Love Works

What's Gonna Work?

Isn’t that how the Daycare song goes?

Well my wife Sylvie (who is an amazing Daycare consultant) sang a catchy tune with her kids when they were cleaning up and actually, it goes like this: “What’s gonna work? Team – Work!”

Yeah, so…

I was in church few weeks ago, and was telling a story about my early days in youth ministry. In particular – I told the story of 2 really strange looking guys in one of my Minnesota youth groups back in the day.

These 2 guys were like, college age and my high school group ended with, well, graduating from high school. I couldn’t figure out why they were coming to my youth group? They wore black, gothic jackets and overcoats. Oooo! (Hey no judgment I know pastors that dress like that but just keepin’ it real how I felt about these 2 here!)

Well, we had a lot of pretty blondes (Yes, pretty brunettes too, quite honestly!) attending, and I put two-and-two together. Yeah I’m real quick!

So then I asked some of the high school guys who the two college dudes were. And I asked why they kept coming late but never sitting up front always in the very back. (By the way, to me, the two most powerful places for people to sit is the front row and the very back – you know, if you want the Lord to get your number!) The high school guys ‘in the know’ told me that these guys were making their way through the blondes. I knew exactly what that meant.

The YOUTH PASTOR/SPIRITUAL DAD in me became – white hot FURIOUS!

So the following Wednesday night, the 2 dudes came walking in again. I could hardly think during the entire worship service, and I did pray for them, and for God to just convict them. When I got up to tell some funny stories and then get into my message, they were laughing and kinda listening.

But I felt HATE – RIGHTEOUS ANGER grow inside me. As soon as the meeting was officially over I planned to physically beat them and physically throw them out of the meeting! (And let me remind you – I had every RIGHT to do that since – THEY WERE NO LONGER IN HIGH SCHOOL!)

So, after the youth meeting, I talked to some youth and then – I saw the 2 dudes getting ready to go hang with the blondes, this was my chance!

I went directly at them! I felt LED BY THE SPIRIT, oh yes I did…

Now, this may sound really confusing, but what I am about to say next is, to me, the normal Christian life and, if we are honest… what we all go through when we let the Spirit fill us and lead us:

I walked up to these 2 dudes with righteous anger inside, and when I laid my eyes upon them, I felt a strange sensation of love and compassion overtake my human emotions of righteous anger. (Again, these guys are like stalking some of my girls!)

I looked at them both, and felt the Spirit lead me 180 degrees the other way. YOU GOTTA BE KIDDING ME!

I listened to them, I laughed with them. They forgot about the blondes (at least for a few minutes) and we started talking about maybe a college group that they could attend and I asked to pray for them both right there; which I did.

Then, next Wednesday (youth group night) to my dismay, THEY CAME AGAIN!

“Now what?” I thought. I didn’t know what to make of it. But, as the night progressed, we had a powerful night of worship, and kids came forward to give quick “shout-outs” to the Lord. It was totally unplanned.

And then I noticed out of the corner of my eye, one of THE DUDES, coming up to share.

Ugh.

THE DUDE came up to me, stood right in front and turned and faced everyone! He began to share how he had been hurting Jesus. He began to not only ask Jesus to forgive him but to come inside him!

He began to weep, and then sob! I put my arm around him and we all prayed for him!

What a change! It was a great night.

And those blondes the following few Wednesday nights began to confess sin and repent and pray and start bringing their Bibles and began to jump up and down through our worship. (We also attended AQUIRE THE FIRE and another youth conference and that really helped) and the 2 DUDES were allowed to participate by myself with accountability of course! LOL

So – needless to say, this group was messed up at the beginning of that year, but in 6 months it was like revival. ON THEIR OWN, these kids organized (Along with some super awesome adult volunteers) monthly ALL NIGHT PRAYER MEETINGS as well.

It was a super year.

And was it because of Jeff Saxton? No. I almost ruined it. It was because I was willing to let the Spirit lead.

And THE DUDES? Well, one went to the Army the following year and we prayed for him as God worked huge things in his life. And the DUDE WHO REPENTED? He became a volunteer leader (after a few months separation) and eventually went back into that SAME YOUTH GROUP and served as an assistant youth minister!

In fact, he eventually met a girl and they were married and then they both worked with youth at that very same church!

Can you imagine that?

And I was going to hate on him and kick him out.

And here’s the thing: righteous anger really does very little good, and often does a lot more bad. And if you look at the model Jesus set before us – he reserved righteous anger for religious leaders.

My advice, if you are looking for the answer as to what truly is GONNA WORK…

what is going to really create meaningful and lasting change in sinners?

Well, I know that anger never really worked on me. There are people that didn’t like me and let me know that when I was a wild sinner.

And you know what, a few of them STILL DON’T LIKE ME ha ha ha!

Hmm. That’s messed up.

Honestly, if you are not getting the results you are looking for through rules, being strict, pointing fingers, and giving out discipline and punishment with no grace and compassion…

TRY LOVE.

It works.

Until next time,

Jeff