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If someone asked you what the Federation of Protestant Reformed Young People’s Societies is, would you know how to answer? You might never have guessed that its purpose is built specifically around your lives within the church. The Executive Board of the Federation consists of ten people who work for the benefit of the Protestant Reformed Young People. This group is comprised of seven officers, a youth coordinator, and two advisors, each of whom serves a two-year term. The officers are usually members, or recently were members, of a Young People’s Society; the youth coordinator is a lay member of the Church; and the two advisors, who give council and guidance, are chosen from the ministry of our churches. These members meet together to discuss matters that pertain to the purpose of the Federation.

The constitution of the Federation lays out three specific purposes: First, to enable all Protestant Reformed Young People’s Societies to work in close unity; second, to guide these societies so they develop in faith and doctrine, particularly by means of a Federation Publication; and third, to give united expression to our specific Protestant Reformed character. We are only able to accomplish these three purposes with the help of our almighty God who guides each and every decision we make, and continually provides for His people.

One of the major ways that the Federation is able to accomplish each of its purposes is through the publication of the Beacon Lights. The Beacon Lights staff is responsible for carrying out the publication of this magazine. The Beacon Lights is “a magazine designed primarily for the Protestant Reformed Young People, to give expression and application of the Protestant Reformed truth in various spheres of life, and through this means of edification to draw our young people closer in their common bond of unity”(Constitution, 12). There are over twenty-five different Young People’s Societies, and over 600 young people all believing in the same truth, which is the basis of the Beacon Lights. So we encourage you young people to read this magazine that is designed primarily for you. Also, read and study it because it has a purpose of “drawing our young people closer in their common bond of unity.” With that in mind, the Beacon Lights could very well be used by the leaders of the Young People’s Societies as a possible source of discussion material.

There are three opportunities, organized by the Federation, that give the different Young People’s Societies the chance to gather together to promote the unity that our constitution calls for. These are Mass meetings, Singspirations, and the annual Young Peoples Convention.

One of the most meaningful activities that the Federation looks forward to every year is the annual Convention. Every year the Federation asks one of the Societies if they would like to host the largest gathering of Protestant Reformed Young People. This year’s convention is being hosted by our Protestant Reformed Church in Holland, Michigan. By accepting, Holland has taken on a gigantic task that requires months of planning, organizing, fundraising, and just plain loads of work and cooperation. However, they also have taken on a task that has a reward that far exceeds the expectations of all their hard work. They give the future church, you as young people, a time to grow spiritually, with new and old friends, creating memories and relationships that will last a lifetime.

It would be very difficult for a single society to gather together the funds necessary to host the Convention. This is where the churches and the Protestant Reformed Young People’s Societies come in. The Federation holds each society responsible for a number of financial responsibilities.

One of these responsibilities includes the payment of dues from each member of the society. A part of these dues goes towards the Convention, a part to the Scholarship Fund, and another part to support the publication of the Beacon Lights. Each member, then, has a part in the financial support of the Federation activities.

The other responsibility is one that gives each society a chance to grow as a group of young people while working to raise money for the Convention, fundraisers. These fundraisers also give churches the chance to come together to support their young people.

There is another committee that is used by the Federation to carry out its work in the lives of Protestant Reformed Young People. This committee encourages continued work in the areas of the ministry and teaching in our Christian schools. The Protestant Reformed Scholarship Fund Committee has a purpose of “aid[ing] financially those who are attending or planning to attend college to prepare themselves to be either teachers or ministers in the Protestant Reformed schools and churches” (Constitution, 8). This fund has been extremely helpful in decreasing the burden of paying for college for those seeking to go into these areas of Christian service. With your support and prayer we hope to be able to continue to support other future teachers and ministers.

This gives you a brief look at an organization that rests wholly on the guidance, love, and grace of a God that continually provides for you, His covenant children.

The Federation is only a small group of people. God has provided and will continue to provide, Lord willing, dedicated people and the abundant resources needed to continue organizations and events such as the Beacon Lights, the Scholarship Fund Committee, Young People’s Societies, Mass meetings, Singspirations, and Conventions.

It is always our prayer as the Federation of Protestant Reformed Young People’s Societies that God is directing our work in a way that glorifies Him by serving the future church, as well as today’s church.

Michael graduated from Covenant Christian and is pursuing teacher certification at Calvin College. He wrote this paper for the Protestant Reformed Scholarship Essay.

 The topic I have chosen to discuss is “Christian Education Beyond Devotions and Bible Class.” I found this topic relevant to what I believe is my calling as a teacher in the Protestant Reformed Schools.

To start out, let us consider this statement. “An education in schools with educated teachers is one of the greatest benefits that we as people of this country have.” If you look at this sentence, you would have to say that it is true. Compared to other places in the world, we certainly enjoy the privilege of sending our children to schools where they might learn and prepare themselves for going out into the “real world” of business or starting a family. That is how people who send their children to public schools look at education. They would certainly respond to the beginning statement in that way.

Now, let’s change the statement to fit our situation. “A Protestant Reformed education in Protestant Reformed schools with educated God fearing teachers is one of the greatest benefits that we as Christians in this country have.” This statement is far more valuable to us than the first statement. It says that we not only have schools, but that we have schools whose main goal is to train up covenant children to spiritual maturity; to do what Isaiah 54:13 commands. “And all thy children shall be taught in the fear of the Lord, and great shall be the peace of thy children.” And if we teach them the fear of the Lord, then they will receive knowledge, as Proverbs 1:7 tells us when it says, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge.”

II Timothy 3:14-17 speaks about Christian education by explaining the development of a child into a man of God, and the fact that this can only occur through scripture. Paul says, “But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them; and that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: that the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.”

Christ-centered education is not only an essential part of training up our children for the knowledge and service of God, but it is required of us by God. Both scripture and the Reformed Confessions show this when they speak to us of the covenant. Deuteronomy 6:1-9 and Ephesians 6:4 tell us that instruction of these children is one of the outstanding covenant responsibilities of the parents. The Christian school is the tool by which the parents are to carry out this calling of God. Psalm 78:5 and 6 says, “For he established a testimony in Jacob, and appointed a law in Israel, which he commanded our fathers, that they should make them known to their children: that the generation to come might know them, even the children which should be born; who should arise and declare them to their children.” In Article 21 of the Church Order “good Christian schools in which the parents have their children instructed according to the demands of the covenant” are required.

The most fundamental factor for us in education is the presence of Scripture; without it, education cannot be Christian (Prof. David Engelsma). Scripture is what guides us in every area of Christian education. It tells us what we are to teach and how we are to teach it. Everything we teach must begin and end with God’s revelation to us through the Scriptures. Herman Hoeksema wrote the following in a Standard Bearer article: “Religion must not be something added to our life, but it must be the heart of our life. Religion must not be something added to our education, but it must be the heart of our education” (Standard Bearer, Vol. 3, p. 536).

Using what was just said, let us look at Christian education more specifically, considering the individual subjects that are taught in our schools. With religion being “the heart of our education,” the most prominent subject that stands out is Bible. Daily devotions at different times during the school day are also very important. To some, Bible class and devotions may be the idea of Christian education. But the Bible and its teachings about God and His creation are to be worked into every subject. They are what unify all of the subjects. Take history, for example. History class is an ongoing look at many of the biblical doctrines set forth in scripture such as creation and the fall. History also is an awesome example of the providence of God throughout time. By using history we can see that the coming of the Kingdom of Christ will happen very soon.

With regards to reading, writing, and grammar, the source of these subjects lies in communication. Communication implies fellowship through words and is truly a gift of God. God has given us the ability to communicate in an orderly way. It is through this communication that we can fulfill our ultimate goal on this earth, which is to glorify God. We are able to do this by speaking and by praising His name through singing. Being in a Christian environment rather than a non-Christian environment, helps develop Christian communication, and words that glorify God’s name rather than dishonor Him.

Science is a subject which shows perfectly every one of God’s attributes. It teaches the orderliness of every atom, the power to make all of creation work together, and the classic example of His beauty shown in the rainbow, which was given to us as a token of His covenant. As we look at the physical and the spiritual side of a rainbow we see a wonderful picture. Physically, God sends a storm with dark clouds pouring rain. The sun shines down on the rain which is used as a prism to bend the light which is sent through the drop, emitting the colors of the rainbow. If we look at it spiritually, the cloud represents the whole human race, the sun is the saving power of Christ, and the bow is God’s elect, chosen out of the whole human race. This shows that it is not until Christ has shown His saving power and grace to the whole human race that we are changed from our wicked human nature to a new body.

In every subject taught, in everything that the school does, in every decision made, God’s revelation to us must be seen. This is the tremendous responsibility and calling of each of our teachers of every subject. Their goal for our Protestant Reformed schools must be to educate covenant children in the knowledge of God so that they may be servants of God through His grace, appreciating God in every area of life.

The knowledge that I have gained through Protestant Reformed education has helped me to grow in the knowledge of God and directed me in His ways. I would like to be able to share this knowledge with young children, to help them build a foundation on which they can grow in appreciation for all that God has revealed to us through His Word.

Confronting a sinning friend can be very tough in some cases. If it is not dealt with properly, you risk losing that friend. If you are a true friend, there are biblical ways in which you can solve the problem and save the friendship.

There are two things which should be pointed out. First, if you know that your friend is sinning you must try to keep it between you and your friend. Do not go too fast or you could ruin the friendship, but also don’t go too slow because then nothing will get accomplished.

No matter what the problem, true friends help each other. The first step in helping your friend is to talk to him one on one. Show him that you are on his or her side, and that you are there to help, no matter what the cost. Doing this will convince your friend that you only want what is best for him and he will be more open to listen to what you say.

Often times a problem is too big to be solved by you alone. If so, you could go the second step in helping your friend. This step involves telling another close friend about the sin. Getting another friend involved will help only if that friend can be trusted not to gossip.

In some cases, the situation will get too complicated and you will need to consult someone who knows your friend even better than you, like his or her parents. Usually parents will have more influence on their child than you do, and the process of trying to help your friend will be easier.

If parents are unable or perhaps unwilling to help, and the friend continues in his sin, then it is time to bring the matter to the consistory. This is especially true if the sin is affecting the church life of your friend.

In all such trials and difficulties you must always remember to pray to God. Pray for your sinning friend. Pray that God will be with him, and help him to abstain from and overcome his sin. Pray also that God will help you as you help your friend. ❖

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Mike is a student at Covenant Christian High School in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

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Editorial, November 2021: Catechism Season

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Tennessee Young People’s Retreat 2021

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