When You Need to Hit Refresh

“With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility”

You’ve heard this classic line. Although this quote is best known as advice to a web-slinging super hero, it applies to Christians as well.

Jesus said to his followers in Acts 1:8, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” I think that’s a pretty big responsibility, don’t you?

Have you ever been cruising the internet, and just as you’re about to read another Wikipedia article or binge watch some YouTube, the page starts running slowly? As the page starts to lull you become frustrated. Your computer isn’t functioning as it should. There’s nothing wrong with the computer and its power source is intact, but it’s having difficulty receiving the proper signals, making it harder for you to use it.

There are times when although we are Christians, there can be a certain lull in our faith where we’re not feeling that “holy fire”. Even though we have the power of the Holy Spirit, we don’t function as we should in this world. This can make us ineffective witnesses and frustrate us in our walk with God.

So what do we do when we’re frustrated with how slow the computer page is running? We hit the refresh button! Without completely giving up and shutting the computer down, you can refresh it with a click of a button.

Just as your computer, when it hits a lull, isn’t as effective until it’s refreshed, sometimes we’re also not as effective as witnesses because we need to be refreshed. So when you’re feeling a lull spiritually, that’s when it’s time to hit the refresh button on your heart. So how do we hit the refresh button on our hearts?

We set aside time to be with God. If you are not doing this, then you will not be as effective a witness as you should be. There are numerous accounts in the gospels where Jesus separated himself from the crowds of people, and even the disciples, to be alone with God. He took time out of his ministering and got up, sometimes at dawn, just to be with his heavenly Father. If Jesus did this, what makes you think it’s not important for you?

What was Jesus doing in this time? He was talking to God, or praying. We can see times in the Scriptures where Jesus set aside time to talk to God about God’s will, the disciples, future believers, and everything else that was on His heart. And so should we. During that prayer time, Jesus received direction, guidance, and comfort from spending time with His Father.

Another way to hit the refresh button on our hearts is to delve into God’s Word. Reading God’s Word reminds us that God is in control of our lives and has a plan for us. It encourages us in our faith and gives us the strength to be bold witnesses. After all, Jesus taught His disciples the Scriptures, He quoted Scripture when faced with temptation, and He used Scripture to combat false religion. Jesus studied the Scriptures and we should too.

So Jesus has told us that we have this great power, the power of the Holy Spirit. And then He tells us the purpose for this power, which is to be His witnesses. Are you being His witness? Or are you stuck and in need of refreshing? 

Naomi’s Nugget: In my experience, I can simply forget about my great responsibility because of my earthly responsibilities. I know that they aren’t as important, but sometimes things like school and homework, chores, or just showing up to activities can turn my time and attention away from what is most important. Have you found yourself at a lull? Quick! Hit refresh!

What Stops Us From Praying?

 

"Would anyone like to pray?" the leader asks.

There you are, sitting in a Bible study. The room that had once been full of talking and laughing has plunged into dead silence.

"Any volunteers?” the leader urges. 

Cue the crickets.

One girl lowers her eyes and busies herself with her skirt. A boy shuffles in his seat and waits for his friends to volunteer.

"Ok then," the leader decides. "I'll pray."

Have you ever been in a similar situation?

Are you someone who has a hard time talking to God in front of other people?

If so, you're not the only one. There are many Christians who would rather not be the one chosen to "pray us out" or "bless the meal". But why is that? Are we afraid of what others might think? Are we afraid to be judged by the people listening to us?

One reason I used to not want to pray is because I was afraid I wouldn't be able to find the right words. What I didn't realize then, was that no matter how many people can hear me, it's still just me talking to one person: God.

Are you constantly worried that you'll choose the wrong words when talking to a friend? Hopefully not! Instead, you talk to your friend easily, saying whatever you want your friend to know. Talking to God should be the same way. In John 15: 15, Jesus says to the disciples: "I no longer call you servants, because servants do not know their master's business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I have learned from my Father I have made known to you."

If you are a follower of Jesus, He is your friend, and like a good friend, Jesus wants to hear what you have to say. He wants to sympathize with you, help you, and strengthen you. If you feel like you've said the wrong words, know that God understands what you're trying say. Psalm 139:1 says: "You have searched me, O Lord, and you know me." Verse 4 goes on to say: "Before a word is on my tongue you, O Lord, know it completely." God will never shut you out, no matter how you phrase a request or how you talk about your day. You have an audience of One.

So the next time your leader asks if anyone would like to pray, don't be afraid of other people and what they'll think of you. You raise your hand proudly, ready to lead others in a time of prayer. Your focus should be on God. God knows your heart and He is always ready to listen.

Naomi's Nugget: God knows your heart and He wants to hear from you. You should never be afraid to talk to your best friend.

Blog posts for the youth ministry