As a young girl, the Rev. Debra Matthews was inspired to "step into greatness" at a Stillman College step show. The young adults who were performing weren’t much older than the thousands of youth gathered at the Presbyterian Youth Triennium here this week.
Matthews told the several thousand Triennium participants not to doubt their ability to influence people and change the world. Don't settle for mediocrity, but realize that the enemy will tempt you along the way, she said.
The scripture reading for July 21 Triennium worship was not read so much as it was acted. Young adults told the story of Jesus' 40 days in the desert, during which Satan tried to tempt him with promises of food and power.
We will also be physically tempted, Matthews said. Whether it's with food, drugs, alcohol or other substances, the enemy will try to distract us from greatness, she said. The enemy will also offer power and prestige, banking that we’ll take the short cut to greatness. But we must not succumb to such temptations, Matthews said.
"If you're going to be great in God, you must be full of the Holy Spirit," she said.
And this fullness can make others attack. When other people see your strengths, it makes them realize their own weaknesses.
"I think we call them haters," Matthews said, to cheers from the youth.
But it's important to remember to step into greatness for God and to do all things for God’s glory.
"If you're doing this for your own glory, then reap your rewards now because you ain’t got nothing else coming," Matthews said.
During the two-hour worship service, youth also participated in energizers, listened and sang along with a band and watched a live game show based on the Triennium's covenant.