I have one question for you... are you panting? Either you are panting because you are running from God or you are panting because you are running to God. Are you running at all? Take notice of where you are.

     Everything is fighting for a preteen's attention, calling out to them for more, flowing like a raging river through their senses and flooding their spirit. Some may be good, some may be bad. The secular world is captivating and enticing, but it is failing to quench their thirst. Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, the internet, pop-culture, their flesh, friends, and yes even family, are all thirsty for more attention. As they pull from every one of these wells, Jesus is patiently sitting at their side, waiting with love, saying, “Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again, 14 but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.” (John 4:13-14 NKJV)

     This does not only apply to preteens. This applies to all, as I myself have pulled from so many wells in my life, falsely believing they would quench my thirst. I have learned, you never graduate from the message of Jesus at Twelve, because the story always breathes life.

     One of the main points we try to stress here at J12 is that it is around the age of 12 when preteens long for more from life. As Jesus lingered in the temple at 12 years of age, so too will preteens today, in whatever they come across. It is no wonder the marketeers of the world work so hard to target and capture the attention of preteens. The only way to quench the thirst for "more," is to turn to the only one who can provide "more" - the Father.

     Perhaps this Psalm of David can be something on which all of us may meditate. Share it with your preteens and teens. Talk about it and may your soul pant and thirst for God! May the deep of your soul call out to the deep of God's glory, majesty, and love.




1 As the deer pants for the water brooks,

So pants my soul for You, O God.

2 My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.

When shall I come and appear before God?

3 My tears have been my food day and night,

While they continually say to me,

“Where is your God?”


4 When I remember these things,

I pour out my soul within me.

For I used to go with the multitude;

I went with them to the house of God,

With the voice of joy and praise,

With a multitude that kept a pilgrim feast.


5 Why are you cast down, O my soul?

And why are you disquieted within me?

Hope in God, for I shall yet praise Him

For the help of His countenance.


6 O my God, my soul is cast down within me;

Therefore I will remember You from the land of the Jordan,

And from the heights of Hermon,

From the Hill Mizar.

7 Deep calls unto deep at the noise of Your waterfalls;

All Your waves and billows have gone over me.

8 The Lord will command His lovingkindness in the daytime,

And in the night His song shall be with me—

A prayer to the God of my life.


9 I will say to God my Rock,

“Why have You forgotten me?

Why do I go mourning because of the oppression of the enemy?”

10 As with a breaking of my bones,

My enemies reproach me,

While they say to me all day long,

“Where is your God?”


11 Why are you cast down, O my soul?

And why are you disquieted within me?

Hope in God;

For I shall yet praise Him,

The help of my countenance and my God.

Stephen Ibach

Creative Director | J12