Hearing from the Next Generation

I sit down with my 16 year old son, Tommy, in this episode to discuss following Jesus from the teenaged perspective.  We also talk about parenting and making disciples.

I was greatly blessed by the discussion.  I think you will be as well.

Here is the Transcript from the Interview:

Tom
All right, we’re here with Tommy Neary host and founder of Sean’s random podcast, and also my beloved eldest son. Welcome, Tommy.

Tommy
Thank you for having me. I like how you have host an editor of Sean’s random podcast before beloved son.

Tom
You know that that’s where you’re gonna make your name? Yeah, Sean’s random podcast. So we have to pitch you early on.

Tommy
Yeah, exactly.

Tom
So we’re having this discussion just to talk about life as a teenage Christian and growing up in a Christian household and particularly trying to help out the the parents in the younger teens and early adults to help them get closer to Christ and leave childhood behind. So Tommy just wanted to tell the listeners just a little bit about yourself.

Tommy
Yeah, so my name is Tommy and I’m 16 years old. I just cried. I graduated from high school, and I’ve been homeschooled all my life. Well, at least for most of my life. The most memorable parts of my life. I’ve been homeschooled, and I play guitar, and I do worship for a church. And that’s one of the main things I’ve been doing for these past few years. And I’m also the editor of Sean’s editor and host, sometimes host of Sean’s random podcasts. And that’s been fun. Yeah.

Tom
And you do that with your brother Sean?

Tommy
Yes, I do.

Tom
Who? Who is 12? Yeah. And occasionally your sister Hannah. Six.

Tommy
Occasionally. We have some guests. Some of our friends have come on before. Yeah.

Tom
So you grew up in a Christian household most mostly. I think

Tom
You, you were very small when I came to faith, right?

Tommy
Yeah. Yeah.

Tom
Did you have any memories of before?

Tommy
Um, I don’t. I don’t have many. The ones I do don’t really have any really meaning to them. I remember going to our the old church we used to go to. And I remember a few things about that, but not Not really. Okay.

Tom
And you are now a committed Christian and at 16 years old.

Tommy
Yeah.

Tom
Was there a difference in your life between a time where you were kind of following your parents faith versus when you actually changed and made that faith your own?

Tommy
Yeah, definitely.

Tommy
For me, it was definitely around 12 or 10 to 12 where I think I just grew up a little bit and realize like this is important. This is this is True. And if I believe that and I believe what the Bible says, then I could start acting like it and start taking it seriously in my heart. And I know what to do. And I know it’s right. So I need to put me put that in my heart, where it was more like outward doing outward things. And that’s not to say I wasn’t saved before 10 or 12. But I think that’s when I started to take it more seriously and realize that it has a really big part. And the big it should be the biggest part of my life.

Tom
Okay, who would would?

Tom
What caused you to to make that change? anything particular or just just maturing in an Asian thought process?

Tommy
I think all of it. I think most of it was just maturing. I had my best friend. He’s two years older than me. He definitely took that step. A lot. earlier than I did. Well, I guess not earlier, but the he was older than I was. So he made the step two years or however many before I did, and watching him and seeing how serious he was and how you guys are my parents. It really just inspired me to go after it and not just be just not just be here of the word as it says, but be doing it and taking it to heart and not just going into church, like having fun with my friends afterwards, but not really paying attention and in between or not putting all the emphasis on what was in between. But really taking that to heart and making that the important part and learning from that.

Tom
So I have a lot of parents would wonder how you got to that understanding. That is not just about our faith as being your parents or the church’s faith, but you had to take it on as your own. Was it a particular influence? Was it people was it the Bible itself?

Tommy
I think I think I knew that just from teaching, being taught that it wasn’t just a I couldn’t have a relationship with God through my parents and through other people through my pastor, or just like my friends, but it was something that I needed to have myself I’m not sure it was, like, monumental like mindset change. Well, in a way it was but I’m not sure it was like a monumental moments that just like changed my mind about it. Definitely through seeing how it how people are outside like without God is, is it’s a little like, frightening to see that and how it just the emptiness. But once I really made it my own it turned to like very, very like fulfilling thing and I had knew I had worth and I knew I had, like I had peace inside the because of that. Yeah. And that’s not really something I necessarily felt before also just realizing how much I need God to need salvation. That is really that has really impacted me just knowing my how I can’t do it on my own.

Tom
So at some point to the gospel itself, then we are sinners that we need repentance that we need forgiveness and that Jesus paid for it. Did that hit home.

Tommy
Yeah, I, I think once I saw that, like, my sin wasn’t just like, Oh, I lied. That’s okay. I mean, it’s not okay. But it’s not like a big thing. I think I’ve started to realize that it is important and it’s an offense to God. And I really need him to, to do to not fall into sin.

Tom
It seems like from just observing and talking about it before you begin to feel that sin was real.

Tommy
Yeah, the consequences of sin and gain and were real and that’s when, as you’re hitting adulthood, the the wonderful relief of the gospel really became real also. Yeah, I think yeah, I think the seriousness of my sin and how it is really like a disease or just hit me and I realized that and realize the need of like the antidote. And the vaccine or whatever, to, which is Christ in my life and in my heart not just a shell of religion or shell of Christianity, but the whole thing. Not just knowing it but also receiving, you know, my life is very shallow.

Tom
What do you mean?

Tommy
Well, just the outside like, I can act like I believe and act like I accept Christ my I’ve accepted Christ in my life. But, um it’s what my it’s in my heart. That’s what matters. My heart is what matters not my actions. So I’m not just having the actions but also having the heart with it. Yeah. Do you think that’s that’s what parents can get caught up in?

Tom
I know yeah me personally as a parent, we’ve when we started off I was very focused on making You guys act a certain way. And then as we think as we matured as Christians, and as parents, our focus changed from, you know, have good manners, do this through that to helping you personally understand why it’s important why the actions should be that way and molding hearts to Jesus.

Tommy
I think I’ve seen I’ve seen in certain situations, parents who do that or kids who I think obviously to myself, or I can see that they don’t have the heart. I think that’s sad to see. And I’m not sure like whether it’s a what, you’re not sure where the disconnect is. Well, I think I can see that sometimes like parents will just be like, okay, don’t do that again. Say sorry. And the kids are like that. Sorry, like, obviously not caring, so that the kid goes away not caring about what he’s done or who he’s hurt, but just about himself and it’s not. So the the respect for rules or that doesn’t translate to the heart. Yeah. So it’s just, I’m not going to do these things because I don’t want to get punished or I’m not going to do this because my parents say no, but once I’m at my parents house, I’m gonna go, like, live it up and do whatever I want. Yeah. So, yeah, and the result is, people look good for a period of time. And then when there’s freedom explosion, yeah.

Tom
What do you think the role of critical thinking has been? What or was for you in that process?

Tommy
Um, well, I think just understanding that the Bible makes sense and working through it. With few guys and us as a family working through it has helped a lot like thinking is something I do a lot so. So it’s good to, like have an understanding of what the Bible means because it’s not just it’s it’s God telling you these things and not just your parents saying that God’s telling you these things. So I think that has been important and seeing why things are wrong and seeing why God says the things he says yeah has been really important for me. Because I think just everyone has the question why Yeah. And like, why are we doing this? Like, if you’re told to go run like a half mile for no reason you’re gonna be like, why? So I think understanding the why it has been be really helpful and understanding that it’s I’m not doing this for no reason it’s to respect God and to honor him and also just glorify Him through my life now so understand his heart behind it to see if it’s just rules then our flesh is good is always going to rebel against

Tom
Yeah, like you’re at running example. But I don’t know if you realize that at the time but as you guys get older we kind of changed our teaching style as because initially when like with your your sisters six we we teach the general this is what God says. Yeah, but as you guys got older we change it from that to asking questions. And this is what God says what do you think about that?

Tommy
Yeah.Yeah, and I see that withit. I see that with Hannah. A lot like sometimesS he’ll be like, Why? Why can I do this? And you’ll just be just because I said so. Because in certain situations, it’s she doesn’t understand if he’s explained to her, but and then there’s other situations when you’re like, well, this is why and then you explain it and then she understands it and she is able to know the reason why she’s not doing things. Yeah. And I think that’s, it’s a lot easier to obey when you know the reason why you’re here obey. No, I think, for me for me personally, and that’s the heart of the gospel of the Bible. God doesn’t want people are just mindless heartless. automaton say he wants their heart first. Yeah. When Jesus quotes the Old Testament says, I want I desire mercy, not sacrifice. It’s not that he doesn’t want sacrifice. He wants heart filled sacrifice. He wants our I still love him and want to serve him. Yeah. And that was also kind of a revelation to me when I think someone told me that in the Bible, in Old Testament, it wasn’t really about the sacrifices, but it was about the faith involved with the sacrifices. And I was like, What? Because the whole time I just mean like they’re sacrificing to get rid of their sin, which I mean, kind of but they’re it’s it’s the faith involved. Yeah. I’m kind of like in Hebrews when it says By faith Abraham and goes through the faith. Yeah. So yeah, and that’s why Jesus is sofind s the faith, the religious situation so lacking when he’s there because they’ve lost sight of the faith part. Yeah. on your journey, who, who has been your biggest influences? Obviously, you and mom and the the friend I mentioned before, he has helped me a lot. And we go to the same, we’ve went to the same church for a long time. So it wasn’t hard to connect and just talk with him about life and stuff. So that has, he’s been really influential. And then just some other, like, mentors, I guess kind of in just men and women in in the church that in the churches we’ve been to, they’ve just shown that they are strong Christians, and I’ve been, like kind and taught us things.

Tommy
Also, like pastors online like I’m a big fan of Ravi Zacharias. So that’s more recently though. Yeah. Just intellectually that has been really and also spiritually, but it’s very intellectual stuff. Yeah.

Tom
You’re a thinker. Yeah, you’ve you’ve sought out thinkers. It’s, it’s okay, we’re allowed in Christianity. So I, it occurs to me that the people you’ve mentioned are all different ages. Your friends couple years older, obviously. So your parents, pastors, and some of the folks in church are different ages would probably between you and an older How do you think that that played a part in being able to develop as a Christian?

Tommy
Well, I think seeing that, that Christianity is not just for the, like the Bible thumping, like older generation, yeah. Which I think is kind of the stereotype sometimes. But seeing that there’s other people who are young and strong in their faith and There’s like kids and teenagers who are really trying to follow God, and that’s with their artist. Whereas you see in other places where it’s just like, oh, Christianity is just for the for is just an outdated concept or something. Yeah. But that’s not true. It’s for it’s applicable today as much as it was 2000 years ago, or however long ago, like it’s been the same forever. Yeah. So I think seeing that it’s not just a, like a certain age where you finally get it, but it’s for everyone. And it’s, it’s something that I can have now or I can like,I could, like waste my life and and, like, have it later, but why not now and save the wasting of life?

Tom
It occurs to me to that but you mentioned you’re you’re a thinker and some of the people you mentioned and that I’m thinking of when who have influenced you have been very different than me or your mom or, or even our old pastor. So you’ve you’ve, we’ve we’ve made a decision to surround ourselves with church people, and people are on fire for Jesus, but all different types of people, the only commonality being that they’re on fire for Jesus. So do you think that gave you an opportunity to see difference different than just me and your mom?

Tommy
Oh, yeah. Well, I think you are, are very different than pastor Dan our old pastor who, who’s great, but he’s just very different than you and this teaching stuff. And so that’s that’s been interesting to see that and the same doctor in the same faith can have different styles. Also, just the personality differences. I think some people are just focused on certain things in the Gospel in the Bible, when you see that they that like some certain things resonate with them more than other things. And that’s okay. Yeah, and it’s fine.

Tommy
But just discovering what resonates with me and what impacts me has been interesting and seeing how I can hear a totally different perspective. From on the same Bible verse a passage from someone who just doesn’t think the same way as me. I think that’s what’s so good about having Bible studies and things in open discussions. Yeah, it’s because you get the other side of the story where not really like an opposing view, just a different one and a different perspective.

Tommy
Like From the perspective of someone who has grown up in the church versus someone who became a Christian, and when they were like 45, or whatever, yeah.

Tom
I think that’s really interesting to see. Yeah. And just for those listening and to provide background from what you’re saying, We’ve, since you were around 10 or so maybe earlier that we made a decision. Your mom and I, that if we were training you to be a man in Christ, every man in Christ event that you could go to we take you to. Yeah, so you started early in men’s Bible study. So as soon as you hit 13, I mean, we started men’s Bible study, we went to men’s breakfast together, because the Our idea was that if you were to learn to be a man, as many Christian men, not just kids, as many Christians around you would be helpful.

Tommy
Yeah, I think at first that was a little hard. Yeah, because it’s for a 12 or 13 year old it’s it can be a little weird hanging around like older men just not even like a huge age gap just adult so adults of all ages Sure. Um and it was a little different but I think it was definitely worth it. I thinkI I really enjoyed like the men’s breakfast we would do. Our enjoy doing that and then eventually the other fathers started bringing their kids and so it was it was also a chance to hang out with kids my age, both but it was a thing that was for the adult men. Yeah, so it was not receiving like child level. Teaching but like adult level teaching that was still understand that I can understand, but it was definitely more.

Tommy
I don’t know how to explain it just more depth, I would say. Yeah. And I think it gives you something to aspire to. You see people doing the mature things of God. I think it’s different than just being constantly with your one age group.

Tom
Yeah. So, so you say, Who are you influenced? What what? What are your biggest influences? books in the Bible or?

Tommy
Well, I really like the book of James. I think it talks about so many different things. And also, there’s so many like famous verses that I didn’t know from James until I read James. Yeah. And there he is, or it just really good content. And I think it talks about at the just the river a variety of things. For me, it just you get a little bit of everything I would say. And I think in chapter one, there’s temptation, but there’s also asking for wisdom and chapter four is temptation. And chapter two or three, I think they talked about, he talks about false teachers. So you go, there’s a lot of things there. Also, I think, watch, we watched a lot of Christian, like movies, television. Um, I wouldn’t say that was like a big influence on me. It was just understanding and seeing how, like these things happen in people’s lives. Yeah.

Tommy
Especially like I really like true stories. So I really liked the movie Woodlawn. I’m a big football fan. So seeing how it’s a true story how a Christian preacher was able to bring the gospel toa recentlyintegrated High School in Alabama, was able to bring the high school football team together and change people and change people from hating to loving each other. So yeah, I think that’s been good like seeing just actual stories like Unbroken about Louis Zamperini and reading. I’ve read that book. That’s that was more of a recent thing.

Tom
The book on Unbroken,

Tommy
Yeah. How he goes from shot down in the Pacific, captured by the Japanese tortured, and then he comes home. He’sa drunk, dude. He becomes an alcoholic. And then he gives his life to Christ. And then that changes everything. Yeah. And so they made a movie about that unbroken path of redemption.

Tom
Yeah, that’s really good.

Tommy
I’m doing devotionals every morning has helped to just getting my mind right on things. It’s not really a book or movie, per se, sometimes it’s practices. And we went to we came into the main service pretty early. I think we were like, for me, it was like 10 or 11. So instead of Sunday school domain service with Pastor Dan, and it I think it can be hard to sit through a 40 hour long minute sermon. But first, at first it was hard, but I think now I don’t really notice how long it is or whether or not thinking about the time but just listening. And I think doing it early train me to just be able to sit and listen and not be distracted by things and not be distracted about how the chairs were uncomfortable or whatever. But but just listening and getting that experience early on was helpful.

Tom
Yeah. Sohow does your view of the Bible play into this? out in view of the authority, the Bible the the content of the Bible? Mm hmm. And how does it play in how did it play into your remaking your faith your own and and growing into your a living faith?

Tommy
Well, I think it’s a lot harder to believe that the Bible doesn’t mean what it says than to believe that it does mean well, it says, As a Christian, trying to follow God, I don’t think you can separate the Bible or like, take parts of it, believe in other parts. So believing all of it, is because you’re then you’re like, Okay, this can’t be wrong like this. It can’t. It’s not going to change. Yeah. Um, so learning that Job was faithful. And he was able to go through these trials, and God was faithful to Him, and still was a respect. He honored that perseverance. Yeah. And even if he hadn’t, even if Job had died, He still would have been in heaven and given the great reward of being in the presence of God. But he did and God was faithful to knowing that that applies now, the same way as it did, like, however long 4000 5000 years ago and knowing that the same versus like applied to my life has been, that’s been instrumental, but I think it’s one of those things where I kind of like always knew through your teaching, and other people’s teaching, so able to go through the Bible and sometimes just be struggling with something and open up the Bible and then the verse be right there that helps me know.

Tommy
And receiving, I think I signed up for newsletters, so like they sent me a verse every morning and sometimes they’ll just wake up having problems in my life, or just like, be stressed or whatever, and then the verse will come, that helps me and that’s like a huge weight off of my shoulders. Because you know that God’s not ignoring it. So I think that’s one of the things that has, like convinced me that whenever I’m like, having doubts, like is this like really real? Knowing that seeing all the things that God has done in my life, like just, I don’t know actually like God things where it’s just like, you’re thinking about something, and then there’s like a billboard exactly what you’re talking about. or you’re just like, I’m asking God to do something. And then he does it like right away, or in a way that just can’t be explained other than it’s got no, yeah. And in a way that’s not prosperity gospel. Yeah. Recognizing that God is active and working. Yeah, exactly.

Tommy
He loves you and cares for you, and wants to lead you in the right direction.

Tom
Yeah, I was just reading CS Lewis was talking about a different issue. But he said in the world, how do we know that there is a straight line? How do we know that things are out of whack? If there’s not a straight line to judge it off? And that’s the God in His Word, setting out the standard for us, that we all tend to understand.

Tom
So how does it a specifically a teen, like you avoid all the other stuff and continue to follow Jesus when the world is is seeking you out?

Tommy
I think seeing other teenagers lives or seeing just having interactions with other teenagers who are not Christians and who have never been Christians and just haven’t grown up in the church. I think that’s been pretty impactful for me. Just seeing how, like how they just don’t seem to be happy, and how they’re following after these things that are just not going to satisfy and how things in my life when I’ve tried to go after these things like simple things are just not simple things or they’re just meaningless. No seeing and just having a feeling of emptiness or feeling of this is wrong or feeling of, of, I’mjust kind of like depression in the way Yeah, but realizing that that is coming from mine, following off here something that’s not of God or following after something that is not God. So yeah, one night Trying to, to be like satisfied with other things, it just isn’t satisfying.

Tom
So you repeated again a few times that we’re trained and retraining and to be in church reading the Bible. And it kind of proves that you seem to be proving out the, the biblical idea that training is required. And the first part of training is not often enjoyable. That not not not enjoyable, but it’s it can be challenging, like you mentioned with going to the the men’s breakfast. It’s a different atmosphere than going to into the big service hearing the the main teaching rather than the kids service. So has that been?

Tom
Is that something that you would recommend to parents, that the they do actively train and then resists pushback if they’re going in the right direction.

Tommy
Oh, yeah. Well, I think it depends. Like I’m not saying like bringing your like, seven year old into the main servise. I think it depends on what God’s telling you to do. Yeah. But I think like with Hannah, my younger sister, justreading with her and trying to teach her what words mean, she like really hates it when I’m trying to, like, have her sound out the words, and I’m not really pleased about it either, because she’s fighting back it. But eventually, it will have results.

Tom
Yeah.

Tommy
And she’ll be able to read on their own. So I think the same is true where it’s not comfortable in some ways, but it’s, it’s the best thing for them. So I think if God’s telling you to do something, it may be uncomfortable for you or for like the person your child Whatever. But it’s worth it if I mean, if God’s telling you to do it, it’s definitely worth it. He’s not telling you to do it for no reason.

Tom
So, yeah, age appropriate training. Yeah. Age of don’t take them to like a philosophy, Christian philosophy lecture. Yeah. at age seven, but you that’s one of the one of the things I love about homeschooling and kind of our church method we are intergenerational. You mentioned you teaching Hannah and you going to the men’s breakfats being here. Your best friend is a couple of years older and you being friends with younger kids. It seems like that would play a big part in discipleship just in general – interacting with different ages

Tommy
Yeah. Well, I think you can learn a lot from kids and teaching kids and I think both parties can learn a lot. So like an older gentlemen could probably learn something from like a younger dude. And the younger is probably going to learn a lot from the older gentleman. Yeah. So I think to see it as a mutual link, passing of, like knowledge kind of thing, but I’m usually training is I think that’s, like, it can be easy to say. It’s like just a one sided thing. But I think you can learn a lot from from teaching others Yeah.

Tommy
And loving and being loved by by all sorts of different people. So what do you think?

Tom
Would you want to say to parents who to their kids are struggling or do you think parents have Christian kids that are trying to disciple them?

Tommy
Um, I think it depends on the kid, Obviously, no kids going to be the same. Um, I think there are other factors. So it’s for just general things, I think, one, maybe like examine your own life first and see that as a parent, you are reflecting the things that you want your child to do like to be like, yeah, so if you’re not following God, and you know it, or maybe you don’t know the net, you don’t realize it. Just Examine yourself. And if you’ve come to the conclusion that you’re not following Christ the way that you should be. Then maybe try to go do that deal with that first, because you can only deal with yourself first before you can deal with others.

Tom
Yeah. If not, then kids are great, great hypocrisy sniffers.

Tommy
I’m not I don’t mean that in a bad way, but you’re, you’re with your parents. 24 seven. Yeah, you can see when someone is doing the good for you and not for me kind of teaching. Yeah. And I’ve heard from, like other people say like, you can’t like let out a bad words around your kids. And it’s absolutely true because they’re just going to hear it repeat it. So they just repeat everything you do. They copy. Yeah. So I think for older kids, it’s not as much that but it is in some ways. It’s I think it’s a lot harder with older like teenagers and is with younger kids because they definitely have from I’ve seen a more set mindset. So they’re like, this is what’s right. Whether that thing is wrong or whether things biblical or not. I think they have more set beliefs set. ways of thinking of things, but you can still reach that you can still reach that through though what you’re teaching them how what they’re taking in.

Tommy
Yeah, is extremely important. So, like, what they’re watching how much time they’re spending on the internet. Like for me, I if I spend too much time watching things that are just like pointless even or watching things that have like a lot of bad language or, or bad violence or other things, it just, it kind of just messes with my mind in some way. Yeah. I think too much of that is is it can be a problem, especially for certain people. I think other people are able to deal with it better than others, just to an extent, but I think what you take in is gonna reflect what what’s going to come out to you and how you’re going to act.

Tom
Yeah. So yeah, I think that that is a common parenting trap. As you’ll hear society tell you Oh, just let them be the Let them express themselves, but the parent winds up frustrated and dismayed. And it’s not a not a matter of controlling. Yeah, but it’s just the relationship. Yeah.

Tommy
And I think it’s funny when we watch movies and stuff and TV shows that are, like breathing good, like, even like Hallmark. I remember. Just like the parenting is so terrible, and even I who obviously never been the parent, but I’ve helped, and I guide my younger siblings and seeing you and mom, teaching us and guiding my younger siblings. I can tell that like what they’re doing is just like so dumb. Like I think it was like a movie you’re watching where the mom is just like I don’t want to find out, like know about I want to push her about who like this boy that she’s like interested in. But I think that’s it. Just kind of dumb like, I think you want to know who you’re hanging out with. Obviously don’t take advice from Hollywood, or movies or TV.

Tom
And I think that gets to a point of sounds like what you’re saying that parents should be involved.

Tommy
Yeah.

Tom
And should, hopefully it should be an active thing, or could share and then are guided by their parents rather than controlled.

Tommy
Yeah,

Tom
I’ve never really seen good results come out of kids and parents where the parents are just hands off and letting their kids do whatever they want. Because I think as humans, we’re inclined to do the wrong thing rather than the right thing. So if you’re just letting them do whatever they want, they’re probably going to do the wrong thing most of the time, unless you’ve trained them really well, in which case you can be confident that they are going to do the right thing. Yeah. So So what would you say?

Tom
What would what would you say to a fellow teen at that, what they’re missing or what they, how they can improve their life if they are struggling?

Tommy
Um, I would say that it, it never it’s never enough of you can never have enough Christ. So, obviously that’s it’s easy to say that but just being able being focused on God and having your, your life centered around him, that is really important. And also, I think I said this before, but what you’re taking in as a really big impact on what you are thinking and what you are focusing on what you are doing.

Tommy
Also, just, I think focusing on your yourself too much for me when I focused on my own myself and when I want and I’m just constantly doing things that I want to do. Then I become I’m very selfish, and I can tell. So that’s not a place you want to be in, because that just leads to all sorts of crazy areas know where it’s really sad to. It’s set in place to be. Yeah.

Tommy
And I think, like emotionally, Christ is the only one that can have give you true satisfaction. And you may have like temporary satisfaction and in other people or just something you like to do, but he’s the only one who can give you real satisfaction. I’ve noticed that a lot where it’s my focus is on other things, and I just am not happy and just miserable. When but when I bring it back to God and have my mind set on him, maybe you’d like listened to more like some worship music or just pray or do other things. Just spend some time in the word or talking about it with other people. It really brings me back to a place of contentment in being able to say I have found peace

Unknown Speaker
got faith in Christ, he’s going to be describing in a relationship with Christ. That is one on one you and him rather than through your church through the excitement of youth group through a friend group. But just figuring out how to get with him, one on one submitted to him and looking for affirmation and self worth through him. Because if you’re if you’re only receiving Christ through your church or your youth group, then you’re not you’re not going to get all all of him, you’re not going to receive the personal relationship. That’s not really a relationship. It’s a relationship with your church.

Tom
Yeah.

Tommy
Which has a relationship with God. Yeah. Or a relationship with youth group, which has a recent relationship with God, or parents or parents. Yeah. And that’s not a personal relationship. That’s not what ultimately God’s plan is for us. And not what he wants for us. He wants to have a relationship with us. YouI mean, if we like stonewall him and be like, No, I’m just gonna go to youth group and that’s, that’s all I got I’m gonna get then it’s you’re not having a relationship with Christ. Yeah. Or at the very least, you’re having a very like shallow relationship. Okay.

Tom
So for your graduation that was canceled.

Tommy
Yeah.

Tom
The ceremony was supposed to include you sharing the gospel. SoI just thought it was right now. SoI was wondering if you want to share the gospel with what you’re going to say now?

Tommy
Yeah, so that was a definitely an interesting experience.First, I want to just share with the what the like leading up to my decision to, like volunteer for that was because I thought that was pretty cool. Okay. Um, well, I’ve been thinking about it for a long time.Like actually months beforehand, like, it was just to set the stage.

Tommy
It is a graduation ceremony and there is what 500 people there. Yeah, there’s a there’s a lot of people we had last year we had, I think less less than 10 graduates because we’re a homeschool Co Op. So I’m not obviously not a high school public school level graduation, but there are still several hundred people there. Yeah. and this this year, we’re going to have like 14, which is obviously more so there’s gonna be more people. So that’s the background and you’d get up on the stage and yeah, and I yourself.

Tommy
I am not a public speaker at all. I do not. I do not like getting in front of people and sharing things or talking.I, I used to be like, super, super introverted or so. been super shy, I’m still an introvert, but I’ve gradually become more social. But still, it was the idea of it was not very pleasant for me. But I felt like God was telling me to do it. And they said, I’ve been thinking about it for months.

Tommy
I just thought it would be a great opportunity to, to reach people with with the gospel, and maybe the only time in the year or in their lifetime or that month, I don’t know how much how many times they’re going to hear the gospel. So this could be their one and only opportunity. I don’t know. Yeah. And the previous year, there had beensome discussion of God and Christianity and what we believe as a co op, and what our graduates believe, but there really wasn’t a gospel presentation. There was just Christian things, Christian themes. And that’s not that’s not necessarily bad. But I think it’s an opportunity that that’s partially wasted because you don’t have the full gospel there. You just have almost like the fruit of salvation.

Tommy
It’s what our lives are like, but we don’t have where, like, where that came from where that came from. So I was thinking about this for a while and I just, I think it had been several months in here coming up on the decision to to assign jobs and I didn’t know that they were going to make that decision. But one night I just was awake before. I’ve been in my bed like tossing and turning and thinking about this for like an hour and a half at least. I felt I just got up and started like writing my graduation, gospel presentation, even though I hadn’t been assigned to do that or thought about doing that yet, but I figured I just like put the idea out there and If they liked it, then I would do it. Yeah. But then then the next Friday, there was times for to assign jobs to the seniors for the graduation, like music and stuff. And one of them was the gospel presentation. I was like, perfect, perfect opportunity. Um, but I was still wasn’t sure if that’s what God wanted me to do. If this was just my own, like idea. And so I was like, God, if you want me to do this, just send me a sign. And right after I prayed that, one of my friends in class who was graduating also, like, tapped me on the shoulder and he’s like, you should do that you should use the gospel presentation. It’s like, okay, I feel like that’s a pretty good sign. So I raised my hand. Like, I’d like to volunteer for that because I feel like God sent me to do that. So I was preparing that and I definitely didn’t have it finished. So, um, excuse me if it’s like, pretty scattered ideas.

Tommy
But maybeI was gonna say that. Um, so this year has been pretty crazy. And I think the focus has been a lot on death and just how we’ve seen that life can just be taken away in instant. So, if these people, um, like the Coronavirus just there, I think it’s like 400,000 people died now. But just uh, we times we think in the present like what we’re doing now. But not everyone thinks like what’s going to happen after life. And God says that we are going to be judged based on what happens In our life, whether we accept God and accept salvation, or we don’t so salvation, God says that we’ve all sinned and fallen short of the glory, God wrote glory of God, Romans 323.

Tommy
So we’ve all sinned, we’ve all done something that is offending God. Now, whether that have has been lying, I’m pretty sure we’ve all lied in our lives or stolen, we’ve all offended God in a way, and God is so holy that you cannot have any sand in his presence. He cannot have, like, even the tiniest white lie in his presence. So he is not okay with that. And so he made a way for us to be cleansed of our sin so that we can be with Him forever in heaven and heaven. We think, I think a lot of times we think of as just this faraway place on clouds with little babies with wings playing, playing instruments, but it’s gonna be a glorious life, the best part is going to we’re going to be in God’s presence.

Tommy
And Jesus came to earth as a man. He’s fully God and fully man, and dying on the cross so that we can have that opportunity to come to him. And we have to believe that he did this, and that we have to believe in him and put our trust in Him, and except them into our lives, and he will cleanse us of our sins because he is the punishment. He is the Lamb, he takes even the punishment that we deserve. So when I lie, and when I steal, obviously, that’s a bad thing. But God has taken care of it through Jesus and His sacrifice. So we just have to put our faith in him and believe in Him, and we will be delivered from that sin. If we don’t. Then we are When we die, we’re going to be judged on what we have done in their life. And what we what you have done is sinned, lied, steeled, done whatever. And so God’s gonna have to be going to have to say, you know, you have not believed in Jesus. Yeah. And so yeah, and

Tommy
I cannot exonerate you for something that you did. So we are if we don’t believe we were taken to hell, where obviously it’s going to be unpleasant to say the least. Yeah, um, but as Christians when we go up to him and we’re, he’s gonna look at us and look at our lives, and he’s gonna be like, you follow Jesus. And so he doesn’t see the sin. He sees Jesus making our sin.

Tommy
And he’s going to say like, Well done, my good and faithful servant and we’re going to be allowed into Heaven for eternity. Um, so that’s kind of what I was gonna say.

Tom
yeah, it was good.

Tommy
I didn’t have everything readily present. So well I guess God has worked out his plan, which sometimes doesn’t go according to our plan.

Tom
So it would have been great for you to share it with the people there. Hopefully someone listening to this will hear it and and turn to him. So anything else is specifically that you’d like to share any other tips for parents for kids?

Tommy
Not particularly.

Tommy
The one thing I’ve learned myself is that I’m with my six year old sister Hannah, that like truly spending time with her is doing the things that she wants to do. So I think spending time with them doing something they want to do is really good because Like, when you’ve done something with me like maybe, like play like a video game or something, or do play a board game. It’s like, obviously not exactly what you’re maybe not something you want to do at the moment. But it but spending time is really important. And spending time doing things that they want to do, I think is just even more a, like a sacrifice and showing of like how much you really love them some expression of love.

Tom
All right, so thank you for coming on the show. Can you tell us about Sean’s random podcast?

Tommy
So my brother Sean, he came up with this podcast idea where he just take his iPod and use the like audio recording thing just to record himself talking with my sister Hannah. So It’s pretty I think pretty like casual it was just basically whatever happened and thenfor my school assignments mom decided that we should do a podcast wish on pretending to be a politician.

Tommy
We did four Bud Buttersmith’s in total.

Tommy
And I, I had just learned how to use Audacity which is a audio recording technology that you can have on selling your computer. And so it was a way for me to test out how to use that new information. And then I researched on about how to use how to get a podcast on to like Apple podcast and stuff. And so I found a website that does that. And from there, we just started making, like more and more. More and more episodes, I think we have 10. Now, we haven’t done one in a while, but they’re, they’re pretty. They’re all like really ridiculous interviews with fake people. So, if you like that sort of thing, and who doesn’t?

Tom
And who doesn’t like comedy through ridiculous

Tommy
Yeah. And like learning how to add sound effects to things. It’s actually been like a really good like teaching. Yeah, experience.

Tommy
So that it’s been really fun to do also.

Tom
Alright, thank you, Tommy for joining us on Come Let Us disciple podcast. I hope to have you back in the future to offer your perspective and have a great week.

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