Youth Group Newsletter - 2018-0103 - P Brian

Dear EYG, 

Happy New Year! 
Many of you are reading the Bible, and reading it together, about which we the Pastors are both thankful and pleased. 
I have written a short devo based on a passage of scripture that blessed me from today's devotional passage, Ephesians 2:1-10. Feel free to read it as a supplement to your own reflections. Continue below to read it! 
Secondly, the pastors and I want to keep you in prayer and follow up with you. We want to know what God did in your life during the retreat, or during the year 2017, and how we can best help you grow. In order to do that, could you write a testimony of what happened at the retreat and turn it into us by this Saturday, January 6th?
Especially if you trusted in Christ for the first time this retreat, or you really feel like this was a turning point for you in your faith: Please let us know through this testimony! 
If you don't know how to write a testimony, you can see below: 
Please write this and email back to myself and/or Pastor Seung. We will keep you guys in prayer. 
Once again, this is for those of you who went to the retreat, but even if you didn't go, if you message us your testimony, we can better keep you in prayer. 
Lastly, join us this Saturday Night for our Saturday DT (formerly, REST). 
Have a great week everyone. PEACE!
Love, in Christ, 

January 1, 2018

“By grace you have been saved”

Ephesians 2:5, 8


I don’t know about you, but I have already failed to keep a few of my new year’s resolutions. I have definitely not been exercising (in fact, just the opposite is true. I ate like a pig and slept like snorlax on January 1st). I have not made headway into the books I want to read (in fact, I returned all my overdue library books today, and I haven’t read much at all since 2018 began). And although it has only been three days, I have failed in numerous ways to live up to my verse of the year, 1 Timothy 4:12-15, “let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity...practice these things, immerse yourself in them, so that all may see your progress.” In other words, I am beginning my 2018 with ugly words like “undisciplined,” “failure,” “disappointment,” and “undeserving.”

And I don’t know about you, but being so intimately aware of my flaws and failures makes today’s verse all the more powerful to me as I begin this year: by grace you have been saved. This means that my salvation, my restored relationship with God, my sonship in him, my identity in Christ, my security before God, is not achieved as a result of my works, my behavior, or my ability to earn it or deserve it. My salvation is a result of his grace. My salvation is a result of what God did, not what I can do or can’t do. My salvation is a result of God’s works, not my works. My salvation is a result of God’s righteousness, not my righteousness. And because by grace I have been saved, I can rest and rejoice in Christ’s finished work. I can live this year, not as God’s slave, eternally trying but failing to please my perfect master, but as God’s son, accepted, forgiven, and loved. I am saved by grace.

And the wildest thing is, that this grace is not just for the first time you come to Christ. It’s not like I am “saved by grace” the first time, but “sanctified by works” the rest of the way. It’s not like I am forgiven once the first time, and then for the rest of my days I am supposed live plucking away on the flower petals of my relationship with God, “he loves me, he loves me not. He loves me, he loves me not…” No way! That which he began by grace, he will complete by grace. Salvation which came through the death and the resurrection of Jesus was by God’s grace, and sanctification by the power of the Holy Spirit is by God’s grace. God saved by from his wrath by his grace through the hill of Calvary, and he is going to carry me on eagles wings by his grace through the wind and fire of pentecost. From the beginning to end, my relationship with God, my salvation, my life’s purpose, was planned by God, initiated by God, completed by God, and will be finished by God. This was all God’s idea, God’s plan, God’s purpose, God’s design, God’s choice, God’s desire. What Jonah cried aloud in desperation spending three days and three nights in the belly of the fish, we cry aloud in joy as the Son of Man emerges from the belly of death on Sunday morning, “Salvation belongs to the LORD!”

So remember this amazing truth as you begin 2018: “By grace you have been saved.” Believe it, and own it as yours. And in this way, we will run this race together. “For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace.” (Romans 6:14)

“For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.”