READINGOld Testament: Jeremiah 13:1-11
Psalms: Psalms 87, 90
New Testament: Romans 6:12-23
Gospel: John 8:47-59
Evening Psalms: Psalms 136
“…Throw yourselves wholeheartedly and full-time - remember, you’ve been raised from the dead! - into God’s way of doing things. Sin can’t tell you how to live.” (Romans 6:13 MSG)
I was off to the gym wearing my Weird Al Yankovic t-shirt that I got during his Poodle Hat Tour at Kings Dominion remembering one of the greatest days I’ve had. What made it so memorable wasn’t that I got to see Weird Al, or that I got to spend the day at Kings Dominion acting like a kid. What really made the day stick with me was that it was one of the first events I’d had as a youth leader at St. Matt’s that was organized and executed by one of the youth. I just provided the leadership, and we ended up with an incredible group of teens who created lasting bonds with each other.
Then I began remembering our trip to New York to see Phantom of the Opera and visiting St. Paul’s Episcopal Church at Ground Zero. This was only a few years after 9/11, and the towers were holes in the ground with a flag flying from a crane in the middle of the devastation. This was another activity a youth recommended and organized. We had such a great group of teens and parents bonding. I’ll never forget walking through seedy streets at night, getting to our hotel (where they didn’t have our reservation), or having the perfect glass of orange juice at a diner. We came away from that weekend feeling so close.
Before becoming involved with youth ministry, I’d attended church, followed Christ, and loved God. But I did it as a teen and young adult, having little idea what it all meant and still looking out for number one… no, it wasn’t God. Since leading the teens, I’ve been forever changed. Every day I grow closer to God, and I understand a little better what a community can do when we listen to every idea, and take risks for and with each other.
My journey with God has been evolutionary, without a single point where I can say I was Born Again. Each time He trusts me with a life, I feel closer to the community and to Him. I’ve gotten to see teens pursue their passions and follow God’s plan for their lives. Today, I think of them, and I thank God He’s allowed me to help them develop a life-long devotion to Him.