April 11 |

“Back in the Day”

Excerpt from Vintage Winter Banquet 2011

Have you been talking with someone and hear them use the phrase “back in the day?” You know what is coming next: probably a favorable memory from their past.  We use this phrase, or at least variations of it all the time.  This is because our past, our stories, shape us.  I would go as far as to say that they are us.

I would like to share a couple of my “back in the day” stories.

Now that I have my own family I have become much more aware of how my parents were shaping who I was.  I remember spending an hour or so every night around the dinner table.  We talked about our day, what we were frustrated by, what we wanted to do that weekend, school, sports, and spiritual things.  I remember my mom and dad being at almost all of our activities.  I remember building the porch addition with my dad and brother, learning how to correctly use a hammer, hang drywall, and paint.  I remember my dad inviting people into our home, and then my mom cooking and cleaning which meant Joel and I were volunteered too.  I remember going on walks around the lake with my mom and sometimes hanging back with her when we hiked in Colorado to talk about my friends and goals in life.  I remember my dad taking me on hospital visits, flyer running for church, and errands to Home Depot so we could talk, and so I could learn from him while doing things together.  My parents were genius really.   Life was our classroom.

Back in the day I had a youth leader who intentionally took me out every so often for a bowl of ice cream or for a Portillo’s hot dog while I was in high school.  This youth leader had no agenda except to find out who I was.  We talked about school, student leadership, and our love of music.  He helped me figure out where to go to college too.

I had another youth leader who was a business owner.  He used to call me up, swing by my house, and take me with him to “check-up” on his workers in the field.  I remember driving all over the city and suburbs with him.  Not only did we get to talk but I also got to see him interact with his employees.
More recently I have had the privilege of developing strong friendships with people in this community.  I can tell stories of senior staff who regularly invest their time to mentor me.  I can tell stories of fellow youth leaders who have demonstrated and taught me about generosity with time, sacrifice, and “stick-to-it-ness.”  I can tell stories of parents who have encouraged me.  It is great to call these people friends.

Each of these people made a decision at some point to intentionally enter into my life. They have therefore significantly shaped who I am and how I live my life today.

Have you ever wondered what kind of stories the people that knew Jesus told about him? Jesus’ closest friends, his disciples, had all kinds of stories to tell about Jesus because he spent his final three years of his life with them.  There are many things I just want to be more like Jesus in.  Here are a couple of them:

1) People were Jesus’ priority. Jesus saw the potential in people.  How do we know this? Consider the disciples: 12 young, uneducated, bone-headed, red-blooded males.  After their training was complete and Jesus had returned to heaven, Acts 4:13 tells us that “When the people saw the disciples’ courage and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus.”   Jesus totally believed in these “knuckleheads” and gave them value.

2) Jesus stayed with his people. The essence of his training program was just letting his disciples follow him.  They did everything together: traveled together, ate together, and cared for people
together.  Mark 3:14 says “Jesus appointed twelve that they might be with him and that he might send them out to preach.”
3) Jesus showed his people how to live by demonstrating it.  It was no accident that Jesus often let his disciples see him conversing with God in prayer (like in Mark 1:35).
4) Jesus expected his disciples to invest in people just like he did. Jesus’ plan was for his disciples to replicate the mentoring they had received, therefore passing on His Great Commission
(Mt 28:18-20)

Parents: Thank you for making the daily choice to go to your teen’s ball game or sit through their concert.   Thank you for staying up late to make sure they got home.  And thanks for staying up even later to talk to them, since after midnight is always the best time for a teen to talk!  Thank you for making it a priority to go to church together, even on vacation.  Thank you for initiating family devotions, even though you know you will get complaints.   Thank you for spending quality time with your teenager and telling them that you love them.

Adult Leaders: Thank you for sharing your time with our students.  Thank you for texting students and writing encouraging thoughts on their Facebook wall.  Thanks for going to their activities and taking them out for food.  Thanks for praying for students.

Teens: Thank you for serving others through various church ministries, youth group serving nights, and mission trips.  Thank you for caring about new students at youth group and coffeehouse and inviting them into your group.   Thank you for reaching out to your peers at school and letting them know that they are valuable.

Daniel Riemenschneider is the High School Youth Pastor at Bloomingdale Church. He cannot wait for the summer so he can go camping with his wife and friends.  Contact him at: youth@bloomingdalechurch.orgdanielriem.com