It was good to be back at Wednesday Night Worship this week after having a 2 week hiatus for Christmas. It was good also in the fact that it had been since before Thanksgiving since we had a regular WNW and I was glad to be able to lead worship and preach. We began the night with a worship set that included: The King is Coming (Newsboys), Salvation is Here (Hillsong United), Sovereign Over Us (Aaron Keyes), Always (Kristian Stanfill), and God is Able (Hillsong). It was the first time we had done God is Able and I think it went over really well.
My message for this night was really a challenge for us to begin the year with. I intended to begin the message with some discussion focusing on 2012. I asked them what goals they set for 2012, but it turned out they didn't really set any. It was kind of the joke of the night about being the "dreamless" group. I then asked everyone to close their eyes for a minute and think about who they are today, and who they were this time a year ago. Did you grow any in your relationship with God? Are you the same person? Did you maybe even digress in your relationship with God? We then talked a bit about 2013 and asked them what were some things they hope to accomplish this year. Some shared about running a 5k or half marathon. Some have the plans of graduating this year. Whatever your goals are for the year, and you should have goals, you must have a plan in order to accomplish them. Another question to consider is whether or not your goals include Jesus at all. Do your goals have any part in growing closer to Jesus?
So we looked at the rest of the night about our relationship with Jesus and where it stands, if it is growing or not, and what we are doing in order to grow. We looked at Jeremiah 29:13 which says "You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart." It says that you will find God when? When you search for Him with all your heart. There lies the issue most of the time. We do not search for God with all our heart. It is not like we are searching for something that is lost. Instead it means that we must wholeheartedly put forth an effort in our relationship with Him. It is not that this effort will save us or make Him love us more, but we in turn love Him more and want to serve Him more. Sadly we do not make this effort in our walk with Christ. It is similar to this. For years I have told my wife that she needs to drink more water. She simply does not drink much and used to say "it does not really matter." I told her that eventually it would effect her health and it did. Several years ago she got a kidney stone and the doctor told her that it was because she does not drink enough. But here is the funny thing. She will go about her normal low amount of water lifestyle and then eventually you hear it. You can hear her downing a 1/4 of a bottle of water without stopping. It is simply crazy. But that is how we treat out relationship with Jesus. We do things our way until we really want to experience Him and so we go to church, camp, Disciple Now, etc. and gorge for a moment. At this point in the message I opened a bottle of water and drank it all without stopping to make my point. We feast on Jesus for a bit, then go our own way and famine for a while until we need our next "fix". This has to stop. We have to seek God with all our heart. We must have that daily quiet time with Him, allowing Him to shape us, mold us, grow us, and even convict us.
We closed the night quietly in prayer asking the question "Am I giving God my best effort?" I encourage you to ask yourself the same question. I challenged the students to make this effort because it is so worth it. I told them that they need to take a stand for Jesus like never before. I need some of them to take a stand as leaders in this youth ministry and in their schools. It is God's desire for that. I am excited because I believe God is at work in our students and can not wait to see what He is going to do this year.