Many questions and many answers
Man has a thousand questions. Not all of them can be answered. But those who inquire of God and look for His response will not be disappointed or deceived, says the Chief Apostle. Following is an excerpt from an interactive question-and-answer divine service.
Young brothers and sisters from Spain and Portugal participated in the first ever Iberian Youth Convention from 15-17 September in Alicante. Several youth groups even travelled there from Angola, Argentina, and Uruguay. An old Bible text served as the inspiration for the divine service on Sunday: “But from there you will seek the Lord your God, and you will find Him if you seek Him with all your heart and with all your soul” (Deuteronomy 4: 29).
Moses had made this statement in the spirit of prophecy, explained the Chief Apostle. He was pointing to a time in which the people of Israel would be scattered among other nations, and when only a small group would remain. Chief Apostle Schneider applied this situation to the reality of life of the assembled young people: “Even if you are scattered and only comprise a small group: if you seek the Lord with all your heart and soul, you will find Him. You may be scattered and you may only constitute a small group in your congregations, but that is not the important thing! What matters is: in order to experience the Lord, you must seek Him with all your heart and with all your soul, wherever you are. If you do this, you will find and experience God.”
Naturally, the Chief Apostle also had a number of examples up his sleeve.
- Man is always seeking answers! He cannot understand everything, but would love an explanation.
“There are many ways to find an answer to a question,” emphasised the Chief Apostle, “science and research, for example. However, even these cannot provide the answer for everything.” There is also the wisdom and experience of others, but even here one will not find an answer for everything. “Let us seek the answers with God. We believe that God is omniscient. We believe that God always tells the truth. He will never lie to us.” His answers thus deserve the highest priority.
- Man is always in search of help! There are often moments when he finds himself in need.
People often seek help, for example, from their fellow human beings. “No human being can afford to live only for himself today. We are dependent on others, and are grateful for any help our peers can provide.” However, people are only people, and their power is limited, noted the Chief Apostle. They cannot solve all problems. “Let us seek help from God! After all, we believe that God is almighty. God can help in every situation.” May those who harbour this need in their souls heed this advice in particular!
- Man seeks success and happiness! For this he studies and works. This will not happen without effort.
But effort alone is no guarantee for success. Not all who work hard are successful. And success does not necessarily imply happiness. There are also successful people who are unhappy. “We seek the blessing of God. Blessing is more than success. Blessing is everything that makes our soul happy and content.” Those who pray, those who are obedient, and those who serve the congregation—they will receive the blessing of God, confirmed the Chief Apostle.
- Man seeks grace! He is imperfect and makes mistakes.
Often people also seek lame excuses, and attempt to blame others for their own mistakes. “Our hearts are to be filled with genuine remorse. Let us show God that we seek His grace with all our heart. Grace is important to us, and we are prepared to pay a price for it: we forgive our neighbour.” Those who seek the grace of God in such a manner will themselves find forgiveness and peace.
Another message for the youth
The Iberian Youth Convention was primarily geared toward the young congregation. It was to them in particular that Chief Apostle Jean-Luc Schneider addressed the striking words: “The statement that the youth are the future of the Church is more than an empty platitude. There is deep truth behind these words. Just as people treat one another today, they will also accept one another in this Church in the future as well. The way in which you serve the Lord and commit yourselves to the Church today sets the pace for the services that will be performed in the Church of the future. Naturally, your own personal development, the activity of the Holy Spirit, and your spiritual maturity will also play a role. It is for this reason that I ask the question: how would you like the Church to be in the future? You decide this today. Treat one another with love, forgive one another, and serve one another out of love for the Lord. Then it will become more and more pleasant in the Church!”