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The Fountain of Youth

“A willing people in Thy day of power shall come to Thee,
Thy youth arrayed in holiness like morning dew shall be.”
Psalm 110, from The Book of Psalms for Singing

Over 150 students from at least twenty colleges and young professionals packed themselves into the facilities of the Sangralea Valley Camp January 18-21st for the annual Covenanter Young Adults (CYA) Winter Conference directed by pastors Dave Long and Jared Olivetti. Though the outside temperatures were near-zero with biting, frigid winds, indoors the warmth of God’s Spirit overcame it all.

We enjoyed rich teachings from Pastor David Hanson as he spoke four times from the book of Job on the theme Triumph through Tragedy. His insights brought clarity to the structure of the book and discourses between Job and his friends, drew out helpful distinctions in the subtle yet profound nature of Job’s complaints, and left us with the proper sense of awe over the Lord’s absolute yet caring rule over His people as He responded to Job. David did a tremendous “job on Job.”

Many other highlights could be noted. Touching testimonies of suffering and loss in our main meetings were given that made the subject more real (and tears flow). Workshops on a variety of topics from spiritual gifts to “Weird Worship?” touched on topics of interest to the young people. Feeding so many was handled superbly by Michelle Baumgardner, Heidi Larson & Co. at the camp, and at Sycamore RPC following worship by the ladies of our congregation. A “Stump the Pastors” session Sunday afternoon, where six pastors fielded questions from the conferees ranging from topics as diverse as birth control to video games, brought forth some solid answers, honest admissions, and good laughs.

Yet I want to point out the highlight for me (and I am sure the other pastors). It was the heart of the youth. An earnestness and passion for God and His truth were clearly evident.

  • They sang and sang throughout the weekend, not just when they were “supposed” to sing but asking to sing more psalms after we were done and spontaneously starting to sing on their own if a session started late. They expressed again and again their love for God’s word sung.
  • When asked in our congregation’s “Family Worship” following the Fellowship Lunch time to describe what the Lord is doing in the church in their region, one young person after another eagerly stood up to explain Christ’s work. From old works to new, from local congregations to foreign missions, these young people know what is going on in the church and have a heart to see it strengthened and multiplying.
  • One fervent prayer followed on the heels of another during a time of prayer Sunday evening as they sought God’s blessing on the church. Presiding over the meeting, I almost felt I had to break in to end it so we could proceed. Maybe I should not have!
  • During a time of sharing, there was nothing forced but insightful, excited expressions of lessons and new life the Lord had given to them.
  • In informal times, they enjoyed one another while exhibiting godliness, sought counsel and asked questions pertaining to godliness, and served one another in godliness. That can mean only one thing. God was there!

Yes, as Psalm 110 indicates above a fountain of youth has been discovered. It is in the church, where the living waters of Christ’s Spirit are poured out on young people who serve Him gladly and willingly. How thankful I am that I was able to drink from it this weekend.

3 Comments Post a comment
  1. Hey Barry:So glad to hear of the ministry of the College Conference. As a previous recipient of those blessings now “afield,” I miss those precious times together. However, Psalm 127 teaches that arrows are designed to be SENT, and arrows squatting on the bow are useless…and God is blessing where we are. Pray that by his grace and power we may see Christ’s Gospel lifted high in upstate New York.Brad Johnston

    January 22, 2008
  2. Pastor York,I thought it would be really cool if you could post some of the questions that didn’t get asked during the stump the pastors and open up a little discussion about them.Thanks for letting us all come over to Kokomo for worship! That must have been a lot of work.

    January 23, 2008
  3. Josh,Having you all was a blessing to our congregation.As tempted as I am to put up some of the other questions, I will politely decline (besides, sorry but I threw them away!). The “Stump the Pastors” time is akin to “the elders sitting in the gates” and is meant to provide some collective wisdom for everyone. Putting questions up here could easily result in the endless debates so common on the web that I try to shy away from.But you can come back next year or feel free to contact any of us to ask a specific question you might have!

    January 28, 2008

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