This month the middle school youth had an amazing opportunity to go to the Iowa District West Junior Youth Gathering. This was held at the Sheraton in West Des Moines. The kids had an amazing time and more importantly they learned more about The Holy Spirit. The theme for the gathering was Called + Gathered + Enlightened. It was a great theme, and we were blessed with some great speakers. This theme is inspired by the explanation of The Third Article of The Apostle Creed. It was so great that I want to share what they learned with all of you because it is a great reminder.
The learning was done in 3 breakout sessions and 3 mass events. In the first mass event we read 1 Samuel 16:7 which says “7 But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.”. You may have heard this verse before, but it is very important. God does not have the same focus as we do. God does not care about appearances; He only looks at the heart.
We also learned about how we are all called to be a part of something amazing. We read 1 Peter 2:9-10 which says “9 But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. 10 Once you were not a people, but now you are God's people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.” We are called to be gathered in a royal priesthood to spread God’s grace to all. We also learned that The Holy Spirit connects us to a Church because the Church connects us to our identity, gives purpose for our role in the world, and gives purpose to the gifts God has given to us.
The Holy Spirit is also our helper because we can’t believe on our own. We confess this when we say, “I cannot by my own reason or strength believe in Jesus Christ, my Lord, or come to him;” The Holy Spirit creates and sustains faith through the means of grace which are hearing the word, baptism, and communion. The Holy Spirit also guides us through life because we can’t do it on our own.
Overall, this gathering was amazing, and I hope it left a positive impact on all the youth who attended.
In Christ Alone