"For surely I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope" (Jeremiah 29:11).
How true these words from Jeremiah are. When I first attended an "Invitation to Service" event at California Lutheran University, Thousand Oaks, I was 16. I was filled with questions and doubts. This annual three-day event was an opportunity for people aged 15 to 25 to explore a variety of church vocations. My pastor had suggested that I go to seminary. I thought that was crazy. Me, a pastor? I barely paid attention in confirmation class. God didn't have any plans for me, I thought.
But I went to the event anyway, looking for answers to my questions. As it turned out, God did have plans for me. I listened to the music and the call stories. I talked to pastors and other youth. I made friends and reflected deeply on my questions. I wondered, "Am I really called to ministry?" While I was there, God shouted back, "Yes!" God had plans for me after all. I was filled with peace and certainty. I suddenly felt as if I'd found my place.
Last summer was my sixth year at Invitation to Service. Looking back on my first experiences, it seems silly that I ever doubted that God had a plan for me. After all, God created me, molded me in his image, and gave me everything I am and everything I have. Of course God had a plan for me! God always has.
I'm now a senior in college and am applying to seminary. Although I still have so much to learn, I rejoice to look at how much I've grown over the years. Through Invitation to Service, I've met wonderful role models and leaders in the church. I've had the honor of meeting other young people who are called to serve God in a variety of ways. I've learned about what it means to be faithful and what it means to follow a call from God. And in addition to these many blessings, I have complete certainty that the words of Jeremiah are true: God has plans for me and for every one of his children. God has given us a future with hope.
This week's front page features:
The December issue of The Lutheran magazine is now online. This week's featured stories are:
Be what God created you to be: Live divided no more.
Living a balanced life: What do we need to be healthier?
Second time around: Second-career pastors bring wisdom of past vocations.
Lutherans build 500 Habitat homes: In partnership with Thrivent.
Also: Augsburg Fortress: Board members vote to reinvest in infrastructure.
This week on our blog:
Amber Leberman writes about the California wildfires.
Sonia Solomonson (right) shares more Thanksgiving thoughts.
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Tell us! Communion age
In the "old days" first communion was tied to the rite of confirmation. Then the age of instruction and first communion was lowered. Today in many of our churches young children - even babies and toddlers - are served communion. "The Use of the Means of Grace," the ELCA's statement on word and sacrament, states that all the baptized are welcome to receive communion. Yet a range of opinions on a proper age exists. Share yours.
Send your response to firstname.lastname@example.org by Dec. 12.
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