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A Lesson from Ricky

Psalm 119:105
Thy word is a lamp unto my feet,
and a light unto my path.

One of the most memorable teaching moments that I’ve had over the years was at the very beginning of my ministry with a young man named Ricky. I was leading a youth group, and we were memorizing Scripture.  The verse for the week was Psalm 119:105. Here’s how the class started:
The first young man came up and recited: “Thy word iza lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path.”  “Good job,” I said.
 
The next young man came up and started: “Thyword iza lamp unto my feet anda light unto my path.”  “That’s good,” I said. And so it went for about two more young men, each one saying the verse faster than the previous person.  Then came Ricky!
“Ricky, what does Psalm 119:105 say?”  
Ricky took a deep breath, and let it fly:  “Thywordizalampuntomyfeetandalightuntomypath!”
 
He looked at me, very happy with himself.  It was almost as if he’d set a new land speed record and was pumped about it.  Then, I did the unforgivable … I asked him a question.
“Ricky, was does Psalm 119:105 mean?”
Ricky’s smile immediately turned into a frown.  Burrows formed in his forehead as he thought about my question.  I could see the wheels turning as he looked up at me and said, “I don’t know; nobody’s ever asked us that before.”
I felt horrible. I was a brand-new leader and didn’t have a clue about the “right” way to lead.  I didn’t know I wasn’t supposed to ask questions about understanding what we were doing.
 
The young men all looked at me as if to say, “What’s wrong with this guy?  That’s not the way class is supposed to go.  We recite our verse, then play our games.”
Well, I’ve always been “weird” and felt like memorization without application is WORTHLESS!  Please don’t misunderstand me, Scripture memorization is very important—I wish I were better at it.  BUT, you can memorize the whole Bible and still be as lost as a goose.  I’ve met a number of people who can quote a lot of Scriptures, but have no idea what they mean.
So, being new to the whole teaching thing, I came up with something off of the top of my head to try to get them to understand.  It went something like this:
Carl: “Ok, everyone, get on that side of the room.”
Youth: “What?”  “Why?” “Huh!”  (You know, the typical young men responses when told to do something.)

Carl: “You heard me, everyone get on that side of the room.”
Youth:   (Grumble, grumble, grumble)

Carl:  “Here’s your job: Get from this side of the room to the other side of the room and back, as fast as possible, without touching any of the desks or chairs.”
Youth:  “What?”  “Why?” “Huh!”  (You know, the typical young men responses when told to do something.)

Carl:  “You heard me, just do it!”
Youth:  (Grumble, grumble, grumble)
After they had done that, I continued:
 
Carl:  “Good job, guys.”
Youth:  “That was easy.”  “Boring.” plus grumble, grumble, grumble.
 
Carl:  “Now, this time I’m going to blindfold you and turn off all the lights so that you can’t see anything.  Then I’m going to rearrange all of these desks and chairs.  Some will have the legs of the chairs and tables sticking out sideways.  You then have to run from this side of the room to the other and back without touching any of the chairs and tables.”
Youth:  “No!  We don’t want to do that!”
Carl:  “Why?”
Youth:  “Because if we run into the chairs or tables, we could get hurt.”
 
Carl:  “That’s Psalm 119:105 in action!”
Youth: “What?”
 
Carl: “Think about it.  God is telling us that His Word is like a spotlight that we can use as we go through life.  At night, if you don’t have a light source, you could trip over things or run into things and get hurt.  But if you’ve got a spotlight that’s lighting up your path, you’ll be ok.  Those chairs and tables represent sin.  God’s told us what sin is and the impact it will have on us if we’re not careful.  The same way you don’t want to run blindfolded in a room with all kind of dangers, you don’t want to go through life blindfolded with even more dangers.  You need God’s Word to point out the traps that are around us.  Now, you are free to do what you want to do, but just know this: There are consequences for the decisions that you make.  I hope that makes sense.”

Today’s youth will not just accept something as truth because we say so.

As far back as I can remember in my Christian walk, I’ve always had a desire to teach the application of faith in Christ.  Without application, it’s my humble belief that Christianity is done.  Today’s youth will just not accept something as truth because we say so.
I’m not attacking anyone here, and I’m sure there are much better ways to teach than the way that I did.  I don’t have huge followings or massive numbers of notches on my belt that I can show you where people have fallen on their face and totally turned their lives around after hearing me speak.

What I do have is a peace in knowing that with all of my heart, mind, soul, and strength, I’m trying to represent the Lord well and share His Love with a lost and dying world that is crying out for hope.  That hope is Jesus.
As the body of Christ, we each have gifts that are unique to us.  God has prepared us to reach different folks.  I can reach someone that will never listen to you.  But, you can reach someone that will never listen to me.  Please, USE YOUR GIFT to bring glory to Christ.

 
Stay Bold and shine a light, God’s light, on someone today!

This story as well as the rest of Carl’s testimony is told within the book, Reasons for Hope in the Mosaic of Your Life. Available HERE at our Reasons for Hope Store.
We also encourage you to purchase our newest ministry book, Did Jesus Commit Suicide? And 27 Other Questions That Teens Have About the Bible (that adults want to know, too) to help you answer questions from a biblical worldview that teens are asking today. Click HERE.
To learn more about our Founder and President, Carl Kerby, or to book him as a speaker, please click HERE.

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