The Blog

Hi Everybody! I am a christian teen who wishes to share his ideas on the web, and ultimately, create an online christian teen community. This blog is new, but I am hoping that you will be impacted by what I write and become a member of this online community. I have been greatly inspired by Alex and Brett Harris at and David Platt at thank you for reading!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Take Up Your Cross Part 2

        “For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it.”

        Matthew 16:25

       This is the next verse of our study of Matthew 16:24-27. Let’s dive right in.

As established in the last article, “whoever” means anyone or everyone. “Wants” means to wish or desire. These two words are the same as used in the previous verse.

         “To save” is a new one. It basically means to rescue or keep safe. “Loses” used both times does not mean lose, it actually means to destroy. So everyone who desires to keep his life safe shall have their life destroyed, but whoever destroys his life shall find it. This is confusing, and must be taken beyond the Greek. Jesus is referring to your sinful life, the one that is self-centered (as discussed in the previous article). If you give up this life, then you will gain a much higher-purposed life.

     “What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul?”

       Matthew 16:26

      This verse is simple to understand. Good means basically to profit, or be useful or advantageous. To gain the whole world simply means to acquire the entire universe (not just world). The word “forfeit” is interesting. The original Greek is “zēmioō”, which actually means either “to do damage” or “to receive damage”. In this case, it could be considered both. It also means to suffer loss or to be cast away. So basically, it loses your soul.

       The next part, “Or what will a man give for his soul?” is more literal than other parts of this passage and basically means that your soul is priceless.

      “For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father's glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what he has done.”

        Matthew 16:27

       The final verse in our study is simple. Jesus will come in His Father’s glory (Amen!) and then he shall reward us according to what we have done in our lives. (This is not to be confused with Salvation, which is not based on deeds but only on Jesus Christ. This means that we can receive different awards for different things that we do on earth that are separate from salvation.)

 Putting It Together


   Jesus commanded His disciples and all Christians, “Whoever, anyone, and everyone who wants or desires to come or follow after me, he must lose sight of himself and take up his cross and become my disciple and accompany me as my attendant. For whoever, anyone, and everyone who desires to keep their lives safe will find their lives destroyed, and whoever destroys their life of sin will find it renewed in Christ Jesus.

     “How would it profit a man to acquire the entire universe as their own, yet destroys and casts away their soul in the process? For the Lord Jesus Christ is coming in all of His glory and reward us to different degrees according to what we have done for Him. Amen”

Thursday, November 17, 2011


This past weekend my Youth Group went to Houston on a retreat called The Exchange (or theExchange613, standing for Isaiah 61:3). On Saturday we went to different parts of Houston and did community service, such as spreading mulch for the school Booker T. Washington, picking up trash in poor neighborhoods, and giving out gift bags to people. Fox News came out, and on Saturday, we were on Fox news for a brief segment! Thank God that not only did we get to bless the people we were serving, but also people watching the news at home!

Thursday, September 29, 2011


We have some exciting news reguarding!!! First, we now have a new facebook page! Like us at!/pages/Teenreach4Jesusblogspotcom/120571874712116

Also, we are working on an official TeenReach4Jesus logo! I am going to a school where I learn about graphic design, audio, and video, so I am working on a logo that should be released within the next week!

The end goal for TeenReach4Jesus is an online community where christians can get together and talk about what God is doing in their lives and share opinions and revelations on certain subjects, but we are in our early stages right now. Please tell all of your friends about us so that we can grow and prosper as a community in the Lord! God bless you all!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Take Up Your Cross Part 1

      24 Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. 25 For whoever wants to save their life[f] will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it. 26 What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul? 27 For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father’s glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what they have done.                                                            

Matthew 16:24-27

        We will take a closer look at this famous and confusing passage throughout this series, but first let’s look at the context. A few minutes ago, Jesus asked the disciples “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” They replied “Some say John the Baptist, others say Elijah; still others, Jeremiah or one of the Prophets”. Jesus then asked “Who do you think that I am?”. It is interesting here that only Peter answered. Peter was the only one who is recorded to have responded to this question, and he said that he thought Jesus was the Son of God. Jesus then blessed him.

       After that, Jesus starts talking about how he will suffer at the hands of the elders. Peter brashly claims that it will never happen, and Jesus rebukes him. Now look at where Peter is coming from. He was the only one who answered Jesus’ question, and the Son of God blessed him! Since we know Peter, like any man, is sinful and fallible, he may (or may not) still be on a pedestal, proud of what he has just done.

        Right after this, Jesus states the main paragraph in which we are talking about. I find this interesting, Jesus tell his disciples to take up their crosses after rebuking Peter for claiming that Jesus would not suffer at the hands of the elders. Perhaps Jesus is trying to say that like Him, we must take up our crosses. It is very interesting.
        So, let’s take a look at verse 24, our first verse. It says “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me”. Notice it says whoever. This doesn’t mean that some Christians do it, or a special few, or most of them. This means that everyone that wants to be Jesus’ disciple, i.e. a Christian, must “deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me”. The word “said” in the Original Greek is lego, which actually means to “teach, command, direct, affirm, exhort, etc.” So, this means that Jesus is trying to teach the disciples, and/or to command and direct them. Either way, this means that Jesus is giving us a command. The word “want” is thelo, which means “desire, wish, want, etc.” Erchomai means “to come”, but can also mean “to follow.” So far we have this: “Jesus commanded and taught His disciples or us as Christians, ‘Everyone and anyone who wants, desires, or wishes to come or follow after me…’”
             Now the next part is interesting: “He must deny”. All of this in Greek is actually one word: aparneomai. This word means “to affirm that one has no acquaintance or connection with someone” or “to forget one's self, lose sight of one's self and one's own interests”. And the next word is himself, so this means that what Jesus is saying is basically to affirm that you have no connection with yourself. This gets confusing. What does it mean to have no connection with yourself? The second explanation is a little easier to understand. If you desire to follow Jesus, then you must forget yourself, and lose sight of your interests. This basically means to lose sight of self-centered goals, and forget about yourself and focus more on others and God, instead of yourself and selfish desires.

             Now this is where translating this passage gets tougher, surprisingly with the seemingly simple words “take up”, airo in Greek. There are many different meanings of this word. It could mean to simply “pick up”, or it could mean to carry, or it can be to bear, as if you have to bear a burden. It could mean to take and apply to any use. This might be translated as to go through rough times by taking up a cross, but that hard time will give you experience to help someone else going through it, or strengthen you in some other way so you may apply it. This is very interesting, look in the footnotes for more interpretations.
              As most of you may know, the cross is used to torture and finally kill people through brutal means, usually used on criminals. When someone went to be crucified on a cross, they would be forced to carry the cross on the road to the place where they would die. Jesus is saying to carry your cross, instead of taking shortcuts in life, you should endure the pain. We can’t do it alone, we need God’s help. Instead of taking drugs or drinking when things go terrible, pray to God for strength. Instead of getting mad and closing out others when things go wrong, ask God for the power to endure, because at the end of the road, instead of death, Heaven awaits. You just have to make it there, and with God’s help, you can endure the pain, but only with God’s help.
            Next it says, after taking up your cross, to follow Jesus. The word follow isn’t the same as used earlier (anyone who wants to come, or follow Jesus). This word is akoloutheō, which means not just to follow but to “follow one who precedes, join him as his attendant, accompany him”, or “to join one as a disciple”.
      So, we finished this first verse! I will give the entire verse translated as we have translated it, and then we shall end. This isn’t the end of this passage though, next time we will dig into the verses that follow this one. God bless you!

      Jesus commanded His disciples and all Christians, “whoever, anyone, and everyone who wants or desires to come or follow after me, he must lose sight of himself and take up (still a confusing topic, see footnotes for complete translation) his cross and become my disciple and accompany me as my attendant.”


Bible verses taken from the NIV and NSAB used for Greek references

For more on the word “take up” go to

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Petition for Asia Bibi's release

    Asia Bibi, a Christian in Pakistan, has been in prison since 2009. She is in jail for “Blasphemy”. She was bringing water to her coworkers on day (she worked picking berries in a farmer’s field) and they refused to drink it, saying that the cup had been contaminated by an infidel thief. The Muslims taunted her, and she replied “Our Christ sacrificed his life on the cross for our sins. What has your prophet done for you? Our Christ is alive, your prophet is dead. Our Christ is the true prophet of God, yours is not true.”
      Asia’s coworkers reported her words, and five days later she was forced to the village center and was beaten. Some villagers tried to defend her, but the Muslims threatened them too. Her family has relocated 5 times in the past 17 months, but Voice of the Martyrs are helping them financially as well as providing education for her daughters’ education. 17 months after being arrested, Asia became the first person to be sentenced to death from violating subsection C of Pakistan’s 295 blasphemy law, basically blasphemy against the Muslim prophet Muhammad.
       A Muslim radical offered a $6,000 reward for Asia’s death, leading to solitary confinement for her own safety while awaiting the death sentence. She even cooks herself using groceries from her husband to avoid being poisoned. Two Pakistani politicians that attempted to defend her were murdered. Asia and her family are only growing stronger in Christ.
         Voice Of the Martyrs (VOM) is collecting a petition for Asia’s release. The goal is one million signatures. Go to to sign, then go and get all of your friends to sign, as many as you can, share this with everyone. Then come back to the Facebook page given below and post a comment saying how many friends you got to sign (you can comment more than once) so I can keep you posted on how many signatures we got. The goal for us is 1,000 signatures, which may seem crazy, but with God’s help we can do it. Keep Asia in your prayers, and Maybe God will give us a miracle. Also, these signatures with show Asia that there are others who know and care about her, other brothers and sisters.
           A side note for members of FUMC: I am bringing sheets up to the church that have spaces for signatures, you can get your friends to sign these because you do not have to go online and it is short and quick.
           We can make a difference.
The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Amen

Friday, June 17, 2011

Danger of the American Culture Part 3 (The Economy)

  Oh no, here we go again. The guy is going to give a speech on material possessions and that we should sell them all and give to the poor.
      You probably thought something like this as you read the title. Well, I’m not going to do that. I’m instead going to expose what we don’t need.
      There are two categories of things when it comes to material possessions. There are the necessities, and then there are the unnecessities.  This is not a real word, but here it means exactly what it implies: what you don’t need. It’s ok to splurge and get that cool sneaker or that pretty dress. But (there is always a but in these articles) these aren’t what you need to survive. You need clothes; you don’t need the latest and hottest fashions (even though society will tell you that you do). You need food; you don’t need a $10 meal, or even a $6 meal. We need different things; we don’t need the extremes of those things.
        So, ok, you are saying to get what I need and forget about what I don’t need, right? Why? I’m not saying to forget them or to not get them, I am only pointing this out t oyou. A little unnecessity may be healthy every now and then. But, the thing is, some people have more unecessities than others. What do I mean by this? I mean that there are people all over the world who don’t have the necessities and thousands in America who have not only the necessities but the unnecessities as well. One small example is the pencil. I bet thousands of kids don’t have any pencils or education, while the wooden pencils here are almost disappeared and replaced with the cool, better mechanical pencils. We here always want all the coolest clothes that cost more, and there are people all over the world who only have one set of clothing. In a graph, there are two groups. Our group (we’ll call it the American Group) is sky high in material possessions over the half-way line, which is the line that shows our needs are fulfilled. The other half, the World (in poverty), is way below the line. Is this fair? No. Can we stop it? No.
        Perhaps that last sentence confused or even shocked you. It should. Chances are, Americans won’t turn from the frivolous to help the needy. We can’t stop this, as Jesus said in the Bible, the poor will always be with you. We can help however. We can make a difference in one person’s life by giving them what they need. We can try to level out the graph. We can trim down the unecessesary, and increase others’ necessaries. We can on our graphs. The world’s graph will probably never change, we must accept that fact. But we can change our personal graphs to match God’s will for us and those we help.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Danger of the American Culture Part 2

         In my previous article, I explored the dangers of the American interests in the media. However, there is another thing about America that concerns me, the American culture. Many aspects of this is in pop culture, television, and advertising. The American media and other things for entertainment such as cell phones, and even some books, are endangering the minds of today’s teens. These things aren’t necessarily bad, but they can be. A lot of teens will imitate what they see on television, and what America is showing us may not be exactly what teens need. We see these shows (and sometimes read books) with inappropriate jokes and bad influences, and we always want all the hottest stuff because society tells us we should. Is this what God wants? (More on this subject in my next article). We sometimes listen to music with good beats and bad lyrics. I use to listen to country music, which is ok; in fact I still like it, but there are some bad words and even a song on drinking that I use to enjoy because of the beat. This goes back to Philippians 4:8: “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable-if anything is excellent or praiseworthy-think about such things.” This verse basically means to focus on pure things, and some of those shows and songs aren’t exactly what God calls pure.
        One thing I noticed really saddened me. I got a new phone a few months ago, and it is a Rumor Touch. It’s a nice phone and I like it, but think about that name. Are we proud of rumors? Are these good things on our eyes? I surely hope not. And along with teens imitating others, are the phone companies actually encouraging us to rumor? The cover of the box had a girl covering her mouth (as if she must be quite about the rumor) and on the picture of the phone it actually refers to a “rumor”. I am against rumors, but that is another subject. The point is that the American culture actually has a phone named after it. This is only one example of the American Culture’s fallibility. This saddens me, and I hope that this is not the direction America is headed. The truth is, America produces many things that are unhealthy for us. We as Christians should not watch movies that are unpleasing to God or listen to dirty music, even if the beat is good. I know some people who judge music based on the beat, and there is nothing wrong with that, we just must be wary of the lyrics, because some will be unpleasing to God. This is not a theory or opinion, it is a harsh reality.
          We as American Christian teenagers must be aware of an even more dangerous concept that is present in America. We say to the above paragraph, “well, I do not watch movies like that are against God or have a lot of cussing”, but we are referring to outright terrible things, like those that despise God. There is something else, however, that is just as bad, if not worse. This is the subtler dangers, those found in “acceptable” movies or songs or any other kind of media. These things are accepted, and are even accepted among Christians. We must guard against subtleties in Christianity often, but this is one that slips by in America. I always see my Christian people indulging in things of this world that I do not think God favors. We must guard against the things of this world, but America has made is very hard to do that. For guidance from very wise men to help guide you through this jungle known as the media, go to    
          More on the American culture in my next article.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Danger of the American Culture Part 1

This is the first article in the three-part series on the American Culture.

Red. Lethal Weapon. 3:10 to Yuma. Live Free Die Hard.

       These movies are all violent shooting movies. I’ve seen most of them and enjoy them, and chances are, you have too. But not even these, also other movies and shows, things that we think look cool or are funny. For example, in Red, there are several lines about killing that are somewhat amusing. In Live Free Die Hard, there are several shooting scenes that captivate audiences all over the country.
        I’m not necessarily saying that this is bad, in fact, I like the things mentioned above, as does many teens (and non-teens). This frightens me a little. We enjoy things like shooting, or maybe you get a kick out of a horror movie. This does scare me, are we falling into a trap, laughing at things like people getting killed in “humorous” ways? Is this what God wants us to do?    
             A story told by a friend of mine. He was in the theaters watching “Saving Private Ryan”, and there was a bunch of teenagers in front of him and a bunch of war veterans behind him. The teenagers were laughing at all the killing and blood and shooting. The war veterans were weeping. What does that mean? The veterans were actually there, what happened in “Saving Private Ryan” probably happened to them too. The teens had no concept of real war.
            Philippians 4:8 says “Finally brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable-if anything is excellent or praise worthy-think about such things.” Paul is saying here to think about pure things and not think about corrupting things. While I fall into this trap of American television and movies, I can’t help but think if all this shooting and killing and amusing lines about shooting and killing is God’s will or not. I don’t know if these things are “excellent” or “praiseworthy” or “pure”. And the thing is, I’m afraid to find out. If I explore this, what if I find a truth that will tell me to not watch these cool shooting movies? I enjoy them. But I feel that if it is God’s will, then it should not be hindered for evil, human desires. And what may be a sin may not be a sin for someone else, it depends on how God built you (this is not an excuse to sin).
           So what is the verdict on this? Are we to cease watching these movies, or can we go on with these habits? It depends. I am not ready to give a direct verdict, so I am going to end on this note. When you watch “Saving Private Ryan”, do you find it cool and laugh like the teenagers in the front row, or do you weep like the war veterans in the back row? My next article will go a little more into the dangers of the American culture. For more on this topic, I encourage you to read the book “Radical” by David Platt. His website is featured on my homepage. God bless.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Spiritual Advice

If anyone has a question about God or  Heaven or anything Spiritual, contact me at and I will try to answer your question to the best of my God given ability. Tell me if you want the question to be private or something to post on the Blog.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

If I Die Today

Alex and Brett Harris, two teenagers (now in their twenties) wrote a book called “Do Hard Things” that talks about teenage rebellion against rebellion. More specifically, rebellion against low expectations. We tend to meet the expectations we are given. Adults have very low expectations of teenagers, therefore, teens meet them. We need to raise the bar. How? By doing hard things for God.
    This inspired me, and I was eager to do hard things for Christ, but soon, I was discouraged. The book talked about teens doing amazing things for God, but I am just thirteen. What could a young teenager possibly do?
     Mid winter retreat. One of the lessons was on tithing. A powerful atheist, Peter Singer, said that one good idea Christians have is tithing.  He calculated, DOUBLE CHECKED, that if all Christians in America tithe 10% of their income, we will raise $156,000,000,000, or one hundred fifty-six billion dollars, A YEAR!!!!!
     We would have five billion to stop most children’s death from sickness, and 7 billion for education for most children. That would leave part of the remaining $144 billion to start the largest evangelical movement the world has ever seen-and that much a YEAR. I know this is probably not going to happen, but what if it did? If all American tithed, then we could END WORLD POVERTY. Think about that.
     BJ Higgins and Rachel Scott. Two ordinary names, right? Not exactly.
     BJ Higgins was a kid who knew. He knew to share the word, and he would share as much as he could. He got it. He wrote amazing papers found after his death. He understood what it meant to be a disciple. At age fifteen he died. But even after, his ashes were spread over a hill overlooking a Muslim town. No one there thought as they recounted his story that anyone non-Christian noticed-except the tour guide, who after hearing about this kid’s dedication to Christ, became the leader of a very large underground church. Even long after his death, BJ impacted people.
     Rachel Scott too died at an early age. Papers were found in her room also. They talked about a chain reaction of kindness. Now there is a whole organization with her ideas.
     Now we’re at the center of this whole thing. This is based off a mid winter retreat service, but I’m gonna take it a little further.
     Even after death, these two amazing kids impacted hundreds of lives, if not thousands. What would happen if I die right now? Would I impact a single soul? Would anyone be impacted if you died? What would you do if you knew you only had a week to live? What would you do? Only what you think funnest? Would you have a good time? I last meal kind of thing? Or would you do whatever you could to impact as many as you could? Does fun matter when you are about to spend eternity having fun? What would you do? Probably the former. It’s ok, you’re not the only one. Many would. And if you say “well, I know I’m not going to die in a week”, then I’m not done here.
     2 Peter 3:8-“A day to him is like a thousand years.” Well, what if you treated life that way? What if, you said, instead of “I got a whole lifetime”, you said “I only have a lifetime”? What is a lifetime of work compared to eternity of being in Heaven with God? What if we said that we would spend our life impacting people, and maybe even after life?
     The only question is, are you willing to make that sacrifice? Are you willing to surrender your life to God, and do His will? Are you willing?
     I’m a sinner. I’m not being all righteous, telling you what to do. I’m a wretched sinner, just like you and everyone else on the planet. And it’s your choice whether you are willing to make the sacrifice. So, will you? Are you willing to take your cross up and follow Christ?
     God bless you.

Monday, February 21, 2011

How Selfish am I?

Hey everyone! I'm starting a series of articles. The first one, There Must Be More To Life Than This, was posted in my last blog post. Here is the next article in the series.

My name is Joshua. I am a perfect Christian who always obeys the Lord and I do his will all the time. Ok, not really.
     I try to do His will as much as I can, but the truth is that no one is perfect except Jesus. Right now I’ve been growing in Him spiritually, so that He can use me as He sees fit. It started at Summer Camp 2010. This time was inarguably the best time of my life, and I can’t wait until next year. Since then, I’ve been a “disciple in training”.
     It’s been about 9 weeks since my last TRUTH service because of holidays and busyness. TRUTH is every Sunday evening, with worship and a great lesson from the youth pastor.
I learned that I couldn’t go to a specific one, which frustrated me, especially because my second youth commission meeting was then. This was Wednesday, and it turned out there was no church that night either. So I was very mad. Another thing that contributed was that the weekend before was the mid winter retreat at church, and I was on a spiritual high. I was hungry for the word.
     Is this a pity party? Am I pouring out my difficulties? Am I whining? Is that what this is about? No.
    In the midst of this anger, I came to a realization. How selfish am I, to be mad about missing a few days of God, when Christians are persecuted in other places, when they risk life, and lose life, daily? How selfish am I to be mad when I have so much homework, while kids around the world get no education? How selfish am I, that I’m devastated when I can’t go hang out with my friends because I must see my boring family, when people around the world, many younger than me, have nothing, not even a box, no single family member or friend? Something to think about. The next article, if I Die Today, follows up and will challenge you to take a new radical standpoint on life itself.

Friday, February 18, 2011

There Must Be More to Life than This

You all have probably heard this phrase before, whether in a book or a movie. Someone at some point, often times an older person, wonders if there is more to life than the everyday things we do: get up, work and play, eat, drink, go back to sleep, and doing it all over again the next day. Oftentimes an entire story revolves around this as the character discovers a deeper something that is more than the norm. And when we Christians see this, we always say to ourselves, “Yeah, there is more to life than this: There’s God.”
         Now it’s ok to say that, in fact its great to recognize that fact, but think of what you are doing this week. Most likely school, homework, and then hang out with friends and on weekends go to church and have fun. There is nothing wrong with this lifestyle; however, I feel that there is more to life than that. Yes, it is a Christian life, and yes, you may be a radical follower of Christ, but there is more to life than that. God has a specific plan for each of us, but He also has a general plan for all of us. What is the general plan? To go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. The general plan is to spread His word through all the nations, and do His will to disciple all parts of the globe.
         So the question is, will you see that there is more to life than this? This walking around day after day, a life based on enjoyment? This life that we live here in America as Christians is good. We work diligently and when we’re done we can play. That is our current mindset, and it’s not a wrong one, but there is more to life than that. There is fulfilling the individual and general purposes that God has destined for our lives, whatever that may be.

Thursday, February 17, 2011


Hi everyone! I am Joshua, a christian teen in Texas that has been inspired by the Holy Word of God. I hope to create an online christian community of teens that want to do great things for Christ like myself. I will write articles on different subjects. Feel free to ask any questions in the blog, and I will answer you to the best of my God given ability. I might write a whole article on the subject! Thank you for reading, and stay tuned for more articles, and feel free to comment or follow at any time.