09 Jan N.E.T : A VISION MESSAGE FOR OUR YOUTHS
Read <John 21:5-6>
He (Jesus) called out to them, “Friends, haven’t you any fish?”
“No,” they answered.
He said, “Throw your net on the right side of the boat and you will find some.” When they did, they were unable to haul the net in because of the large number of fish.
We have to think through what this means for our generation (young people, namely: teenagers and secondary students).
Now, the world is becoming a very fun and delusive place with social medias, new experiences, friendships of all kinds (sometimes no boundaries, e.g. opposite gender hugging each other for photo-taking on instagram).
It is very different from our time. People are more lonely, yet they are more busy (like having the fear of missing out i.e. the famed term FOMO). Friendships are more superficial, and evangelism is getting more difficult, As we can see, we may not have been bringing people to Christ or Church. It seems hard. And most important of all, the idea of God is getting more and more abstract. It is going to be an even greater challenge for us who grow up in church.
Now, with all these culture building up around us, we need to ask ourselves what is our purpose here, born in this 21st Century. Everything that we see and feel now is going to be over soon. New trends and ideas are going to sweep the world again and again. Even our friendship with each other will be unsustainable.
BUT the Bible says:
The one who does the Lord’s will shall live forever. <1 Jn 2:17>
So let’s think through what is the Lord’s will.
Read the above verse again.
This is an incident when Jesus came to find the disciples after he resurrect. And this is the 3rd time he is seeing them after his resurrection. They were fishing yet caught nothing for a long time. Catching nothing means having no experience, no satisfaction for a long time. And fish also represents souls. To many of us, especially those that have been in church for a very long time, we seem to be very much lacking in experience of God, and also bringing people to Christ. We seems to “catch nothing” after many years in church.
But here it is, “put your net on the other side”, the side that u have never tried before, or venture before, and you will be amazed there are so many fishes, so many kinds of Christian experiences that we did not expect, or even so, many friends that we did not reach out to who are actually willing to know more about our God.
So with this very first NET message, we are going to set a vision for all of us secondary students.
We use the acronym: NET.
This represent 3 things that we must pray about.
The Meaning Of NET
N (Nature) – No one can change our nature (not even our parents), except for God. And the most important nature to change is our “born again” life. Unless this new nature arises in us, nothing is possible. The problem with our behavior, attitudes are not from different roots, but simply because our nature is not changed. So do not be contented with just coming to church, or having a knowledge about God, but ask: Are u born again, given a new nature in Christ? Where u begin to have new desire, new interest, new aspiration and new yearning for God, His word, His people?
E (Experience) – We need more experiences in the Lord, not just meeting each other, feeling happy hanging out together. The Lord does lead us to new things, new way of living, new encounters and new people everyday. For instance, when Mary (Pastor’s eldest daughter) went to Secondary 1, without any new friends. She started attending a chapel every Friday. Then, this year, she was asked to go up stage to share during devotion time. Now, God leads everyone of us this same way. There are always new experiences if we CONFIRM His leading. Following God is never boring. Even this year, after Kids Gospel Camp, TBR Conference, we form a new kind of relationship with each other. Like old friends coming back among us after missing out on our meetings for two years. See, following God has a whole lot of new experiences. We must believe and keep confirming.
And also some of us having PSLE exams this year, and next year new experiences again. We never know what comes next. So it is just like how the disciples are fishing for so long on one side, but little did they know once they cast their NET on the other side, a whole lot of “experiences and satisfaction” come. It could just happen the next moment. And even with evangelism. If you have been inviting some friends to Gospel Rally but to no avail, cast your net on the other side (pray to meet new people) and you never know who you will meet.
T (Testimony) – Now, Christian belief is not without testimonies. So do not downplay this one. Our Lord Jesus lives through us, and He tells us to let our light shine before men. So there are a few testimonies we need to pray for:
1) Attitudes. Change of attitudes at home and in school – more hardworking, polite, honest, caring, kind, filial. Now, we must know non-Christian, even our parents look at our testimonies. No one will be interested in a God whose followers always create trouble and does not portray good personalities. No parents would think well of Christianity if we remain lazy and rude at home after going back from church.
2) Studies. Never think that bonding is just feeling close. It also includes influencing each other to do well in areas we should. Think about it. If after coming for this NET meeting, our results deteriorate, we become so happy with bonding and never do well for exams, how would our parents feel about it? Now, those who do not do well in studies, it is not wrong to do badly, but it is wrong if we do not put in effort to do well when we should.
3) Inclusive, instead of exclusive. Now, it is good to be close, but we must not end up feeling too comfortable with each other and exclude others in our group. Our mission every week after attending NET, is to engage new people on Sunday, and get them to go “chill” with us. And through “chilling out”, you never know one day you could even talk to new friends about God (Gospel). It is good to bring new people out in a group, build bonds, and talk to them about God together. This is called team evangelism. ☺
So may all of you put this vision upon your heart as we go forth with NET meetings!