Over the weekend, more than 180 students in high schools around the Metro Jackson area came together united under one theme: Reset. They took to heart the essence of what reset means. The dictionary defines the word as ‘to set again or differently’, and that’s what this group of young people did. Their hearts were reset to change the world around them to claim Jesus Christ as the Savior. Before the weekend, several of the students were challenged to write devotionals for their peers to study while on the 3-day weekend. It’s amazing how Christ can communicate through young people. Here are a few:
One preacher described young people as “kindling” which helps set fire to “old logs”. It’s 2018! It is a new year. It is also a good time to reset. Not only reset you and the things around you, but reset your love and faith that you have or had for Christ. Maybe you feel like your passion for him is lost. Now is the perfect time to get on your knees and pray. Talk to Jesus to reconnect and reset your love for him to go strong into the new year. This is a very important weekend, not only to fellowship with others, but to reset your love for Jesus. Not just for this weekend, but until you leave this world.
2 Corinthians 5:17: “ Therefore, If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new”
Joel Norris, 11th grade
Reset your heart towards God’s faithfulness in the past and his promise of faithfulness in the future. A couple of days ago, I was worshiping with thousands of people in Atlanta at a conference called Passion. In the midst of the loud music and the overwhelming beauty of the kingdom of heaven being brought to earth, God literally put a banner in my head of a verse that talks about how God’s eternal goodness, beauty, and redemption will play out in our lives. Psalms 27:13 puts it like this, “I remain confident of this, I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.” I began thinking of how just a couple of days before, I had been driving through one of my favorites places when I wasn’t having the best day (woo, go Clinton, MS) and I was simply talking to Him and He was just being my friend because he is exceptionally good at that. It was really cold that day in Clinton, but I decided to park my car, let the cold air inside, and watch the sun go down. I think that God gave me that paradox, one scene where I was worshiping with every ounce of who I was, and another where I was clinging to Him for my source of joy and sustainability, because I think He wants for us to know that every single bit of it is holy ground. He wants us to know that as believers– we can live like we are citizens of a kingdom who are confident that everyday they are seeing the overwhelming goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. I am seeing the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living on a child’s face at City Church who has just been baptized but I am also seeing the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living when I am alone in my car crying, no one there but me and God. That is faithfulness. Faithfulness is not God orchestrating your life so that you never experience any hardship. Actually, I think faithfulness may look a lot more like hardship than we could even know. Since we know that God is good, all the time, and we understand that we were put on this earth to glorify Him– faithfulness becomes a lot easier to understand. Think of the most beautiful person you know, someone kind, compassionate, a good listener, and someone who embodies love. Then, think of what their life looks like. Most of the time, their life has had significant hardship but because of their joy and how they have glorified their Creator, they are just so beautiful. Abundant life does not come through a stream of positive circumstances, but a complete and total assurance that whatever God is doing, you are walking on a beautiful and redemptive holy ground that he purchased for you all of those years ago on the cross. God is faithful because it’s the very essence of who He is– he is constantly good, kind, loving, merciful, and just about every single good adjective we could think of. He is painting all of our lives into a living, breathing, screaming invitation to believe in better things– because He’s just that good.
-Jewels Faulkner Tauzin, 12th grade
Even if you don’t live in a neighborhood, you’re still in a community. If it’s a dance team, basketball team, youth group, or book club, everyone’s a part of a community. We are called by God to do great things in our community and to reach out to nonbelievers and make friendships with them. 1 Peter 3:8 says: “Finally, all of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble.” This tells us we need to reach out to everyone we can and show them the love God has given to us. If you have a friend, and call them a true friend, you talk to them very often. Sometimes we just “talk” about stuff that doesn’t even matter, like what new shoes we got, what new tv show just came on, or 8th grade girl drama🙄 Mostly, these aren’t bad things to talk about, but we should talk about more than these things. We should be talking about Jesus, the one who saved us from eternal death! When we begin to talk about Jesus to our community and friends, a bad day can turn into a good day, we can turn that frown upside down, and be joyful. Not only does the Gospel show you that God loves you but it shows that God believes in us! He will always stand behind us and encourage us when we need it. He will never leave us.
“A friend loves at all times.” Proverbs 17:17
“We love because he first loved us.”
1 John 4:19
– Emily McNemar (8th grade)
Sin. This isn’t the most fun or lighthearted topic to talk about. We tend to brush over it and focus on the good stuff such as grace and mercy. Phrases about his reckless love and forgiveness make for great song lyrics, but words outlining our natural wickedness don’t quite have the same ring to them. The problem with that, however, is that sin will not disappear by ignoring it long enough. We have to recognize sin. We have to own sin. This comes by recognizing that we can not escape it. We know this by scripture in Romans 3:23 that states “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” None of us, by our own actions, can attain righteousness on our own. Even those of us who think we are good, have to pause when we realize that something is only as “good” as what it is compared to, and comparing ourselves to a holy and perfect God leaves us very far from good. At this point, this is not a very positive message on sin. But the good news is, the story does not stop there. Because after we realize how desperately we need the Lord to rescue us from this sin, we can take a step towards resetting our hearts and surrendering to Him. And Scripture tells us in Ephesians 1:7 that “In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace”. With surrender, we can began to shed the shackles of shame and fear. We can begin to take a step towards the life that the Lord intended for us to live. And once we surrender, we can set our eyes towards what is coming. While at passion, I heard the statement, “the more you look forward to the next life, the less you need from this one.” These words awakened me to a great truth. We go about this life on earth searching for pleasures and fulfillment and fun. We “NEED” these things so that we can feel like we “fit in” or are “successful” or “respected.” Whatever it is you are searching for on this earth, however, is not going to fulfill you. Once you reset your heart to Him and surrender the sin you carry out as you attempt to find satisfaction in your worldly desires, the less you will need these things. There is a perfect life ahead of us. Death is not the end of the road, but merely a bend in the road leading us to life everlasting with our loving savior.(“See, I will create new heavens and a new earth. The former things will not be remembered, nor will they come to mind. Isaiah 65:17)
A love like this, however, deserves respect and obedience. Living the life of our desires, but going to church on Sunday and calling it a relationship is not what the Lord intended. He wants You, and all of you. So moving forward throughout this next year, reset your heart. Repent of the sins you have been counting on to bring “happiness.” Surrender to Him and His will for your life.
Come as you are, but don’t stay as you are.
Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
-Mary Seitz Young (12th grade)