David Rinaldi, nationally known speaker and program director for Twin Cities-based NET Ministries, spoke Sept. 25 to a crowd of youth and adults from parishes in Cameron, Barron, Grantsburg, Frederic, Hayward and Spooner at St. Francis de Sales in Spooner. (Catholic Herald photo by Jenny Snarski)

Jenny Snarski
Catholic Herald Staff

David Rinaldi opened his talk to youth and adults saying that for himself as a teenager, God was not much more than “this anonymous thing.” He hadn’t ever thought of God as someone, especially not someone with whom he could have a relationship.

His goal for the evening was to make sure those present didn’t lose out on what took him awhile to discover. He told youths he thought confirmation meant he had graduated from religious education and was free to leave learning about the faith behind.

“I thought the youth group was for those who didn’t have friends,” he added.

Holding up a terracotta clay pot as his symbol for the evening, Rinaldi described God’s desire for relationship with the biblical image of a potter and clay.

“The most important thing you’ll hear tonight,” Rinaldi said, “is that God is a Father who is crazy about you.”

An animated speaker who trains young people to give retreats to teens, Rinaldi touched on the dynamics between a child and their human father and how that can affect how God is related to and understood. He stressed the immeasurable dignity each person has as a child of God, and of the price paid to redeem each one.

He said the crucifixion is God’s way of saying, “I hate your sin, but I love you more than I hate your sin.”

Rinaldi challenged those present to ask themselves what might be different in their lives if they took their relationship with God differently.

Offering three tips to go beyond “going through the motions,” Rinaldi, using sign props, shared the following steps: Want God, meet God and share God.

He described “wanting” as putting God first before all else without conditions; meeting as the prompt for prayer and resolve to put God’s word into concrete action. Rinaldi summarized the “share God” step in three words: “Witness over teach.”