This is the second essay chosen to be read at the 8th grade graduation ceremony.
By: Logan Wensel
As we read the Bible, we see Jesus instructing his disciples on how to live for him. Not only was Jesus talking to his disciples, but to me as well. During the school year, I studied the book of John. John covers Jesus’ time before his death to before his ascension. Because Jesus is not going to be with his followers much longer, he leaves us with important lessons to help us when he is gone.
When Jesus was at Bethany, he was anointed by Mary with expensive perfume. Judas Iscariot scolded Mary and said it should be sold and the money given to the poor. Jesus knew Judas’ intentions, so he gave a lesson on priorities. Jesus said to put God above everything else in the world. That can be a very difficult thing to do, especially at this age. I’m pretty sure everyone has broken the first commandment if they know it or not. For example, I have focused so much on one thing that I revolve our life around it, instead of God. Because I am giving all or at least a majority of my time and focus to that thing, I don’t realize I have put God in the background. That is the kind of thing Jesus warns us about, not just falling away.
Because I love Jesus and want to put him first, I also want to show that love to those around me. Jesus said in John 13:34, ”A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” This isn’t the only time Jesus gives this command. It is repeated all throughout the book and the Bible, which just shows how important it is. This command is easier said than done. There are times when showing love is easy because we’re a Christian, or the person we’re showing love to shows love back. That is not always the case. I have trouble showing love to those who don’t show love to me or get on my nerves, but Jesus wants us to show love to them as well.
From the commands I’ve listed so far, it seems impossible to be able to do these things. Truth be told, it is impossible for us to do what God wants on our own. Our sinful nature holds us back, but we can never get rid of it. That is why Jesus said in John 14:16,17,26 that we would not be alone. Jesus promises us the Holy Spirit to help us through our lives of faith because they are not always easy.
Lastly, Jesus tells me to stay connected to the vine. John 15, a well known verse says, ”I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” Jesus compares my life to a grape vine. If I am not connected to him, I will not be able to produce fruits of faith. Jesus also says that God makes sure we are able to produce more fruit and gets rid of branches that are not bearing anything. This alone is motivation to stay connected to Jesus. I do not want to be cut off from God and his blessings because that would lead me to the fires of hell.
I know that I cannot do any of these things perfectly, but Jesus sends the Holy Spirit to help me through the difficult times. I also asked for the Holy Spirit to keep me connected to the true vine, so I will not suffer the torture of hell. We want to show love to others and put him first. Because of all God does for me, I want to thank him by bearing fruit.
UNDER CONSTRUCTION: 2018 Vacation Bible School at St. Paul Lutheran Church
Blueprints are being drafted and plans are underway for VBS at St. Paul: Build on the Rock! Join us Monday, July 30-Friday, August 3rd for a week of Building and Creating: Building Crafts, Games, Snacks, and Creating Music! Most importantly, we will be building faith through connecting students going into 3k-6th grade to God’s Word. Invite a neighbor, tell a friend! For more information, check out the church website-http://stpaullakemills.org/vbs
The VBS Committee is looking for teens (7th grade and older) and adults to help with games, crafts, skits, and Bible stories. Even if you can spare only an hour, we can use your help. Please consider using your talents to serve the Lord and others. Please be sure to sign up by July 15th to assure efficient planning!
Sign up forms for registration and volunteering can be found in the lobby, or you can sign up online at stpaullakemills.org/vbs. If you have any questions contact Tara Topel at 920-605-0112 or firstname.lastname@example.org.