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Terry Benge

Terry is currently serving the Lord as Executive Director of Salem4Youth Ranch Ministries. Terry and his wife Stacey have two children. Their son Nathan serves as a Deputy Sheriff and their daughter Jordan is currently pursuing her Master’s in Biblical Counseling. Terry currently preaches on the Ranch and has worked with teenagers for over 25 years as a coach, mentor and Youth group leader. Terry loves hunting and the outdoors.

 

Gabriel Jackson

Gabe is currently serving the Lord in the vocational training department of Salem4Youth Ranch as a wood working instructor. He has been involved in ministering to young people since he was a teenager – mentoring, teaching, church ministry, camps, retreats, and residential ministry. Gabe attended Lincoln Christian University and Columbia International University, graduating from CIU in 2002 with majors in both Bible and Youth Ministry. He and his wife, Nikki (also a graduate of LCU and ISU with degrees in Jr. High Education and Bible), are busy with 3 children in gradeschool, jr. high, and high school. Gabe is an avid fly fisherman and enjoys spending time outdoors with his family as often as possible.

 

Stan Risinger

Former Chairman of the Salem4Youth Board of Directors, Stan is currently the Area Director of Men’s Discipleship for the West Central Illinois Man In The Mirror Ministry. When Stan came to faith in Christ God livened his spirit for evangelism and discipleship both locally and internationally. Stan is married to Julie they have four children and are blessed with five grandchildren. Stan and Julie have a love for missions, hospitality and family.

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What does the Bible say? This is not a question that I plan to write several pages to try and answer so don’t panic. This is a statement not a question. What does the Bible say?

I want to first give credit where credit is due. I read an article online several months ago I believe from a MIM article. (Man in the Mirror) I was fascinated with the data and research that went into the article so I began to search the source for insight. 

The source appears to be C.B.E. which stands for the Center for Bible Engagement and the title of their article was “Bible Engagement, Communication with God, & the Mosaic Generation.” July 2009

I will use several quotes and statistical findings from that article and will accent them in quotations and italicized type. I do not want to take credit for their work. I will then will frame my topic around their data and findings. I hope this read will be thought provoking, challenging and encouraging you all at the same time.

“George Barna coined the term Mosaic Generation to refer to those born between 1984 and 2002 who are “very mosaic” in nearly all areas of life. Also known as Generation Y or the Millennial Generation, people in this generation have no real dominant attribute, except that they are “comfortable with contradiction”, “post-modern” and exhibiting “non-linear” thinking (Barna, 2001)”

“In terms of spirituality, authors have noted that Mosaics tend to be moral pragmatists, deciding questions of morality based on “whatever works”.” 

Now I pause for a moment from the quotes. Those who may be reading this Parent’s Pasture blog post might be thinking that I have missed the mark by writing about 18-30 year olds. Well hold on if you can. This means that these now 18-30 year olds were just recently all teenagers. And rest assured the numbers and stats have not improved but only have continued to trend worse. I want us to see the trajectory we are on and the dire results of the decisions previous generations have made. Hopefully this will cause some (whether a few or many) to consider the need for a change in direction before the generation of teenagers now simply become tragic statistics.

“(Kinnamen 2006) stated “The generational slide toward relativistic morality – where each individual feels he can decide what is right and what is wrong – has reached Niagara Falls proportions.”

Parents, these are independent studies. These are just fact finders. And it should snap your head and my head around to hear this. The truth is it probably doesn’t. Because we have all grown numb and passive to it. But greater yet I don’t want it to just result in a head snap but into action. Spending time seeking what we should change today, that will create a different result in our teenagers 10 years from now.

Parents, you came to Salem4Youth Ranch looking for help. Looking for something to rescue your son from his current path. And not just something….you were looking to spiritual intervention a saving of your sons soul through the teaching of life from a Biblical worldview. So don’t be lulled asleep if your teenage son (or daughter for that matter) claim some form of Christianity. 

“At least among teens, studies suggest that expressing an allegiance to Jesus Christ does not necessarily translate into moral decisions and behavior. For example, 53% of born-again teenagers admit to cheating, viewing online pornography, expermenting with alcohol or drugs, and/or having sex in the previous three months. The rate among non-believers is only slightly higher at 59%.”

“These two disturbing trends are no doubt related and largely explained by the fact that few young adults today have a biblical worldview. Studies by the Barna Group (Riley 2009) estimate that less than 1% of 18-23 year olds have a Biblical worldview.”

Stay with me readers, as this is the pinnacle of where I am headed in today’s post. “Why is a Biblical worldview so important? Emerging research indicates that it is one of the key elements for groups of youth that help teens develop a faith that is vital and endures. In addition, having a biblical worldview reduces the likelihood of engaging in various risk behaviors (Kinnamen, 2006).”  Read that again!

In an another article titled “New Study of College Students Finds Connection Between Spirituality, Religiousness, and Mental Health” Put out by Higher Education Research Institute, Graduate School of Education & Information Studies, University of California, Los Angeles, Alexander W Astin and Helen S Astin Co-Principal Investigators. 

Quote “College students with high levels of religious involvement and commitment report better emotional and mental health than those with little or no involvement, according to new research released today by UCLA’s Higher Education Research Institute.” 

“Those who are highly involved in religion are less likely to feel depressed or experience psychological distress, and to report poor emotional health. For example, non-church-going students are more than twice as likely to report feeling depressed or poorer emotional health than students who attend religious services frequently.”

Parents, and readers I could go on and on with this but let me draw it to conclusion here. This research has only proved the truth of God’s Word. Today’s research says there has been a massive decline in church attendance over the last 40 years while during the same 40 years mental health issues have risen to a fever pitch which today is defined as a mental health crisis.

This is not coincidence or some mystical statistical algorithm. It is clearly evidence of the Word of God and the need for the Word of God! It shapes our (their) worldview. But here is the arrow to the heart statement. “Of course, you can’t have a biblical worldview unless you actually know what the Bible says and the only way to know that is to read it.” 

Here is my point to all of this. If we want to see our children today prove different trending statistics 10 and 20 years from now then we must become obedient to the word of God ourselves. We need to quit giving cursory devotional readings of God’s word and calling it our study time of scripture. We need to stop quoting pet verses and start memorizing complete passages. 

I called my 82 year old dad a few weeks ago as a friend of mine who is a missionary wanted me to do some research for him. He asked me to ask my father what advice he would give a young man so that he would not falter as became an older man. What can or should a young man or a middle aged man do to make sure he is ready to die content. So, I asked my dad that very question and without hesitation without pause he said to me, “Terry, the number one thing a man should do is read his bible and study his bible.” That was my dad’s first and main answer. 

According to a 2001 Gallup poll, the average American home has four Bibles. Parents, I am sure some of you out there do a great job at truly studying the Word of God daily. But the numbers don’t lie. The teen suicide rates don’t lie. The fact that mental health issues are out of control, doesn’t lie. The fact depression and drug use are rising on the national level doesn’t lie. 

The real issue or problem I see is …with “us.” We don’t really know God’s Word. What we do do is we just get really good at repeating something we’ve heard someone else say. I am not trying to be hurtful toward anyone. I want to show you I love you and the best way is telling the truth in love. I can only love you the way God commands because He first loved us. Because His Holy Spirit dwells in us not because we are anything good. I am compelled to be honest with you. I am just as guilty as those who read this post.

Psalm 119:9-11 “How can a young man keep his way pure? By keeping it according to Your word. With all my heart I have sought You; Do not let me wander from Your commandments. Your word I have treasured (hid, memorized) in my heart, That I may not sin against You.” 

We very plainly and simply don’t know the Word of God. But there is hope. If we are still breathing then it’s not too late. Parents, moms, dads, grandparents, Jesus taught that “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.” 

If we don’t really have a hunger or a thirst for righteousness for God’s Word then I leave us with two charges: First, if we are not “hungry” then why would you ever think our son or daughter would be? And second, if we don’t then get rid of whatever is causing us to have lost our appetite. Get rid of whatever it is that you are now feasting on and drinking up that is keeping us from God’s Word daily.

The opening title of this post “What does the Bible say” remember …was and is just a statement. The real question is Do you and I know what the Bible says?

Until next time, 

Terry

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