Home > Devotionals, Social Commentary > Thoughts About Boys State

Thoughts About Boys State

Good afternoon, everyone. Yes, I am still at Alabama Boys State, and yes, I look forward to coming home tomorrow morning. Before I resume my Great Commission Living blog series (hopefully tomorrow), I would like to share just a few of my thoughts about Boys State with ya’ll.

All in all, Boys State was a good experience. My “city” (dorm floor) allowed me to serve as a member of the Federalist Party Platform Committee, of which I also served as a member of the Education Sub-committee. The platform committee also later elected me to be Chairman of the Federalist Party Platform Committee. Later in the week (after elections), I was privileged to serve as one of two representatives from my city as a candidate for the State Board of Education. The other candidates subsequently elected me to serve as Superintendant of the State Board of Education.

If you can’t tell, education policy is something that interests me. Formerly, it interested me because I once entertained notions of being a school teacher. Now, education policy interests me because when I am a married adult with children, I want to provide my children with a home education. (I will not get into my personal reasons here; I do not wish to incite a riot. This is my own personal opinion and I certainly agree that you are also entitled to your own. So let’s continue.)

Interestingly, the next topic in the Great Commission Living blog series is “Living out the Great Commission in Parenthood.” Will I advocate universal homeschooling? No. Public education is a wonderful blessing of 21st century life. Will I lay out a biblical model of parenthood that includes the parents’ discipleship of their children? Yes. I look forward to sharing this topic with ya’ll, as I know many of you either are parents or will one day be parents, and I pray that God will grant me the time to write and publish the article tomorrow.

Although Boys State was a good experience “all in all,” there were some negative aspects to it. The most glaring weakness was its utter lack of intentionally Christian teaching. That is understandable. But no prayer (and there was an invocation at the start of every General Session, which we had multiple times each day) ended “in Jesus’ name.” Should every prayer end with those exact words? Not necessarily. But there was no mention of Jesus in any general session invocation. Well, there was that one prayer that a Boys Stater prayed at the beginning of one session. At the end of his prayer he said, “In Jesus,” but then he realized his “mistake” and merely said, “I pray, Amen.” That saddened me most of all. That he felt pressured to not even say for himself “in Jesus’ name,” for it is indeed by Jesus’ blood that we can come boldly to God’s throne of grace in prayer (Hebrews 10:19).

I will say, though, that we had a city devotional every night. (I gave it the first night.) That was enjoyable. Every guy who gave a devotional was markedly Christian and came from the Bible, and some even prayed “in Jesus’ name” or mentioned Him in prayer. For those devotions and for those who gave them I am extraordinarily grateful.

I end with something Clint Usher, a former Boys Stater and current Merrill-Lynch (I think? don’t hold me to it) employee, said in his address on either the first or second night. He was an amazing speaker, and he used the example of 4.0. He said that if we want to make 4.0 throughout our academic careers, we should say it to ourselves when we were alone that night over and over and over. We should go to a spot on campus and write it into the ground in different places, saying it over and over and over. Then once we got home, he said we should take our girlfriends (those of us who have them) out on a wonderful date and at the most romantic time say, “I love 4.0!”

Mr. Usher made his point. To make 4.0, we must literally saturate ourselves with thinking about 4.0. I’m going to spiritualize this on the basis of Colossians 3:2. “Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on the earth.” We’ve got to saturate our minds with God’s Word, the Bible. We are to “pray without ceasing” (1 Thess 5:17). Let’s stop drowning ourselves in the dregs of the world. Let’s rather drown ourselves in rivers of living water. Turn off the TV for just a bit, and read some Scripture and pray. Wake up just a little earlier to start your day with a short Bible devotional and prayer. Go for a walk in nature and praise God for the glory He reveals in it. “Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on the earth.” Indeed, if we set our minds on “things that are on the earth,” we become enemies of the cross of Christ. Consider Paul’s words in Philippians 3:18-19

For many, of whom I have often told you and now tell you even with tears, walk as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their end is destruction, their god is their belly, and they glory in their shame, with minds set on earthly things. (emphasis mine)

People who set their minds on earthly things also begin to serve the god of their belly, and they begin to glory in their shame. In short, setting your minds on earthly things could lead you to walking “as enemies of the cross of Christ.” And the enemies of the cross of Christ referred to here are not true Christians. (I preached a sermon on these and surrounding verses in May. You can access the sermon here.) “Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on the earth,” or otherwise you may find yourself an unsaved enemy of the cross of Christ.

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