Sunday night, I attended one of the best youth-lead church services I have been to in a long time. These young adults and teens gave it their all in honoring God and His amazing power upon their lives. After several inspiring and moving testimonies, spirit-filled songs, and earnest prayers, several of the fifty-five plus group did something that I have never seen before in all of my years attending church. While the song, “Amazing Grace,” (newer version) played over the church’s sound system, these young people walked out onto the pulpit area holding signs high above their heads. One by one, each young adult/teen took center stage holding up their sign. On one side, they had listed, in large “sharpie” letters, the sin(s) they had struggled with the most. Without saying a word, as the music softly played, they held up their sign. Then, each one flipped over their sign displaying Scriptures and accolades of victories over their sins, including turning from unbelief to belief. One young man in his early twenties had written on one side of his sign, “Pornography and telling lies;” another listed, “Bitterness at my parents because of divorce;” another, “I attempted suicide;” another, “Unforgiveness and back-biting,” and another, “I was an atheist.” It was incredibly powerful and transforming. After showing the side of their sign announcing their sin(s) and personal struggles, each flipped over their sign announcing that the Blood of Jesus Christ had moved in and moved out the Sin(s)!! They were now experiencing VICTORY!!
At the powerful end of their testimonial walk, the congregation stood to its feet with rousing applauds. What courage, boldness, and faith these young adults displayed! There wasn’t a dry-eye in the place. But, even more moving was when the young man who brought the message gave an altar call and the altar areas immediately filled up with teens, youth, young adults, and even older adults. All in one accord…All upholding one another in a shared faith in Jesus Christ. The church of tomorrow… interchanging with the church of today. A right- of- passage…a passing of the torch…a generation handing off to the next generation the fundamental truths, hopes, dreams, desires, and responsibilities of the future Church.
I’m grateful to announce that if last night is any indication of our church’s future…The Church is very much Alive and still doing quite well! Yes; it remains making a difference in the lives of today’s families…I feel the local assembly is still the greatest single resource given to mankind…fellowship with God through His Son, Christ Jesus, and sweet fellowship one with another.
Standing with the youth participating in the program were two very special and important young men; my two grandsons, ages twelve and fourteen. As I watched my grandsons sing the songs of Zion, participate in the program, and the altar call, my heart was filled with Joy and Gratefulness. I couldn’t help but Praise God for his everlasting love and mercies; especially upon our family. See, my two great-grandfathers (on my mother’s side and father’s side) were both preachers. My great-grandfather Brown pastored the same First Baptist Church in Alabama for over twenty-seven years. My grandfather Wadsworth pastored in both Alabama and Rome, Georgia. My great-grandfather Trotter on my father’s side was a Methodist minister. And, me…Well, my husband of thirty-seven years just retired from the ministry after 30 years of service as a Baptist preacher and pastor. We are even blessed to have our youngest daughter’s husband now the pastor of his first church. And, our oldest daughter’s husband is a lay preacher and is one of the directors for the AWANA program at their church. Truthfully, I have to pinch myself sometimes due to all of the many blessings from a real, Holy, truthful, loving, and merciful God.
Now, please don’t get me wrong…no one in my family…prior generations, present generations, or future generations will go to Heaven on anyone’s skirt-tail! No; each one will have to come to the cross-roads of choosing whether to accept God’s full offer of Salvation through forgiveness and restoration by the Blood of Jesus Christ, or reject it and remain in a loss condition for all eternity. Even though my grandfathers may have been ministers, I still had to choose, for myself, to either accept or deny God’s Love…. I chose to “Accept.”
As I read each participant’s sign, I could not help but to wonder what I would write on my sign…”Lack of Faith at Times;” “Difficult to sometimes forgive those who have hurt me down through the years;” “Impatient with God…wanting things “fixed” in a hurry.” I fear my sign would quickly turn into a large billboard! But, just as these young people had listed the Scriptures that helped to bring them out of darkness and into the Light; Joyfully, I can do the same…
“Faith is the Substance of Things Hoped For and the Evidence of Things Not Yet Seen;” (Hebrews 11:1)
“Rest in the LORD, and WAIT patiently for Him (Psalms 37:7)
“And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.” (Matthew 6:12).
God has a remedy for every sin and struggle we could possibly write on our “sign.” Even though we, thankfully, do not have to publicly display a sign listing our struggles and sins, as these courageous young people chose to do in this particular program, we can make our own list and take it to God in our very own private… “closet of prayer.” For in doing so, we, too, can find the strength and power to overcome our weaknesses.
Today, you might need to make up your own private sign of weaknesses and sins to discuss with God alone. After all, the Bible instructs us to “examine” ourselves. “Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves…”(II Corinthians 13:5)
Today, all over the world, children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and great-great grandchildren continue to follow the paths of their Forefathers in Faith….a sustaining faith that will guide us to our eternal destiny in Heaven.
So, today…Here’s Your Sign:
“If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. IF we confess our sins, He (Christ Jesus) is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (I John 1: 9-10)
And, Here’s Your Sign for the Whole Wide Word to Read:
FOR GOD SO LOVED THE WORLD THAT HE GAVE HIS ONLY BEGOTTEN SON THAT WHOSOEVER BELIEVETH IN HIM SHALL NOT PERISH…FOR GOD SENT HIS SON NOT INTO THE WORLD TO CONDEMN THE WORLD BUT THAT THE WORLD MIGHT BE SAVED. (John 3: 16,17).
Remember, God Loves You!
Lin T. Rollins, Author