Bethel Dallas Youth message on 12.2.18

Have you ever walked down the cereal aisle in the grocery store and been a bit overwhelmed with choices? I know for me I start getting a little anxious over my cereal choice; mainly because I don’t want to choose the wrong one. An even larger predicament is when I have to order a drink at Sonic. It’s like a nightmare…they advertise something like over 750,000 drink combinations and I want to try something new but also get the best one. I end up standing there for 5 minutes and then get the same old thing.

As a teenager, you are living in a moment of history with unlimited choices yet people are struggling more than ever to find solutions that actually work.

And THE STRUGGLE IS REAL! I’ll save you a lengthy section here on the stats that reveal increases in depression, suicide, addictions, behavior dysfunctions, broken relationships, and descriptions of hurting people. We don’t have to debate the fact that there are issues but we do have to grapple with where we find the solutions to these problems.

So here is the BIG question:

“What is the source of your solution?”

We all basically have two options:

  1. Horizontal- People & Reason
  2. Vertical- God & Truth

Those who draw all their help horizontally are seeking the opinions and advice from others as well as leaning upon their best knowledge to make a good decision. It is certainly not always bad to seek wisdom, advice, and to do your research but even your best research will leave you only knowing 1% of the information to make a decision and advice from others can be good or bad.

Let’s take this horizontal thinking a bit deeper:

Appeal to an illegitimate authority- “Using an alleged authority as evidence in your argument when the authority is not really an authority on the facts relevant to the argument.” What that means is that a person gives someone the authority to speak on something they don’t have education or experience with. Aren’t you glad that we can’t just put a doctor coat on anyone who wants to one? You have to go through 10+ years of medical school to become a doctor.

Unfortunately we do this all the time, we give credit, value, and authority to bad sources in our life. Here are 4 examples:

  1. Social Media News- if you get all your news from social media there is a great chance that you are getting a lot of information that is not coming from a credible source. There are plenty of fake or unreliable journalism sites out there.
  2. Vloggers- A vlogger can build quite the following by making daily and consistent posts that are interesting. These vloggers can quickly create a massive following of people that are agreeing with their ideas, which can or cannot be valid. For example, if a vlogger is experienced with photography but also positions himself as an expert in the field of politics and religion then he is technically a false authority on the subjects he does not have expertise in.
  3. Celebrities- Celebrities who gain influence because of their great talents in singing and acting have a false platform when speaking on global issues unless they have real education and experience to back them up.
  4. Wikipedia- When I had research papers assigned in college one of my professors would say, “Wikipedia is a good place to start but a bad place to stop.” Why is that the case? Because anyone can be an editor on Wikipedia. Yes, there are forms of accountability but anyone, with or without a solid background on the subject, can write down their own take.


Again, please here me say that reaching out to people or sharing your ideas is not necessarily a bad thing but it could be dangerous if it is the only thing. Creditable sources are things like the following:

  1. An eye witness account/testimony
  2. First hand documents and evidence
  3. A creditable source with years of education, training, and experience

I would venture to say that God’s Word IS a creditable source of truth.

Do you know how law enforcement officials detect fake currency? They ardently study the real thing. They become so familiar with the clarity, the placement, the fine detail, the holograms, the hidden feature, the paper and every feature of the bill that they can spot any type of fake in an instant. They could study the thousands of counterfeits to see what people are doing but there is no point when you know the real thing.

So what is my point?

The BEST LIES can be 99% true but a lie will never pass the test.

The more you read God’s Word and grow in your ability to hear His voice the more you will be able to know what is true and what is false. We all go through this world battling with struggles and we are all looking for a way to fix them and cure them. Our best horizontal efforts will fall short but a vertical relationship with God is the only true solution to our problems.

“The Bible is the

Good News that Jesus

came to not condemn us

but to save us. He also

loves us so much that He

will risk offending us

in order to heal us.”

The truth is not always what you want to hear but it is what you need to hear if you want healing and solutions for the struggles of life. John 8:31-32 “So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”” 

Reflection Questions:

THE STRUGGLE IS REAL, what have you been struggling with lately?

Which direction have you been turning to for help: horizontal or vertical?

What lies or illegitimate sources have you been listening to lately that you need to turn away from?

Are you willing to turn to God with your biggest struggle and allow Him to save you?


John 3:17 “God did not send his Son into the world to judge and condemn the world, but to be its Savior and rescue it!”

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