I have been reading the book of Esther this week, and this verse stood out to me: “ …according to this edict: ‘there is no compulsion.’ For the king had given orders to all the staff of his palace to do as each man desired.” (Esther 1:8)
I think that this is the the most important verse within the book because it sets the tone for the rest of the story that unfolds. To me that edict that was put out by the empire may sound great, but is actually absolutely terrifying. To leave anybody to what they desire with no compulsion can be devastatingly evil. Especially combining with power, with let’s say, a king over an empire, or someone with an ear to the king, like Haman within the book of Esther.
This actually flips, as Esther turns the tide with her connection to the king. This reminds us that we live in God’s world whether we like it or not. There is compulsion, but to a loving and righteous king. We do not live in an empty or purposeless universe, but one of order and designed by God’s pleasure.
Our culture today advocates the purposeless and random, but as it has been discussed in our study of Daniel this Fall–Heaven rules. Hopefully, as we are redeemed by God’s love, we make up our minds as Daniel did, in choosing to submit to God’s will, His Order, His Sovereign universe.
We hope that for ourselves but also for our youth, as Daniel was at a pivotal age in his youth, when he made up his mind. It is a desire for us to foster that within our children, and that’s why ministry to youth is so important. We want to raise a generation who loves God and His world.
Some Youth Notes:
A giant praise for everybody who continues to come and serve on Wednesday nights for Seedling, JAM, and Overflow. Lots of kids coming through our doors (consistently between 80-100 total within all the groups), as they encounter Jesus, and hopefully begin walking a transformed life with Him. We could always use people who are interested to help foster and develop growth within our youth.
Seedling Christmas Party on Wednesday December 4th from 6:00-7:30 PM. Pizza, the Grinch, Christmas Boxes, and games! More info talk to either myself or Lindsey Engemann.
JAM/Overflow regular meeting on Wednesday December 11th from 6:00-8:00 PM.
Overflow Christmas Party on Friday December 20 5:00-10:00 PM. Caroling, Christmas Cookies, White Elephant, Elf, and a lot of other awesomeness! For more info talk with either myself, the Gauses, or Shoemakers.
Our JAMers are preparing for Winter Blast upcoming on February 21-23. They will be continuing to fundraise for the next couple of months. Connect with either Darrel and Leesa Boyer or Matt and Katie Heaney to discuss ways that you can help many of these kids experience a great weekend where their faith can be challenged and encouraged.
Ignite Groups have been starting up. These are our small groups for our different youth ministries. Becky Aldrich and Pastor Tom have started groups for our JAM aged girls and boys respectively. Should have groups starting within the high school as well soon. These are groups dedicated to discipleship for our youth. Opportunities to grow and further their relationship with the Lord, and a bond with their peers as well in the Lord. Times of informal fun, but also growth in basic doctrine, and bible knowledge, and strategic life application. If interested in having your child in a group, or would like to help in someway, please contact me.
Also, parents don’t forget that within the Engage worship journals there are pages that not only invite kids to be “engaged” within the worship service on Sunday mornings but also help facilitate discussion as a family and worship throughout the week. For more info talk to Allison Roth.