Youth - October 2014
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Youth
October 2014
by Hector Meza

“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. 2 He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit He prunes[a] so that it will be even more fruitful.” John 15:1-2

“Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” Prov. 4:23

One Sunday morning, a few weeks ago, I shared about a flower that Lydia and I had entrusted someone to water while we were on vacation. Unfortunately, the person did not water the plant and we arrived to find a shriveled shadow of the once vibrant flower we left. The leaves and stems had mostly turned brown and I honestly thought that the plant was a goner. I was given some hope by the fact that one stem of the flower remained green and the leaves, though clearly dried up, remained a light green color. We were determined to save the flower and so we watered it profusely and added some fresh soil in the hopes of nurturing our flower back to health.

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Youth - September 2014
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Youth
September 2014
by Hector Meza

1 Thess. 5:14 “And we urge you, brothers and sisters, warn those who are idle and disruptive, encourage the disheartened, help the weak, be patient with everyone.”

Recently, the Youth Group had an opportunity to help out with a VBS program hosted in Hamburg, PA. The elaborate games and rides along with the workshops and dramatic presentations took weeks of preparation, planning and hard labor. The VBS was quite an event for the small community and Zion Church, but the hard work resulted in about 400 children and parents attended the week-long event. Over 60 of those students decided to say a prayer asking Jesus into their hearts. It was a great outreach and we were very blessed to help, even if it was just a bit.

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Youth - June 2014
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Youth
June 2014
by Hector Meza

“Through the praise of children and infants
you have established a stronghold against your
enemies,to silence the foe and the avenger.”
Psalm 8:2 NIV

“You have taught children and infants
to tell of your strength,
silencing your enemies
and all who oppose you.”
Psalm 8:2 NLT

“You have made sure that children
and infants praise you.
You have done it because of your enemies.
You have done it to put a stop to their talk.”
Psalm 8:2 NIRV

Isn’t it great when God shows up to silence the enemy? In continuing with the spirit of the God hunt sightings, I wanted to share with you something that blessed me during a chapel recently. I had just wrapped up looking at psalm 8 with the 6-8 grade chapel group. We had taken time to ponder, as David had, the majesty and mercy of our great, fearful and holy God. We ended chapel by worshiping God through song. As I dismissed the 6-8 group, I decided to get some music ready to play for the following group of 3-5 graders.

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Youth News - April 2014
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Youth News
April 2014
by Hector Meza

11 The angel of the Lord came and sat down under the oak in Ophrah that belonged to Joash the Abiezrite, where his son Gideon was threshing wheat in a winepress to keep it from the Midianites. 12 When the angel of the Lord appeared to Gideon, he said, “The Lord is with you, mighty warrior.” Judges 6:11-12

As we journey through the 50 day adventure one of the themes from the second week was, “going on a God hunt.” The emphasis was placed on the fact that God is moving and working around us, displaying His grace and love to us, we simply need to make ourselves aware or be on the lookout for those moments. God hunt sightings are supposed to be moments where we are reminded of God’s grace to us. This idea was drawn out from a passage in 1 Samuel where King Saul is placed in a vulnerable position for David to take advantage.

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Youth News - February 2014
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Youth News
February 2014
by Hector Meza

25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her 26 to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, 27 and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.” Ephesians 5:25-27

When I ask people the question, “what is marriage?” certain words like, love, joy, comfort and completeness are usually the response. Yet I’ve come to realize that those words are nice and all but really the words that should also crop up are work, sacrifice and humility. And it’s no surprise to me because the very Author of Love is God and of the many ways He’s demonstrated His love for us the most demonstrative was the sacrifice of His only Son.

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Youth News - December 2013
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Youth News
December 2013
by Hector Meza

13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host
appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,
14 “Glory to God in the highest heaven,
and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”
- Luke 2:13-14

This earth could use a little peace, could it not? There are fearful and discouraging things all around us. We see people being taken advantage of and abused, nations rising up against each other, families crumbling. This has been the pattern for humanity as far back as Adam blaming Eve for his sin and one of their sons murdering the other.

So when the angels descended on the shepherds with news of Jesus’ birth it’s no surprise that they brought a message of hope, life and peace for humanity. They declared that peace among men or on earth could start to flourish once more because Jesus would be the one to begin the restoration. Those of us that are believers in Christ can rest assured that in Jesus we can find peace. And as followers of Jesus we are to pattern our lives after Jesus and seek to be peacemakers on this earth. As Jesus revealed, “blessed are the peacemakers for they will be called children of God.” God is calling us to join in His work of bringing peace to this world.

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Youth News - October 2013
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Youth News
October 2013
by Hector Meza

“Then if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land.” - 2 Chronicles 7:14

The times that we live in are filled with many uncertainties. Students wonder about their futures and “what if” there are no jobs available for when they graduate. We hear about global conflicts, turmoil and financial meltdowns and wonder “what if” we are headed towards another world war. We ask, “what if” concerning our families, careers and health. It seems as though people have been wondering, “what if” since the beginning of time. When we read the Bible we a given reassurances over and over again through the stories of men, women and nations that were rescued from their trials and tribulations by God. In our “what ifs” we have a God who is great in might, mercy and power.

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Youth - July/August 2014
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Youth
July/August 2014
by Hector Meza

Matthew 25:34-40
34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world.
35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink?
38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you?
39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.

“Everyday 1.1 billion people have to wash with, bathe in, and drink more dirty water. That’s the same as the population of North America and Europe. We can’t live with that. Can You?” This was the question asked in a video presented to our youth to get them invested in our 30 Hour Thirst. In years past the youth had participated in the 30 Hour Famine to help feed the poor. This year we will be raising money to buy water filtration systems from Compassion International. We’re coming to the realization that having access to clean water affects all components of life including food.

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Youth News - May 2014
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Youth News
May 2014
by Hector Meza

“No one should seek their own good, but the good of others.”
1 Cor. 10:24

Recently I heard a song on the radio that the chorus went something like this, “And you can tell everybody, Go ahead and tell everybody, I’m the man, I’m the man, I’m the man.”

Lydia, with her perceptive ear, recognized that the singer had sampled a phrase from the Elton John song, Your Song. The Elton John song is a song written to a beloved and declares in a dramatic moment, “And you can tell everybody, this is your song.” The former song seems quite an interesting symbol of our current youth culture focused on self-centered humanism. The rise of social media and reality TV has perhaps had the unwanted consequences of turning our eyes from the love and concern of others to an unhealthy preoccupation with ourselves.

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Youth News - March 2014
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Youth News
March 2014
by Hector Meza

Genesis 12:1 The Lord had said to Abram, “Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you.

2 “I will make you into a great nation,
and I will bless you;
I will make your name great,
and you will be a blessing.
3 I will bless those who bless you,
and whoever curses you I will curse;
and all peoples on earth
will be blessed through your father’s household to the land I will show you.

Hopefully, as you are reading this I am not in a full body cast. That means that I have survived my first time skiing with our youth. Even though I grew up in the Poconos, in the very same town as the ski resort we went to, I had never been skiing and never did I imagine that I would be leading a Youth Group on a ski retreat. It really got me thinking about all the surprises that God has brought into my life. I never thought I’d want to teach in a high school, I never wanted to live in the city, I never wanted to preach, all of those things God called me to do. The Christian life, at least the kind that I believe God wants us to live, is one filled with adventure and surprises.

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Youth News - January 2014
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Youth News
January 2014
by Hector Meza

There's a peace I've come to know
Though my heart and flesh may fail
There's an anchor for my soul
I can say "It is well"

Jesus has overcome
And the grave is overwhelmed
The victory is won
He is risen from the dead

[Chorus:]
And I will rise when He calls my name
No more sorrow, no more pain
I will rise on eagles' wings
Before my God fall on my knees
And rise
I will rise

-Exert from I Will Rise by Chris Tomlin

Recently the youth came together for a night of testimonies through the medium of worship. It was great to hear many of the students and leaders share about how God has used songs to impact their lives. Students and leaders would play a clip from the song and then speak of why it was meaningful to them. Our hope was that students could see how God was speaking the Gospel out to the world using their testimonies. Each of us has a story and our life story should be one that directs people towards God.

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Youth News - November 2013
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Youth News
November 2013
by Hector Meza

1 Oh, the joys of those who do not
follow the advice of the wicked
or stand around with sinners,
or join in with mockers.
2 But they delight in the law of the LORD,
meditating on it day and night.
3 They are like trees planted along the riverbank,
bearing fruit each season.
Their leaves never wither,
and they prosper in all they do.
Psalm 1:1

They say that technology is making us dumber and giving us a shorter attention span. If that is true then this might explain why Bible reading is down in our culture. The thought of sitting there and reading anything longer than a paragraph or status update can seem more dreadful than a dental visit. Yet, we all know how important and vital to the life of a Christian Scripture reading is.

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Youth News - September 2013
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Youth News
September 2013
by Hector Meza

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28

At various moments in your life, some verses jump off the page and come to life for you more than others. This verse was the theme verse for the JUNE project this year. A group of 12 students and 4 leaders travelled to Hamburg, PA for a week of ministry and fun alongside other youth groups from New Jersey. One would think that a missions trip was anything but restful, but I was personally encouraged and refreshed by the students and leaders on this trip.

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