Youth News - December 2012
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YOUTH NEWS
December 2012
by Matt Kay

“Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock.” Matthew 7:24-25

It was like a beacon of light in a dark town. The community of Bay Head, New Jersey was hit hard with flooding as a result of hurricane Sandy, but the one spot in this area of town that was not affected by the flood was the church building. St. Paul’s United Methodist Church of Bay Head had become a central place in the community for meals, relief items, non-perishable food, and perhaps most of all, human solidarity. Pastor Scott has since nicknamed it “The Bistro” — functioning as a ‘round the clock relief center each day from morning until evening. As the dusk grew dark one night, I had noticed that their building was the only one on their immediate block with the lights on. That light in the dark reminded me of Jesus’ words, “Let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:16).

This local church building, and more importantly, their people, had become a place where the community could come together while the things around them were falling apart. Being held together by Christ, they could in turn offer help and hold things together for others. In Matthew 7, Jesus speaks of those who hear His words and put them into practice and likens them to a man who builds His house upon a rock — they are able to weather any storm in life because of the One in whom they trust.

Jesus was a great example of this. During His earthly ministry, He was both fully God and fully man. He needed to put His trust in His Father just as we need to put our trust in Him. He said, “I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing” (John 5.19). During one tumultuous storm in Galilee, we read of Jesus sleeping in a boat as His disciples are falling apart in fear. What a great picture of being held together by the Father at a time when others are falling apart! To top it all off, He was also able to offer strength to His fearful disciples. “He replied, ‘You of little faith, why are you so afraid?’ Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm” (Matthew 8.26)!

We too, can have a trust so deep in the Savior that we are held together when things around us are falling apart. We too, can help to hold others together when they are falling apart as well. In Acts 27, Paul displays this kind of relationship with Christ as his shipmates face a storm of hurricane-like proportions, strangely nicknamed “The Northeaster” (see Acts 27:14). When the crew “gave up all hope of being saved” (v. 20), Paul stood up and gave them the encouragement that he had received from the Lord: “I urge you to keep up your courage, because not one of you will be lost; only the ship will be destroyed” (v. 22). As everyone and everything around them was falling apart, Paul was able to be held together by His faith in Christ, and in turn offered words that inspired courage in others who gave up hope!

May you hear Jesus’ words and put them into practice, like a man who builds his house upon a rock, may you be so grounded in the love of Christ that you’ll be held together in the face of any storm, and may you offer strength to those who are falling apart in these days.

Matt Kay

 
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