t know better or we have been victims of great deception, but we don’t have to keep doing them. You must have found a few frogs! Challenge yourself and stand up against anxiety. Prepare yourself to receive your prince. Find out how a true prince really acts, lives and treats his princess. Wait.'

My Wedding Day 24/07/2010

By Denice Allen
YPG - United Kingdom


Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Are you digging deep?

Depending on a person's decisions and actions, they can either be building a house that will withstand a hurricane or one that will get blown away by the first winds. Both individuals are given the same instructions and tools to do the job. However, when  a storm comes, only one house will remain standing. Why?

The Lord Jesus explains why in the book of Luke.

"But why do you call me 'Lord, Lord,' and not do the things which I say? Who ever come to me, and hear My sayings and do them, I will show you whom he is like: He is like a man building a house; he dug deep and laid the foundation on the rock. And when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently against that house, and could not shake it, for it was founded on the rock. But he who heard and did nothing is like a man who built a house on the earth without a foundation, against which the stream beat vehemently; and immediately it fell. And the ruin of that house was great." (Luke 6 46-49)

From looking at this passage, we can clearly see the difference between those who hear Jesus’ sayings and put them to practice, and those who heard but failed to act. However, let’s all focus our attention to the part of this passage that states '...dug deep...' and '…laid the foundation on the rock...'

What do we understand from the term '...he who dug deep...'? Well we know that earlier in the passage, Jesus compares this person to the one that hears His sayings and does them. So, this shows that in order to do what God asks of us, it takes sacrifice. As digging a pit is not easy and involves sweating, getting our hands dirty, etc, digging deep in practical means staying away from the things of this world, reading the Bible, seeking the Holy Spirit, praying, fasting, obeying the Word of God and doing all that is required to receive His presence.

Many people confuse the meaning of the other term from this passage which states '...laid the foundation on the rock...' If a foundation is simply laid upon a rock, make no mistake; it can be moved. However, to dig into a rock and lay the foundation makes it very different. This foundation becomes unshakable. (Usually, when people dig into the earth and come across a rock in their path, the only way of removing such rocks could be by using dynamite). This just illustrates how hard we have to work.

The process of digging and laying the foundation upon the rock would be very lengthy and hard; but the motivation we should have in choosing to do so is the assurance that our base is sound and unshakable, which is Lord Jesus.

As for the other person mentioned in this passage, we see that he saw no importance in digging deep and laying his foundation. These set of individuals become more concerned with the appearance of their house. Youth who are like this person usually start off very strong, but along the way, they become complacent. Youths such as these are not really bothered about investing in their faith. They come to church and make weak prayers and think it's okay to miss important services during the week.

"These set of individuals become more concerned with the
appearance of their house. Youth who are like this person usually
start off very strong, but along the way, they become complacent... "

Their houses are already built. Since they are convinced that their work is finished, they become idle; leaving their minds open to thoughts and suggestions. What happens next is that the stream will rise.

They will face persecutions, temptations, accusations and problems that will make them fall.

Pr Luke Castro
YPG National Coordinator

Monday, July 19, 2010

Don't Quit!

When things go wrong
as they sometimes will,
When the road you're trudging
seems all uphill,
When you're feeling low
and the stress is high,
And you want to smile
but you have no sigh,
When worries are getting you down a bit...
By all means pray - and don't you quit.
Success is failure turned inside out,
God's hidden gift in the clouds of doubt,
You never can tell how close you are -
It may be near when it seems so far.
So trust in the Lord
when you're hardest hit...
It's when things go wrong
that you must not quit!

Pr Luke Castro
YPG National Coordinator

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

A Word To The Proud

You read the title and probably thought it wasn't addressed to you, right?

You come to church almost everyday; you are the first to come to the front when the pastor asks ‘who wants to give their life to God?’. Many times you stand before the altar agreeing in prayer with the pastor, calling upon God, crying, asking to be like Him. But the moment you leave, you forget everything that you said and heard – why are you mocking God?

You hear about the dangers of certain types of music and many other vices of the world, but the moment you step outside the door of the church you drop everything you heard! - Why are you mocking God?

You know that the crowd you hang around with only bring you further and further away from God but you insist with that - why are you mocking God?

"Don’t you know that God resists the proud?"

You may have the appearance of a saint and everything appears to be perfect but deep down you wonder why things never change, why it’s taking so long for you to change?

You look at others and even blame them for your situation but things never change because you are rebellious in your spirit. You are proud! Don’t you know that God resists the proud?

You come to receive instruction from God every time you come to church but refuse it. God is telling you one thing, showing you one way but you refuse to obey. What is that? – Pride! If you are not His servant, then why call Him Lord? If you are not His child why call Him Father?

Dear friend, take heed.

We are all full of imperfections and mistakes but if we are not ready to confess this to God, it doesn’t make much sense in you praying and calling upon Him. Humble yourself and ask God to remove all pride from your heart. Let go of everything that impede you from growing closer to Him

"Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." (Matthew 5:3)

Pr Luke Castro
YPG National Coordinator 

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Attention Span

I am very often baffled by some youth's behavior in the YPG meetings.

They get sooooooo easily distracted. Why?

Before going any further, let's analyze their behavior at school first for comparison's sake.

From what I heard, 'cause I never went to school here in America, a student can spend 6 to 8 hours in school, DAILY.

Some of them have told me that after 2 hours of class your head begins spinning around. You feel like asking the teacher for a break, before the real break time.

Well, they can't do that. So, they re-gain concentration and force their brains to focus on the particular subject. There isn't much choice. They have to be there no matter what. Otherwise they bomb out, flop at the end of the year.

To think of the possibility of having to be an employee for the rest of their lives, never becoming financially independent or seeing their peers becoming successful when they are just one more among the crowd is very painful. 

Specially if you have someone in your family like an uncle or cousin, maybe even one of your parents who never achieved anything great in life. You say to yourself, 'No way I will end up like one of them!'

Okay. Now, let's talk about the YPG now. The time spent in the youth meetings, which varies between an hour to an hour and half, twice a week only, is no where near to the seven hours spent inside classrooms daily. 

Please, don't get me wrong, but some teachers are way more boring them we pastors!

In some of the meetings the youths are even allowed to share their opinion and thoughts. They hear testimonies of other youths whose lives have been changed dramatically, we take sometime to talk to God, express our feelings, etc. All this in 1 hour!

It goes without saying that on Sundays we have a lot of fun, which in a classroom it'd be impossible to happen.

Why is it then that they cannot remember what was preached last Sunday in the YPG meeting?

Why is it that they show less interest in absorbing as much of the message as possible, knowing their lives depend on that very Word? 

Why is it that they come one week or two and miss four or five? 

Aren't we dealing with something much more important than career here? 

Something called LIFE?

Can we be TRULY be successful in life without God's companionship? Can we? 

Hence, as I said right at the beginning of this blog, this whole attitude baffles me.

I wonder if they are expecting to show God their report card, where it shows that they were A+ students, in order to be accepted into His Kingdom.

Pr Luke Castro
YPG National Coordinator