This weekend I attended a youth event called VERITAS. This event is sponsored by the Arkansas United Methodist Conference Council on Youth Ministry which was a big part of my life while I was in high school. I remember helping to plan youth events and thinking that when things weren't going exactly the way that we planned, it was all going to fail. I never thought for a split second that God was powerful to take power over our mistakes.
Being an adult that the event this weekend was very different. I was there for one purpose only, to do Media for the worship services. In the meantime I took the time to study for my midterm. I saw things from a totally different view and it was incredible. During the first night of worship I noticed a familiar man standing against the wall, our new Bishop for the Arkansas Conference. At first I was shocked that he was there, but then thought that maybe he was just there to make an appearance on Friday night. But no, he was there all weekend long. I was so impressed and I just had to tell him that. We had a good long conversation about ministry and youth in the church. It was incredible to talk to an elder in the church that legitimately cared and was not only willing to listen, but talk back. I was thinking about the last time that happened for me, and I don't think it has. It was one of those conversations that I will remember for a lifetime.
There was a recurring theme that I noticed at this youth event. When I noticed it, I thought back on my years in middle and high school and things started to make lots of sense. Leaders, speakers, adults were all preparing the youth for the bad things that were going to happen in their life. It was almost like they were convincing them that the only time you can have a relationship with God is when you are asking for forgiveness. As amazing as it is to feel the repentance that Jesus provided for us on the cross, we should also remember the life that He has given us. We are free in His love and that's what makes us special. We are brothers and sisters because of Christ's sacrifice, but also because of HIS story. We should not forget how to live this life within the rules that He has provided, but we also shall not dwell on that. If all we do is worry about our past sin and future sin, we are putting His sacrifice to shame.
God desires to be a part of our story. To walk hand in hand with us in the garden. We are a new generation that is the church NOW! Let's stand up and use our free will to live the life God desires and wants in us.
One song that we sang this weekend was called "One Thing Remains" the lyrics for one part of the song goes a little like this:
On and one and on and on it goes
It overwhelms and satisfies my soul
And I never ever have to be afraid
One thing remains
That's just it. When everything is gone and we focus completely on God we realize that one thing truly remains... His love. We never have to live in fear because of the sin we have or will commit in the future. God is there constant.... The change doesn't have to be a trial.. it can be us fully surrendering to His will in our everyday life.
Pray about this and allow yourself to love others unconditionally.
The men turned away and went toward Sodom, but Abraham remained standing before the Lord. Then Abraham approached him and said: “Will you sweep away the righteous with the wicked? What if there are fifty righteous people in the city? Will you really sweep it away and not spare the place for the sake of the fifty righteous people in it? Far be it from you to do such a thing—to kill the righteous with the wicked, treating the righteous and the wicked alike. Far be it from you! Will not the Judge of all the earth do right?”
The Lord said, “If I find fifty righteous people in the city of Sodom, I will spare the whole place for their sake.”
Then Abraham spoke up again: “Now that I have been so bold as to speak to the Lord, though I am nothing but dust and ashes what if the number of the righteous is five less than fifty? Will you destroy the whole city for lack of five people?”“If I find forty-five there,” he said, “I will not destroy it.”
Once again he spoke to him, “What if only forty are found there?”
He said, “For the sake of forty, I will not do it.”
Then he said, “May the Lord not be angry, but let me speak. What if only thirty can be found there?”He answered, “I will not do it if I find thirty there.”
Abraham said, “Now that I have been so bold as to speak to the Lord, what if only twenty can be found there?”
He said, “For the sake of twenty, I will not destroy it.”
Then he said, “May the Lord not be angry, but let me speak just once more. What if only ten can be found there?”
He answered, “For the sake of ten, I will not destroy it.”
When the Lord had finished speaking with Abraham, he left, and Abraham returned home.