Isaiah 52:7 – How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, “Your God reigns!”
The 2016 WELS International Youth Rally has been an amazing experience. We have experienced incredibly fun activities, amazing worship, engaging keynote presentations, powerful spiritual workshops, wonderful entertainment, and good Christian fellowship. Through all the activities, the theme was very clear. No matter what happens in our lives, Our God Reigns. He is ruling over all for the good of his people. He has proclaimed his love through the cross of Christ and this message will bring many to eternal salvation.
It is hard for me to fully give you the picture of what goes on at a Youth Rally if you have not experienced it for yourself. And yet, I will attempt to show you how all these events helped our teens and our leaders to focus on the fact that God rules over all. First, I was among the group that went whitewater rafting when we arrived in Fort Collins, CO on Tuesday morning. It was a fantastic experience. The teens that were nervous beforehand had a great time and want to do it again. We went over rocks and got soaked several times. We saw someone fall out of another boat and then get pulled back in. Through all that fun, God was there to protect us. Even if someone had been hurt, God would still help us and use those events for our good. The teens had an amazing time and God reigns!
At the rally we were blessed with great opening worship and powerful speakers who encouraged us in our life of faith. I could give many examples but have to limit it to just a few. Some from our group went to presentations that encouraged them to give glory to God in whatever they pursue in life. Some from our group went to a presentation about Superheroes and applications to the Christian life. Naturally I attended that one. I will spare you a 20 page dissertation on that topic but will give one illustration. Think of the hero Superman. He is incredibly powerful and he saves human beings from death and destruction. But God is much more powerful. God is all-powerful. And God saves us from much more than earthly peril. God saves us from death and damnation. He saves us eternally. Our God Reigns!
On Thursday I attended fantastic presentations on topics related to the 6th Commandment. I attended a workshop about how to speak lovingly to someone from the LGBT community. We live in a world where many people struggle with these issues. It is important that we share Christ with them. Whether they believe it or not, God is still in charge and they need to hear about him. I also attended a presentation on helping people overcome pornography. This is extremely important since so many people are tempted with lust. Both of these presentations were edifying and encouraging but there was another presentation on Thursday which really helped to drive home the theme: Our God Reigns!
I can’t go into great detail because it is talking about a mission field. In that mission field, the Christians are actively being persecuted. Churches are burned. Christian men, women, and children are ostracized or killed because of their beliefs. In spite of that, the Church is growing. The word of God is being proclaimed. People are coming to faith in Jesus. I am giving you the bare minimum. The Christians who talked to us presented for an hour and a half. If was incredible to hear their testimony. Even though Satan is actively working to try to stop the gospel of Jesus Christ, the message of salvation is still being proclaimed and God’s Kingdom is growing! Our God surely Reigns!
We have a good and gracious God. In spite of our sinfulness, he has redeemed us. He bought us back through the blood of Christ. We are forgiven. We have eternal life. Through Christ, we can make good God-pleasing decisions. Through Christ, we can improve our relationships. Through Christ, we can make use of the opportunities he gives us to share his love with others. I hope that all our teens who attended have been built up in their faith. No matter what they do with the rest of their lives, they have a God who has saved them and given them a purpose. They can glorify God with their lives. They can praise the God who reigns over all.