Youth Mission Trip Sunday
As you know, today is Youth Mission Trip Sunday but it’s also Father’s Day. And I think that’s a fitting video to begin the message and the youth report and testimonies with because, were it not for the examples of Fathers, Mothers, Grandfathers and Grandmothers of these youth, they may not have been involved in the church or mission work at all.
I believe a life of faith is an Adventure if you begin each day asking, “OK, Lord, what have you got in store for me today. Who can I serve and how can I serve. How can I bring You glory, God?”
You may not think your faith makes much of a difference, but think about the difference your example has made in the life of these young adults who went as Missionaries from our Church to serve people they’ve never met. They worked and sweated and gave up a week of their summer to serve God and to be the hands and feet and face of Jesus in the lives of others.
They learned that from you. They learned to LIVE the Adventure of Faith and to serve from you.
I don’t know what the official Scripture for Mission Trip was but when I saw the theme “Do Good” this is the passage that came to mind. 1 Peter 3:10-17 (NRSV)
 For “Those who desire life and desire to see good days, let them keep their tongues from evil and their lips from speaking deceit;
 let them turn away from evil and do good; let them seek peace and pursue it.
 For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears are open to their prayer. But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.”
 Now who will harm you if you are eager to do what is good?
 But even if you do suffer for doing what is right, you are blessed. Do not fear what they fear, and do not be intimidated,
 but in your hearts sanctify Christ as Lord. Always be ready to make your defense to anyone who demands from you an accounting for the hope that is in you;
 yet do it with gentleness and reverence. Keep your conscience clear, so that, when you are maligned, those who abuse you for your good conduct in Christ may be put to shame.
 For it is better to suffer for doing good, if suffering should be God’s will, than to suffer for doing evil.
When Paul says “it is better to suffer for doing good” he was talking about being persecuted for the faith. None of us have ever really been persecuted for our faith but I can tell you that there is some suffering involved in Mission Trip. You suffer heat and humidity. You suffer from mosquitos and gnats and flies; sometimes bee stings and snakes.
You suffer by having to share a classroom as a bedroom with 6 to 10 other youth while sleeping on a cot or an air mattress. You suffer with shifting shower schedules and showering in a local school. You suffer from daily chores. You suffer from having to make your own lunch. You suffer from long days and short nights.
But it’s a joyful suffering because you know you are doing good. So, let’s hear how our Mission Teams Did Good. We’ll start with a video overview and then let the Youth Share
It dawned on me that the theme this year is one of the Three Simple Rules of being a United Methodist. Do No Harm, Do Good, Stay In Love With God .
I. DO NO HARM:
Let me give you a reminder of what Wesley meant by this. In Colossians 3:12-17 we read:
“As God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience. Bear with one another and, if anyone has a complaint against another, forgive each other; just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in the one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly; teach and admonish one another in all wisdom; and with gratitude in your hearts sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”
And if you didn’t realize it, the Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, where the shooting took place exhibited the greatest example of the concept of Do No Harm and Christian Compassion when they witnessed to the depth of their faith by offering Forgiveness to the young man who killed 9 of their members, including their Pastor. People are acting surprised, but if if we truly believe what we say we believe and are living as Jesus taught, then there’s no other response.
“And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”
II. DO GOOD:
Our youth have been a very good example of how to Do Good but let me remind you with a passage from Romans 12:9-10 (NRSV) “Let love be genuine; hate what is evil, hold fast to what is good; love one another with mutual affection; outdo one another in showing honor.”
III. STAY IN LOVE WITH GOD:
Our Third and Final Simple Rule is simply Stay In Love With God. One of the passages it is based on is Psalm 105:4 (NRSV) “Seek the LORD and his strength; seek his presence continually.”
We stay in love with God, if we seek to be in constant communion and communication with God and if we seek to do God’s will. John Wesley said: “Do all the good you can; By all the means you can; In all the ways you can; In all the places you can; To all the people you can; As long as ever you can.”
Today we honor the Dads, Fathers, Grandfathers and parents in general who have played such an important part in the spiritual life of your families. While we are the examples for our children and youth, sometimes they are an example for us as well. And this past week that’s exactly what they were as they lived out their faith and both our Wesleyan theology and heritage by Doing Good.
This is the Word of the Lord for this day.