Salt is good, but if salt has lost its saltiness, how will you make it salty again? Have salt in yourselves, and be at peace with one another.
This is my third year at the RYS Youth Convention. I can undoubtedly say that it is a tremendous blessing as a young Christian to be able to attend and experience the wonderful thing convention is. This year the theme was the “Salt Life,” where we were educated first on the secular world view on the “Salt Life,” which was then contrasted with the biblical view on the “Salt Life.” During the main sessions Rev. Nymeyer and Rev. Tuinstra spoke on how we as followers of Christ are salt, and that we can have a positive effect in the midst of the corrupted world we live in. We were taught that just as salt must be broken to bless, so we must be broken spiritually because of our sin, and realize the grace we’ve been given, so that we may then go and bless the broken. Following the blessing salt can be, we learned of the destructive quality of salt, being instructed to get rid of the salt of destruction in our own lives, putting to death the old self, and being renewed. “But that is not the way you learned Christ!—assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus, to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness”(Eph. 4:20–24).
The blessing of RYS Youth Convention goes further than what we learn through the main sessions. Throughout the week we attend workshops, participate in athletic events and games, sing glorious praise to God, and experience fellowship with fellow Reformed youth, as well as the leaders and sponsors. Not only do we get the opportunity to go and grow in our faith, but also we learn to establish deep roots planted by streams of water so that our faith doesn’t wither easily (Ps. 1:3). The youth leave with an intense feeling of joy and a confidence in our faith, as we are reminded of our awesome God. We also walk away with new enduring friendships that help keep us accountable for who we are in Christ.
The week consisted of a lot of learning, fellowship, worship, free time, fun at amusement parks, a talent show, sports tournaments, enjoying time in the cafeteria, and playing games in the lounge. It is an event that has had a huge effect in the lives of many Christian youth, in addition to the leaders and sponsors. I turned to my pastor on the plane home and said that looking at my life, seeing my shortcomings, seeing how God has worked to grow my faith as a believer, and seeing how great God is through convention, there is nothing more I desire than to serve God for the rest of my life. The days spent at convention, the things learned, the friendships formed, the memories made, are things that will be taken with us through the rest of our lives.
“Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality” (Rom. 12:9–13).
Mr. Kees Kiledjian First Chino URC Chino, California