THE METHODIST CHURCH IN ZIMBABWE
YOUTH & CHILDREN’S MINISTRY
YOUTH WEEK 2022
20 –‐ 27 FEBRUARY 2022
YOUTH WEEK BOOKLET 2022
Click or tap on the day number of your choice to jump down the page to the notes for that day:
Youth & Children’s Ministry Coordinator: Rev N. Zhira firstname.lastname@example.org 0774 094 433
Youth Presidents: Miss Yeukai N. Mbangani email@example.com 0779 868 050
Mr Graham K. Ndou firstname.lastname@example.org 0778 874 847
Youth Department: email@example.com
Waiting upon the Lord (Isaiah 40vs 30-31)
2022 YOUTH WEEK FOREWORD
This is the third year when Covid–‐19 had been declared a global pandemic. So far we have gone through different and uncounted levels of lockdowns. We are in the fourth wave and we thank God that although the infection was so fast, the impact was mild. Its impact were different from other levels that claimed the lives of our peers, colleagues, parents, guardians, siblings, schoolmates and workmates in large numbers. A number of us were both affected and infected but we thank God for His love during such times. We gather once again with hope that was instilled in us by the 2021 theme that our help comes from God. We stand firm in this hope that although God seems very far, He is actually very near and compels us to wait upon Him. Isaiah knew the challenges of waiting upon the Lord. He expresses how people use their intellect to seek God. In this searching spree, the youth who are energetic will faint and be weary. The young will be exhausted but only those who wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength. In the context of all hopelessness and a life that seem directionless, faith that is fading and prospects that seem shuttered, our future comes by not acting faithlessly but we need to wait upon the Lord . In the turmoil and tempest of hurricanes of different forms, we need to be still and know that Jehovah is God. In a world of many religious, political, technological, social and economic seemingly solutions, waiting upon the Lord will not betray us. I wish you God’s blessings as you take time as young people to celebrate the value of being youth in a busy and restless world hoping, trusting and waiting upon the Lord.
Grace and Peace
Revd. Dr. Martin Mujinga
ACKNOWLEDGEMENT We extend our profound gratitude to Reverend S. Fuyani who prepared the Youth Week material. Our special thanks go to Reverends M. Mafukidze, Reverends M. James and Revd J. Paradza the Research and Publications Coordinator who edited the booklet. Also, our sincere gratitude goes to the Presiding Bishop, the General Secretary, the Mission Director, the Lay President, District Bishops, Lay Presidents, District Youth Pastors, School Principals/ Heads and Chaplains, circuit Superintendents and Circuit Youth Pastors for their support towards Youth work.
DAY 1 Be courageous and have faith
Reading: Joshua 1: 7-9 After the death of Moses, Joshua was assigned with the task of leading the Israelites into the promised land of Canaan. Having witnessed the stiff-neckedness of the people he was to lead, to Joshua it must have been a mammoth task. It was only normal for Joshua to feel discouraged, hence God had to encourage him and give him an assurance of His presence along the way. Despite his fears, Joshua is encouraged to go forward , and not to be discouraged As we face the year ahead, what is required is spiritual and emotional strength, because the devil would want to take advantage of times when things appear to be gloomy and the future seems bleak, that is when he would want to plant seeds of doubt and discouragement. Another aspect we need as today’s youth is courage, the prevailing socio-economic situation might try to intimidate us, but no matter how much the devil may try to intimidate us, there is nothing he can do as long as we continue to depend on the word of God for direction. Our courage does not come from worldly wisdom or connections, but from the fact that we are connected to God through His word, because He watches over His word to perform it. 6 We remain steadfast in faith, every challenge that is going to come, we confront it with faith, and through this faith we become more than conquerors. Sometimes we encounter obstacles along the way, but this should not deter us from forging ahead, for with God we will surely reach our God-ordained destination. We are assured of victory because God is with us wherever we go, now if God is with us, the devil is a failure and a loser, and we are guaranteed of victory and success.
Prayer point Pray for God to strengthen our faith in times of distress, that the word of God may richly dwell in us and give us hope.
DAY 2: WAIT UPON THE LORD
Isaiah 40: 27-31 But they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint. Isaiah 40: 31 contains a great promise of strength for the weary: “they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.” This promises a supernaturally renewed strength—a strength that would compare to mounting up as an eagle or running without fatigue. But what does this mean and how do we receive it? The context of this verse helps us. The Israelites who first received this promise were worn out from their hardship. They had lived in exile in Babylon for several decades. Their perspective was darkened by despairing thoughts: “My way is hidden from the Lord, and my right is disregarded by my God” (Isaiah 40: 27). They thought God either couldn’t help or didn’t care. Isaiah uses a pair of words—faint and weary—three times in the span of a few verses here (Isaiah 40: 27-31). They were exhausted and burdened from the circumstances of life. They weren’t just weak in body, but weak in spirit. How could they endure the hard circumstances of life any longer? Having gone through Covid-19 from year 2020, we too can identify with the Israelites, our spirit and body has been weakened. Look at the 8 youth groups, only alive for the program are traditionally on calendar. The zeal is almost gone, what a time to get a message of comfort and hope on our lost dreams. Isaiah responded to the questions they had and we have today with his own: “Have you not known? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not grow faint or grow weary” (Isaiah 40: 28). This is a good word for the weary: You may grow faint, but God doesn’t. God is an endless source of strength, and he gives it generously—“He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength” (Isaiah 40: 29). This is who he is. The ever-strong and never-weary One loves to help weak and weary people. If we think that God is too great to be concerned about us, we actually don’t believe he’s great enough. God’s greatness is not just that He is strong, but that He is strong for us. God’s glory is not just that he has power, but that He loves to use it to help those who need it. God is not too great to care, He’s too great not to care. He gives us His strength. In all our weariness, then, how do we get this strength? We may expect Isaiah to share the wisdom of physical rest, exercise, diet, and so forth. But while those are all God-given sources of strength, they cannot give us the deepest strength we need when we come to the end of ourselves. Isaiah acknowledges this—“even youths shall faint and be weary; and young men shall fall exhausted” (Isaiah 40: 30). In other words, even those in their prime with perfect health have limits. We need a stronger strength to match our deep discouragements. So, how do we get it? There is only one answer, and here we come to the great promise of this text: “They who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength.” Not, those who work for the Lord, but those who wait for him. This is about doing our part and asking God to do the rest. God’s greatness is not just that He is strong, but that He is strong for us. This isn’t about showing God how strong we are and asking him to give us a bit more. No, here we admit that we don’t have the strength we need. We acknowledge that we need the strength only he can give. And we wait for him, which is more than just passing time. In Hebrew, this word carries with it a sense of hopeful expectation. In the midst of hardship, we look to him as the one who works all things together for our good. As believers ourselves, we look to Jesus, who came to us and said: “Come to me, all who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11: 28). He carried the burden of our sin and judgment upon himself on the cross. He rose again and sent his Spirit to empower us and strengthen us in all our weakness. And we now look to him and wait for him to work—ultimately looking to the day when Jesus returns to set all things right and make all things.
DAY 3: God strengthens us during our time of waiting
Isaiah 40: 31. Waiting can be cumbersome thereby prompting us to forfeit it. Unless we have something to occupy us as we wait we can easily lose it. As you are waiting on God to strengthen you, remember the words of the prophet Isaiah in Chapter 40, verse 31, “But those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength. They shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.” (Isaiah 40:31 NKJV). Life’s waiting room is a place where time seemingly stands still. It is a place where life is put on hold. Sometimes when I visit my doctor, while I sit and wait in his office, it feels like hours have passed, and yet when I look at my watch, it’s been only 20 minutes. When we are in the waiting room of life, it seems as if progress has come to a screeching halt. This is how it feels sometimes while we wait on the Lord. One of the important exhortations of the Bible is the call to “wait on the Lord.” Even though God promises special blessings for those who wait, waiting is one of the most difficult exhortations of scripture. Why is it so hard? Because, as a part of fallen humanity, we are so prone to take matters into our own hands and to follow our own schemes. Yet, over and over again we are told in scripture to “wait on the Lord. We don’t like to wait, and when we think of waiting we are apt to respond with a pun: “Wait? That’s what made the bridge collapse!” Of course, that’s weight, not wait. But then, these two words, weight and wait, are not always unrelated, because one of our needs in waiting on the Lord is the need to cast the weighty burdens of life on Him. We might be facing weight from family members, friends, peers or from our own minds –‐ the intra personal conflicts. I once heard an illustration about how God strengthens us during times of waiting through trials. It went like this: Did you know that an eagle knows when a storm is approaching long before it breaks? The eagle will fly to a high spot and wait for the winds to come. When the storm hits, it sets its wings so that the wind will pick it up and lift it above the storm. While the storm rages below, the eagle is soaring above it. The eagle does not escape the storm; it simply uses the storm to lift it higher. It rises on the winds that bring the storm. When the storms of life come upon us, we can rise above them by setting our minds and our belief toward God. The storms do not have to overcome us; God will strengthen us during our time of waiting. His power will lift us up above the dark clouds so we can ride the winds of the storm that bring sickness, tragedy, failure and disappointment into our lives. Thus, during our waiting time let us be in spiritual gym getting fit, only then can we be assured of overcoming. Only then can we soar up high and have sharp spiritual discernment. I know because of my recent experience with tragedy. I have had seven deaths in my family this year alone, and through my tragedies, God continues to strengthen me and lift me up above my storms. He will do the same for you, in whatever storm you are dealing with. I just want to encourage everyone who reads this article that God is not asleep and He is not just standing on the side-lines observing. He is in the fight right there with you, lifting you up so you can soar above your storm. Remember, it is not the burdens of life that weigh us down, it is how we handle them. So wait on the Lord and be of good courage. Wait, I say, on the Lord!
DAY 4: GOD’S PROMISES ARE YES AND AMEN
2 Corinthians 1: 20; Isaiah 40: 31; Psalm 62: 1-10. Verse Thoughts Whether the promises of God are for Israel or given to the Church or an individual, God’s Word is true. His judgements are just, and His promises are “yes” and “amen”, for those that believe His Word, wait on Him, abide in Him –‐ and He in us. There are difficulties in life that overwhelm the strongest of people, fears that gnaw at the stoutest of human hearts, and young men who grow faint and weary. They stumble and fall because they rely on their own, inner strength and human resources, which are not a sufficient shield in the storms of life. Only power from above is sufficient to sustain us. Only His protective hand can shelter us from the storms of life and not our own limited, human abilities. Although these words were addressed to Israel they have an application in the lives of ALL God’s people. They are a call to us all to turn from any wrongdoing in our lives and live by faith and not by sight –‐ to trust in the Lord with all our heart and not lean on our own understanding. It is faith in His Word that is needed to soar with wings as eagles. It is trusting God to bring to pass all He has promised, even when our senses and logic seem to suggest the opposite or appear to contradict His promised truth. Those who wait on the Lord are those who have the assurance and inner confidence that the promises He has made to His people, and the things for which we hope, are a matter of fact and a present reality… that cannot be contradicted by senses, emotions, reason or fear. The Lord our God is faithful and true to His Word and He satisfies our years with good things so that our youth is renewed like that of an eagle. He is good to those who wait for Him and seek Him –‐ trust Him and love Him. And He has promised that His grace is sufficient for us, no matter how weary we may become, for His power is perfected in our weakness. God’s grace is sufficient for every circumstance of life. It is sufficient for every difficulty we may face or any challenge life throws at us. His grace is enough for all who place their entire trust and confidence in His mighty strength. His grace is enough for every eventuality in life and His provision comes through faith in His beloved Son. It is the strength of the Lord Jesus Who sustains those who do not rely upon their own abilities. He will provide strength to those who can admit to their own disability –‐ for His grace is sufficient in all situations of life. Those who confidently manage their Christian walk by relying on their own personal talents, skills, capacities, and capabilities, eventually discover that their strength is insufficient for their needs. In time they are brought to the very end of themselves until they can admit that the refreshment they desperately need has been drawn from the broken cistern of the old, Adamic–‐life and will eventually run dry, for the energy–‐source that is powered through the fleshly self–‐life, will in time be drained of all its self–‐induced efforts. When a believer truly identifies with his Saviour and trusts in Christ’s capacities alone for his journey through life, it is then that God’s strength is made perfect in our weakness, it is then that the wind of God will lift us up on eagles’ wings and carry us through life’s stresses and strains, in the power of His Holy Spirit. It is when the man or woman, daughter or son of God is prepared to admit their weakness and incapacitates, that they are enabled by Him to draw from the bottomless well of His everlasting supply, and drink deeply from the living waters of God’s super–‐abundant provision. Only then are their spiritual batteries regenerated and renewed by Christ’s limitless power, enabling them to run the straight race –‐ and in His strength, to run in such a way as to win the prize, for the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
Prayer Loving Father, I know that my strength can only be found in Christ. Help me I pray, to trust implicitly in the power that I can only receive from my Lord, Christ Jesus. I pray that I may truly rise above all the difficulties of life and run with patient endurance the race that is set before me, looking unto Jesus, Who is my only source of strength and my only means of refreshment. In His name I pray, Amen.
Exercise With a prayer partner (it can be someone next to you if it’s a physical session or any whom you pick if it is online), list your weaknesses in waiting upon the Lord then pray for one another.
DAY 5: GOD WILL BE WITH US IN ALL THE DIFFICULT CIRCUMSTANCES OF LIFE: ADDRESSING ISSUES OF DEPRESSION AND SUICIDE
John 10: 10; 2 Samuel 13: 2-10, 19-20; Ephesians 6: 1-4; Psalm 62: 1- There are times we feel all ends are closed and we have no way out. This makes us resort to careless route escapes. This does not matter whether you are an adult or young person. What matters is what we do during such times. This day we look at a topical issue that is harassing communities and especially young people and even those that are believers are not spared. I am sure you can recall one or two people you know and probably a fellow believer who took their lives. Were they cursed, was their faith not strong – so many reasons can be said but remember Jesus prayer “I am no longer in the world but they are in the world”, John 17:11. When suicide has been committed those remaining always accuse the departed for being selfish or take the blame themselves that they failed the departed. This becomes even difficult since the Church or families do not talk about these things, acting as if they do not exist or happen in a vacuum. It is the time the Church became proactive not reactive. Let us rise up to save lives and remain relevant to our calling.
Discussion 1. What are the issues that lead many youths to depression and how can they be tackled? In the list can be domestic violence, sexual harassment, negative comparison with pears, pressure from parents, relatives on various issues, name them, & more you can think of. How do these issues affect young people? 2. Are there places we can go as youth for mental health issues, if not what can be done? Some have resorted to doing drugs, the tool the devil is using to destroy many. Let’s talk and teach about these things. The devil is no respecter of prayer 3. Is the story of Tamar familiar to our experiences? Parents how have we responded and reacted to issues of abuse on our children? What is the best way to respond to these? All these are the ills of this world which do not choose whether you are a believer or not. Let us therefore talk about them, equip each other on them. To those who are survivors of these, you are not cursed and God’s love has not depreciated. He still cares about you. If you see your dreams taking long to be realized do not be quick to go back to ‘Egypt’ (negative thoughts / experience). Wait upon the Lord who said, “I will never leave nor forsake you”. Those who wait upon the Lord will find strength even in dire situations. They will live to testify the goodness of the Lord. Let the devil be disappointed when he comes to you like a flood, refuse with your life. Greater is He who is in you than that in the world. Seek help and live. And parents let’s not put pressure on our children but support them.
Declaration verse Psalm 118:17.
DAY 6: HOW WE PERCEIVE CHALLENGES DETERMINES OUR VICTORY OR DEFEAT
Numbers 13:33; Luke 1:37 Many a times children of the light are defeated by their own minds. We are our own enemies. When faced with situations we think on all or nothing terms, we close out any chance of a good thing. We forget the God we serve. Listen to the spies, “There we saw the Nephilim [or giants], the sons of Anak, who come from the giants; and we were in our own sight as grasshoppers, and so we were in their sight.” They answered focusing on their personal strength, the mistake we all mostly succumb to. You are given a post and you say “ I cannot do this’. True, you cannot but through Christ you can. You can wait, serve the Lord in the way He directs. We should use our tongue to declare positivity upon our lives. One can then ask ” is there anything too big for the Lord?”…and we all know the answer to this question. This should be what drives us where ever we are and whenever challenges arise and seen to be threatening our faith. Ours is to stand still and recall who we are in Christ and who He is. If we magnify negativity we are shooting ourselves on the foot. Let us learn to feed our faith not doubt if we are to win our battles with the enemy. Our God is all powerful but it takes us to take Him as that, believe it. Some of the spies just saw themselves as grasshoppers, they totally forgot about the one who sent them. Due to unbelief they were consumed but those who stood on the word and believed in God like Caleb got their reward. What are you going through today…believe in God, there is nothing impossible with Him. Those who walk by faith always reach their destination. They go out and conquer. Just change the way you see yourself when under siege by problems. Use the language that shows you are no longer yours but Christ’s, you know you walk not alone but inside and by your side is the great l am, the victor to help you.
Scripture for the Day Proverbs 3: 5-7 Trust in, Lean on, and be confident in the Lord with all your heart and mind and do not rely on your own insight or understanding. In all your ways know, recognize, and acknowledge Him, and He will direct and make straight and plain your paths. Be not wise in your own eyes; reverently fear and worship the Lord and turn [entirely] away from evil.
DAY 7: TRUSTING IN GOD DOES NOT DISAPPOINT
Isaiah 40: 28-31; 1 Corinthians 6 :12; 1 Corinthians 10: 23 “Have you not known? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary, his understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength. Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; but they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.” A lot of God’s children have lost their track in search of greener pastures. They have failed to wait for the right time to be blessed by the Lord. Young women and man have rushed into things without taking time to think through only to be marred with regrets. Some engaged into ungodly deals because they wanted quick income, some in relationships with ‘wrong’ people because their peers already had married and have beautiful children. There is a lot that has taken place with Covid 19 as a blame tag. However, if the main reason be told is failing to wait upon the Lord for the right time. God is never late but is always on time. May it be known today that, It’s not about natural power and stamina from being youthful but having trust and relying on God. Those who rely on Him are Blessed, fortunate and will never be disappointed. It’s not about wisdom, dollar power and intellectual power from the mature. It’s not about business adventures from youthful ideas nor power from gym. It’s not about having political or economic power or having powerful authorities on your side. Not even physical beauty always helps, it fades too and wrinkles surface. All these things mentioned above will pass away, they are not THE things. People change and put demands to return favour. Political power fades and businesses collapse. We need God on our side. We need to rely on Him for strength. He is everlasting and changes not. He gives us even emotional support. Having those other things, we can still falter due to problems that weigh us down and only God can revive us. Since life is all about choices, you are free to make your own choices as youths but bear in mind that “all things are permissible but not all are edifying”, choose wisely. Seek the kingdom of God first and everything shall follow. He will teach you through the scriptures how to live a productive, satisfying life. Only then are you assured of soaring unashamedly as eagles. Proverbs 10:22 “The blessing of the LORD makes rich, and he adds no sorrow with it.” hence blessed, FORTUNATE, prosperous and never disappointed is the one who trusts in the LORD.”
Discussion List those things which we at times trust on and boast about as young people? Is it worthy, is it permanent? Only God is permanent dear friends. What strategies can we put in place to enhance or waiting skills?
DAY 8: All things work together for good
Romans 8: 28 We should trust in God always, even in times when we are facing difficulties and going through storms, because the word of God teaches us that all things work together for those who love the Lord. What is important in any given situation; good or bad, is for us to know that they provide a chance for us to prove our obedience to God. From the life of Job we learn that God is to be worshipped whether or not things are moving smoothly. As for Joseph, whether as a servant in Potiphar’s house or in prison, he remains faithful to God, and the Lord rewarded him mightily for his obedience. To Daniel, it did not matter that he was thrown into the den of lions, God remained God to him. Some people would want to make excuses of their circumstances and forsake their faith, but this should not be the case with any Christians who is a true worshipper of God. The above verse is conditional, when the word says all things work together for good for those who love the Lord, it implies that even if bad things happen to those who love the Lord, God will change the unpleasant to bring out pleasant results, the unfavourable to bring something favourable, but for the unbelievers, if bad things happen to them, they can even multiply and nothing good can come out. So the condition for all things to work together for someone is if that person loves God, which is demonstrated through obedience.
Reflection What is it that is happening in your life today? Is it good, or is it bad? Do you trust that God is able to make something good out of your situation?
Sisters and Brothers in Christ, the impact of COVID-19 is, and will continue to be felt most harshly by young people who are already living in a difficult and disadvantaged circumstances. COVID-19 is still a significant threat to our community. It has infected nearly every continent, it forced countries into states of emergency, sent individuals into varying levels of quarantine, isolation and shuttered business and schools. It is against this background Sisters and Brothers that I take this opportunity as the Youth and Children’s Ministry Coordinator to encourage all the young people in the Methodist Church in Zimbabwe and Worldwide that it is important to play our part to contain the spread of this highly contagious virus. As young people you have a key role to play in containing COVID-19. We must seriously follow the basic health practices not only for ourselves but on behalf of others.
Sisters and Brothers in Christ, in such a time as this YOUTH WEEK TARGETS remain as the main source of income for sustenance of Youth and Children’s Ministry Department. As your leaders at the Connexional level we humbly request societies, Circuits and District leaders to come up with fundraising strategies that suit the context and the environment which we are in and raise funds for this special ministry in the Methodist Church in Zimbabwe.
NB: All Sunday Offerings for the 27th of February 2022 should be banked to the Youth Department as per Church Policy (offering only, not tithes and other offerings) Banking Details are as follows:
1. FCA/ Nostro Account Methodist Church in Zimbabwe Youth Banc ABC Account Number: 120 – 12873696633189 Branch: Heritage
2. RTGS Account Methodist Church in Zimbabwe Youth First Capital Bank Account Number: 21576301707 Branch: NGO Centre (2157)
3. Merchant Code 230123 *151*2*2*230123*Amount*MCZ Youth Connexional#