Then he told them a story: “A youth worker worked for a youth ministry that produced fine young people. He said to himself, ‘What should I do? I don’t have a strategy for all my young people.’ Then he said, ‘I know! I’ll tear up all my plans and build bigger ones. Then I’ll have accounted for every young person and every leader. And I’ll sit back and say to myself, “My friend, you have planned for years to come. Now take it easy! Eat, sing, and design icebreakers!”’
“But God said to him, ‘You fool! What if you die this very night? Then what will happen to the master plan you have worked for?’
If she were here today?
To see her eldest son
What would she have said?
As a daughter she gained?
About the weather outside?
And whether it rained?
What would she have felt?
An unseen tie broken
Her son loved as a husband
With rings given as tokens
What would she have thought?
As two became one
Would she have shed tears
Of joy for her son
What advice would she have given
To a couple starting out
“Make the most of each day”
Of that, there is no doubt
What would she have said?
I’m sure this is true:
“I love you my Adam,
And I love you Ellen, too”
Dear Anya and Elliot
In days to come you may wonder why we put you in front of a church full of people, so I thought I would write you a letter to explain. Hopefully one day you’ll read this and it will make sense to you both.
Today is the chance for Mummy and me to say “Thank You” to God, in front of all these people, for the privilege of being your parents. To say thank you to God for lending you two wonderful children to us.
We want to say to God and to all the people here that we promise to try to bring you up to know that God knows you and loves you, that Jesus is your best friend and that God’s Holy Spirit can and will help you all through your lives. We want to promise to teach you to love God, to love each other, to love the people in this room and though this may seem like something impossible, to love all the people you meet, like Jesus would.
It may be that God’s big plan for Mummy and me is to try to make sure that we do those things so that you two can change the world you live in and help more people find out about Jesus. If that’s the case then we would be happy to do just that. That would be a wonderful plan for us.
Thank you for what you both already teach us about God’s love.
We know that we’re not perfect, so hope you don’t mind us asking our friends and family here to help us with the important job of being examples of God’s love to you – to teach you how to have compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.
Shake the dust off
And your shoes
If you’re not welcome
With My message
For your journey
Is with Me
And for Me alone
Greetings from Paul
1 This letter is from Paul, a prisoner for preaching the Good News about Christ Jesus. I am writing to Authentic, this amazing youth group, 2 to the cell groups that meet in the evening, to the adults in the youth ministry team and to all the believers who attend the church of St John’s. 3 May God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ give you grace and peace.
Paul’s Thanksgiving and Prayer
4 I always thank my God when I pray for you, young people of Authentic, 5 because I keep hearing about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your experiences with the Holy Spirit. 6 And I am praying that you will put into action (I hear you have started Authentic Action) the generosity that comes from your faith as you understand and experience all the good things we have in Christ. 7 Your hunger for God has given me much joy and comfort, my young brothers and sisters, for your faith has often refreshed the hearts of the people at St John’s.
Paul’s Appeal for Authentic
8 I am writing to you to advise you about a few certain things. These are not heavy demands in the name of Christ, but a few simple suggestions. 9 Consider this as requests from me—Paul, an old man and now also a prisoner for the sake of Christ Jesus.
10 It is my greatest wish that you all be filled with the Holy Spirit and experience the reality of living a life with your will entwined with His. 11 Only the Holy Spirit can open your hearts and the hearts of your friends to the splendour of God’s love and grace for you. 12 Only the Holy Spirit can provide you with the fruits and gifts that you need to live a life as a true believer in Christ.
13 I know that some of you are not so certain about what you believe, but have faith and keep asking questions and keep asking for more of the Holy Spirit. 14 Then there are those of you who are certain of your salvation in Christ and are itching to spread the message of his grace and mercy. That is brilliant.15 But be sure to do this with grace and mercy so that you don’t make your fellow brother or sister in Authentic feel bad. Gently help them to experience God’s love too. 16 Do your best to make sure that the life you lead lives up to the words that you speak about Jesus and His love. Not because He demands this of us, but because you cannot help but express the love of Jesus through your words, your thoughts, as well as your actions.
17 Be patient with the older folk of St John’s if they do not understand your words, or your way of thinking. I am sure that the love of God also burns within their hearts. 18 Do not give them reason to doubt your love for God – so commit yourself fully to worship in song. And as well as in song, through your actions both in church, at home and at school. 19 Do not forget to forgive those that have wronged you and pray constantly that God’s Holy Spirit will also help you to forgive others.
20 Yes, my brothers and sisters in Authentic, please act as true believers at all times for the Lord’s sake. Give me this encouragement in Christ.
21 I am confident as I write this letter that you will do what I ask and even more to glorify God! 22 One more thing—don’t forget that the message of Christ Jesus needs to be spread amongst your friends that don’t yet fully know him. Do not fall into the trap of thinking that you are superior to them. You are children of God, not because of what you or your parents have done, but through the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Paul’s Final Greetings
23 Jon Tattz and all the leaders, my fellow believers in Christ Jesus – may God bless you and encourage you in the work that you do with Authentic. 24 I pray that the Spirit of God would guide every word to the hearts of the young people, that your lives would be examples of God’s grace and that you would be certain that God smiles on you and is pleased with the work you are doing.
25 May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with all of you and the Holy Spirit empower you to a greater involvement in God’s Kingdom, to spread the message of Jesus, to heal the sick and crush the power of Satan. Amen