Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Availability over Ability | God's blessing to our youth fellowship

Last Sunday, we had our Youth Fellowship after a long break due to busy schedules last march-april. It was great and amazing and also encouraging to see our youth attend even if that day, may 3 is when the fight of Mayweather-Pacquiao is scheduled(May 3 because of the time difference). And most of the time, when Pacquiao fights, a lot of Filipinos watch, and you will notice the significant decrease in attendance. Even if the fight started after church, around 1 pm, our youth stayed for our fellowship that we have around 1-3pm after lunch.
Another great thing that happened was our lesson, and the result of our activity that day.

To start off, last march-april was busy due to graduation stuff, and preparing for camp season since our church is located within the campsite itself. Our youth joined a youth camp last April 20-24, and for sure they have enjoyed it.

Activity 1: Note to their future selves

After the camp, we had our youth tell their testimony about their recent experience with the camp. Some were moving, and some were alright, and I do not want them to forget all these experiences after summer is over. Usually, this is the "camp fever" as we call it, when the youth is active for God and in the church, but when school day comes, they tend to forget it all. The goal of this Note was for them to remind themselves of the experiences they have, just like how I blog to remind myself of how God is gracious to my life.

Hopefully, they will look forward to next year and be reminded of what they have written. Some included goals, like Future me, I hope you are joyfully serving in the church by this time or Future me, I hope you are Faithful and useful to the Lord.

Not that I know what they have written, but hopefully they have written something like that. To ensure them to write from their heart, I assured them that no one can read what they have written, and I actually brought packing tape for them to seal it properly and pen for them to sign it. It was fun watching them do this, and flattering that they actually wrote confidential stuff and trusted me to keep it for them. (Not that they can do anything, since I told them I would collect it after, hehe)

Lesson: God's and Moses' conversation

For our lesson, we studied Exodus chapter 3-4, about the conversation of Moses and God - the burning bush. 

God's Guidance

For this lesson, I would say I was not that prepared. I did not write any points, or outline for it. Like I said in my recent blog post, Back from the dead | A reason to take a break and to write again, I have difficulty preparing my lessons properly. But our lesson could be called a success because of God's guidance. Before we started our lesson, I told them to write 5 professions they want to be, and 5 things they want in life (and I will talk about that in my next point), but this activity was just thought up to "kill time" while the others were done sealing their Notes - Activity 1. I never realized that this pairing of Activity-Lesson would bring out amazing results - All praise and Glory to God. I'll discuss the results later on.

The Message

The lesson we had about the Conversation between God and Moses was about Moses' availability and reaction to God's calling. God called Moses to do something for God, he has purpose in God's plans, but look at Moses' reaction at Exodus 3:11
"Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh, and that I should bring the children of Israel out of Egypt?"
Moses might be right, because Pharaoh is a King and Moses is a shepherd, though God assured him that God will be with Moses. God told Moses to proclaim that God is with Him, God had sent him, and even assured Moses that God will do wondrous things and demonstrate His power over Egypt.
And yet, Moses again replied with doubt in chapter 4:1.
"But suppose they will not believe me or listen to my voice; suppose they say, 'The Lord has not appeared to you.'"
Consider this. Moses is talking to a burning bush. A burning bush! Next, Moses saw a demonstration of God's power by turning his staff into a snake and back to a staff. God promised to demonstrate even greater powers than what he is experiencing at the moment, and yet Moses again replied with doubt in chapter 4:10, 13.

 "10: O my Lord, I am not eloquent, neither before nor since You have spoken to Your servant; but I am slow of speech and slow of tongue."
" 13: O my Lord, please send by the hand of whomever else You may send."
Now, notice how elusive Moses is in accepting God's plans for him? The same with us in our Christian and Church life. Someone may offer us to be a part of something in the church, where we have the opportunity to serve God, and then a lot of reasons come out. I'm too busy. I'm not talented enough. I am shy, and I can't speak in front of a lot of people - send him instead!

This is why Availability is better than Ability. God knows Moses can't talk in front of people, he is weak-willed, he is shy, he is a coward in a sense, and yet God chose Moses for a greater purpose. God has a plan for us for a greater purpose. This blog may be small, but I believe God also has a purpose for it. The church that we are attending may be small, but God has a purpose for it. We can't say, "Let's stop attending now because we are few."

Last camp that our youth joined, the High school camp, they only numbered to around 70, few compared to the previous week for College camp that numbered around 290, and compared to last year which numbered to 512 (HS and College combined). Of course at first it was depressing for both campers and the host, but the host Pastor said "Even if the campers are only around 70, if 1 of them will become a Pastor/Missionary, it is all worth it." Even with a small camp, God has a purpose for it.

God has a purpose for us and all we need to do is to be available for Him.

Activity 2: Goals and Wants

After our lesson, our activity continued from where I told them to write down their goals and wants, to us reading it. Before we read what they wrote, I asked them to honestly raise their hands to the questions that I ask.

Now, a lot of them raised their hands to questions like "Who wrote cars, engineers, doctor, money, house, etc." Then only a few, to 1 and none raised their hands to "God related answers, church-related work, and a Bible."
Now, the point of our activity was to remind them to include God in their plans, and it is encouraging to see some of them honestly raise their hands when I asked them "when you were writing all of these goals and wants, did you think about God?"
And the second important reminder was that IF they had everything they wanted and goals/professions, can they give it all up for God?
I encouraged them that it is ok to have goals like being an engineer, even if they did not write any church related answers in their list. As long as they don't forget God in their plans and that they could give it all up for God

After that survey questions, I challenged them to read what they wrote. They were reluctant at first, but in the end they all read theirs. Remember, I let them write it before we started our lesson. The most notable goal that we heard was from 1 youth (around the age of 16) where his first 2 answers were Missionary and Pastor. It was so encouraging to hear it from him, where even from his last after-camp testimony, how he told his testimony was like he was preaching while telling all the things he have learned. Then there were answers like church-worker, teacher and others.

All in all, I'm grateful that we continued again our youth fellowship and that doing this again (hopefully) strengthened our faith. 

Hopefully you have learned something valuable.
Till next time :)

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