Thursday, March 20, 2008

Teen People of the Bible

Good morning! I had the honor of contributing to a devotional book written by Daniel Darling called Teen People of the Bible. One of the things my small group girls ask for are good devotional books. I thought you might be interested, too. This is a great book to check out and I thought it would be fun to interview Daniel for our blog. Here is our conversation:

Tell me why a teen should read Teen People of the Bible:

Sarah, good question. If you’re a teen and you’ve really struggled to establish a daily quiet time with the Lord—I’m guessing its because you’ve tried, but just can’t understand the Scriptures or maybe have not found the Scriptures speaking to you.

Teen People is a bridge between you and the Bible. It takes the stories of young people in the Bible and brings them to life. It also compares their struggles to your struggles, which, are remarkably the same. There is also journaling space, questions that provoke serious thinking and prayers to help you get your prayer life going.

What prompted you to write this book?

Well, Sarah, like you, I really have a passion for Christian young people. I read the statistics that say how many of them are losing their way, abandoning the faith. I’m not sure I believe the statistics, because many of the young people I know are really sold out for God.

But remember being a teen. It wasn’t that long ago. And even though I was raised up in a good Christian home, attended a Christian school, and went to church three times a week, I still struggled to establish a relationship with God. Part of it was because I believed the myth that the Bible doesn’t speak to teens. I thought every character in there was an old man with a gray beard and like 10 wives. And that’s so not true.

This is a blog for Christian girls—can you tell me about a teenage girl in the Bible that resonates with girls today?

Well, there are several powerful stories of teen girls in the Bible. One obscure one is Salome. She was the daughter of Herodias, she lived in the palace, and was used to living the good life. But she made some really poor choices with her body and with her relationships that resulted in John the Baptist, a preacher sent by God, getting killed.

Salome made the same unfortunate mistake that many teens make today. She allowed others to determine her worth and her value. People weren’t interested in loving her—they were more interested in what she could give them. Its sad, really.

The message God has for teen girls is that He loves them for who they are, not what they can bring to Him. His love is matchless. Its superior. And it is far greater than anything someone may offer them in exchange for what they can give in return.

A positive example of a Christian girl is Rebekah. We often overlook her story and move right on into where she marries Isaac and lives “happily every after.” But Rebekah’s grace, purity, and selflessness exhibited that ordinary day at the well gives girls a great pattern for attracting the right kind of Christian man. Her story is very powerful.


Anonymous said...

Hi Sarah

I was looking on the internet for a site that I can give my daughter to read and I saw this beautiful piece of advice that you gave to teenage girls.
Thank you very much.

My daughter is 13, to be 14 in August. She has no friends at school and sometimes this bothers her. She is doing exceptionally well at school and is very hardworking. She also works in the school's canteen and because of her overall hardword her teachers are very fond of her.
This is causing a great bit of jealousy from other girls in her class.
Because of her very good work at school some of the other girls are frequently asking if they can write down her homework as they did not do theirs. Off course she refuses and this makes her very unpopular.
At home she is a lovely girl and I'm very fortunate to have a wonderful mother daugther relationship with her. I'm a single mom for 2 wonderful teenagers and I can just thank God that He gave me the ability to work with them the way that I do.

Can you perhaps give me some advice on how to help her make some friends at school? It is such a pity that people see the good in her and wants to abuse it for their own good. I just struggle to give her advice on how to approach this situation with her and I really would appreciate your input.

Have a lovely day. It is now 10:30 Saturday morning in South Africa. So quite a bit before you will be getting up.

Kind Regards
Anelia Jordaan

Sarah Bragg said...

Hi Anelia,

Thank you for your comment! My husband was just in South Africa a couple of weeks ago! What a small world!

I completely emphasize with your daughter. I know what that feels like. I was friendly to everyone, but didn't really make great quality long-lasting friends until college. First of all, I would continue to pray for good friends. Then, I would be kind to people and be the one who initiates conversations with other people. I think that is one of the hardest things to do. I would much rather sit back and wait for someone to come find me and talk to me, but in order to make friends sometimes I have to be the one who initiates.

It is wonderful that you have such a great relationship with your daughter. My mom and I were (and are) the same way. I know that the advice I gave isn't much, but I hope it helps. Maybe if some of the other authors read this post, they can offer some feedback as well.


Marty said...

Hi Ms. Jordaan,

I'm sure it probably sounds cliche and all that, but joining clubs and other activities at school will allow her to meet other people with similar interests. Also, with sports or academic competitons, you are able to meet people from other schools in the area. Also, are there any sort of activities in the community? Such as book clubs at the library or volunteer organizations? This way your daughter could meet people outside of school.

And while I had a ton of friends in high school and still see them on occasion and we all hang out, I really only have about three close friends who I can really talk to. One close friend is better than twenty buddies that you just hang out with.

I hope all goes well. I will be praying for your daughter.

Kelsey said...

Problem: I used to go to youth group at my church about a year ago. Then I got involved with this guy who didn't go to church or believe in God and things got really messed up in my life for awhile and I stopped going to youth group. Now, I'm no longer dating the guy and I'm trying to get my life back together with God. But I'm afraid to go back to youth group. I'm worried what people might think and that they all know what happened or that they'll think that I'm all wishy-washy when it comes to what I think. What do you think I should do?

Sarah Bragg said...

Hi Kelsey,

I think that you should try going back to youth group. I pray that you will feel welcome and comfortable back there. God has put a desire in your heart for Him and a great place to connect with Him is at church. You might want to email the youth pastor, too, and ask for advice and let him know that you want to come back but are nervous. I used to be a youth minister and loved to find students who came back. I always wanted to help them feel welcomed back!