THE TEEN YEARS HAVE BEEN HIJACKED.
They've been hijacked by pleasure - fashion, sex, music, movies. They've been hijacked by pressure - from school, peers, and society. And they've been hijacked by distraction - games, smartphones, and social media.
None of these things give teens the purpose or identity they were made for. None of these things give teens ultimate happiness and sat- isfaction. None of these things answer the big and serious questions teens have:
Who am I? Why am I here? How can I make a difference in this world?
I know this because I am a teenager.
There's only one way for teens to find pur- pose, meaning, and joy. Only one thing more glorious than all these influences. Only one message that has the power to change the life of a teenager.
GOD MADE YOU WITH A PURPOSE
What is the gospel? It's a story. And what teenager doesn't love a good story? This is more than just a good story, though. It's a true story, and that makes it the best kind of story.
It starts with God. Before anything else existed (before time, before the universe, before cars, be-
fore smartphones, before teenagers), there was God. He's eternal. He's perfect. He's just, kind, good, and faithful. He's holy. And he created this world and everything in it. He made the sun and sky and oceans and moon and anthills and evergreens and emeralds and doves and daffodils and cumulous clouds and lava and watermelon and wallabies. And then he made the pinnacle of his creation, humans. He made you and me. And he made us for a purpose: to love, obey, and enjoy him forever.
That's the true purpose of every teen, every human in fact.
YOU REJECTED YOUR PURPOSE
But we messed things up. Humans chose to rebel against our good maker and look for a different purpose: we wanted to love, obey, and enjoy ourselves instead. We said, "No, thanks, God. We don't believe you actually care about us. We want to go our own way."
Sin is not a popular word - it sounds intolerant, narrow, and mean. But if we don't understand it, we won't understand ourselves.
Because we disobeyed a perfect God and rebelled against him, we deserve to be punished. We de- serve death and eternal torment. That's justice.
And that's every teenager's biggest problem. Worse than any other worry in your life is the reality that you are a sinner and you deserve to be punished by a holy God. That's horrific and terrifying.
So what can you do?
GOD CAN GIVE YOU PURPOSE
Unfortunately, you can't do anything. No matter how hard we try or what good we do, we can't work our way back to God. But the good news is that God can do something. Actually, God did do something.
He knew that we would sin, and he had a plan. It was a shocking, incredible plan. He would send his Son, Jesus Christ, to take the punish- ment sinful humans deserved. Jesus would come and live the perfect life we couldn't live so that he could die the death we should have died. He would bear the punishment that we deserved because of our sin. But then, Jesus would rise from the grave in a miraculous vic- tory over death, so that we could live forever with him.
Sin wouldn't end the story. God would save sinners - even though we didn't deserve it. That's grace. And it's amazing And that's the greatest news a teenager could ever hear.
Now, any person who turns away from their sin and trusts wholly, solely in what Christ did will be saved. No matter how old you are.
God calls every teenager to turn from living for themselves (and the pleasures, pressures, and distractions of life) and to put their faith in Christ and live for him. If you do that, you will be saved. And then you can be the teenager God created you to be.
HOW TO BE THE TEEN GOD CALLS YOU TO BE
Once you trust in Jesus alone to save you, he gives you an identity that fills y