Good News Youth Devotional

By Colin Scott (Youth Coordinator at the Mechanicsburg Church of the Brethren (Pa.))

John 15:12-17 “Love each other.”

Recently, we have all been challenged by what it means to “do church” or “be the church” when we cannot physically gather together as the Body of Christ. It takes greater effort and more energy to maintain meaningful relationships with, and to care for, those we are used to seeing regularly. And yet, Jesus’ command that we “Love each other” as He named us “friends” and prepared to sacrifice Himself for us is as relevant now as ever! I imagine that each of us can think of someone in need of an encouraging word, a listening ear, or a prayerful thought. How we choose to creatively live out Jesus’ example of sacrificial, selfless love in times of uncertainty and adversity has AWESOME potential to bear fruit – fruit that lasts. This is an unexpected chance to form new, lasting relationships. Let’s decide to thoughtfully continue building loving community by reaching out selflessly as a friend to those who may need support, hope, and reassurance. The possibilities for connections we make today are endless as we obey Christ’s direction to “Love each other.”

Good News: Jesus has chosen each of us as His friend and sacrificed Himself for us. Jesus tells us to choose to love each other selflessly.

Discussion question: What obstacles might we have to overcome to love each other as Christ commands? How might sharing Jesus’ sacrificial love look for us, practically, today?

Go one step further: Find your church directory, identify a member (or family) in the congregation who could use a friendly or thoughtful note, and mail them an encouraging greeting. Challenge yourself by choosing someone new, and maybe someone who you do not know well, each week and see what “fruit” is produced through these new relationships.

Good News Youth Devotional

By Rebecca House (Youth Pastor at the Pleasant Valley Church of the Brethren (Va.))

John 15:1-11 “Remain in me, and I will remain in you.”

Jesus is talking to his closest disciples, those he calls friends, shortly before he is going to be arrested. This is the last discussion he gets to have with them, and he tells them that they are all connected to him – and each other through him, like branches connected to a vine. He will continue to give them strength, all they need to is “remain in me, and I will remain in you.” If the disciples will continue to follow Jesus, even when he is not still physically with them, he will surely be with them. This is great news for us too! Especially in this time of physical separation from each other, from those we call friends, we can know that we are connected by something – someone – at a much deeper level than just physical presence.

Good News: Even when we feel alone, we can continue to follow Jesus’ way and remain connected to the One who will give us strength and peace and endurance.

Discussion question: What are some ways you can set aside time to get to know God better? What are some ways you can continue to show God’s love, either to those you are living with or those you are separated from?

Go one step further: Take the time to contact someone who is alone during this time. Send a text, give them a call, send a letter, or use your imagination to find another way. While you are connecting with that person, ask, “How can I be praying for you?” Then pray for them.