Another Year, Another Opportunity

As the sunny holidays draw to a close, and the endless stream of Youtube videos fades like a dream to the buzzing of the school bell, there’s a variety of emotions in the air. 

For many, the impending start of school is met with a heavy heart and an even heavier school bag. On the flip side, others are feeling excited; eager for the new opportunities and experiences that a new school year promises. 

Whatever you’re feeling, there’s no denying that this year has much in store for each and every one of us. What will each future hour be filled with? Each minute, or second even?

Stressful exam prep?

Fun times with friends? 

Arguments with parents? 

More social media scrolling?

But before we embark onto whatever the future has in store for us, there’s something many of us might do. 

New Year, New Goals

Making goals has always made its recurring presence all throughout my schooling life, and even outside of it. Whether its the lofty goals of a future career or dream uni, or the everyday struggling will to achieve the tasks I’ve set for the day, this seemingly simple art is definitely much harder to do than write. Even in school, I’ve repeatedly been provided a whole list of guidelines and suggestions to aid in crafting a ‘personal best’ goal for the year. 

But why exactly do we make goals in the first place? 

If you search this question up, there’ll be pages and pages of different articles and websites attempting to answer the question (believe me, I tried). Most (if not all) make valid points; setting goals gives surges of motivation, keeps us accountable, and puts us on that road to success. 

But what I’ve found in my own goal-making processes, is that the goals we make (as long as we make them of our own volition) reflect what we prioritise. 

What we value. 

What’s important to us. 

What matters

As someone who favours my English class over all others, it makes sense that I allocate majority of my time on studying and advancing my skills in that subject. If an exam for a certain subject is coming up soon, such as Math, it makes sense that I’ll prioritise studying Math over, let’s say, Geography. 

Whatever it is that we consider important, even if it’s just for that moment, it’s going to be what drives our decision to make a certain goal. 

So, as Christians, what do we consider important?

Our Heart’s Treasure

If you’ve grown up in a Christian household, I’m sure you’ll likely have heard this verse before. 

“..Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Matthew 6:21)

It’s pretty well-known, and it certainly seems straightforward. It makes sense that someone who loves, say money, would find their (certainly temporary) happiness and hopes on the amount of green bills stuffed into their bank account. 

But, if we are God’s children, who else can our treasure be? God is the sole owner of that throne in our heart. It’s God who matters in our life – His presence is our source of joy (why else do we sing ‘Joy to the World’ as we celebrate His first coming every December?) , and we know that we can find our hope and strength in Him (Isaiah 40:31). 

And if God is our treasure, then there our heart should be. 

And not only our heart either. We’re called to “‘love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” (Mattew 22:7). That means giving all of us – no reservations and keeping back. 

Just like how the classic hymn goes, 

“Let me burn out for Thee dear Lord,

Burn and wear out for Thee.”

A Worthy Goal 

If God truly becomes what is most important in our lives, it’s then (and only then) that His calling will become our goal. He has set work for us in this world that’s still full of darkness, no matter how bright and shiny sin and suffering may seem from the outside. 

Now then, what is He calling us to do? 

He gives us a mission; to spread the Good News to all people, whether it be in our actions or our words, “till all have heard at least once of Calvary”. He works in us to bring His Kingdom here on earth through the ministry and community of the church. 

Because that is exactly what’s at the core of His heart. 

That is what’s important to God. 

It’s finally back to the old and battered school desk, as the 2023 school year rushes to a start. No matter what the school year brings, let’s not lose sight of what our goal is – what’s the ultimate priority of our actions, words, and choices. 

It’s a new year, and with it, new opportunities. 

Why waste them? 

Elaine (Anggi) Tambunan (14) is the editor and one of the many teens that write in RE Generation-Z. Through her articles, she aspires to remind more teens to live lives as lights in the world. She can be easily identified with a spectacled face buried in a thick novel or doodling.

Praying in Providence

From the not-so-hushed whispers in class behind the teacher’s back, to the loud laughing phone calls with friends, communication is an integral part of our everyday lives. After all, the very fact that we can ‘talk’ (some more so than others) is a huge chunk of what makes us human. 

Before we continue our discussion however, you might be wondering how all this talk about, well, talk, could possibly relate with our series on providence. The question we’re tackling today knits together both God’s providence and communication – however, we’re not referring to the typical talking between humans. Rather, we’ll be discussing how God’s providence affects our ‘talking’ with God Himself. 

After all, talking with someone who already knows what you’re going to say seems pretty pointless, right? Since God has full knowledge and control of everything, even the future, then why do we need to talk to Him? Why do we need to ask for our needs or blessings if He already knows? If God is in full control of all the things in the future, what difference can our prayers make? 

To answer this, it’s best to first understand prayer itself.

With folded hands…

From the very first mention of prayer, where “people began to call on the name of the Lord,” (Genesis 4:25), to us today, prayer is deeply embedded into our relationship with God. 

Just like how we talk with our friends and family, we can only grow closer to God if we ‘talk to Him too. But it’s also so much more than that. 

Throughout the Bible, prayer is something both powerful yet personal. It’s through prayer that Moses parted the Red Sea (Exodus 14:21-29), and Elijah called to God to send fire down from heaven (1 Kings 18:25-38). It’s through prayer that the mighty Aramean force sent to capture Elisha was instead blinded and led into the very centre of Samaria (2 Kings 6:8-23).  

Prayer is essentially our direct link with our Almighty Creator. No wonder it’s so powerful!

 And yet, it’s still personal for each and every one of us. 

No matter where, when or even who we are, we have this constant faithful promise that we can talk to Him in prayer. Like it says in Psalm 66:19, “But truly God has listened; he has attended to the voice of my prayer.” 

So what does providence have to do with prayer? 


The very fact that God is a sovereign God, who has full control of our future, is what makes prayer both powerful and personal. 

The reason we have faith that our prayers make a difference, although God had already predestined everything that will happen, is because our prayers is part of that providential plan. 

Instead of thinking of providence and prayer as opposites, it’s because of providence that we pray in the first place. And it’s because of providence that we can be confident that our prayers can be used by God to accomplish His will. 

In the words of A.W. Pink, a theologian, “Here then is the design of prayer, not that God’s will may be altered, but that it may be accomplished in his own good time and way. ” Or as how John Piper, a pastor and author, more simply puts it, “Prayer is part of the plan for how God accomplishes his purposes in the world.”

Our prayers aren’t useless before God. 

Rather, our prayers are listened to, valued, and used. 

And that’s exactly what makes prayer so personal as well. 

That God would stoop down to use us and our (often half asleep) words in His great cosmic plan. 

Like a patient and loving father who allows his young and clumsy child to move his hand – the fact he plans for this is an amazing mystery. 

So now what? 

It might seem self-explanatory, but theres only one way prayer can radically and actively work in both our spiritual and practical life.

It’s if we pray. 

Pray when we’re giving thanks. 

Pray when we fall. 

Pray when we go through those tough times. Pray when our life just feels so flat. 

Pray for others; for whoever we know who’s hurt or confused. 

Pray that God’s plan can work through us.

Pray that we may continue to grow in understanding and trust in His providence. 

And finally (or perhaps it’s just the beginning), pray without ceasing.

Elaine (Anggi) Tambunan (14) is the editor and one of the many teens that write in RE Generation-Z. Through her articles, she aspires to remind more teens to live lives as lights in the world. She can be easily identified with a spectacled face buried in a thick novel or doodling.

A Spirit to Serve

Whether it’s helping to hand out tracts for an event at church, or playing an instrument during worship, the concept of ministry is one we face every time we step through the doors of the church. Maybe we even engage in ministry outside of Saturdays and Sundays – with the ever-increasing range of media and technology, digital ministry is yet another platform for evangelising. 

From Monday to Sunday, physical to digital, practising to performing, preparing to preaching, ministry spans broadly across all aspects of our life. 

But with our increasing busyness, it’s easy to forget the foundation of our ministry – the basic building blocks of why we’re spending our time and resources to serve God. 

But first: what is ministry anyway? 

What counts as serving God? 

If you search it up, ministry comes under the definition of “the spiritual work or service of a Christian or a group of Christians, especially evangelism.”

Digging deeper into the Greek translation of the word, it defines to “”. From both definitions, we can deduce both the ‘what’  and ‘why’ of ministry – working to serve others. 

But if we look into the New Testament, we can see there’s so many aspects within the very notion of ministry. Because if ministry is simply doing acts of service to others, what seperates it from the countless charities of the world? 

Back to the Bible 

If we read Acts 20:24, we can see that ministry forms our very identity of being Christians. “But I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus..”.

From this verse, we can see ministry is a divine calling – it’s not merely a good act for the sake of it, but something we’re called to do by God. This is further consolidated in the first book addressed to the Corinthians which states that “having this ministry by the mercy of God, we do not lose heart.” (2 Corinthians 4:1). The very fact that ministry is ordained by God gives us, as His children, hope.

The author, assumed to be the apostle Luke, goes on to outline what exactly this consists of, stating that his ministry was “to testify to the gospel of the grace of God.” 

That means all the actions, all the words, and all the effort that we devote to ministry are to share the gospel of God. It’s to share the Good News. It’s to obey the Great Commission, stated by Christ Himself – “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. “

Because in the end, ministry is blessing others – and what higher blessing than the very gracious salvation of Christ Himself? In the letter to the Romans, it’s written “For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard?” (Romans 10:13-14)

Yet ministry is not only our duty. 

As we grow in His Word, through daily devotions, meditation, bible study and weekly Sunday services, ministry becomes part of our personal growth. As we grow more and more about His character and will, so will this earnest desire for ministry in our daily lives. 

Growing in the knowledge of Him is far more than just reading and memorising verses in the Bible as you would for an exam. It’s far more than just reluctant (and admittedly sleepy) early morning Bible readings.

It’s an active, conscious, and living part of our identity. 

If we are to truly obey His Word, we must dedicate our all with a cheerful and willing heart to do so – even when it’s inconvenient and uncomfortable. 

After all, how can we effectively share His Word with others if we don’t study and live it within our own lives first? 

I’m not going to promise that deciding to engage in ministry will be easy. The Scriptures themselves promise the very opposite. 

But we don’t have to do it alone. 

Just like how it says in 2 Corinthians 4:1, “Therefore, having this ministry by the mercy of God, we do not lose heart. “

No matter how many times you fall, and how many times you falter, know that your strength to serve others doesn’t have to come from yourself. 

“And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ.” (Ephesians 4:11-12) 

He has equipped us with the Spirit to guide, His Word to instruct, His church as a community to support and encourage, and His daily Providence in even the smallest details.

And most importantly, He is with us. 

So what now? 

I can confidently state from my own experience that starting in ministry can often be intimidating. Maybe you’re scared of messing up, or unsure if you’re really supposed to be there. Whatever it is, don’t let it stop you. 

Know that its never too late or early to start, and you can never be too young to serve Him. Paul wrote to Timothy, stating “Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity.” (1 Timothy 4:12), and these truths apply to us too. 

If somehow this moves you to start ministry in your own life, try asking around at church to see where help and volunteers are needed. Any skill and talent you have can be used by God; from music (try volunteering to play for a youth service!) to sport (join in the next REGENZ sport event, perhaps?) or even teaching (if you can handle younger kids, try helping out during Sunday School, or, for seniors, volunteer to tutor at the weekly REGENZ study centre!). 

Even if you’re not sure of your passion, you can serve in ministry in daily spheres as well;  helping to carry heavy bags for an older person, helping to clean around at church, home or school, and countless other ways. 

Just one reminder from your sister in Christ – don’t forget why you serve. I can testify that it’s so easy to lose sight of your purpose when you’re bogged down by countless responsibilities and stresses. That’s why it’s essential that we must continue to pray as we serve. Pray for wisdom, discretion, courage, zeal, perseverance, commitment, and love. 

Let’s serve wholeheartedly together.

Our Present From God

It’s a typical character, in an equally typical narrative. 

From determined, single-minded victors, to nervous and unsure heroes, there’s a whole range of characters in every genre – and the pages in all these books tell the story of the character’s… present. 

Even though we, as an avid audience, may know every detail of the character’s past and future, we’ll never be able to truly and fully understand their present  – their emotions, feelings, and motives. 

Yet the ‘present’ is something we all face, regardless of race, culture, home life or anything else. It’s something you’re experiencing as you scroll through this article now. It’s something you’ll experience later on as you carry on with your day, or, depending on the time of where you are currently, it’s something that you’ll later be falling asleep in. It renews itself every single day – every single hurried blink of our eyes, and in every panting breath we take, as our ‘present’ becomes our forgotten past and our future into our living present. 

I recall reading a story depicting the past, present and future as each individual character, and it became pretty confusing at times! But that’s the reality in our world of space and time, where we can only change our linear lives by the actions we do in the present. 

And we, as Christians, are no exception. In this world we live in, and in our ever-progressing present, every action we take reflects our worldviews and values. So even though we all may be plodding through this one-way trip of life, it doesn’t mean that our experiences and actions in the present are the same as those of the world. 

  1. A Present Experience

“We must go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God,” (Acts 14:22). 

As a child, I always found this verse a bit disconcerting. After all, why would the world hate us if what we were preaching was called the Good News? And even though I heard about the persecution of Christians in distant countries and even in the Bible stories, I always assumed that it would never happen to me. 

Why would it?

But the truth is, that the very fact of us being Christians guarantees our suffering. Perhaps it’s not as apparent to us now, but it’s a reality of the present. Persecution isn’t just a thing of the past or only happening out there, but it’s a present living reality. Jesus, Himself states this in John 15:19-21, “ If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you. Remember what I told you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also.” 

Maybe it’s not persecution as large of a scale as house churches or the persecuted early church, but it will be present nonetheless. Whether it’s being shunned or looked down upon for having radically different beliefs as others at school, or a personal struggle of your own, it’ll be a part of our present. 

But God doesn’t leave us to struggle alone. 

  1. A Present God

When we hear at church that ‘Jesus is alive,’ how do we respond? 

Is this something that makes us glad? Or is it something we view with apathy, with the countless times of hearing it at church making us just not care?

Because, in the end, it wheels down to how we truly view God. 

Past the beliefs of our family, friends and church community into our deepest and truest thoughts. What do we believe God to be? Who do we believe God to be?

Is He Someone real to us? Can we see His hand working and active in the everyday events of our lives? Is He present in our lives?

Or, deep within our hearts, is He Someone we merely think of as a distant Creator, a God who has left this world ticking like a well-wound clock and doesn’t involve Himself any further? For us, is He just ‘that Great Man Upstairs’?

But does He have to be?

  1. A Present Help

The Bible is around 4000 years ago, and some sources suggest even longer! With such an ancient text, it’s easy to assume that the words are outdated, and have no rightful place within the post-modern world we live in. 

Yet the Bible is more than just lengthy words written on dusty manuscript paper. 

It’s the living Word of God. 

It’s a Word that was present in the lives of Abraham, Moses, the prophets, and the apostles, and it’s a Word that lives on in the present of so many people now. 

Because it’s the Word of an equally eternal and living God. 

And with this truth firmly in our grasp as those saved by Him, we can rest assured in the ever-renewing mercies He provides for us. John Piper, Reformed theologian and pastor, aptly summarises the ever-present love that God promises His children which can be inferred from Romans 8:35. 

“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?” 

Though we still will face troubles and struggles every day, God provides His people with a “present and powerful” love. It’s more than just a memory, or a Bible story from hundreds of years ago – it’s a present gift, as He continues, even now, to work in us and “bring us to eternal joy”. 

God’s eternal love for us doesn’t start only when we get to heaven. 

It’s a present, living, wonderful, powerful, reality.

It’s a present from God. 


Elaine (Anggi) Tambunan (14) is the editor and one of the many teens that write in RE Generation-Z. Through her articles, she aspires to remind more teens to live lives as lights in the world. She can be easily identified with a spectacled face buried in a thick novel or doodling.

Worries of our Future

The future. 

That giant, vast, and gaping abyss of the unknown. 

It’s perhaps little wonder that we, as a society, have always been fascinated with the possibilities that result from being able to glimpse past the blurriness of the unknown, and see clearly and starkly what will happen to us. Whether it’s prophecies, such as the Oracle’s within Greek mythology, visions of the future, looking at tea leaves, checking a horoscope, or even crystal ball gazing. Particularly within science fiction, countless stories and narratives tackle such concepts of being able to peek into the future, whether through means of a time machine or even simply being visited by your future self. 

The future has been and still is a central part and influence of humanity, affecting our decisions, thoughts and worldview. 

Because what the future essentially is, is that unknown and impenetrable part of our lives that we have no way of knowing or preparing for – even if society claims the opposite. 

Like in the previous article,  we outlined that we can never change the past because it is set firmly in stone; it’s the opposite when we discuss the future. Because if we view our past as an immovable and unchangeable solid, our future becomes like water – ever-changing, unpredictable, and a constant reflection of our past and present actions. 

The only assurance we can have of the future is when our ‘future’ becomes our present. Otherwise, we have no idea what, good or bad, awaits us. 

And that’s the hard, simple truth of our future.

It’s the fact we don’t know. 

A matter of perspective 

Perhaps, as teens, the threats that the future poses may not seem as immediate to us. Instead, we simply leave thoughts of the future for an unspecified and vague date much, much later – and if we were to be truly honest with ourselves, we would be happy to never have to think about it. 

Or maybe, we’re more inclined to worry. Nervous about the unknown trials that we aren’t even entirely sure will come, we spend our time anxious and scared of what’s to come. And these worries leave us feeling drained and unmotivated, even to complete tasks that we previously would have enjoyed.

And maybe still, some of us view the future confidently. After all, are we not the post-modern generation? The future is ripe and ours for the taking, and we make countless determined plans for the future. Even if our ‘Plan A’ doesn’t work, we’ve got the rest of the alphabet at our fingertips. We view the future victoriously, for we consider it to belong to us. 

Sharing from my perspective on the future, I’ve always viewed the future with a level of intimidation. Just like how I, as an inexperienced suburb-living student, would regard a wild animal – although I may feel somewhat excited, for the most part, I would be frightened, not knowing what it would do to me. And, for me, that’s the most terrifying part about the future. 

It’s something I don’t know, and I can’t ever know. 

Or is it? 

An all knowing God 

Have you ever stood on the shoreline at the beach? With gentle waves lapping at your feet, and the grainy sand firm underneath, you feel at ease. 

But when the waves come, the water crashes onto you with unexpected fury. You’re swept off your feet and crash into the crumbling sand. 

Especially with the abundance of problems that we already have in the present, we’re so scared that the future will crash onto us a wave of unexpected change and hardships. And we’ve all probably experienced first-hand that no matter how stable the sand underneath us feels or how much we’ve prepared, the wave always leaves us sprawling on the ground. 

It’s this particular topic that James writes about in his letter James. 

One of the major leaders of the Jewish church during early Christianity, James addresses his words to the Jewish believers scattered around the ancient world. Following the martyrdom of Stephen, these scattered believers were surrounded by the constant threat of torture and suffering. It’s little surprise that they were anxious and unsure, wondering what new trial was just ahead, and maybe, just like us, they tried to make plans to grasp at whatever secure future was slipping from their hands. 

That’s exactly what James addresses in his following words, 

“Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that. ” (James 4:13-17)

We can’t know the future, and neither can we control it. 

But God can. 

After all, He is, well, God! He is the Alpha and Omega (Revelation 22:13), and both know and understand the past and the future. And it is in the hands of this eternal, all-powerful, and omniscient Lord that the future is held. 

The author of Hebrews describes Jesus as the ‘Author of Life’ and ‘Finisher of our faith’ (Hebrews 12:2), and these two names reveal very special truths about the relationship between us, God, and the future. 

1. Author of Life

Notice how the author of Hebrews decides to refer to Jesus not as ‘Creator of life’, as we would normally assume, but as the Author. And that’s a pretty significant detail. As Author, He knows and is actively involved in the whole story of our lives – including our future. He knows what’s best for us, and He grants us, His children, a precious promise – that all the things in our lives, in the past, present and future, will ultimately be for our good. 

“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28)

2. Finisher of our Faith

God doesn’t only create us and leave it at that. He is actively involved in all dimensions of our lives, and He walks with each of us individually every step of the way. We won’t have to venture into the future alone, but His grace overflows daily to sustain us continually. 

John Piper, an influential evangelist and preacher, calls this continual grace, ‘future grace’. In his words, “future grace is God’s power, provision, mercy, and wisdom—everything we need—in order to do what he wants us to do five minutes, five weeks, five months, five years, and five thousand years from now.”

The sand swirls beneath our feet, and ahead of us, we can see the relentless wave racing toward us. 

Sure, we’re afraid. 

But we’re not alone, and we’ll never have to be

Extra Resources:

The Regrets We Leave Behind

Imagine that somewhere out there, past the swirling veils of starry darkness that make up our galaxy, you existed. 

Perhaps not the you you’re familiar with, but another version of you. A ‘you’ who got that grade, made up with that friend, won that award, said the right things. 

A better ‘you’.

A ‘you’ that you don’t regret. 

I’ve always had a particular interest in science fiction, and a particular aspect that I’ve found is pretty popular in this specific genre (and even in others) is the idea of ‘parallel universes’. 

Simply put, it’s the theory that somewhere beyond our universe, exists other universes where we exist as well – yet it’s not really ‘us’. In these parallel universes are versions of us where we made better choices; we didn’t talk back to our parents, we didn’t procrastinate before the math exam, we didn’t carelessly say words that hurt our friends. 

But what makes this idea so appealing to us? What inner desire do we perhaps unconsciously have that drives us to produce stories, movies, and other media forms about this specific topic? 

One thing I can change.. 

It’s the typical icebreaker question. Maybe a friend would ask this during a lull in conversation, or maybe you’ll come across it on the back of those fruity chews wrappers. 

It’s a no-brainer, really. 

“If you could change one thing in your past, what would it be?”

I’m not sure about you, but when I heard this question, my mind immediately jumped to the answer, “I wished I’d started studying for my math exam earlier.”

But my thoughts didnt stop there. 

“What if I’d studied harder? I could’ve gotten a better grade.”

“Maybe if I didn’t waste my time as often, I’d be more successful. “

“If only I didn’t do this thing, I could’ve still been friends with that person.”


“What if.”

“If only.”

These are the words that we often associate with the feeling of regret. 

According to the Cambridge dictionary, regret is defined as “a feeling of sadness about something sad or wrong or about a mistake that you have made, and a wish it could have been different or better. “

And I’m confident that most, if not all, of us would agree with this definition. 

I’m certain all of us have experienced regret before. Even the most popular, successful, and prestigious of people that we see on media and the news, who we assume would be satisfied in their success, all have had regrets in their lives.

It’s only natural that we, as humans, experience regret. It’s inevitable in this sin-filled world that we live in. 

Because when sin first seeped into our hearts during Adam and Eve’s fall into temptation, it was then when our free will was corrupted. This distortion and corruption of the free will God gave us is the catalyst of our feeling of regret. 

Even though we’ve fallen into sin, and turned away from the fulfilling and joyful purpose that God has intended in His love and goodness for us, we still feel guilt.


Because, deep inside the sin-invaded fortress of our hearts, a little watchman  continues to berate and rebuke us whenever we sin. 

He reminds us that our sin is wrong. He tells us we shouldn’t be doing it. Yet we still do it anyway. 

And so, the watchman shouts. Not for joy, but with tears, in righteous sorrow and anger as all the while, we continue to sin. 

And that’s precisely what regret is.

Regret’s sinful side

Don’t get me wrong. Regret can often be a good thing – when the watchman’s cry is drowned out by the racous pleasure of the world, God still can use our feelings of regret to lead us back to the right path. 

But, just like any other blessing, regret can be corrupted. 

Just like how drinking water is vital for our survival, great quantities of water left unrestricted, such as a flood, can easily engulf entire cities. And it’s the same way for regret. Left unchecked, regret can easily cause us to self pity, or, in an opposite effect, cause us to get lost in our own self hate. Either way, the devil uses regret and guilt to discourage us, and tempt us to think that it’s useless to return to God. 

Even as a Christian, my guilty regrets over certain sins make me unmotivated and reluctant to come before Him in worship, let alone serve Him in ministry. Just like Adam and Eve, hiding from God in their shame, we too often hide our faces in shame from the light of God’s mercy. There’s a verse that summarises this pretty well, and it goes as follows.  

“Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death.” (2 Corinthians 7:10)

Brought to light

But for us, the story doesn’t have to end there. 

As children of God, we are able to rest assured in His promises. And this includes His promise of redemption! As it says in Ephesians 1:7, “In Him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace.” 

John Piper, an American theologist and pastor, elaborates on this verse, revealing that this redemption God gives us is far more complex than we would originally think. Referring to Hebrews 9:15, “he has died as a ransom to set them free from the sins committed under the first covenant,” John Piper explains that this redemption, this ‘freedom through payment’ that he grants us, is a freedom from sin – and this includes the guilt that comes from our past sins. Just like it says in Isaiah, God tells us, “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?”

The fact that we’ve sinned will never change. 

We’ll never be able to travel to a parallel universe where we didn’t make those mistakes. Neither can we time travel again to the past and take back our sins. 

But we can be confident and assured that “.. in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28). 

In all things. It’s only because of God’s mercy and love that He is willing to work in us, through the mistakes we’ve made. It’s because of His grace that we’re able to, just as it described in Proverbs 24:16, “who though the righteous fall seven times, they rise again.”

A Final Note

Almost a skeleton, Betsie Ten Boom lay on the small cot dying. Imprisoned in Hitler’s infamous concentration camp for aiding and hiding Jews from the Nazi government, they, along with countless others, had suffered hellish imprisonment, starvation, abuse and countless other horrors. 

From the world’s perspective, it seemed that Betsie would have had many regrets. 

After all, she could have easily looked the other way and avoided all the suffering that had come with following her God. 

But she didn’t. 

In her very words, “There are no ifs in God’s Kingdom.”

Why stay in the land of ‘what ifs’? It’s time to start living for now – and for God. 

When I’m Older

What do you want to be when you’re older?

We’ve probably been asked this question more times than we count. It’s been a topic of discussion, thinking, and imagination all through our childhood. Personally, I can confirm this as a fact – I’ve changed from wanting to be a pilot at eight years old, to a writer at 9, to a graphic designer at 12… The list was endless, and it’s still growing to this day. 

Even as teenagers, ‘growing older’ is still a concept our minds often linger on. At an age where we’re not children but haven’t quite reached adulthood either, being older and more mature still seems to hover on the horizon of the distant future. 

Because we don’t consider ourselves to be ‘old’ yet, our years still seem to stretch out before us, and, surrounded by a culture driven by YOLO (You Only Live Once), we’re often tempted to join them living life for now. 

What we want to do, now. What makes us happy now. What contents us, now. What makes us feel purposeful now. Everything else we can do later – when we’re older. 

Even with our calling as Christians that we’re exposed to every Sunday Service or Bible study, although we may say aloud that we’re going to evangelise to our friends and serve God, our minds often add a whispered “when I’m older” to our claims. 

Because how can ordinary teens like us serve God? 

Shouldn’t we wait until we’re older and more mature before answering God’s calling? 

When I’m Older

Picture the scene: It’s Sunday, and the Sunday service has ended. Feeling inspired by the sermon’s message to evangelise to those around us and serve God through ministry, you promise to start living the gospel through your life. But as time goes on and everyday school life brings about its standard sets of situations and struggles, the drive to minister starts to falter. The gospel just seems so out of place in the daily busyness of life. And it’s often during such times that we make the all-too-familiar excuse – “I’ll serve when the time is better. I’ll just wait until I’m older and have more opportunities.”

What we often don’t realise is that, that ‘perfect’ time to evangelise doesn’t exist. It’ll never be the right time to tell a friend the Gospel or start ministry. If we keep waiting and delaying until we feel we’re more ‘experienced,’ we’re never going to start. Just like how Paul urges Timothy in 2 Timothy 4:2, “Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage.” Later on, in verse 5, Paul repeats this instruction, saying, “But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry.” 

Evangelising and living lives that reflect His Word isn’t restricted to ‘good’ times – we’re meant to make use of every opportunity to share the Gospel, even if it comes at great personal cost. 

Living devoted lives as teenagers starts now – not somewhere in the near future, but now because we are part of the Church’s community. 

The Church is called to “go and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.” (Matthew 28:16-20). This calling isn’t specified to our parents or adults – God calls the whole church. We, too, are tasked with this mission.

But even with this, we sometimes still feel insufficient to share the gospel with our friends. Because, aren’t we still too young? Will anyone even listen to us anyway? 

Serving God Now

We’re probably familiar with the person of Timothy in the Bible. Through his believer mother, Eunice, and grandmother, Lois, Timothy was guided in the Christian faith. Paul chose Timothy as his successor to carry on the work of the gospel, and he accompanied Paul on several missionary journeys. He also served as Paul’s representative to numerous churches, such as those in Corinthians and Philippians, before becoming a pastor in a church at Ephesus. 

Even though Timothy had a strong faith in God, he still doubted himself – just like us, he wondered if he was too young to serve God. Paul encourages him in his first letter, instructing him as follows: “Command and teach these things. Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, and in purity.” (1 Timothy 4:11-12). 

Even though we may not feel ‘old’ enough to start serving God effectively, we must remember that God has given us many gifts and opportunities to serve Him even in our teen years. We’ve been given talents, opportunities, and our youth. Why waste them? 

As it says in Ecclesiastes 11:9, “You who are young, be happy while you are young, and let your heart give you joy in the days of your youth. Follow the ways of your heart and whatever your eyes see, but know that for all these things, God will bring you into judgment.” 

Even though we may not be able to travel to other countries on missionary journeys to preach the gospel, we still can evangelise to those around us. Whether they be our school friends, family, community, or anyone who doesn’t yet know the truth of the gospel, we can share His Word to them by living devoted lives to God. “Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers.” (1 Timothy 4:15)

Living devoted lives for God doesn’t start when we’re older or when the ‘right’ time comes. 

Living a devoted life starts now.  

Elaine (Anggi) Tambunan (14) is the editor and one of the many teens that write in RE Generation-Z. Through her articles, she aspires to remind more teens to live lives as lights in the world. She can be easily identified with a spectacled face buried in a thick novel or doodling.

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