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Lifting The Veil -- Jay Grant

Body piercings. Tattoos. Spiked hair. Exposed midriffs. Black clothes.

Grunge rock. Many teenagers these days are much different from when I

grew up in the 1960s. Back then long hair, bell-bottoms, Birkenstocks and

the Beatles were the trademarks of America’s youth.

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But one thing has remained constant. Many young adults still think

long and deeply about spiritual truth and ponder the reality of God.

There’s a yearning to know if God is real and a desire for true spiritual

experience. As a pastor I’ve talked with hundreds of these kids over the

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years, encouraging them in this quest.

A recently released University of Pennsylvania study of 2,000

teenagers showed faith, and the worship of God, high on the list of

priorities among those polled. In fact 84% said faith was very important

in their lives and almost half had attended at least three worship

services in the previous month. Even I was a little surprised at that

high a percentage. Sept. 11 undoubtedly had a profound effect on kids as

they realized how truly fragile life can be.

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Alana Brazelton is a cute 17-year-old junior at Laguna Beach High

School. She is good friends with Ali Phelps, Diana Dick and Alex

Anderson, three other juniors who work for me each summer at the Sawdust

Festival. Alana also takes guitar lessons from my son, Micah, a 1998

Laguna High grad. Alana is unashamed to let you know how important the

Lord is to her.

“I believed in God when I was young, but at a Forest Home summer camp

prior to my freshman year, I fully committed my life to Christ,” she

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said.

Alana attends the Christian Club at the high school, which has regular

guest speakers. She especially enjoys Steve Sweet, youth pastor at the

Presbyterian Church in town and Jeff Tacklind, who holds the same

position at the EV Free Church on Legion Street.

“Steve is like an older brother to me and makes Christianity fun,”

Alana said. “Jeff is a deep person, someone who likes to dig into the

Bible and then analyze it.”

Like the youth of today, my friends and I searched for God in those

days of the counter culture. Some even took psychedelics, expanding their

mind in the hope of reaching deep into the subconscious and discovering

“the god within.” For me, swayed by the Hindu influence of the Beatles, I

studied Eastern mysticism, settling on Self Realization and the teachings

of Paramahansa Yogananda. I used to drive down to the Self Realization

ashram in Encinitas to attend services.

One day I was invited to a quaint little church full of long hairs

like myself, and I listened to the claims of Christ. My heart leaped when

I heard how much God loved me. A powerful demonstration of that love was

revealed on the cross. There Jesus died for everything I had ever done

wrong and by trusting in him I would be forgiven. I was stunned for I had

always considered Christianity kind of a nerdy religion, very much

uncool. God, however, broke through my prejudices.

While appreciating the part Eastern mysticism played in my own

personal spiritual journey, I settled firmly on Christ and have followed

him ever since. I’ve not been disappointed in more than 30 years, not

even for a second.

I am thrilled that so many teenagers possess a heart for the Lord

these days.

* JAY GRANT is a pastor-teacher and 32 year resident of Laguna Beach.

He can be reached at P.O. Box 391, Laguna Beach CA 92652 or by e-mail at

o7 nikkinjay@cox.netf7 .


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