From the Associate
GOD IS FOR US
Members of our Jr. Youth recently attended the district youth gathering at Camp Windermere. The theme for this gathering was God is for us. On the very first night our youth were confronted with death. Not a physical death, but a death of character and identity; the death of the life lived by Christians. How do our youth face death of this type every day in much the same way that adults do? Hereís how: Being a Christian is UN-COOL. Standing on Godís Word of salvation in Christ is not going to keep you from getting teased, insulted, and generally disliked by some people. As a matter of fact, at times, being a Christian is a sure fire way to get censured and excluded from whatever club, team, or group they are in. On the other hand, even our Christian kids sometimes give in to the temptation to be cool or better than others. Kids often forget about how God instructs us to handle life situations. Instead, all too often, they do and say horrible things to tear down even their closest friends. All of these things slowly chip away at young Christians until God is just an afterthought or is totally rejected and the Christian has died even though the body still lives.
Our youth face the death of their Christian life all day long. At the gathering Pastor Will Henke focused on Romans 8:31-32, which basically says, ďGod is for us.Ē Even when they are facing all the things that could drag them away from God, Pastor Henke reminded them that God is for them. Pastor Henke showed the kids that God has always been with them and for them. He brought the kids through the Old Testament where God delivered His people from slavery in Egypt and instituted the Passover meal to remind them of His faithfulness to be with them. Then Pastor brought them to the time of Christ in the upper room where Jesus instituted the Lordís Supper, a meal that is to remind them of who they are and who they belong to, a Holy meal in which they receive the forgiveness of all their sins and are brought back into a relationship with God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Even now this Holy Communion is proof that God is for us. Even now they have the promise that while they face death all day long, they have a place to go to defeat death. Holy Communion is a place where the Holy Spirit strengthens our faith in Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior and reminds us that God is for Us.
Throughout the weekend Pastor Henke made several connections to music and videos that expressed his points wonderfully. One of the most memorable points of the weekend was his talk about struggling with sin and the death of the Christian life. He made a point about all these struggles are for a time: School struggles are for a time, family struggles are for a time, job struggles are for a time. These things will pass and God will be with you while you are in them. He promises! The Christian life clings to the promises of God and sees that He is for us in Holy Communion, in baptism, in confession and absolution, in prayer, in our Church, in our Christian families, in our youth groups, and in our Christian friendships. God is for us in so many ways! We mustnít forget it! When we worship together every Sunday we are reminded and we can remind one another that GOD IS FOR US!