"Honey, it's time to get up."


A recap of the 2015 youth rally by Rachel To. 

10of us sat in a circle in Cristina's living room staring awkwardly at each other in silence--who would be the first to speak? A few days before our first meeting to discuss the 2015 annual youth rally, Cristina had asked the core team to quietly seek God's guidance and ask Him to show each of us what the theme for the rally would be. We had just finished the "What's Your Story?" Worship Night in January and many of us were still mentally and spiritually processing everything that God had taught us through its planning and execution. It had only been a few seconds before Cristina broke the silence and suggested we each take turns going around in the circle sharing what each of us heard from God in our quiet time. One by one, a small but definite similarity began to ring in each of our suggestions. Brokenness, lack of self-worth, and depression; yet also healing, confidence, and joy. What was God trying to say? 


In our culture today, our generation of youth pride themselves on perfecting their self-image, most notably through social media. We crave social acceptance and cover up our darkness and brokenness with pictures and posts of only the highlights of our lives. "Who cares if it's accurate? At least I'll get a 100 likes for it"-- becomes our mentality. Soon enough, we’ll have forgotten how to enjoy a meal if we didn’t take an “artsy” picture of the food and post it on our Snapchat Story or Instagram a candid photo with friends with, of course, a #nofilter. But who am I to call our generation out on it? I admit, I have done all those things. Though posting pictures on social media is not in itself a bad thing, I have battled with the all consuming tendency to try to create a confident and perfect image of myself that people who have never met me in real life can be convinced I live. An image that is not based on God’s redeeming grace over my life, but rather one that is built up by my own achievements and good works. Have you been in my shoes before?


I believe that every time we attempt to perfect our self-image and receive positive feedback from our peers, we fuel our pride and deceive ourselves into thinking we don’t need grace—we can live happily by ourselves. As Christians, how are we supposed to live in light of this self-sufficient culture? How do we resist the temptation to only post things praiseworthy in comparison to those that are prayer-worthy?


At our 2015 youth rally, we wanted youth to be aware of the distractions that could be keeping them from living a life sold-out to Jesus. It was a call for our generation to wake up from our worldly slumber and embrace a life of wholeness and redemption. However, in order to do so, it would require laying down our pride and taking up the humble cross to deny ourselves of the life we have created through our own doing. As it says in Ephesians 4:22-24, “You were taught…to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.” The first step to begin living a life awake and alive in Christ, is to get rid of your old way of life. Take heart, change does not happen overnight and to be like Christ is not a destination to reach but rather a process to undergo. God explicitly tells us what it looks like to be “made new in the attitude of [our] minds” (Eph. 4:23). For example, those who have been begun the process of change will “not let any unwholesome talk come out of [their] mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up…” and will “be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave [them]” (Eph. 4:29, 32). But we have to be careful not to get caught up in the extremes—over emphasizing good works (takes us back to square one where we must prove ourselves) vs. over emphasizing God’s grace (we continue to live in sin, taking advantage that God will forgive us each time). We must remember that our obedience to God is a reflection of our love and devotion to Him and reflects our heart’s condition. At the same time, if the condition of our heart is in conflict to God’s will, we will bear fruit that represents this. Ephesians 5:8-10 contrasts the two types of fruit that reflect our heart’s condition: “…Live as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) and find out what pleases the Lord. Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them.” In fact, we are called to expose the darkness! For “everything exposed by the light becomes visible—and everything that is illuminated becomes a light. This is why it is said:


‘Wake up, sleeper,

rise from the dead,

and Christ will shine on you’” 

(Eph. 5:13-14).


If you are able to recognize that you are asleep, you are already at a higher advantage to expose the darkness and habits that have been keeping you from living a confident, Jesus-filled life! For me, knowing that Jesus is not scrolling through my Facebook page and judging me based off of how “good” of a life I am living brings me a lot of peace and reassurance. He does not want my good works, He wants my devotion—which will overflow into obedience and service to my King. We serve a holy and righteous King whose grace covers all our sins! Praise be to Him.


Still one last question remains: how does being awake individually have to do with God’s overall plan? Well, the translation of talitha koum is “Little girl, get up” and is spoken by Jesus in the resurrection of Jairus’ daughter in Mark 5:40-45. However, that phrase placed in a Jewish cultural context is more than a simple command, it is a calling. In those days, this phrase was often used when a mother was gently calling her daughter to wake up: “Honey, it’s time to get up.” Likewise, Jesus’ words were tenderly calling Jairus’ daughter to life. Jesus did not know the girl, yet he loved her. This is similar to how we are to call our brothers and sisters who are asleep to awake and arise for Christ—with love and compassion, not from a judgmental or harsh point of view. It is not a command to be enforced upon others, but a gentle, confident nudging. God's big plan is for everyone to know Him and be in a relationship with Him so that they may enjoy His presence. Thus, we mustn’t be deceived by Satan into thinking there’s no hope for either us or our non-Christian friends and family. We can be sure that Jesus has already conquered the grave on our behalf, and we must awaken everyone to this good news: Jesus is alive and we rejoice!


So, let’s make an effort together to be a generation that is alive and awake, ready to declare victory for our King in this world. Let’s quit placing our worth in how many likes, views, or retweets we get and, instead, begin living out God’s higher calling for us as His children. Are you awake? Talitha koum.


PS: Please read the whole story in Mark 5:21-43 and Ephesians 4-5, and let the Holy Spirit speak to you using God’s Word ;)

 

Full recap of the youth rally. Shot and edited by Zach Camerino and his team. 

Looking to watch a specific part of the rally? Skip to... 

Student testimony: 00:26:28 

Dance skit: 00:38:18 

Student message: 00:47:21

Talitha Koum promotional teaser! Shot and edited by Nathan Xia. 

 

"40 The crowd laughed at him. But he made them all leave, and he took the girl’s father and mother and his three disciples into the room where the girl was lying. 41 Holding her hand, he said to her, “Talitha koum,” which means “Little girl, get up!” 42 And the girl, who was twelve years old, immediately stood up and walked around! They were overwhelmed and totally amazed. 43 Jesus gave them strict orders not to tell anyone what had happened, and then he told them to give her something to eat."

Mark 5:40-43 (NLT)