Youth Sunday (Epiphany 3A) – January 26, 2020

And Jesus said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fish for people.” Matthew 4:19

Worship was the topic of the January Confirmation retreat.  After learning about worship, our Confirmation students designed the worship for Youth Sunday. Together they pondered the Gospel for Matthew about Jesus calling Peter and Andrew, James and John, to be his disciples. Today they lead the worship they planned with our Ninth graders serving as the preachers.

Good morning, my name is Andrew Blackledge.

In 7th grade, my first year in middle school, baseball was my only interest.  School was never hard at this stage, so for me baseball was even above school.  I worked and worked just to make the 7th grade baseball team and I knew I was at a disadvantage because of my height but that didn’t keep me from trying.  Finally, tryout day came and I played the best ball I had ever played.

This process took two days and I felt very confident about my chances, even going up against these bigger players.  When it came time to announce the results, I became anxious which was natural, but I just didn’t know what to expect.  When my name was called, I slowly walked to the desk where the coach was sitting.  Then the unexpected news came, I didn’t get a spot on the team.  There can only be 18 players and I was their 19th choice.  But I wasn’t about to give up! I worked all spring, played summer ball, work during the winter, and finally, when 8th grade tryouts came around I was back with a “New Mindset”.

I went into the hitting position feeling relaxed.  I think it was probably the best hitting practice I ever took.  Then came the infield portion.  Out of the 20 ground balls, I had bobbled, I still managed to throw the ball to 1st before the timer expired.  I learned I made the 8th grade team as the 11th overall player, I realized that I wasn’t just myself who made the team but it was also God.  He had a plan for me, and is was just up to me to carry it out!

God helped me see that there will be rejection in life, but with his help, we can rise from our failures into the future.

Good morning, my name is Evan DesMarais.

I didn’t truly start believing in Jesus and God until I got to summer camp 5 years ago.  I didn’t find it enjoying to learn about Jesus of enriching me with knowledge.  It felt like it was forced upon me to go and learn about this man every Sunday.  Then I was introduced to this Christian camp by a close friend.

When I first arrived at this sleepover camp it felt like any other.  Even after the first day it had not made an impact on me.  Then it changed when we were all introduced to a missionary that would stay with us for the rest of the week.

The camp was filled with great things to do and good food.  But every night before bed all 100 of the boys listened to this man’s story and how the man’s life was at the lowest point it could be.  But then he gave up everything just to follow Jesus.  And over the next few years of his life he was introduced to opportunities he would have never had without Jesus at his side.  That is when I decided to give into Jesus and let him have me as one of his followers.

Good Morning, my name is Luke Olsen.

Last year I volunteered to be Jesus for the reading of the Gospel on Palm Sunday.  I wanted a big part and that was Jesus.  Then I found out how BIG that part was.  I was nervous so I asked for help from my speech therapist.   She worked with me so I would be clear and loud.  Mr. Kramer helped me too.

Being Jesus was a responsibility.  I learned a lot about Jesus and how he helped others, how he loved his disciples even when things were bad, and how he died on the cross for US.

I follow Jesus by caring for animals especially my cats, helping to pick up trash, being a Boy Scout, “Healthy Kids Running”, and being an acolyte here at St. John’s.  Lighting the candles reminds me that Jesus is the light of the world and Gives Me Joy.

Good Morning, my name is Jason O’Neill.

We go to Church.  We read the Bible. We repent, and ask God to forgive our sins.  We put our trust into this larger than life being or Spirit.  A question I have had and maybe some of you had is, how do I know he is real or when will he finally answer our countless prayers.

Not long ago my life-long friend had a sister who got sick.  She was diagnosed with leukemia at seven years old.  Once I heard that, I instantly started to pray. Every chance I had, every sleepless night, I was thinking about her.  Not even a year later, she passed away.  This was life-altering to everyone that knew her.

The day she passed away, I immediately, started to question my faith in any “higher” being.  For a long time, I questioned this, but never showed it.  But like any other hero story, Jesus came around.  In 8th grade, I fell into a mindset of defiance and bad decision making.  I vaped and I drank.  I got in tremendous amounts of trouble, lost countless people’s trust, but no one left me.  The one’s I loved, my extended family, and all of my friends still had my back and helped to direct me back in the right direction.  Ever since, I have never and will not question my faith or Jesus ever again.

Good morning, my name is Nate Stewart.

Over my time here through confirmation class and experience at St John’s I’ve learned to love and respect Jesus.  It sounds simple to start believing in something that you have never seen.  But it is very difficult.  There have been many times where I have questioned Jesus and if he is really here to help me.  During my time with my old soccer team, I worked my tail off and did everything I could to get on the field.  But I felt my work going unnoticed as players how didn’t care as much as I did, and continued to “Win” the job.  This went on for 3 long years until I came to the realization that I am a good player and just because a few coaches don’t think so doesn’t mean I am something less.  I was unsure as to why I felt this new wave of self-confidence.  I realized it was Jesus.  He was allowing me to complete my dreams even when I was being doubted by many.  Jesus gave me faith in myself to keep pushing and I was rewarded.

This is why I’m going to continue to follow Jesus and tell others to follow Jesus.  Often, I and many people question Jesus’s existence because they begin to have “Bad Luck” but I will always follow Jesus through thick and thin because of the opportunities he has given me. Amen.

St John’s Lutheran Church Phoenixville