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God never chooses men on the basis of what they are, but on the basis of what they are to become.  Christianity is the revolutionary business of transforming men’s lives from the inside out.  One of the unique things about Christianity is that it begins with a realistic acceptance of who and what we are.  The very beginning point of Christian experience is the painful awareness of our problems -- our rebellion, separation from God and hopeless condition.  God chose to work within the stuff of problem-riddled human life.  God in Christ was choosing to work with men on the basis of what they were to become.

 

Jesus operated on the basis of potential, not problems.  The frustration of small, face-to-face groups like the twelve disciples comes with the realization of the tremendous conflicts, weaknesses, and problems that are encountered.  One way to avoid this frustration is to run from deep relationships with people.  One excuse goes something like this, “Well, this is real nice, this working in-depth with a small group, but you should see the students with whom I have to work.”  Another way to avoid the frustration of using Jesus’ methods would be to work only with programs, or large masses of people.  Ceaseless activity or treating people as a faceless, monolithic mass can keep us insulated from people and their problems.  When this happens, the very example of our Lord Himself is being violated and the rich and personal people-changing potential of Christianity becomes hidden in depersonalized rituals, programs, and mass meetings.

 

The challenge of discipleship and working with small groups is the challenge to see beyond people’s problems to what they can potentially become in Christ.  This perspective brings a revolutionary honesty and a life-changing dynamic into our relationships with people.  The challenge is to relationships of two or more with Christ at the center.  In this way, Christ worked qualitatively through men in small groups.  He multiplied through a core of men who were ornery, ignorant fishermen with no formal education.  The priority of His three year ministry was to spend time with them and to grow into their lives.  He saw them in terms of potential, of what could be accomplished by God through their lives.

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I have had many youth pastors over the years ask me for my own personal recommendations on products. In recent years, this request has increased. So, I thought it might be beneficial to many to share on the site my personal favorites in different categories from Simply Youth Ministry.

CLICK HERE to check out my personal picks in 7 categories

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