So if you didn’t know, I have a brother named Adam Knowles. He also is a youth pastor at the church we both grew up at. He is a great pastor and one of the benefits of the both of us having the same profession and calling is that we get to swap ideas with with other. Sometimes we just steal ideas from each other.

This is one I just took from him because I thought it was amazing.

He wrote a letter to his students to end 2016, going into 2017. It is beautifully written and very good and refreshing. Here is an excerpt from his letter:

To the student who has had a tough 2016, don’t worry.  There is hope.  And while it may feel like you’re the only one in the room who has had a tough year, there is a great possibility that there are many more sitting beside you who have had a tough year, too.  And rather than doing what you’ve done best this year, and keep to yourself in an attempt to be a small blip on people’s radar, begin to surround yourself with the people God has placed in your life.  There is potential for history to repeat itself if something doesn’t change and I believe God desires more for you than to just “get by” another year.  This change is something God is familiar with and it’s a change he knew needed to happen from the beginning.  You see, history was repeating itself over and over again until God finally sent His Son.  And that changed everything.  It turned past hurt into future hope, past despair into present relief, and turned a potential eternity with God into an eternity with Him.

To the student who has a tough life at home, know from the bottom of my heart that I’m sorry you’re in the situation you’re in.  As a dad it kills me every day knowing you don’t have a safe place to call home.  I pray daily that you find safety here at HSM.  I pray daily that you find safety in the arms of the Father that loves you more than you can ever know.  And while it seems as if you’ve been cursed with the family situation you have, I pray that you take on the posture of Jesus and His followers and look at anything tough life throws your way as an opportunity to relentlessly pursue God.  While others could lack the ability to thrive in an environment such as yours, God can and will enable you to be the light in the darkness that you call family.  He desires to use you, and expects you to rejoice in the predicament you’ve found yourself in.  And while it may seem crazy to rejoice in a situation like yours, know that it is because God is refining you to handle, lead, and overcome more than you can ever imagine.  Better yet, instead of asking God “why” these next few months, begin to ask him “how” He can use you.  Keep leaning into Him and be continually reminded that you have a heavenly Father that not only would do anything for you, but did do EVERYTHING for you by sending His Son – who we celebrate this coming week.

To the student who pretends like everything’s ok, please know that it’s ok to not be ok.  In fact, I believe God would prefer you to be real with him.  So often you convince yourself that your issues are a burden to society and that no one truly cares about what is going on in your life.  But I am writing to remind you that – yes, you are a burden – but the perfect kind of burden.  You’re a burden that God has placed on my heart and it is one that I refuse to shake, that I refuse to ignore, and that I refuse to pretend along with you.  Even better so, God sees you as a burden worth dying for.  A burden that he willingly took on at the Cross.  That you would have a place where you would be able to unload everything happening in life and would feel confident that the God of the Universe had the capacity to handle it.  Ask yourself, when is the last time you felt light? When you felt free?  When you felt a literal weight lifted off your shoulders?  Don’t neglect the fact that Jesus desires to take your burden from you.  How do I know this? His word says that He calls to his followers to come to him – those who are heavy burdened and weary – for his yoke is easy, and his burden is light.  And besides, think about this… if God hadn’t the ability to take on your issues, He wouldn’t be too worth worshipping anyways, would He.  Lay it on Him.

If you would like to see the whole thing, click HERE. I know he aid that he tried to keep it as general as possible for others to use it as well. I think it is great. I posted an edited version on our ministry Instagram and I have already gotten some good feedback and conversation from it.

Love it!