This Sunday is a little bit different than our “typical” Sundays. It will be led almost entirely by our teens. They’ll be leading singing and the Lord’s Supper. In addition, I’ll have very little to say. They are going to be sharing with us some of the things that they learned at Winterfest a couple of week ago.
Every year our teens work hard at raising funds so they can make the trip to Gatlinburg for Winterfest. There they join well over 10,000 other teens, mostly from east of the Mississippi River, for a weekend of praise, learning and fun. (There is an identical Winterfest weekend held in Arlington, Texas). This year, they learned about twelve spiritual disciplines--practices designed to help them grow closer to God.
Every year we ask the congregation to provide a lot of support—both emotional and financial—to efforts of our teens to go to Winterfest. We can be pretty relentless. And I haven’t the slightest bit of shame about that. Our youth group gets a full weekend to be reminded about the love of God and His claim on their lives. When they return, they are passionate about living their lives as followers of Christ. In a world with so many competing messages, it’s impossible to put a price tag on that.
I recently saw a quote online from a man named Ralph W. Sockman. He describes the true intention of prayer like this—"We use prayer as a boatman uses a boat hook: to pull the boat to the shore and not to try to pull the shore to the boat.” The same can be said of any of the spiritual disciplines.
I hope you’ll follow the lead of our teens today as they demonstrate ways that we can draw nearer to Christ.