This past Saturday was the Hebron Youth Conference for 2009, entirely put together by the associate pastor of my church. He was simultaneously going through a rough spot in his family, so I am awestruck that he put so much time and effort into this as well. God definitely blessed his efforts!
I went as a chaperone, for the youth from my church. The theme was Proverbs 4:23 “Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.” The main point being that we, as Christians, are to be holy – which does not mean “off in a monastery” but it does mean “set apart”. We need to keep out of the grime and sin of the world and culture. It’s a hard thing to do, but when the fruits God promises are things like love, joy, peace, etc. it does seem like there are good rewards. (And it is your “reasonable service.”)
I am not going to go over every thing every speaker said, but I will point out a few things that struck me as interesting takes. When you have been listening to sermons since birth sometimes it is amazing and refreshing to hear something that seems new.
- Holiness is supposed to be as desirable and enjoyable as a sunny day vs. a cloudy rainy dark day.
- We are not to “pursue victory” and be “defeated by sin” – that puts all the emphasis on US. In reality we are to realize that sin isn’t just a “struggle” within us; when we sin, we mar God’s reputation, as God’s children, and show the world that being a Christian doesn’t make us any different. That should be one of the motivations not to do it. And so it isn’t a victory/defeat issue, it is a “you are being disobedient” issue.
- Sometimes our ATTITUDE is what determines whether a thing is beneficial to us or not.
- When you have daily devotions, the object of your devotion is God. Even your time of prayer should focus on God and not just on “God help me X, Y, Z”
- Keep having daily devotions even if you have no desire; the desire will come later.
- Since the Bible is inspired, when you open it, by definition you take the the very breath of God!
Penultimately, I want to add a list of “Five things we want the Lord Jesus to be able to say to us if the Rapture should occur today” – as listed by Dr. Michael Peck. (I was even more struck by these since I knew the two other chaperones sitting next to me were going through such family trials that these were heart-wrenchingly relevant – and still nodding and amen-ing along with this. I was humbled and awed.)
- You obeyed Me even when you didn’t understand why. (Mt 4:18-20)
- You trusted Me even when it was hard (Ps 125:1)
- You worshipped Me even when your heart was breaking (Job 1,2)
- You loved Me even when others walked away (Jn 14:15)
- You accepted My will even when it was not what you would have personally chosen (Ps 40:8, Ps 143:10)
Finally, in the border of my notes during the sermons I ended up with this little character. I drew her once during each message, and so this was message #5, the final version. (We did have a 6th sermon but I didn’t draw her again.)
Not all harpies are screaming, bird-woman hags.
But since most are, Heldra felt very alone. She tried so hard to find companionship in the lost travelers of the waste – but none would go near her; all fled when they saw the shadow of her outstretched wings. Her sweet voice did nothing to allay their fears: all knew that harpies and sirens were kin, and so many had heard the (true) tales of folks ripped to shreds.
She still sits often in a dead tree, singing to wyverns and birds. Occasionally a faun or dragon. But for the most part, she has the wilderness to herself – and her terrible kin.
Until she met the wizard.
[I won’t tell you how old this sketch is. It’s really old.]