“For Such A Time as This” Esther 4 vs 13-14
13-20 SEPTEMBER 2020
Youth & Children’s Ministry Coordinator: Rev N. Zhira
Youth Presidents :
Miss Yeukai N. Mbangani
Mr Graham K. Ndou
Youth Department: firstname.lastname@example.org
Youth Coordinator: email@example.com: 0774 094 433
We extend our profound gratitude to all those who directly and indirectly contributed to the preparation and compilation of this booklet. A special thanks goes to Revd M. Mabasa, Revd Lombard Badi, Revd M. James, Revd W. Dimingu and Revd J. Paradza. We also extend our special acknowledgement to the Presiding Bishop, General Secretary, Missions Director, Lay President, District Bishops, District Lay Presidents, District Youth Pastors, Circuit Superintendents, Circuit Youth Pastors, School Principals, Heads, Chaplains and Youth advisors, for your unwavering support towards Youth and Children’s Ministry work.
Youth in Action Week is distinct from Youth Week and the two must never be confused. If the two are confused together then fatigue and repetition will set in.
A simple distinction is that whereby when we start the year the church as a whole spend days reflecting on the role of the young in the church and mission of God, on Youth in Action young people spend time combining prayer and action (Praxis) The thrust is that young people must do more than talking and praying. In short, get out from your comfort zone and do something that makes a difference. Please act.
DAY 1: SUNDAY
LAUNCHING THE YOUTH IN ACTION: “FOR SUCH A TIME AS THIS.”
READING: ESTHER 4 v1-14
The year 2020 has proved to be a unique year of “making history.” The Corona Virus Disease discovered in late 2019 was declared a pandemic because of the social, economic, spiritual and health chaos it has caused worldwide. The environment has become very turbulent than ever before. COVID 19 has pushed the majority of the people out of their comfort zones thus making this year’s theme “For such a time as this” indeed prophetic.
“For such a time as this,” what is our role as the youth both in the Church and in the Communities we serve? The lockdown that was put in place to curb the spread of COVID 19 has been a scapegoat for many youth to remain idle and in their comfort zones. We observe the same attitude in Esther’s initial response to Mordecai (Esther 4:4). She sent garments to clothe Mordecai but he refused. Esther offered what was comfortable and not what was needed. Therefore, as youth we must discern what is needed rather than offering what appears comfortable to us.
The effects of COVID 19 will greatly affect the youth as schools, colleges and universities are partially operating if not totally closed. This has created anxiety and confusion about the future of the youth. Many parents and youth are in denial stage. We need to accept the reality that COVID 19 is upon us and is catastrophic, hence embracing this reality will lead us to respond accordingly in manner consistent with changing times. It is no longer “business as usual” for everyone including the youth. Only those who embrace the new normal will make it at such a time as this. COVID 19 has taught the human race to trust in God since all other sources of help have proved inadequate, “Vamwe vayamuri vakonewa/Abanye abasizi behlulekile.” First world countries were the first to be hard hit by the pandemic, which meant that the Diaspora help for the third world was affected. The Lockdown has affected all the sectors of the already struggling Zimbabwean economy. At such a time as this, God is our only hope. May God inspire the youth of this generation to think “as if there is no box” in order to have a response to additional challenges poised by the pandemic.
Points for Action
Identify the threats to the youth poised by COVID 19 pandemic.
What are the opportunities for the youth during this era?
List the actions that can be taken by the youth in response the current situations characterized by COVID 19 pandemic.
DAY 2: MONDAY
ARISE AND SHINE
READINGS: ESTHER 4;13-14; JOSHUA 1:6-8
Heroes emerge in times of crisis. In every crisis, there is an opportunity for the Youth to “RISE” to the occasion and “SHINE.” What did you do or doing in the Lockdown that is unique? Please note safety comes first before heroism. One can never become influential and significant by merely folding hands. Your hands must get “dirty” by doing something significant, legal and godly. Mordecai did not just sit and wait to perish but rather, he took action to get Esther’s attention. It is important to note that Mordecai realized that he was not strategically positioned to influence the King’s decision. He sought help from Esther. This teaches us to get help from strategically positioned people despite gender, status and race. However, as youth we must be careful not to compromise our faith.
Not taking ACTION is not an Option amongst the Youth. Yes, there is unemployment and COVID 19 but we can still do something to survive in a godly manner. In Joshua 1:6-9, God promises to be with Joshua as he had been with Moses. The promise still stands even for today’s youth as long as they lead a righteous life. An organized youth full of the spirit of God will find the means of getting attention and get things done. Faithfulness, obedience, expertise and hardworking are key attributes for those who will RISE and SHINE.
The “Girl child” must also RISE and SHINE. History has it that women can be bridges of emancipation; Esther stood in the gap for the Jews and Tabeth (Dorcas) also stood in the gap for the poor. Bonhoeffer allegedly wrote to Niebuhr before leaving America saying, “I shall have no right to participate in the reconstruction of Christian life in Germany after the war if I do not share the trials of this time with my people (Bonhoeffer, 1959). Bonhoeffer thought that he would not have any credibility in Germany after the war if he were not willing to risk his life to resist Hitler during the war. If the youth do not RISE and SHINE now then chances are high that they will remain dormant for the rest of their lives.
Can the youth of our time rise and shine even in the times of crisis?
Is it safe to rise and shine in the Church and in the Community?
How can the youth rise and shine in this environment?
Prayer: May God inspire the Mordecais and Esthers of our times among our youth to rise and shine in a turbulent environment.
DAY 3: TUESDAY
SWOT ANALYSIS FOR TODAY’S YOUTH
READINGS: ESTHER 5:1-8
SWOT is an acronym for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats. SWOT analysis is a tool used to assess a person’s/organisation’s position in a particular environment in relation to achieving desired goals. The result of this analysis help to map a strategy, which takes advantage of the strengths to utilize available opportunities. Weakness can be turned into strength, threats into opportunities.
Strengths: These are called one’s expertise, capability, potency or power. These are our positive attributes, which gives us an advantage over others in a certain area. Our talents are the most basic form of our strength due to their uniqueness. Knowledge is a strength for today’s youth. Prayer and fasting were Esther’s strengths that she used to counter the threat that was upon the Jews. The strength can be utilized in areas such as leadership and influencing the people around you. In this environment, knowledge alone is not enough; prayer, fasting, humility and flexibility must be added to the mix. Through prayer, the youth must identify their expertise, which will attract attention from others.
Weakness: lacking in ability. This is a negative attributes. Everyone has an area of weakness (known and unknown). SWOT analysis best work to individuals who are honest to themselves. Acknowledging one’s own weakness is a strength on its own as one can build on that acceptance to craft a way of addressing the weak area. Mordecai accepted that he had no influence directly on the King (Esther 4:1-3). In turn, he sought help from Esther who had both access and influence. Inflexibility, inexperience and laziness are the major areas of weakness for the majority of today’s youth. To counter inexperience, one can use flexibility as a way to gain experience. A youth can work under the mentorship of a seasoned player for a period. David once served under Saul and this helped David gain irreplaceable experience of leading the nation of Israel.
Opportunities: can be a good chance to do a particular thing; chance for advancement/progress/profit. Every crisis presents opportunities. Many people see a crisis as a threat. Have an eye that sees an opportunity in a crisis (be an opportunist). Success comes after overcoming threats/challenges. Some opportunities are created and perfected through your strengths. Esther invited the King and Haman to a banquet, thus creating an opportunity for her to influence the King. It requires wisdom to create opportunities. The greatest strength in life is the ability to create and maintain relationships (networking). Zimbabwe’s economy is largely informal. This entails that one way or another one has to be an informal trader of some sort. Create an opportunity for you to pass your costs to someone else whether you are formally employed or not. Every opportunity to make a $1 is worth taking. Use your skills/strength to take advantage of opportunities around you.
Threats: is a warning of harm or punishment; a sign of something undesirable; a person/thing causing danger. The COVID 19 pandemic is a threat to the human race. It has affected the way people live their lives. The change in people’s way of living presents new needs, which in turn are opportunities. The Jews were under threat during Esther’s era. From the threat, she created an opportunity to save the Jews. Threats are there to stir up innovativeness. Door to door, delivery is an opportunity arising from the threat of the Lockdown. However, every opportunity has risks associated with it. These must be managed in a profitable manner.
What are our strengths and the opportunities available to us that we can utilize in this era of COVID-19?
What are our weaknesses and the threats we face?
DAY 4: WEDNESDAY
TIME TO REBUILD ON A SOLID FOUNDATION
READINGS: LUKE 6:46-49
The term foundation entails that, upon which anything is founded; that on which anything stands, and by which it is supported. Our faith must have a foundation/basis upon which it stands. It is clear that if one’s foundation is not strong so will be his/her faith in God. The African community used to have other foundations, which are not Christ upon which their beliefs were built. By extension, these faulty foundations have been passed to the children. We have so many people who claim to be Christians yet they do not have Christ as their foundation. Our period of youth is a time to build on Jesus Christ the solid foundation.
Rev H. H. Morley Wright, a missionary told a story of a young school boy who was asked what his parents did when he was ill. “When I am ill, they take me to hospital but when I’m very ill they take me to a n’anga,” replied the school boy. A time of crisis will reveal one’s foundation. Where do you run for refuge when a crisis strikes? In Luke 6:46-49, Jesus urges his audience to listen and follow his teaching. This is a time to rebuild our own foundations in Christ as youth. COVID 19 has destroyed many faulty foundations built on people, nations and knowledge. This pandemic has proved that humanity has limited abilities as no cure has been found. Faulty foundations will always fail – only time will tell. Many youth are nursing wounds from trusting and building on people. Jesus Christ is the unchanging foundation, people change and only act to protect self-interest.
Today, we are encouraged to build our faith on a solid foundation laid by God, which is Jesus Christ. It is never too late to start rebuilding our life on Jesus Christ the solid foundation. “Kunonoka hakusi kurega/Ukuphuza akusokwehluleka” “Kunonoka kuri nani pane kurega/Ukuphuza kungcono kulokwehluleka”
Where is the foundation of your faith?
When crisis knocks at your door, where do you look for help?
DAY 5: THURSDAY
LIVING IN GRACE.
READINGS: 2 PETER 3:18, EPHESIANS 2:8
“Grace is not simply leniency when we have sinned. Grace is the enabling gift and power of God not to sin. Grace is power, not just pardon,” (John Piper). John 1:12-13 is clear that all those who believe and accept Jesus Christ are given the right to become children of God and these are reborn with a birth that comes from God. This entails that the believer’s destiny will be driven and directed by grace (God is power). By believing and following Jesus, we receive God’s grace which is God’s power.
A person of grace living in grace (Wenyasha ari munyasha/Owomusa uphila emuseni) is under the power of God. It is possible to be of grace and not living in grace. The Bible has examples of people of grace who lived in grace (Abraham, Joseph, Daniel) as well as of grace but who failed to live in grace (Samson, Judas Iscariot). Judas Iscariot was among the 12 disciples who were given authority (power) to cast out evil spirits and to heal every kind of illness (Matthew 10:1-4). He later on betrayed Jesus Christ.
So what are the qualities of people of grace living in grace? The list is not conclusive neither is it exhaustive. The Key characteristic is that of listening and obeying God. Abraham (Genesis 22), Joseph (Genesis 39) and Daniel (Daniel 1:8-10) obeyed God when it mattered most. Obedience is more than sacrifice. Our trust, worship and love for God manifest in our obedience to his Word. Obedience separates the sheep from the goats. As Youth obedience is a tool to remain in God’s grace. It will help you flee from sin.
A forgiving heart characterizes a person of grace living grace. Abraham was able to go and rescue Lot (Genesis 14) and later interceded for him (Genesis 18). All this happened when they had parted ways. Joseph forgave his brothers (Genesis 45) despite being sold to the Ishmaelites (Midianite traders). He did not take it personal but rather as God’s way of fulfilling his promise.
A person of grace living in grace finds favour from people in authority. Potiphar (Genesis 39:1-4) noticed that the LORD was with Joseph so he made him his personal attendant. The same happened to Daniel, the Chief of staff who had both respect and affection for Daniel. Walking together does not mean you are all of grace and living in grace. As Youth be encouraged by John Wesley’s words “Give me 100 preachers (clergy/laity) who fear nothing BUT sin and who desire nothing BUT God…..” The youth are urged to live in grace by trusting and obeying God.
Are you as youth of today obedient to the Word of God?
Prayer: Lord help us to be obedient to your Word.
DAY 6: FRIDAY
GIVING STARTS WITH US: THE YOUTH
READINGS: GENESIS 28:10-20
Many people want to give what they do not have and as a result they give excuses. Jacob poured olive oil on the stone, thus he gave what he had. Our obedience is really tested in the areas where our own nature and situation make obedience more difficult. For most of us, money and resources are one of those areas.
What matters most is the motive behind our giving. There are many schools of thought on giving but today we are focusing on grace driven giving; We give to God because we love Him; We give to God because we are blessed NOT for us to be blessed. After encountering God (Genesis 28:20), Jacob made a vow to give to God. This makes giving a fruit of grace. Grace driven giving is different to law driven giving. There is great difference in attitude of giving under grace and under law:
* Acceptance before God: Under law, I give in order to be accepted by God while under grace, I give because I have been accepted by God.
* Duty vs Privilege: Under law, my giving is a duty which I resent and under grace, my giving is a privilege which I enjoy.
* Amount given: Under law, I give the least I can to keep God and others off my back while under grace I give as much I can to express my gratitude to God for his love.
As one grows in grace and knowledge of God, so will be growth in one’s giving. Grace driven giving places an invaluable price on our salvation. Our salvation was not for free, Jesus Christ paid the full price. This realization that God gave what was precious will trigger a sense of giving to the work of God.
Action points: Demonstrate by giving what you have.
DAY 7: SATURDAY
READINGS 2 THESSALONIANS 3: 6-14
INSTILLING A WORKING CULTURE THROUGH COMMUNITY SERVICE
Many people including the youth have been conned because they want to get rich quickly without working. Working must be a lifestyle. The writer of 2 Thessalonians is urging the audience to stay away from believers who live idle lives. A person who does not want to work (lazy) is generally greed and stingy. 2 Thessalonians 3:10b says “those unwilling to work will not get to eat.” Make it a habit to work for everything you eat or own.
Many businesses fail because the owners do not know how to do the work and are unwilling to work. Before establishing a business, be able to do it yourself, be the expert in your own company. David was a warrior par excellence starting from his youth. This is the time to build a working culture starting from our homes.
Today is a day to instil a working culture in ourselves. The ability to plan the work and to identify the places in the community to work is vital. This must be an ongoing exercise, NOT a bi-annual event (during Youth Week and Youth in Action). The youth must always be visible at home, at Church and in the community. Remember visibility increases opportunities for us. Relationships are built and maintained through working so the youth must be a brand known for their willingness to work.
DAY 8: SUNDAY
READINGS: ESTHER 4: 1-14 AND 2 THESSALONIANS 3: 6-14
Today the youth is in action leading the worship service. For such a time as this, the youth is being called to stand in the gap for families, Church, communities, nations and the world. It is time to demonstrate what has been learnt during the week through preaching inspired sermons that will lead the Church to obedience and trust in God.
Youth in Action is coming at crucial time when action has been confined to indoor activities. This worship service can be on platforms currently in use by the different societies in our Connexion.