January 3, 2024
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It's really hard for me to drive by Civil War battlefields without stopping. I'm a history buff, and I like to stop at those things! Now, when I say Civil War, I might have to explain that to some of my friends, because if you grew up in the South, they say there was nothing civil about it. That's what my wife always told me. It was the War Between the States. At least that's what they taught my wife at school. One of the battlefields that I've driven by a lot is in New Market, Virginia and the Shenandoah Valley.
I've been there several times on other trips but I finally had the opportunity to stop and find out what went on there. It was a time of desperate days for the confederacy. I know there's a lot of controversy that goes on these days about some of the issues of the civil war but this is more about heroism and not so much about a specific cause. It was 1864, and Ulysses S. Grant was making an all-out push to try to take the Shenandoah Valley, and then Richmond, the capitol of the confederacy. And the Union Army had failed to do that five times.
One part of the army was to move down the Shenandoah Valley, which is where New Market is. Now, General Breckinridge was in charge of some confederate troops. He was a former Vice President of the United States, believe it or not. He ordered the students from Virginia Military Institute (VMI) to march for three days and help resist the Union advance. They hadn't used students before to be in the army, but they were that desperate. There were a lot of teenagers in that army. They said, "They'll hear from the institute today." You know what? They did. At a very decisive moment in the battle, these kids charged into the Union lines and drove them back. The South won the battle that day at New Market.
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Young People Leading the Charge."
Our word for today from the Word of God comes from Acts 2:17. A very exciting verse. God says that the greatest spirit outpouring in history will take place just before Jesus comes back. We could be getting close to it now. Here's what it says: "In the last days I will pour out My Spirit on all people." Notice next who's in the lead in this great spiritual offensive. "Your sons and daughters will prophesy and your young men will see visions. Your old men will dream dreams."
You know what this sounds like to me? Young people will be helping to lead the last great Holy Spirit movement, with the older generation sharing their vision and cheering them on. Now, if you're young, it's time for you to step up to spiritual responsibility. You've been a taker long enough, drinking in all the Christian stuff. Isn't it time you became a giver? You've gone to the meetings. Now you need to get a mission, not just go to a lot of meetings. You need to be making a difference man!
It's time for some young people who will commit themselves to tell about Jesus to the people who need to know Him in order to be in heaven with us. You need to get involved in some needs in your town. Don't make your life a "selfie" life. There's so many needs around. Go meet those needs in your town in Jesus' name. This isn't any time to be sitting around waiting for someone to entertain you. It's not all about going to a concert or a retreat or conference or Christian meeting.
I mean, you'd be insulted if someone tried to get a babysitter for you at your age, right? You're too old to be spiritually "baby-sat." So don't wait for an adult to get young people praying. Why don't you get some praying going? Don't wait for an adult to plan an outreach. You do it. Don't wait for an adult to start a Christian club or to start a mission emphasis. You do it.
If you're older than young, like I am, be sure you're doing all you can to create a climate and to create a church where young people are valued, trusted, and challenged. Over two-thirds of the people who ever come to Christ do it by the age of 18. The church has no more urgent priority mission than its' young people and the young people around your church who don't even know about Christ yet.
So, if you're tuned in to the General's final strategy, you're either going to be a young person on the front lines or an older person encouraging young people to be in spiritual leadership. The most important spiritual battles in history could be shaping up right now, right before our eyes, and the outcome may very well be determined by young people leading the charge.