By Matt Hein

A few years ago I surprised my wife, Jennifer, with an early Christmas present. We drove to a glass-making studio where spent time exploring a gallery of finely crafted glass creations in a wide array of colors, shapes, and textures.

After examining these fine works of art for a few minutes, a door opened and the craftsman emerged from his studio. To my wife’s surprise, he invited us back into his studio to see what he was working on. He walked us through the process for making a simple blown-glass Christmas ornament. It was fascinating!

Then he turned to us and asked if we were ready to make our own glass ornaments. That was the surprise! My wife went from being a spectator to being the craftsman. He handed her a long piece of metal with molten glass on it and she rolled it with color. She heated it again in the kiln and then began the delicate process of blowing the glass into its final shape. What emerged was a unique expression of her fledgling ability as a glass blower.

It was a special moment and a unique Christmas present for sure. But it also made her an artisan of glass that day, a craftsman who placed something of herself into a glass ornament that we hang in our home each Christmas. When we see that ornament, we see its beauty again and relive the story of that special moment.

In Ephesians 2:10, Paul says that we are God’s craftsmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works which God prepared beforehand so that we might walk in them. Being a follower of Jesus has a lot of similarities to that glass blowing process Jen and I experienced years ago. We are God’s craftsmanship and every craft has a story!

On the one hand, we are captured up into the greater story of the Craftsman. God pours His grace, love, vision, creativity, and redemption into us. God’s greater story, which finds its focus in Jesus, is ours by virtue of being chosen by Him to be His own. We are His craftsmanship.

On the other hand, every work of the Craftsman has its own, unique story. Our individual stories demonstrate how we have been formed by God for unique purposes. Our stories are ongoing stories of being shaped to be more and more like Jesus for the sake of others.

So what’s your personal story? How is your story wrapped up in God’s greater story? In what ways does His story impact your everyday journey? How does your unique story intersect with the lives of the people God has prepared you to bless?

Those are some of the questions that our St. Luke youth will be wrestling with at In His Service this summer. Our theme, “Hand Crafted: Every Craft Has a Story,” will help us explore our unique personal stories, embrace being fully dependent on Jesus and His story that shapes us, and take a next step into the good that God has prepared for us to walk in to serve and bless others.

In His Service runs June 18-22, 2017 and brings students grade 6-12 together for five days of service, discipleship growth, and fun. Click here to register. Special early bird registration rate of $75 is available until May 21, 2017.