Protestant Reformed Young People’s Convention 2018

As summer starts to draw towards a close, many of us young people look forward to the convention that is going to take place. This is an exciting time for us all, and we must see the beauty in this event. The convention is such a blessing as it draws together hundreds of like-minded individuals of one faith.

With that in mind let us consider the beauty of the unity we share, and our duty to God as young believers.

In this convention, we see the unity of the church. Hundreds of young people can gather together in harmony, despite sometimes having never met one another before. It is as the church after the outpouring of the Spirit, “And all that believed were together, and had all things common;” (Acts 2:44). As the verse states, we are gathered because we believe together. We gather together and sing praises to God, learn about God’s word under the speeches, and learn about one another through discussion groups. Through these events we share all things in common. Through talking and getting to know one another, we share who we are and how as separate individuals we all fit and have our place in the body of the church (1 Cor 12:12).

In connection to the unity of the church we should strive to make acquaintances with others. I encourage everyone to meet new people at this convention even if you feel you already have plenty of good friends. Making new acquaintances at convention is a great way to experience the blessings of the church universal, and perhaps you are the friend that God plans to provide for someone without many friends or someone going through a trial.

During this convention, when we gather together as the body of the church, we must keep in mind our duty towards God. We must remember it is more than a young people’s convention, but that it is the Protestant Reformed young people’s convention. As children of God alike, together we must be diligent in fulfilling our created purpose. This purpose which we have already talked about (Adultery is Near! 1) always finds its way to come before us again. This responsibility comes to us on a personal level, and it comes as the duty of the whole church body. As we gather together may all our actions, words, and thoughts to and with one another bring honor and glory to God’s name for that is our calling.  Let us treat one another well and “be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another;” (Rom. 12. 10-11) and most importantly may we together, “give unto the LORD the glory due unto his name,” “in the midst of the congregation prais[ing] [him],” (1 Chr. 16.29; Ps. 22:22).

Let us heed special attention to the third commandment which we find in Exodus 20:7, “Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain…” Often we make the application of this commandment to our speech, and indeed this is a good application, but I would like to go further. As Christians, we all bear God’s name. We are children of God, or God’s people. However, you put it we are CHRISTians and we must represent and defend God amongst the world. Therefore, in all that we do, we must be good representatives of God. Even though the world may not be watching us as we gather together at convention, we must bear this in mind. It should not be the world’s eyes that motivate us to bear God’s name rightly, but it should be our love for God that makes us strive to honor Him.

May we all enjoy the convention. Thanks be to God for such a blessing and much gratitude to the many people who labored for such an event. I pray God grant traveling blessings to the many conventioneers and chaperones who come from all around for this wonderful gathering. I look forward to meeting many of you! By the power of the Holy Ghost working in us may we unite in one mind before God and praise Him with all our works.

Luke Christian Potjer

 

Modern Worship

I recently read on Facebook about a church that wants to put a McDonald’s franchise in their church. The reasoning behind this is so that more people will attend church before or after stopping at McDonald’s for lunch. Although this seems funny in a way, it is really a sad commentary about the times we live in. Many churches add coffee houses, basketball gyms and other gimmicks to their buildings to get young people and young adults in the door so that, in theory, they will join a particular church and attend it regularly. The reason this is occurring is because many churches today either have low membership or they are disbanding due to membership and financial concerns. Why are these churches facing serious membership issues that cause them to resort to these strategies? They use these methods because contemporary Christian music and the latest bands and informal atmosphere in these facilities doesn’t seem to bring in the numbers that they would like to see. We as Protestant Reformed Churches are concerned with numbers to. To a certain extent this is a healthy concern. We want our churches to grow and flourish. We want our mission fields to prosper to such an extent that they become organized churches. These are good, legitimate blessings of God that we may and must pray for. God calls us to “… pray for the peace of Jerusalem” (Psalm 122:6a).  The trouble is, however, that many churches are worshiping God as they see fit, not as His word commands us. They focus on emotions, feelings and experiences rather than on praising God in a joyful and respectful manner. “God is to be feared in the assembly of the saints, and to be had in reverence of all that are about Him” (Psalm 89:7). God takes these violations of His law very seriously. Take Nadab and Abihu for example. Leviticus 10:1 tells us that they “the sons of Aaron, took either of them his censer, and put fire therein, and put incense thereon, and offered strange fire before the Lord, which he commanded them not.” The result of this was that God became very angry “and there went fire from the Lord, and they devoured them, and they died before the Lord” (verse 2). The “strange fire” that they used for sacrifices came from a source that God had forbidden, although the Bible doesn’t tell us what it was.  Another example of this will worship came from David. Although a child of God, David didn’t always do things as God commanded him to, In II Samuel 6, he decided to transport the ark to Jerusalem on a cart, rather than let the priests carry it. All went well until the cart hit a rough spot in the road and the ark started to sway. Uzzah reached out his hand steady the ark, touched it and died. As a result, the ark was put in the house of Obed-edom and was returned to Jerusalem in a proper, reverently joyful way at a later date. From this we see that God commands us worship Him not just joyfully and with emotions running high, but with a reverence and respect for who He is  what he has done. The result of not having solid preaching in churches is that these congregations have to resort to basketball gyms and McDonald’s to attract members, efforts that don’t prove fruitful and merely delay financial trouble or disbanding for a while. When we have respect for God and His word, He will see to it that, even if we don’t prosper physically, we will prosper spiritually as we “..hunger and thirst after righteousness”(Matthew 5:6). May God grant this prosperity!
Kevin Rau