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Saturday, July 26, 2008

Exemplary. Different. Committed.


"Timothy's Gimpers" is the name of our church's youth group. It was established around a couple of years ago and is now headed by two people whom we call the "Elders."

But why the name Timothy's Gimpers?

The "Timothy" part was inspired by Paul's letter to, yes, Timothy, as our group verse is taken from there:

1 Timothy 4:12 -
"Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity."

The "Gimpers" part is a word that means the following:

"We are those who excel, are different, and are committed to the core. We set our sights high. No matter what the obstacles, we are committed to reaching our goals."

In short, the Timothy's Gimpers are expected to be:

Exemplary.
Different.
Committed.

But what does that mean?

Exemplary
The dictionary defines exemplary as:
- fit to be imitated, outstandingly good, excellent, commendable, admirable

Most of the time, we give our best when we are doing something we really enjoy doing. As long as it is something we truly care about, we are passionate, ut when it comes to school or work, even daily devotional times with God, we tend to become mediocre. We don't give our best.

A true Timothy's Gimper, however, chooses to pursue excellence in every part of his life. Settling for the "average" or "okay" is never acceptable. 1 Timothy 4:12 encourages us to be an example. How can we be good examples of Christ if we settle for something less than excellent, admirable, and commendable?

Different
The dictionary defines this as:
- distinquishable, distinct, assorted, varied, not the usual

Blending with the crowd is such an easy thing to do. Teens today want to be just like other teens. They don't want to be unique. They don't want to stand out because they know it means that people will see them differently, and in some cases, maybe not even accept them for who they are. They want to match with the crowd, blend in, fit in.

In Romans 12:2, Paul wrote "And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind." In his book Habitudes, Dr. Tim Elmore illustrates the difference between a Thermometer Christian and a Thermostat Christian. A Thermometer Christian is one who adapts to the crowd. A Thermostat Christian, on the other hand, is the one who sets the "temperature" of the crowd. He does not conform to the standards of the world, but rather, he sets the pace, makes the standards, and lives them.

Committed
This word is defined as
- dedicated, loyal, devoted, faithful, enthusiastic

In our culture (in the Philippines), there is this negative trait, the ningas cogon. It means that we are start things out, but rarely - sometimes never - finish them.
As Timothy's Gimpers, staying committed to God is important. Remaining faithful and devoted to His work should be the beat of our heart. Loyalty and commitment in itself, however, is not enough. It is important to know where your devotion lies, what exactly you are committed to. One of our Elders warned us against becoming loyal towards just each other, or as he put it "existing for just each other." Misplaced loyalty is not at all loyalty to God. It could be loyalty to man or to a certain group or cause. As Christians, we must remain committed and loyal to God 100% of the time.


Be An Example
Our youth group is not perfect. We are not experts who lead exemplary lives all the time. We don't always stand out, even if we know we should. We're not always committed, as sometimes we get discouraged and forget all about remaining loyal to God.

Paul tells us to be an example of the believers. In what areas? Word, conversation, charity, spirit, faith, and purity. It is important that we be an example of these things.

In our church, I have heard people say "It's good that these youth aren't wasting their time outside but are here in church instead." It's sad because it seems as if we are expected to be like the rest of the youth in the world. Don't allow that to be the mindset of people. Be an example of what you know is God-glorifying and God-honoring.

I wrote this, not just for my youth group, but for everyone. If you are struggling against being mediocre, setting your standards to the low expectations of the world, let me tell you that you're not alone! God is by your side, and the victory is already yours, through Jesus

Pursue excellence! Stand out! Remain devoted! Be exemplary, different, and committed.

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