The past weekend, our family attended the Young Believers Overnight Retreat, planned and directed by some of the YB. Rogie didn’t get to attend the Bible Study, but my only role was to lead the main evening study on Colossians, a book that we’ve been reading during our weekly prayer chains.
The main theme that night was sacrifice, observing and meditating on Paul’s words "Remember my chains" in chapter 4 and, "I am glad when I suffer for you in my body, for I am participating in the sufferings of Christ that continue for his body, the church" in chapter 1:24.
We also looked into the case story of sacrifice found in Genesis, between the offerings of Cain and Abel, to clearly define what a real "sacrifice" is, and the difference of being involved to being committed. Most times, our gestures of sacrifices come with complaining because we fail to truly understand that a sacrifice is not bred from our convenience. A sacrifice is only a sacrifice when it does hurt and take from us, that we cannot give it. And yet, somehow in our short giving, we still complain, thinking we have done a honorable service, and wondering why it’s not an acceptable offering.
But in the case of Paul, who rejoices in suffering, a seeming contradiction of words and emotions, corresponds to the Colossians, saying that he is "glad" suffering for them because he is not just involved in Christ’s continued work for the church, but that he has set his total life for that purpose. He has not set aside a Sunday; he has set aside the end of his days…
I’m really proud of these youth. I know I say it sparsely, but I’ve seen how they’ve really stepped it up this past year- tackling BASIC, the Thanksgiving Dinner, the fundraisers, and most especially, building up themselves to be more ministry conscious, and really individually refining their skills to be used in ministries. There’s been a boom of youth who have taken up one or two instruments, with some of them willingly giving up their time Sunday evenings to go help with the worship in South Philly. Most of them give up their Saturdays for long P&W practices. And some who have taken the burden for this youth group, making sure they have not forgotten their mission statement and setting up ways for spiritual growth through their relationship w/ God, individually and as a group. They really work hard for the kingdom and it really shows…
They’re not babies anymore…and I’m really blessed to see their love for God manifest in their lives…in their hard tough moments…in their choices…I now hear them say they yearn for God, and not just for a social group. I have conversations w/ them about their burdens, spiritually- individually and for the group.