When I was in high school, I’d have to say that our church youth group was exactly what I needed at that time. We participated in many activities that helped us in developing our faith in a way that was very real in the 60’s.
Our youth group took a day bus trip to Chicago. We were encouraged to be in small groups and navigate around with those groups to see the sights at our own pace. We did the museums and such, but letting us roam about in Old Town Chicago in the 60’s was the absolute best!
On Sunday evenings at church we’d have dinner and then a worship service that was geared to our lives. We designed the services and we got to take part in leading the service. Isn’t it interesting that I said that we got to take part in the worship? We actually wanted to participate in the servce! We wanted our voices to be heard and we knew that we’d do okay because we were in a very safe space with the others around us. Nobody made fun of the next person and we just accepted what the others had to offer. It was an amazing experience!
Our youth group opened up a coffee house in the basement of the church. We painted the walls black and we got to decorate the room in amazing ways. did we feel like we were on the cutting edge.
The coffee house was our tool to invite our non-church friends in. So many times I have thought about the risk that our church leaders took when they agreed for the coffee house to come into being. The church trusted us and wanted us to succeed. I wish the adults could have had some comparable venue in which they could share their faith. Maybe they did.
4:1 Since God has so generously let us in on what he is doing, we’re not about to throw up our hands and walk off the job just because we run into occasional hard times. 2 We refuse to wear masks and play games. We don’t maneuver and manipulate behind the scenes. And we don’t twist God’s Word to suit ourselves. Rather, we keep everything we do and say out in the open, the whole truth on display, so that those who want to can see and judge for themselves in the presence of God.
4:3 If our Message is obscure to anyone, it’s not because we’re holding back in any way. No, it’s because these other people are looking or going the wrong way and refuse to give it serious attention. 4 All they have eyes for is the fashionable god of darkness. They think he can give them what they want, and that they won’t have to bother believing a Truth they can’t see. They’re stone-blind to the dayspring brightness of the Message that shines with Christ, who gives us the best picture of God we’ll ever get.
5 Remember, our Message is not about ourselves; we’re proclaiming Jesus Christ, the Master. All we are is messengers, errand runners from Jesus for you. 6 It started when God said, “Light up the darkness!” and our lives filled up with light as we saw and understood God in the face of Christ, all bright and beautiful.
7 If you only look at us, you might well miss the brightness. We carry this precious Message around in the unadorned clay pots of our ordinary lives. That’s to prevent anyone from confusing God’s incomparable power with us. 8 As it is, there’s not much chance of that. You know for yourselves that we’re not much to look at. We’ve been surrounded and battered by troubles, but we’re not demoralized; we’re not sure what to do, 9 but we know that God knows what to do; we’ve been spiritually terrorized, but God hasn’t left our side; we’ve been thrown down, but we haven’t broken. 10 What they did to Jesus, they do to us—trial and torture, mockery and murder; what Jesus did among them, he does in us—he lives! 11 Our lives are at constant risk for Jesus’ sake, which makes Jesus’ life all the more evident in us. 12 While we’re going through the worst, you’re getting in on the best!
Paul paid a price for his ministry, but the Legalists of the time went about collecting honors and acting very showy about their perceived religious superiority. Paul says that we are all vessels; the treasury of the gospel life within is important. As vessels we need to be concerned with being clean and available for Christ’s use.
What religious guidance from your past helps you decide what you will do and will not do in worship? In our society today, what would be a reason to not talk about your faith? In the early church, what would have been the reasons for them to keep their faith a secret? Who are the people of faith you most admire? Have a day!
In Conversation with a child today: Ask a child to tell you where they feel the safest
Remember in Prayer: Al & Mary, Diana, Vivian, Aaron, Margaret, Marc, Sharon, Josh, Herb’s family, Lynn, Vicki, Sue, Heidi, Kristin, Barbara, Karen, Jim, Angela, Tim, Jeremy, Dick, Diane, Frank & Jean, Barb, Sue
And those experiencing loss – family and friends of: Nita, Nancy, Edward, Doris, Angela
Prayer: We love you, O God and we thank you for this day. Thank you for loving us and for placing people in our lives who are willing to share their faith story. Give us the opportunity and words to share our faith with others. Amen
Your E-Votional Servant
©2017 Lucia Oerter
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The Message Bible
A ministry at Central Presbyterian Church, 31 N 7th Street, Lafayette, IN