Youth News - May 2009
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Youth News

I recently asked our young people if our faith, the Christian faith, is supposed to be a personal faith or a public faith. It was sort of a trick question, because the answer is undoubtedly both - our faith is a personal and public faith! Our faith is all about knowing God, and not just knowing about God. It's about having a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. But our faith is also a public faith - a faith that turns to action in our relationships, our churches, our homes, our schools, our communities, and our world.

Faith gets to work! James says, "Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works... faith without works is dead (Jas. 2.18b, 20b)." Just to be clear, we don't work to earn our salvation in Christ - only Jesus can do that, and He did it at the cross. The reason why we work is as a result of and a grateful response to the love, forgiveness, and power we've received by God's grace through faith in Jesus.

When our faith gets to work, people around us get to see a glimpse of the grace of God in tangible ways. Jesus told us, "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven (Matthew 5.16)." I remember a few years ago when I was on a missions trip to Pottsville, Pennsylvania. We were a collection of different youth and adults from New Jersey churches who were gutting homes that were going to be renovated for low-income housing. We were having a great time... and then one day the local news showed up! With their cameras rolling, they asked students and leaders what they were doing and why they were doing it in their area. It became a great opportunity to share the love of Jesus in a tangible and verbal way in that community!

When our faith is being lived out in practical and tangible ways, some may be drawn to want to know Christ, some may be indifferent, and others may be outright hostile; but none of these things ought to hold us back from living it out. After all we live to serve our King who sacrificed all so that we might have life, and have it to the fullest. At the end of the day we want to hear Jesus say to us, "Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me...Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.''

May your faith move you to action today, as a grateful response to, and as a compelling result of the love of Christ at work in your life!

Grace & Peace, Matt

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