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Nathan Leung

writing on the subject of GENUINITY OF A CHRISTIAN and POST-TEENS CONFERENCE DEPRESSION


in a letter titled

CARRYING ON
WITH OUR LIVES
in address to the

TEENS CONFERENCE 2013 HIGH SCHOOL VOLUNTEERS

or a period of two to four days, we have been exposed to a relentless calvacade of spiritual and emotional situations. We have been kept under a bubble of Christianity; untouched by the harsh realities of our regular life. We dread the end of the conference, knowing that when it ends we must face the same hardships and struggles that we were facing before.

The question is not whether we should be struggling or not. The question that we must ask of ourselves is how we struggle with these things. I write these words with a heavy heart. After four days of being hammered by spiritual excitement and emotion, I am truly drained. It is a bittersweet experience. It is like a grape which starts off sweet and ends with a sour tangy taste. I am grateful and happy for what has happened during the conference. We can truly see that the Lord has done his work during these four days. And yet I feel like mourning. I feel depressed. I feel myself putting on an imaginary sackcloth. I feel empty, dreadful, and tired. I have experienced somewhat of a spiritual crash. I write this in hopes that we may be all uplifted and ready to continue in our journey of faith. I believe I can safely assume that all who have served are equally as tired. After all, continuous serving will ultimately drain those who serve should they not take the time to rest. Rest is important; reflection is even better. When we reflect, we think. When we reflect, we refuse to let ourselves believe blindly. We do not accept things on a shallow basis, rather, we continue to pull and stretch at the subject of thought until we come to a truthful consensus. I encourage this, for in this way, we guard ourselves from building a shaking foundation of flimsy shallow understanding and emotion. But what troubles me is the way in which we choose to live our lives after TC. Do we have a rendewed persepctive on how we should live our lives? Or do we fall back to the former ways of which we acted before volunteering at TC? Are we true Christians or do we simply take on a general image of a "TC Christian" whenever we immerse ourselves in something TC related? I believe that TC by itself does only one thing. TC produces copies of people. It is a cloning machine. It does not change people - that in itself is the work of the Lord. The Lord chooses to work through TC and changes people. But TC in itself (without the work of God) only makes twins of people. We begin to see that people can have two sides to themselves. They have their "TC" side, and they have their "regular" side. On one side, they adhere to a standard, and on the other side, another standard. What may be regarded as the Lords work may simply be an adaption to the TC environment. I am not disregarding the effectivness of the TC ministry. Rather, I am addressing the problem of allowing the Spirit of God to work within us after TC has ended. Are we allowing the Lord to shape us, or are we allowing ourselves to be temporarily shaped by the hype and spiritual excitmement that permeates the TC atmosphere? In essence, the question I want to hit at is this: Do others know that we are followers of Christ without having to see us volunteer at TC? Do we rely on TC to give our credability as followers of Christ? Of course, bearing fruit in one's life is one indication that they have the Spirit of God working within them. However, the problem arises when TC becomes relatively the only indication of the genuinity of a follower of Christ. The significance of God having control over our lives is lost.

If we are to preach the ability of God to change lives, we must let our own changed lives hold witness to that. Who can believe that God has the power to change lives when they can see that those who claim that God changed their lives still live as if they where hardly changed at all? There will be no point in our testimony if our professed words of God's work in changing our lives hardly match the life that we now live. I challenge all volunteers to let the Spirit work in our lives. I challenge us to reflect, think, and act. We cannot simply just reflect and think, for if we did, we would never get anywhere with our spiritual lives. Nor can we simply act blindly without thinking, because in doing so we lose the reasoning behind why we do those actions. TC has ended for this year, but our walk with God has not. The journey with God never really ends. Let us allow our lives and everything that we do be glorifying to God. When others see us, let them praise and acknowledge our God. We are like mirrors. A clean mirror that allows one to see themself is a good one, since it does its job properly. A crusty, dirty mirror that is so grimy that nothing can be seen is a poor one. In the same sense, we must all be 'clean mirrors'. We need to reflect the glory of God. We must not let our 'mirror' be dirtied by things such as our own selfish desires, ambitions, and sin. For if we do, we will be unable to reflect the glory of God. We will be totally useless in what we are meant to do as followers of Christ. A warning goes to all volunteers to continue to live with caution. During TC, we were on the lookout for the Devils attacks. Now that TC is over, many of us have begun to relax thinking that the battle is won. This creates ample opportunities for Satan to come in and ravage our lives. We must remain on the lookout for his attacks. An enemy always prefers to attack whenever the eyes of his opponent are not looking his way. In knowing that, let us remain on watch for the Devils attacks, not staring straight ahead with narrow stubborn thinking, but turning to and fro with an open mind that is attentive of the Lord. Let us abide in God; who is our protector and shield. He will not let us fail, nor will he let us stumble. He will deliver us from the Evil one. We need only to rely fully on him. For those with heavy hearts, take joy in the fact that the spiritual journey is continuous. The yearning to praise God that you've felt during worship all comes from the Spirit. He has not left you, nor will he ever. It is natural to feel 'strange' after these four days. Even if you were not looking for a spiritual and emotional high, the highly charged atmosphere of TC probably gave you one anyway. But instead of just going back to a 'regular' life, continue to seek to glorify God in all you do. Praise him no matter what the circumstances. Do not look for spiritual highs like a drug addict, rather, abide in the Spirit always. He will guide you, comfort you, move you to worship, inspire you, and will always be with you. This is not the end. Eternity does not end. We will continue to worship God; now on Earth, and forever in Heaven. "The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all."1 Amen.

2 Corinthians 13:14, ESV