I had the opportunity to preach to the youth on the 26th. I normally hate preaching at the church I'm based out of, but I love kids so I went at it with the intent I would anywhere else: To deliver a message I knew was from God, specifically for them.
The message was about the Altar. Man, what a broad topic! There are literally hundreds of angles you could come at this from, but the angle I wanted was simple: We as Christians have the amazing chance to put ourselves on the altar, which is a place that exists out of time and space in our hearts, and allow God to transform us, heal us, and get rid of crap that has attached itself to us. The altar is a message of transformation, of forgiveness, of grace. Basically, the altar encompasses the whole of the Christian faith, but specifically the connection with God that forges genuine inner renewal.
But as complex as what I just wrote might sound (due to bad writing!), the altar is more about desire than anything. I want to see our entire church, adults and youth, with a desire for God. And I want to see that desire come out in services. I want our physical altars to be flooded with people seeking a God moment. I want the front of our church to be flooded with believers seeking a deeper walk with Christ. I want to see sinners at the altar crying out to God to save and chance them. I guess what I want to see, really, is raw, pure, motivated interaction with God. The altar is the place where bad theology goes away. It's the place where intentions are washed. It's a place that you can't teach.
Which is why we struggle. You can't teach the altar directly. You can show through example. But when you talk about it, when you've bathed in God's presence on the altar... talking about it seems like a fairy tale - and we're not good at writing those anymore.
God, show yourself to our students on the altar! Draw them to the ultimate altar - the cross!