Youth News - July and August 2010
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YOUTH NEWS
July and August 2010
by Matt Kay

"…let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven." Matthew 5:16

Abraham and his family, the people called Israel, were blessed by God so that they could be a blessing to the rest of the nations. But by the time that Jesus came to Israel in the flesh, the nation had drifted far from that reality. God had sent them prophets to speak to them and bring them back to Himself, and He was doing it once more – in sending John the Baptist and ultimately, in sending them His only begotten Son. He was calling them back to be the salt of the earth and the light of the world—a shining city on a hill.

But the very nation that was supposed to be that salt and light in the world chose a different identity for themselves. Some in Israel chose to sharpen their swords and fight violently for the “kingdom” to come. Some chose to cling so closely to traditions and a selective obedience that actually kept them from following God’s will. In one instance, Jesus warns the Pharisees, “You tithe mint and dill and cumin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness. These you ought to have done, without neglecting the others” (Matthew 23:23).

In the midst of these realities, Jesus was building His Church – a community of people who would stand firm on the foundation of His teachings, a people who would follow Jesus in faith, and a people who would shine God’s light out to the dark places in this world. This community would learn to trust in God’s way to bring about the Kingdom, and would be willing to put justice, mercy, and faithfulness before tradition. Jesus begins this ministry in Israel and commissions His people to go and make disciples of all nations (see Matthew 28:18-20).

Through the ages, that torch has been handed down to us as the people of God. The call to follow Jesus in faith and to be salt and light in this world is now our privilege! As salt preserves and adds flavor, and as light penetrates and exposes, so we must preserve the goodness in God’s creation and in our culture. We must add the flavor of the Gospel to a world who needs to see it and hear it, and we must seek to shine our light by the good deeds that are done in Christ’s name and in His power!

St. Paul’s Youth Group is going to Pottsville and Reading, Pennsylvania this summer for this purpose – to be salt and light in this world. Our missions trip will take place the first week in August as we join with other churches in the work of doing repairs on homes, beautifying community parks, and working with community centers and outreach ministries. One fond memory that I have on one of these trips was in 2003 when the work that was done in this community drew the attention of the neighbors and the media, to the point where we had a spot on the evening news! As the cameras rolled and questions were asked, the glory was given to God for calling us to serve in this way. The Lord made the evening news! It was a wonderful picture of people seeing good deeds and glorifying our Father in heaven. Please pray for our youth group, that God may be glorified in that community once again!

 
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