Tuesday, March 24

My "Need" talk

In "Need" talks, we illustrate the point that our lives are full of need, and Jesus desires to meet those needs:
"I am the way and the truth and the life.  No one comes to the Father except through me."  (NIV) -or- "Jesus said, "I am the Road, also the Truth, also the Life. No one gets to the Father apart from me." (The Message) 
And a personal favorite of mine: "You have made us for Yourself, Lord, and our hearts are restless until they rest in You." (St. Augustine)

I gave the following talk to our high school friends at YoungLife club on Monday:

Have you ever tried to get somewhere but ended up going the wrong way a hundred times first?  In this world of MapQuest and GPS directions, we still often do that, and then realize that if we'd chosen the best path to start with, we could have arrived much faster and with a lot less trouble.  For instance, say I really need to get home to Florida and see my family.  I haven't seen them in months, and I'm just dying to get out there.  What if I drove from here to my parents' house on only back roads with no gas stations and taking a detour through Kansas?  I wouldn't get very far, and I'd be starving and sad and a thousand miles from home when all I had to do was get on 75 and have plenty of places to fuel up and get home in no time. 

There's a story about a young man who was trying to find his way.  Maybe you've read it or watched the movie Into the Wild.  If you haven't, at the end of the story the young man is trying to get back to civilization after several weeks of surviving in the Alaskan wilderness.  He knows that if he gets across this river, he'll find everything he needs and his search will be over.  Unfortunately, the river is too strong and he is forced to retreat back.  A month later, unable to find his way across, he dies of starvation in the Alaskan wilderness.  When his body was found, the author who chronicled his journey noted that if he had only had the right map to show him the way, he would have found that there were several cabins and service stations nearby where he could have sought help and a bridge a little further down which would have taken him right across with no trouble. 

We live in a world that's far from perfect.  We all feel a deep need inside us, like we're not quite on the right track and something is missing on our journey.  I don't need to stand up here and list all the big and small problems that affect us and our loved ones.  We spend our whole lives chasing answers, trying to find our way.  The world we live in tells you that the answers can be found in magazines like Cosmo, People, and Men's Health.  The world we live in would have you believe that the way to success and happiness is found in working out more, partying harder, looking better, trying harder to please.  If you're like me, you've probably spent a lot of your time trying to find answers and comfort to those problems.  We turn to friends, significant others, music, exercise, and alcohol.  We expect other imperfect people to give us the answers.  After spending all of my high school years and part of my college years seeking comfort in all these temporary fixes, I finally let the truth sink in.  There is only one way to get the happiness and peace we all crave, and that is through a relationship with Jesus.
Jesus wants to meet us us in our messy lives, just as we are.  He wants us to know the way out of the crap and into real happiness.  In the Bible, in the book of John, Jesus is talking with His friends.  His buddy Thomas wants to know how to get where Jesus is going.  He says, "Jesus, we don't know the way!  How do we get where we're supposed to go?"  Jesus responds, "I am the way.  I am the truth and the life.  No one gets to the Father any other way except through Me."  Thomas asks where to go and how to get there and Jesus's answer is simple.  It applies to you and me today. We wonder where to go, what to do, how to get there.  Jesus shows up and says, "I'm right here guys!  I'm how you get there.  I'm the only way."
That's why God sent His Son, Jesus to meet us here on our turf and to re-connect Himself to us.  You and I have these problems, these needs that we have not been able to fill with temporary fixes--temporary fixes like other people, music, exercise, diets, drinking, smoking, or sex.  I want you all to know that there is a real way to quench that hunger.  You don't have to keep looking in all these endless places for answers that don't last and quick fixes that only provide temporary comfort.  The only way out of the mess that clutters our lives is to know Jesus.  He is the solution to all your needs.  Are you wondering where to find real happiness and peace that lasts?  Jesus is how you get there.  He is the way. 

I want to leave you with this: where have you been looking for answers?  Have you tried any of those temporary fixes?  Are you willing to give the real answer a shot?  

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