Don’t Leave The Lord When You Leave Home

Father and son unpacking car for college

When a young person moves away from home for college, work, or to join the military it is often the first time a young person takes complete responsibility for attending worship service and serving God publicly. In truth, a person always has responsibility for their spiritual life but at home the parents or guardians exercise more control and direction than will be the case away from home.

Be Faithful in Worship to God

The Christian should always give God the honor and worship that He deserves. One way a Christian does this is by assembling faithfully with a church and sharing in the work of the local group. This responsibility is described in Hebrews 10:23-25:

Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near. (ESV)

Worshiping faithfully recognizes God’s goodness and need to encourage others. When moving away from home, each person takes personal responsibility and self-direction for attending worship.

  • When you move out from home you will not have parents coming in to wake you up in the morning and taking you to services.
  • You will be responsible for making sure that you plan to go in the first place and get up in plenty of time to eat, dress, and arrive before time to start.
  • You will be responsible for getting your Bible lessons and making sure that you are there for each service.
  • You will be responsible for not staying up so late on Saturday night that you sleep in on Sunday or are asleep in the assembly.
  • If there is a congregational meeting, you are part of the congregation and should attend.
  • Young men: if there is a men’s meeting, you are expected to attend and have a voice in what is done or, at least, to listen and learn.
  • You are expected to be there for the nights of the gospel meeting and the work that the church does throughout the year.
  • You need to find a place to worship and let them know that they can depend on you to be a part of that church and its work.

Make A Difference Where You Worship

When you are a part of the local work you can help build up the group. In 1 Timothy 4:12-16, Paul urged Timothy to:

  • Be a good example in your speech and conduct
  • Give attention to building up your Biblical knowledge
  • Use your gifts and abilities for the building up of the local church
  • Immerse yourself in the life of Christ and let it shine through you
  • Guard yourself so that you are not drawn away to ungodliness

When I went to college in another state and attended a local church, it hit me one day that the people at church didn’t know my mom or sisters. Everything they knew of me was by my own responsibility and participation. Always remember, you are not there as your parent’s child or of a group called “college students” or “young people’s group;” you are a Christian and you should take responsibility to do what you can do to help the growth of the church.

Faithfully Attend Worship Services

Do not allow yourself to begin missing services. Sometimes people do this when working late or studying late into the night. Perhaps after a late night with friends you hit the snooze saying, “I’ll skip Bible class and go to worship service” eventually saying, “I’ll skip this morning and go to the assembly tonight.”

This is a bad habit that can lead you to drift from a close relationship with God and His people. Such behavior makes you weak and vulnerable. A sheep that wanders from the flock is vulnerable for being attacked and taken away by a predator. Similarly, the Christian who drifts away from his brethren can be easily drawn into the world and the jaws of Satan, the lion who seeks those he can devour (1 Peter 5:8-9)

Give Financially To Show Gratitude To God

Another important habit to continue as you start your life is to give financially as you prosper to show thankfulness to God. Proverbs 3:9-10 advises believers to “Honor the LORD with your wealth and with the firstfruits of all your produce.” We honor God when we give back to the work of His kingdom from the money we have earned. The amount you give may not be great as you work through college and begin your career, but give something from what you earn as thankfulness to God and sharing in the work that the local church does for the glory of God.

The proper attitude of giving, described in 2 Corinthians 9:6-12, requires that we give cheerfully of what we have received recognizing that we are sharing in the good work of God.

When you move from home you have a great opportunity to grown in your faith and to take your place, independent from your parents, as a faithful active member of the church.

Other Articles in this series:

Trust God Completely And You Can Face Anything

Though you are beginning a life independent of your family, you will never live a life independent from God’s rule. However, you must choose whether you will trust God completely with your life and enjoy the benefits of His love and care or follow your own passions and desires and suffer the negative consequences of your decisions. A life lived trusting God allows us to be confident, comforted, and content. It is a life in which much of the suffering that results from poor choices and selfish living can be avoided. Most of all, you can face the greatest trials and challenges knowing that God is with you and is taking care of you.

Trust Requires Complete Dedication

Trusting in God requires a complete dedication to living with God as the center of our life. It can be likened to a base jumper or parachutist taking a leap into the air trusting in the parachute, their preparation, and other gear to guide them safely to the ground. We can study God’s word and do good things but we must take a leap and make God the center of our decision process and choose to live to His glory. Some people live a life that agrees with God–they are doing what they want to do but it happens to be what God wants them to do–but our challenge comes when we must do what He commands when we desire to do something different.

We must trust God with our whole heart and mind. Proverbs 3:5-8 urges us to trust God with our whole heart and mind:

Trust in the LORD with all your heart,
and do not lean on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge him,
and he will make straight your paths.
Be not wise in your own eyes;
fear the LORD, and turn away from evil.
It will be healing to your flesh
and refreshment to your bones. (ESV)

Complete Trust Enables Us To Face Any Challenge

When we have this kind of trust we can face any challenges, even death for the cause of Christ. Paul told Timothy, in 2 Timothy 1:12, that he was not ashamed of being a prisoner and was ready to face death, because he entrusted his life to God. Imagine having that kind of confidence! That is why the believer, compared to a sheep in Psalm 23:4, could walk through valley of the shadow of death (a fearful trial that is surrounded by dangers) without fear–for God is with him. And it is God’s guidance and discipline (rod and staff) that provides comfort as we live in His care.

Trust That God’s Way Is Right

As the passage quoted earlier from Proverbs 3 tells us, don’t be caught up in your own understanding. Remember that the instruction from the Bible comes from an eternally wise God and has been proved true for thousands of years. It is not the product of ungodly men or the shallow knowledge of a few decades of life on earth. Trusting God means that we realize depending on our own understanding  usually leads to foolishness or, sometimes, evil. You don’t have to experience sinful things to know that they are wrong. Trust that God’s way is right and is designed for your maximum good in life and that avoiding sin will bring you greater joy and contentment in life. Do not be deceived.

Trust God completely and He will take care of you, guide you, and make all things work for good.

Other Articles in this series:

Why Older People Give Youth Advice (And Why You Should Listen)

Loving GranddaugherOlder people frequently enjoy the opportunity to share a lifetime of wisdom with young people at various stages in their lives: graduation, going off to college, workforce, or war, marriage, birth of a child, etc. Such a desire arises from love for the young and a desire to save them unnecessary heartache, suffering, or unnecessary painful, and often lifelong, consequences. The wise young person will realize that this advice is given out of concern and will recognize that they can avoid some mistakes by listening to the warnings of those who have already passed through a treacherous way.

A young person may be tempted to dismiss or diminish the advice because “things are different now” and “we live in different times.” Technology may change and many things may seem more advanced, but basic human nature remains the same throughout the ages. The book of Ecclesiastes emphasizes this cycle of life and that “there is nothing new under the sun.” So your parents may not have had iPods when they were young but they still had to make good choices about entertainment and their friends.

For example, consider this quote that speaks so well of the immorality in our nation:

“All is full of criminality and vice; indeed much more of these is committed than can be remedied by force. A monstrous contest of abandoned wickedness is carried on. The lust of sin increases daily; and shame is daily more and more extinguished. Discarding respect for all that is good and sacred, lust rushes on wherever it will. Vice no longer hides itself. It stalks forth before all eyes. So public has abandoned wickedness become, and so openly does it flame up in the minds of all, that innocence is no longer seldom, but has wholly ceased to exist.”

Yet this quote is not from modern times but it is Seneca speaking of ancient Rome! Time, technology, and political power may change but people remain the same. Listen to the godly advice of those who are older because the principles are timeless.

Don’t forsake the wisdom you have received from godly sources. For example, the book of Proverbs reminds us to not forsake wisdom shared by godly parents (Proverbs 1:8—9; 29-33; 3:1-4). Following such wisdom will decorate your life better than jewelry, direct your steps on the path of a good life, and warn you of dangers that can damage or destroy your life. As Proverbs 3:4 says to write such wisdom on your hear so that “…you will find favor and good success in the sight of God and man.” (ESV)

You may not always understand or appreciate the godly wisdom from parents, Bible class teachers, preachers and Christians, but it can be the greatest treasure in life if it keeps us from making terrible mistakes that could make our life more difficult. Don’t hesitate to talk to those who are much older, like grandparents or older people in church, and ask them for advice to help you live a better life. Then listen carefully to the lessons of wisdom spoken in love to help you have the best life you can live.

Other Articles in this series:

God Supplies So We Can Provide

The opportunity to give to others is a blessing for the giver and receiver. It does not matter whether the gift is money, a present, or something that cannot be bought. If you are the giver you enjoy the satisfaction of knowing that you made someone’s day brighter. If you are the receiver, you are happy that someone cared enough to perform an act of kindness for you.

Attitude of the Giver

In 2 Corinthians 9, Paul describes the attitude that the brethren giving money to help others in need should have. In any act of giving, we should have these characteristics:

  1. Generosity: If we want a bountiful harvest, we must sow a lot of seed, verse 6. Although this passage has been abused by some “health and wealth” teachers, the principle is that what we accomplish relates to what we invest. Not every gift has to be expensive, or cost anything at all, since the thought put into selecting the gift or the effort to make a gift creates great value that will be appreciated by the recipient.
  2. Purposeful: A well received gift will also be the product of preparation and planning, verse 7.
  3. Cheerful: When you give a present because you feel like you have to, it takes away much of the joy of giving (and probably for the receiver as well). We should not give because we feel like we have to or are forced to (verse 7)

God Supplies So We Can Provide

The most important reason a Christian should be generous is that he has received so much from God! (verses 8-12)

God has supplied our physical, spiritual, and emotional needs which provides us opportunity to share what we’ve received from God with others. Christians should recognize that blessings should flow through them to others. So we receive both the benefit of being blessed by God and the opportunity to serve others. Consider some ways we can help others with the blessings we received from God:

  1. Comfort2 Corinthians 1:3-7 tells us that we have received comfort from God in order to provide comfort to others.
  2. Forgiveness – We have been freely forgiven of our offenses by God. How can we not also freely forgive others? Ephesians 4:32
  3. Money – Since we have been physically blessed by God, we need to use what we have to His glory. Sometimes this may be by using money to help others. It can also include using the things money bought (house, car, computer, work tools) to serve others and help them in a time of need.
  4. Time – We need to be good stewards of our time as well as our money. Since God gives us every moment we should be generous in giving our time to those who need us. We should not be so concerned with time during worship since it is time spent glorifying God and feeding on His word. If we constantly squander our time on selfish and empty pursuits we deny others the help they need and will regret it in the future.

Romans 8:32 tells us God freely gives us all things. If we have received freely, freely we should give. Sometimes we pray “God bless <person>.” We need to see how we can use what God has blessed us with to be a blessing to the person for whom we are praying.

Alabama Florida College Winter Camp 2011 Presentations

We had a very uplifting time this winter discussing important subjects challenging our spiritual growth. Below are the outlines and presentations from this special period of study:

Christian and Finances by Charlie Nowlin, Sr.  Lesson Text (PowerPoint Presentation)

An excellent lesson by a Christian and the CEO of a large corporation on managing our finances in a way that lead to security, contentment, generosity, and peace within the home. The earlier you learn and apply these lessons in life, the better.

Avoiding Laziness and Non-Productive Habits by Rusty Green Lesson Text (PowerPoint Presentation)

An important lesson for making the best use of our time. Although there is no problem with occasionally spending time on non-productive activities, and it may be very beneficial at times, we will enjoy a greater quality of life and usefulness in God’s kingdom by using our time productively.

Godliness by Rhodes Davis Lesson Text

My lesson on living a life directed towards God and the manifestation of His glory in our lives as we draw closer to Him.

Lasciviousness, Modest Clothing, and Dancing by David Hartsell  Lesson Text (Presentation 1:Lasciviousness Presentation Presentation 2: Modesty and Dancing Presentation)

A much needed lesson on controlling the power of lust in our lives. Practical considerations for young men and women on how they dress and act. The presentations are very detailed with a lot of scriptural references to aid your study.

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