Teen years are when change becomes an everyday constant. There is a change in the reasoning abilities, emotional patterns, social behavior and physical body. In short, there is a change in almost everything. And that is why it makes the teen years very important part of life. It is the laying up of foundation period. The choices made then have lifelong impacts. As a teen worker or a parent, monitoring the growth status in every area of a teen is very important and necessary. One practical way is to tell/show/read to them great examples of people who have lived before or handing them some inspiring books that shaped your teen years as a Christ-follower.
When I was a teen, there were a few stories which helped me take the right decisions. I have listed a few for you:
- Barney’s Barrel:
The most important decision one has to make, which has the most eternal impact is accepting Jesus as Lord and Savior. Here’s a beautiful story that enables early teens to make the life-changing decision.
This story is about a young boy named Barney whose home was a barrel. He lost his parents at a young age. He would sell papers in the daytime to make enough money to partly satisfy his hunger. At night, he would curl up in an old coat and try to forget that he was lonesome, cold and hungry. One day while lazing around the streets, he heard a song, ‘Jesus paid it all!’ coming from a small building. ‘GOSPEL MISSION – Welcome’ said the board on the window. The warmth of the song led him into this strange building. He occupied the last row. The preacher spoke from the book which he called ‘God’s precious word’. Barney was touched by the message and gives his heart to Jesus. He becomes a changed person, though the situations in his life remained the same. He was no longer lonely but had a new and great friend named Jesus. The joy of the new life, made Barney share about Jesus to everyone he met during the day. Barney felt he was the happiest person ever. Then it was the coldest part of the year, the winter. Barney did not have enough clothes to keep him warm. He soon became dreadfully sick that he could not leave his barrel. He laid there suffering and sobbing. Finally, a policeman who happened to come that way found him and rushed him to the big city hospital. They took good care of him there. The nurses asked him what he would like to have. Barney asked them to bring a Bible and read him some more about Jesus who died for him. But the nurses were unsaved and denied his request. The doctor visited him that night and knew that Barney would not make it despite their hard effort. This time, they did not want to deny anything he asked because they knew he had a very less time left. They brought a Bible and read to him from the Bible about Jesus and His love. Something amazing happened in that room that day. The doctor and the two nurses knelt down at Barney’s bedside and gave their lives to Jesus. Barney died that night but he went to be with the Lord who died for him. There in heaven, Barney’s name was written in the ‘Lamb’s book of life’. He found a beautiful golden crown waiting for him. It was the soul-winner’s crown. In that crown were three shining stars – one for the each of the nurses and one for the doctor. He saw the bright and Morning Star, the Lord Jesus. Barney could have never reached Heaven if Jesus had not reached down and washed the sin-sick boy and made him white as snow.
- I want blue eyes
Teens care much about their self-image. When they feel they are not appreciated for their looks or who they are as a person, they fall into the trap of low self-esteem and inferiority complex. It is very important to make them understand that they are God’s masterpieces no matter what. They are special, unique and loved by God. Here’s the story that would help early teens to learn this message:
Amy Carmichael was born with brown eyes. She wanted blue eyes. He mother had told her that Jesus would give her anything she asked for. So every night Amy would kneel down by her bed and asked Jesus to turn her eyes blue. In the morning, she would jump out of her bed and to rush to the mirror to find if Jesus had answered her prayer. Well, to her disappointment the eyes remained brown. Amy sobbed and sobbed. Her mother had the hardest time, explaining to Amy that even ‘No’ was an answer from God. Little did Amy know that one day God would use her in India where people had brown eyes. In 1892 when Amy answered the call to become a missionary in India, she could get along the natives easily because of her appearance. She did might works of God helping children who were abused.
- In His Steps
Salvation is free and simple because of the difficult work handled by Jesus on the cross. But the Bible clearly mentions that only those who are faithful to the end shall be saved. This makes the sanctification process very important. This inspiring story challenges teens as well as people of any age.
The story begins with a heart-moving speech by a tramp. This leads the pastor to invite the people to partake in a pledge that would transform their lives forever. A few accept the invitation unaware of the difficult choices that followed. But their commitment brings about a complete transformation. Do you want to know what the pledge is? Well, guess I should not spoil the thrill before you read the book. One thing is for sure, living for God is not easy but a challenge and it is worth it!
Are there any inspiring books that shaped your teen years?