Monday, September 21, 2009

Running the Race

This past weekend we had 17 young people "over the floor" for a youth weekend in Maastricht. We are always so thankful when we can have the young people down to our city - and that God has put us in a position to help. From the beginning of our time here in Belgium we have been able to use our house to host these events. 

This weekend we talked about "Running the Race" - a great picture of our life in Christ - and touched on four points: 
1. We must participate (no standing on the sidelines)
2. We need to hold on to the end (and we have good examples)
3. We run according to the rules (which help us get where we are going)
4. We must give our best to win - give our best to Jesus who makes us winners!
It was a challenge working with a group with quite an age split: there were 7 who were just 11 years-old and another 7 who were all older than 15. But everyone helped one another - what a joy to see!

On Saturday we went to the "kazematten" in Maastricht - tunnels dug under the city (these ones during the reign of Louis 14th) to defend the city. This was also where D'Artagnan (the 4th musketier) died in battle (defending the - at that time - French city). The beautiful weather held throughout the day, so that the kids could help with making dinner back at the house. They prepared a fruit salad and some vegetables for the hot dogs and "frieten". 

- Our group for the weekend (picture from Tim Bos) - 

It is exciting to see how longing these young people are for what God has to offer. We had three "visitors" the whole weekend as well, friends of our young people who came along to the weekend. God offers us so much, ever day. There are so many reasons for not participating or stopping, but it is good to know that we can run the race and reach the finish line, with His strength. We ar enot too small (Zacheus), we are not too sinful (Paul). We can be His - if we wish. The invitation is there, but will we accept and participate? 
(you can go here for more pictures of the weekend.)

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Dig a little deeper

This whole year we as a congregation in Maastricht have been looking at how we are being made into a new creation (2 Cor. 5:17). As we have talked about trusting in God, discovering His will and putting that into practice in our lives with the help and strength of the Holy Spirit, we have also come up against plenty of questions. We all come from some kind of background. And here in Maastricht we are quite a mixture (cultures, countries and religious backgrounds). So it has been exciting to see the desire to get together more often and start digging together. 

Of course we want to read the Bible. We know that God is speaking to us through His word. But we want more. We want to understand. We want to understand as much as He wants to make clear to us. So we are taking time every other week to come with our questions, learning to use a concordance and look at passages with contextual questions, digging and letting God's word make its way into our hearts and minds. It's great to see us all getting dirt under our fingernails together, helping one another to know God better in this way, too.