After sharing my faith / life story with the congregation last night at the Zion Coffee House, I invited the youth and their parents out to parking lot to participate in a devotion related to one of my favorite chapter of Scripture. We distributed a can of Dr. Pepper to everyone and we did, what like to call, a Dr. Pepper devotion (because Dr. Pepper is one of my favorite drinks).
Psalm 117, the whole chapter, is only two little verses. But, those two verses contain the answer to some of life’s biggest questions --- questions about who God is and why people are on this planet. This shortest chapter in the Bible gives the “Who, What, and Why” of Christianity. It’s so important that even Paul repeated in Romans 15:11. If I had the privilege of titling the Psalm, I would title it “How’s your praise life?” or “The Basics of Christianity: who, what, why.”
Here’s what the Psalm says:
Praise God, everybody! Applaud God, all people! God’s love has taken over our lives; God’s faithful ways are eternal. Hallelujah!
Who is this Psalm written to?
Everyone … Praise God, everybody. Applaud God, all people! His love has taken over our lives. No matter what language you read this in … the message is the same. God loves us. All of us. I asked the youth and parents to shake up their Dr. Pepper, if they were WHO these verses were written for. Everyone shook their Dr. Pepper!
What should we do in response to God’s love? Verse 1 tells us we should praise God / applaud God What does it mean to praise God? Our youth and parents had several suggestions. But, the Dictionary says Praise means to extol, commend, or honor, often in song. I had the youth and parents sing praises … they did well! I then explained that praise is like bragging on someone --- loud enough that everyone can hear. Finally, I asked the youth and parents to shake their Dr. Pepper up if they are good at bragging on others, themselves, their friends, their church, their favorite sports team when they win (like the Gamecock’s beating Ole Miss), God, or anything.
Our youth and parents shared many of the reasons why God deserves our praise: God died for us, everything good we have comes from God, God first loved us, etc. I mentioned that Verse 2 tells us exactly why God deserves our praise! Because God’s love has taken over our lives … and God’s faithfulness to us will last FOREVER! Even when we turn away, God will remain faithful to us. There is nothing we can do to make God not love us. My guess is there probably aren’t very many in our lives that are like that?
The point of the devotion was that once we have and acknowledge and live in God’s love, amazing things can happen. The Holy Spirit fills us up and we begin to explode and get others wet with God’s love! With that, we shook our Dr. Pepper one more time, popped them open, and exploded them all over the Zion parking lot! Dr. Pepper went EVERYWHERE!! For sure, that is just where Zion’s youth ministry is headed!