A Word of Encouragement to the Youth Fellowship
(This sharing was sent by sms as fraternal greeting to the YF for their 31st Anniversary last Saturday on 27/2/2016. As time did not allow the whole message to be read in total, it is now reprinted here to encourage our youths.)
From Bro. Aaron Tan
Greetings and congratulations for accomplishing another year in the Lord. I would like to share from the Paul’s letter to the Colossians in Colossians 1:9-14, focusing on v10-12:
That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God;
Strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness;
Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light:
These verses speak about a life that pleases God, so I would like you to consider from the context of ‘a YF that pleases God’. If you ask yourselves how that can be achieved, you perhaps know the ‘textbook answers’ such as organise more bible studies, go out to give tracts, pray for one another and so on. Perhaps we should consider the marks of a God-Pleasing YF.
Firstly, a God-pleasing YF Bears Fruit
How do you know the YF is doing a good job? The leaders can define the standard but remember to measure it according to God’s barometer. Do not chase quantity, rather chase quality. How are you encouraging one another to live a holy sanctified life, and challenging one another to serve in the church? Are your lives changed from the weekly YF meetings? The bible says in John 15:5: I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. To truly bear fruit as a YF, you need to draw the nutrients from the correct source. Let God be the centre of everything you do in YF.
Secondly, a God-pleasing YF Yearns to Know God Better
Growing in the knowledge of God is not the same as growing in knowledge ABOUT God. Have you ever wondered why YF Bible Study becomes a drag after a while? This is because we can spend all our time mastering information about God and yet not have a relationship WITH God. Unless you wholeheartedly seek God, no amount of intellectual knowledge can satisfy you. It is good to encourage one another to start from simple faith and cultivate a love for God and His people. When this is taken care of, the quest for more knowledge will come naturally, instead of grudgingly.
Thirdly, a God-pleasing YF endures all things.
This is especially for the leaders. Throughout the year, you could have felt discouraged when you organise a meeting and so few turn up. You could have had differences in opinions that frustrated you. You may think that after all, YF is like an extra ‘CCA’ that takes up your time from studies and the things you enjoy, so why bother? You give up in despair. But who’s talking here? God or Satan?
God teaches us patience through all these. His message is always: “Hang in there, I am not finished with the YF yet. Nor am I done with you.” Therefore in hard times, learn to take a step back and trust God to reveal what lessons He has for you. Seek encouragement from one another and talk to your seniors who have been in your shoes before.
Last but not least, a God-pleasing YF thanks God for everything.
We do not deserve the inheritance that God has reserved for us. Likewise, we cannot take for granted the daily blessings from the Lord. The fact that YF still stands today is only by the grace of God. Leaders should not get puffed up, and members grow complacent with successes. In failures and trials, also thank Him. This anniversary event is an example of thanksgiving, but let that not be the only time you thank God.
I am always very happy for you when you celebrate your anniversary, because I have been in your shoes before. During my time, it was not easy to sustain the group, and now it is even more difficult with the many things that lure our young people away. By that I don’t mean our young people should be hermits. We are told to be ‘in the world, but not of the world’. We are not to love the things of the world. So difficult nowadays isn’t it? So may I encourage you youth to do it collectively as a YF. As the saying goes: There is strength in numbers. Continually challenge yourselves to bond, grow and serve together. Do not leave anyone behind, and invite others to join you so they can also experience the grace and blessings of God. Blessed anniversary!