A FUTURE IN GOOD AND CAPABLE HANDS – Jan. 21January 21, 2013
My family and I had the privilege to attend and participate in an event over the last four days that has left me greatly encouraged regarding the capable hands that are being prepared for the future. I believe I have gotten a glimpse of the future and it is good. It was a glimpse of something that is contrary to so many of the bleak assessments of what the future holds for Christians. I know of many believers who are prone to become doomsday preppers due to concerns of where our country is going. I hear a lot of discussions and statistics about implication of the decline of Christianity in Western Societies. I know the concerns about the next generation; the effects of violence, video games, pornography, disrespect, and laziness.
These last several days I was reminded that God is control of his Church. He is the one who has always provided His people with the tools they have needed to face the challenges associated with His specific plan. We have always been provided for. We always will be provided for. I think that I might have gotten a glimpse of a very special preparation that God is doing within this next generation.
I spent the last four days at a National Christian Forensics and Communication Association (NCFCA) speech and debate competition in Richland, Washington. It was the first NCFCA event that I have ever attended. My wife and I had decided to participate in a local NCFCA club because we thought it would be good exposure for our kids. I did not fully understand the breadth of preparation that is occurring under the auspices of the NCFCA. I watched and judged young men and women, ages 12-18, do some remarkable things. I saw young men walking around in ill-fitting suits that were obviously purchased in hopes of containing six more months of growth and others whose six months were up. I saw young women walking with the occasional totter of learning the art of walking in heels. I watched them mill around and interact exactly as the teenagers that they are.
Yet, these young men and women represent a depth that I did not see in my generation and I do not think occurred in my parent’s generation. The Lord is clearly preparing so many of their hearts in a manner that the fruit is already very evident.
I was so blessed to get to judge one of the Apologetics semifinals. In apologetics, the competitors are given the choice from three topics, spend about four minutes in preparation, and then they present a six-minute speech. I was blessed beyond what I had anticipated. These young people ministered to me through their speeches. I had not expected that.
I saw a wisp of a young woman, whose posture suggested a reserved spirit not akin to public speaking, push aside her natural shyness. This young woman engaged me in a discussion of the magnificent glory of God and my purpose in this world. She discussed a purpose in a deep way beyond the rote memorization of the catechism. I was encouraged to soak in God’s glory.
I saw a confident young lady with poise and assurance, appropriately use examples and quotes and scripture to explain the importance of prayer and its applications to our lives. I was encouraged to pray more.
I saw a young man with passion and energy talk about the holiness of his Savior and the importance of God’s image. He relied on scripture to discuss what holiness is and why it is associated with God’s image. I was encouraged to seek God’s holiness and to lift up my Lord’s precious name.
I saw a young woman with makeup carefully placed to obscure the typical blemishes of adolescence, give a clear presentation of the gospel in her explanation of the importance of repentance. Her proclamation of the gospel moved me to tears. One of my tears escaped the swipe of the back of my thumb to drop on her rating sheet (ballot). I thought it was very appropriate. I can only imagine Christ’s tears of joy flowing over so many ballots associated with such glorifying declarations from these young people.
I had the opportunity to judge both Team Policy debates and Lincoln-Douglas debates. These young people showed all the skills of many top debating teams from around the country. They had obviously done extensive research and were adept at the use of history and logic to make their points. They could identify fallacies in their opponent’s argumentation and explain their own position. They could effectively cross-examine and question their opponents. They could respond to criticism and speak in coherent responses through their rebuttals. It was wonderful to watch. They made something that is very difficult to do, look easy.
However, they engaged in the debating process in a much different spirit. I watched affirmative and negative teams meet and leave the debating room to pray, prior to the commencing of the competition; on their own initiative.
I saw a young man try to compete through his illness. I had no idea that he was ill while he was engaged in a very lively debate. In the middle of one of his speeches, he apologized and politely excused himself from the debating room with a vomit bucket that I was not aware that he had brought in with him. My heart was encouraged and a tear came to my eye to watch his team mate join with their competitors to pray for their sick friend.
These young people blessed my soul in so many ways. I watched them every morning of the competition join together in a time of worship of our wonderful Lord and Savior. I believe I saw a wonderful blessing for our future during those times of worship.
I saw future pastors and teachers who know how to communicate the wonderful truths of the scriptures.
I saw future missionaries whose beautiful feet will take the gospel to an unbelieving world, whether that is next door or across the world.
I saw future lawyers who will use their obvious skills and ability to communicate to defend the weak and downtrodden.
I saw future business men and women whose confidence in their Lord will allow them to stand in integrity.
I saw individuals who could talk with their friends and family in truth and power.
I saw future parents who will train up the next generation to serve their Lord and Savior.
The Lord is doing a wonderful work in the preparation of these young men and women. I do not know what the future holds. I do not know the challenges that the Church will face but I am confident in my God. I know that He will not leave his people unprepared. He is doing something that I have never seen him do before. This little competition was only a sample of what is happening across our country and it is very good.
I urge you all to take the opportunity to be a community judge at one of these events. You need not worry about your qualifications to judge. These competitors understand that it is their job to communicate to you. The coordinators will show you how to be a judge and you will be blessed. The organizers of the event will thank you profusely for volunteering. It is you who will be will be blessed and encouraged because you will be getting a glimpse of the future and the wonderful work of preparation that God is doing in this coming generation.