I can imagine what it would have been like to walk with Jesus and be at his side - to be face to face with Jesus of Nazareth. But, you know, Jesus said there's something better than being face to face with him.
I don't know if you've ever caught it, it's in John Chapter 16, Jesus says it's to your benefit that I go away. Now, I don't know about you, but if I'm one of the disciples this is what I'm thinking: what in the world could be better than being side-by-side or face-to-face with the one who walked up to the grave and He summoned Lazarus by name to be resurrected from the dead? What could be better than being face to face with the one who said "hey bring me those five loaves of bread and those two fish and I'll feed the multitudes"? I can't imagine anything better than being face-to-face with Jesus himself.
But, Jesus said it's to your benefit that I go away in John 16. Why? Because when I go I will send the comforter, or, I will send the Holy Spirit. To Jesus, encountering Him through the work and the presence and the power of the Holy Spirit is one of the most amazing things that can ever happen to us.
In Assemblies of God Youth Ministries, we believe that the power of the Holy Spirit is not a luxury in the life of the believer. It is a necessity. We are spiritual beings living inside a body and we are called, destined by God to live a supernatural lifestyle. God still heals people today. God still encourages people who are depressed today. God still provides wisdom to people who don't know what decision they should make. God still heals broken hearts. God can do anything, and he does it not by being personally present with skin on. He does it through the presence and power of the Holy Spirit.
Jesus said this, "...stay in Jerusalem until you receive the gift: the promise of my father." He's referring to the power, the baptism in the Holy Spirit. We believe that there is an experience that comes after salvation. We believe that the presence of the Holy Spirit is something that each one of our students not only needs, but candidly, they want.
We live in a secular society but a very spiritual culture. And no matter what, we are going to be Spirit-empowered in Assemblies of God youth ministry. God has called this generation of students to put on display the love of God in a tangible supernatural way and they cannot do it on their own. I'm all for doing things with excellence and receiving as much education as we can. At the end of the day, however, "...it's not by might and it's not by power it's by my Spirit says the Lord..." (Zechariah 4:6)
We're going to be Spirit-empowered in our churches and our youth ministries. As students when we walk through our public and private school campus, and most of all in our homes, this is what being Spirit-empowered is all about. I encourage you and I challenge you to be friends with the Holy Spirit. Make sure that you don't just serve students in your own way and in your own power, but you serve them through the power of the Holy Spirit.