PLUM Pastoral Message
LIVING IN LIGHT OF OUR BELIEF –
WE CAN ONLY CHANGE OUR COMMUNITY BY LIVING OUR FAITH.
“All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. God uses it to prepare and equip his people to do every good work.” 2 Timothy 3:16-17 (NLT)
Dear partners in ministry,
A few Sundays ago, at Immanuel Lutheran Church in Irwin, we led one of the most amazing worship services in my over 20 years of pastoral ministry. During that service, the church received 5 young people through baptism. This event was amazingly incredible because these young people came to Immanuel not through a traditional evangelistic means but through a community partnership relationship with a youth training organization that uses Immanuel’s building for its activities. Thank God for the awesome stewardship and leadership of the members at Immanuel, it was your willingness to share your facility with a neighbor you knew from nowhere that brought you these five amazing young people and their families. Your love for neighbor was the catalyst! Keep doing what you do for the Lord. I can foresee many more young people coming to Immanuel because of these 5 new members. Remember that your work of love and ministry of nurture with these young people has just begun. The way you will impact their faith by living and modeling your faith before them will determine how long, and how well they will remain in the life of your community. PLUM is proud of your ministry and stewardship.
It is time to start something immediately with these new members. Maybe we can begin with a ministry of nurture and love by starting a small group fellowship every Saturday – where we can share meals and discuss issues of faith, or a youth Bible study once a month – where we will study the Bible, watch movies, and share meals…. When you keep young people engaged positively or ‘enjoyably’ they will tell their friends and soon you will have no space to host the many friends they will invite. Thank God for our noisy-offering, we can use it to make this happen.
Bible study is a great way to start a ministry of nurture and love with youths. The truth of the Bible is the greatest foundation for setting young people on the path of greatness and success in life, and that’s where I believe the church is called to lead.
A preacher was once was asked which translation of the Bible was the best. His answer was quite fascinating. He fathomed that the best translation of the Bible is when it is translated in the way we live. In other words, our daily lives as believers must be influenced or transformed by our belief. That’s what Bible study is all about. In fact, that’s what our life of faith is meant to be. If you’re not translating God’s Word into your daily life, you’re not studying the Bible the way God intended or you are not being Christian as you ought to be.
God gave us the Bible to transform us, not simply to inform us. It should give us a bigger heart, not a bigger head. In the book of James, we’re told, “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says” (James 1:22 NIV).
In other words, God wants your beliefs turned into behavior.
God makes his purpose for the Bible even more explicit in 2 Timothy 3:16-17: “All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. God uses it to prepare and equip his people to do every good work” (NLT).
The purpose of the Bible is more than just showing us what is wrong in our lives or how we should live. God gave us his Word to radically transform our lives. When we set young people on the path of biblical knowledge, we set them up on a footing that will change the world and sustain the life of the church.
The Bible describes itself in different ways. For example, it calls itself a hammer, a sword, and a scalpel. All of those are tools designed to make radical changes. God intends for the Bible to dramatically change our lives. Equipping young people with its teachings sets them up for divine encounters. It is a firm and better foundation for nurturing children, especially new members in the faith.
The Bible also describes God’s truth as milk, water, bread, and meat. What do all those things have in common? If you don’t eat or drink regularly, then you’ll die. In the same way, we were never meant to live without the Bible. The Bible is essential to our lives because it gives us life. A youth Bible study with meals around the table can be a great way to enrich our young people in the church.
We call the Bible “God’s Word,” but the Bible also talks about Jesus as the Word of God. John 1:14 says, “So the Word became human and made his home among us. He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness. And we have seen his glory, the glory of the Father’s one and only Son” (NLT). God gave you the Living Word, Jesus, to be the Author and Finisher of your faith. And he gave you the written Word, the Bible, to prepare you to live out your faith.
The Bible can transform our lives today – but we must open it up and start reading, learning, and teaching it! It can impact and model the lives of young people but we must teach it to them.
Pastor Alex on behalf of the PLUM Pastoral Team
Pittsburgh Lutheran United Ministries (PLUM), 405 Kennedy Avenue, Duquesne, PA 15110 412-466-7773