Courageous Teens

Courageous Teens

by Michael Catt, Amy Parker

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Overview

Courageous Teens is a student-focused presentation of Courageous Living by Michael Catt, senior pastor of Sherwood Baptist Church and executive producer of the hit film Courageous.


Catt brings fresh insight to “stories of people in the Bible who displayed great courage when it would have been easier to play it safe . . . (who) challenge me to keep moving forward. They demand that I examine my priorities and deal with anything that brings fear to my heart.”

Teen readers will be inspired to resolve to live for God as they learn more about Abraham, Moses, Nehemiah, Ruth, Daniel, and many more.

Best-selling youth market author Amy Parker arranges the heart-stirring material into four categories: Courageous Faith, Courageous Leadership, Courageous Priorities, and Courageous Influence. Discussion questions are also included at the end of each chapter.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781433679063
Publisher: B&H Publishing Group
Publication date: 09/15/2012
Pages: 176
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.40(h) x 0.70(d)
Age Range: 13 - 17 Years

About the Author

Michael Catt has served as senior pastor of Sherwood Baptist Church in Albany, Georgia, since 1989 and is executive producer of the popular films Flywheel, Facing the Giants, Fireproof, and Courageous that originated from the congregation. He also authored Fireproof Your Life and founded the ReFRESH revival conference. Michael and his wife, Terri, have two children.


Amy Parker has written more than twenty books for children, teens, and adults including the best-selling A Night Night Prayer and three Mom’s Choice Awards winners. Amy and her husband have two children.

Read an Excerpt

CHAPTER 1

THE COURAGE TO GET GOING

"By faith Abraham, when he was called, obeyed and went out to a place he was going to receive as an inheritance. He went out, not knowing where he was going."

Hebrews 11:8

"You can't fall asleep at the wheel, only to wake up one day and realize that your job or your hobbies have no eternal value."

— Adam Mitchell, Courageous

Every journey begins with a step.

I can remember watching the first landing on the moon. It was historic. I can still see it in my mind as Neil Armstrong set foot on the moon and said, "That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind." History is filled with stories of adventurers, men and women who dared to dream, explore, and discover. In 1953 Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay became the first to conquer Mount Everest, more than twenty-five years after the first climbers attempted to top the summit. You've probably also heard of Orville and Wilbur Wright and Amelia Earhart, all pioneers in the world of aviation.

In the church today, there is a whole new generation of young adults who are willing to lay aside the comforts of home to give their lives on a foreign field. I believe we are seeing a new generation of Christ followers who are risk takers for the gospel.

We need more.

Far too few choose to live a faithfully adventurous life. They seem content to be absorbed in the daily grind. They think a faith-filled life is for someone else, someone they could never become. We are desperately in need of heroes who refuse to limit what God can do. So here I am, challenging you — yes you — here and now, to have the courage to dream big. As D. L. Moody used to say, "If God is your partner, make your plans big."

"Safety first" is not the motto of a risk taker. It may work when learning to drive, but it doesn't work on the field of faith. And it has never been the motto of the courageous.

C. S. Lewis said, "The safest road to hell is the gradual one." People of courage make a way where there is no way. Instead of cowering to the pressures of this culture, Christians need to become a force for positive peer pressure. It's time to put on the shoes of faith and take an incredible journey with God. The founder of Ford Motor Company, Henry Ford, said, "I am looking for a lot of men who have an infinite capacity to not know what can't be done." God is looking for guys and girls who believe that with Christ nothing is impossible.

The question is: do you?

We've been lulled into settling for average so long that average seems acceptable. But I believe a desire burns within the heart of each and every person to make a difference, to leave a mark. Unfortunately we've been average for so long that when people are above average, we tend to think they are eccentric.

Some of the most courageous people in history were people who could have easily ended up on the shelf of mediocrity. Abraham Lincoln was a failure most of his life until he became president. Stonewall Jackson was failing as a teacher at Virginia Military Institute, yet in the crisis of battle he blossomed. D. L. Moody, an uneducated shoe salesman, ended up being one of the most famous evangelists of the nineteenth century. He also established ministries and institutions that are still going strong in the twenty-first century. The army motto said, "Be all that you can be." But more importantly, it's time for you to be all that God saved you to be.

Don't just settle — soar!

When my daughter Hayley went to youth camps, the speakers would tell campers that they should give their lives totally to Christ without fear or hesitation. They would say, "God probably won't make you go live in a mud hut in Africa, so don't be afraid of God's will." Hayley later told me, "I was always terrified He would send me to Africa. Now I wonder why in the world I had been taught to fear that! Now I would go in a heartbeat." In 2010, she spent two weeks working in an orphanage and on a safe-water project in Uganda. She said, "I need Africa more than Africa needs me." In 2010, she spent two weeks working in an orphanage and on a safe-water project in Uganda, and as I edit this book, she has just returned from another short-term trip to Africa.

Have you heard the old adage, "Nothing ventured, nothing gained"? If there's no venture, no vision, there's no legacy. I'm praying for God to raise up this generation to venture out and discover that the view is worth the climb. God longs to find a young man or woman He can trust with a great opportunity. He is looking for you.

Think about the heroes of the Bible. They didn't emerge from a cookie-cutter factory. They were all unique and distinctively different. The world is full of mimics. You've seen them. Maybe you've even been one. Fearing the opinions of others, we fall into the rut of conformity. What we need now are mavericks. When I read the Scriptures, I see pages full of mavericks. They wouldn't let the culture or the times define them. They refused to fit into a religious box — even if it was an acceptable box for most folks.

What made them mavericks? Faith. They weren't afraid to leave a country, walk on water, confront false prophets, rebuke kings, or pray for miracles. Who says we can't do the same today?

Warren Wiersbe noted, "Believing God means standing up and facing an impossible challenge without fear of what might happen when we obey God's will." That's the attitude of the courageous. Look at the multiple examples in the Old Testament. By faith Abel offered the acceptable sacrifice. By faith Enoch walked with God. By faith Noah built an ark. By faith Abraham left his home and traveled to an unknown land. He pulled up roots, leaving everything familiar to obey the voice of God.

Let's look more closely at father Abraham. Early in Genesis God deals with humanity in general. But when we get to Abraham, we get a close-up on that one man as our example. "TheLord said to Abram: 'Go out from your land, your relatives, and your father's house to the land that I will show you'" (Gen. 12:1). Abram was already settled; he was set for life. However, God's plan wasn't for Abraham to coast to the finish line. He had something more.

How did Abraham answer God's calling? Did he whine, "But God, I've already got a place to live! Everyone looks up to me. Look at all this stuff I've got!"

Nope. He answered courageously.

The book of Hebrews summarizes the courage of Abraham: "By faith Abraham, when he was called, obeyed and went out to a place he was going to receive as an inheritance. He went out, not knowing where he was going" (11:8). Here was a man with no map or GPS. He didn't have a navigation app on his phone. But when God said, "Get out, and go on," Abraham left, not knowing where he was going.

Could it be that God is calling you to move on? No, it doesn't mean that you've got to pack up and move out of your home. But maybe it does mean that you need to move beyond your comfort zone. Look out onto something a little scary, something that takes a little faith, where you hear God's whisper, and. Take. That. First. Step.

Leaving his home in Ur was a breakthrough in Abraham's life. If Abraham had failed to obey, he would be buried in some unknown grave in present-day Iraq. No one would remember him, and no one would care. Breakthroughs are turning points, pivotal moments when we are given the opportunity to believe God for something great. Abraham's obedience made him one of the most courageous men in history, as few men have cut such a broad path.

Abraham shows us that the choices we make determine the roads we take. Choices have consequences and reveal our true character. I'm not talking about a positive attitude. I'm talking about biblical faith — the courage to step out and do big things for the glory of God.

We need to be identified as followers of Christ, not by the clothes we wear, the stuff we have, or the car we drive. Life should not be about stuff, it should be about the Savior. Abraham is considered the father of the faithful. Faith obeys, walks, and builds. When God called Abraham, Abraham moved. He didn't ask for details, look for perks, or negotiate. He just got up and got going. God's call is not a vacation; it's our vocation. It's time to get going. We can't sit on the sidelines any longer. We must hear God and follow hard after Him.

In the church that I pastor, I get reenergized when I see young people making great strides in their walk of faith. One young man came to me and said, "It encourages my generation to see your passion. I want you to know we hear your heart." They don't stop at being good church members; they want to reach out beyond those four walls and make a difference with their lives. Abraham himself knew life in the lap of luxury, but he was willing to walk away and be a sojourner. From luxury living to a nomadic tent is a stretch for most people. But those stretches are made possible through faith.

Katie Davis is an incredible young lady who now lives in Uganda. She is in her early twenties and has adopted numerous children. She left the comfort of home at age eighteen, believing God's Word and call on her life. She believes in Christ's ability to protect, provide, and sustain.

God called Abraham to a new land.

God called Katie to Africa.

Where is God calling you?

We each have a choice: we can be average or exceptional. We can play at church, or we can be radical for Christ. We can base our lives on the world's standards of success, or we can dig into the Bible and ask God to show us where He wants us to live and who He wants us to be.

Abraham's greater calling was to leave the land where God was largely ignored to follow the one true God. Stepping out for God always involves steps of separation. This is no time for cowards or the fainthearted. We need courage. The life of courage will see what others can't see and believe what others can't believe. Courage is a pattern and a path that will keep us going when all around us are falling and falling.

The choices you make right now matter. Fifty years from now, you will still be affected by the decisions you'll make over the next few years. Choices like:

• Where will I go to college?

• What kind of career will I have?

• Will I marry? Will we have children?

• What kind of church will I join?

• Will I choose to obey God, faithfully, courageously?

My wife and I grew up in the South. After college we were trying to decide where to go to seminary. I had been offered a full scholarship to a school not very far from our home, but I didn't have a peace about it. Instead, Terri and I ended up going to a school in the North that was a twenty-two-hour drive from home. No one understood why we would move so far. But all we knew was that we needed to follow God. With little money, an undependable car, no winter clothes, no jobs, and no scholarship, we set off for seminary. And you know what? We have never, not for one moment, regretted that choice.

I can look back now and say that every significant relationship and every influence in my life spiritually has come because of that one choice. God placed people in our path who molded us and marked us. They would not let me settle for being a typical minister. They stretched me, prayed for me, and helped me. I am who I am today because of their influence.

You've probably already noticed that America is a mobile society. As you seek to make your own place in this world, you may find yourself swept up in that society, people who are constantly moving, many searching for the elusive American dream. Some move to pursue a career. Some move to escape problems. Others want a new start. But may I recommend that yours is always a move of faith?

It takes courage to step out and take a faith venture. Are you that kind of person? Faith, biblical faith, has to be courageous. Anyone can believe God once he has all the facts, but courageous faith obeys regardless of the situation.

When we began shooting the movie Fireproof, our oldest daughter Erin came to read for a small part. She was working full-time with Disney and knew she would only have time for a small role where she could take a few days off. As the process moved forward, the casting team began to talk about the possibility of Erin playing the role of Catherine opposite Kirk Cameron. Erin certainly wasn't expecting such a role. Taking the role would mean giving up her job, income, and insurance. Still, Erin took that step of faith and quit her job, believing that God would provide.

During filming Erin moved back in with us. It may have seemed like a step backward for an independent girl, but one week before shooting the final scene, Disney called and offered Erin her dream role and a contract. God blessed her obedience. She didn't play it safe, and God provided beyond her expectations. As a friend of mine says, "Jump! The net will appear!"

I don't know the name of any individual who stayed in Ur and played it safe. I do know of Abraham. Through one man a nation was birthed, the world would be blessed, and through his lineage redemption would come through Christ.

What could God do with you?

Too many people spend their lives in the valley of good intentions. They start, but they never finish. Courage demands a decision. It demands we separate from the pack. It demands we lay aside secondary things, our obsession with gadgets, gimmicks, and video games. Courageous people travel light.

We are to be in the world but not of it. The heroes of Hebrews 11 were polar opposites to the so-called heroes of today. In a world of celebrities and fifteen minutes of fame, we need heroes. In a culture driven by seeking stardom, we need men and women who want to be servants. In this decade of American Idol, we need a generation who will not worship the gods of this world and will serve the one true God.

Even after the decision is made, we all know that courage can falter. God knows that too. So He's provided a way to maintain that courage — through prayer. We see no altar to God in Haran or in Egypt, places of detour and delay on Abraham's journey. Isn't that true of all of us? When we detour or delay our obedience, we forget God and the promises we've made, and we start looking at circumstances.

Abraham wasn't perfect, and he made some mistakes along the way. He carried some baggage, which slowed him down. The devil knew that. And you'd better believe that he's looking for your faults, for your weak spots. Satan doesn't have to tempt us with evil if he can get us to delay or detour for a "good" reason. To live courageously, however, you can't be tied down (see Luke 14:26–33). I've met countless people who have been slowed down or have stopped on the road of obedience. The courageous person faces the tests of life head-on.

Think about the people you go to school with, friends and family, or even celebrities. How many people have you seen hit bottom because they couldn't separate themselves from the crowd and public opinion? Their tombstone will read, "What could have been." Don't let that be the legacy that you leave behind.

Self-centeredness is ugly enough in the world, but it's even uglier in the life of a Christian. If you live courageously, you may lose some friends or have family members misunderstand you. The crowd thins out the higher you climb. Like Abraham, you have to decide to move on.

In some ways Abraham's life looks like a graph. Of course, there are the ups and downs of life, but it's always moving up. The key question is: when confronted by a test, will we obey? Ask yourself, "Am I headed in the right direction or taking unnecessary detours?" Work out what God is working in you.

Courageous people are willing to leave their Ur, their old life, and all its shiny things behind. They know the dangers of popularity and peer pressure and obsessing over the next new gadget. Signs of Abraham's faith were the altars he built. He lived in a tent, but you find him building altars along the journey. An altar is a place of worship, commitment, and renewal. At the altar we establish a relationship with God or renew our commitments to God.

Today so many people just want to make a name for themselves. God promised Abraham that his name would be great. He is remembered in the Faith Hall of Fame (Heb. 11). Abraham was great because his ultimate goal was to make the name of the Lord great. Do you see how that works? Abraham was a man of courage and a friend of God.

James Montgomery Boice writes, "The epithet 'friend' exalts Abraham, but it also brings the patriarch down to our level. Most of us are aware that we will never become lawgivers like Moses. We are unlikely to become generals like Joshua or kings like David. We will not be prophets, except in the sense that we are all called to be witnesses for Christ."

I may never be famous, but I can be a person who hears God, believes God, and is intimate with God. I can be a person of conviction and purpose. I can leave a mark and make an impact. But I must have the courage to do it.

What drives you and motivates you? What is your purpose?

(Continues…)


Excerpted from "Courageous Teens"
by .
Copyright © 2012 Michael Catt.
Excerpted by permission of B&H Publishing Group.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix

Introduction: Why You Need This Book and Why I Had to Write It 1

Section 1 Courageous Faith

Chapter 1 The Courage to Get Going 11

Chapter 2 The Courage to Face an Uncertain Future 23

Section 2 Courageous Leadership

Chapter 3 The Courage to Lead on All Levels 42

Chapter 4 The Courage to Be a Humble Hero 52

Section 3 Courageous Priorities

Chapter 5 The Courage to Make Up Your Mind 71

Chapter 6 The Courage to Choose and Refuse 82

Chapter 7 The Courage to Face Persecution 95

Section 4 Courageous Influence

Chapter 8 The Courage to Face Criticism 116

Chapter 9 The Courage to Stir Up the Fire 128

Chapter 10 The Courage Catalyst 140

Conclusion: We Need You! 147

My Resolution 160

Notes 162

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