It's Not Supposed to Work Like This

Jonathan Kohlmeier

It's not supposed to work like this! High School aged youth don't get excited about prayer offices and services that were written or compiled 2000 years ago. They get bored with in-depth bible studies that just go through scripture. They need edgy video and skits that can concretely be applied to their lives and that old boring stuff just doesn't do it.

Yet here they are! 1400 youth belting out great Lutheran hymns. They're in the classrooms asking tough questions about the text of scripture and Lutheran doctrine. They're asking their pastors about baptism and private Confession and Absolution! It's completely insane to the world who thinks teens just need and want to be entertained. Yet here we are, in Purdue, witnessing all of it and more!

I guess this shouldn't really be a surprise to us. These Lutheran Youth are at the top of their game academically. During the school year they are learning calculus that even if we did learn it has been mostly forgotten now. They are encouraged to think critically by teachers in class and through homework and exams. They're smart. Intelligent. Thirsting for knowledge. It shows just by talking with them!

The experience of a Higher Things Conference is something all in and of itself. The singing, the learning, the fellowship all leads to great emotion. But it doesn't stop there. This experience is reproducible. That’s because it’s not about the experience or the emotion but about the unchanging Gospel and the gifts which deliver it. The same gifts given at a conference are given week in and week out in our congregations. Sunday morning our pastors start with the words, "In the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit," reminding us of our baptism. We confess our sins and we are absolved. We hear the word of God read and preached and Jesus comes to us through it. Christ comes to us in body and blood in the sacrament. That victory over sin, death, and the devil that was won for us at Calvary is delivered to us in, with, and under the bread and the wine.

There are probably more people here at From Above - Purdue then you have in your own congregations. Instead of hearing 1 or 2 pastors preach you'll hear 7 different pastors preach Jesus for you. The singing will be a little louder. You'll see that there are more Lutheran youth than just you and your youth group. It's definitely an experience you'll remember for a little while.

Then you'll get home. The excitement will wear off and the emotions will die down. But those same things that you heard and learned here will continue on in your own congregations. Your own pastor will continue preach Jesus Christ and Him Crucified for you. He will continue deliver Jesus to you week in and week out. You'll be joined with the whole church as you sing, pray, and receive the gifts of The Lord.

That’s a gift from above and it’s pretty great!

Created: July 9th, 2013