GYC 2009: Sabbath Blessings
Sabbath at GYC was the climax of the entire week. If I tried to tell you everything that happened we could be here for hours. So here is a quick recap and links for where you can hear and see for yourselves the messages that we received that day.
Devotion: Just this one time
On sabbath morning with the help of speaker Sebastian Braxton we looked a bit at the story of Hezekiah, how he was blessed by God by being given unexpected victory in battle, and being given 15 extra years of life. However, Hezekiah missed the opportunity to share Jesus with the Babylonians who came to see him after God turned back the sun. He had had a chance to witness to these men about God and possibly change the course of Babylonian history…but instead he told them about his riches. Braxton pointed out that many times in our lives God will give us opportunities to witness for him. He gave his own testimony about how God used him to witness in what seemed like a bad situation (By the way, you REALLY want to hear that testimony if you haven’t before) and encouraged us not to miss our opportunity to do the same. “God moved the Son for us. God is saying ‘Can you just witness for me, just this one time.'” To hear the message in full visit ustream here.
Q&A with General Conference
One of the most interesting periods of the sabbath morning was a Question & Answer session with representatives from the General Conference. Reps present included General Conference Vice Presidents Mike Ryan, Ted Wilson, Mark Finley and Ella Simmons among a few others. GYC President Justin McNeilus, Board member Israel Ramos and GYC VP Amy Sheppard challenged the group with a number of tough questions submitted by youth attending the conference or participating online.
Among the questions asked were issues like the amount of money spent on public/net evangelism initiatives such as satellite crusades streamed online. Pastor Finley responded by assuring attendees that this method of evangelism was very effective and since they already had the airtime through 3ABN it was a effective way to minister. Elder Don Schneider added that many of his own family members were won through public evangelism, and a quick poll of the crowd confirmed that so were a number of attendees.
One of the most controversial questions raised had to do with the hiring of faculty who did not espouse SDA beliefs at our adventist schools. Dr. Simmons responded fervently that our adventist schools exist to teach adventist world perspectives and spiritual understandings. Furthermore, if our schools were not thoroughly adventist, they should not exist. She noted that it was imperative that the professors and faculty at our schools espoused what the church stood for. Pastor Wilson added that where this seems not to be the case, church members should bring concerns and issues to the forefront through the system channels, such as the school’s board of trustees or the school administration. Dr Simmons added that our faculty, students and church members have a responsibility to ensure that we stand for truth in out institutions.
Justin noted however that recent issue such as the teaching of evolution in adventist schools by some professors, and the public endorsement of non-christian lifestyles by some adventist administrators have been brought to the fore and there was a sense that issues were not being dealt with as quickly as they should.
The panel members all noted that these issues were not being ignored. Elder Schneider underscored however that it was important to deal with people on a one-on-one level, rather than a trial level. Dr Ryan also made a point that really stood out to me. He said
“There had to be disciples who were concerned about Judas, yet Jesus went year after year without seemingly dealing with it.”
He noted that there was something to be learned from that. Pastor Finley added that Christ’s ultimate goal was always to redeem everyone possible and in dealing with situations like this it was important to keep that goal in mind. For the second Q&A visit ustream here.
The outreach program is a life-changing experience for many GYC attendees. This is the time where attendees put their faith into action by going door to door in the community and witnessing to those in the surrounding areas. This year 38 buses took conference attendees around the Louisville area to hand out tracks, offer bible studies and witness to those in the surrounding community on Friday afternoon. From the two hours of outreach, 2200 people went out to witness; 23,780 doors were knocked on; 12,454 people were spoken to; 30 000 GLOW tracts were given away; and 942 requests for bible studies were received. It was amazing to see what could be done with young people mobilized for Christ.
Divine Message: Superstars for God in the last generation
This was the focus of Pastor Finley’s message. He took us to Daniel 3 where we looked at how Daniel stood for God even in captivity. As we went through the story he brought out the following four qualities of Daniel’s life and of all who would be superstars for God:
1) Superstars for God know how to thrive in adversity – they don’t expect an easy ride
2)Superstars for God understand their identity through Christ and their destiny
3) They understand how to maintain integrity in the face of compromise
4) They leave a legacy for God
“God’s stars don’t blaze and burn out like the pop stars and icons of this world. God’s stars shine forever.”
Evening Message: UnAshamed of the Coming Christ
What does it mean to be unashamed in this age? In this Saturday evening message Pastor Assherick looked at why we should have an urgency to be ready for the Second Coming. It should not be out of fear that we might be lost, but instead it has to do with our character development. Ellen White points out that our characters are the only things we take with us to heaven, and therefore we should be living each day, building characters for heaven. Pastor Assherick pointed out that the decisions we make today create the persons we will be tomorrow. We should choose Christ and live for him completely now. Why is now so important? So that our hearts do not become hardened as did some in the bible. Now is the time because our person tomorrow may not have the moral or spiritual sensitivity to make the decisions we can today.
As I look back over the sabbath I am amazed at how God used all these speakers to pull together one unifying message for the day. In the devotional Braxton talked about how Hezekiah’s failure a witnessing for Christ eventually led to the Babylonian war against God’s people which led to Daniel being in captivity. Pastor Finley’s message almost seemed to pick up where he left off, showing how despite his situation Daniel succeeded in being a superstar witness for Christ while in captivity. Pastor Asscherick pulled it all together by showing how developing Godly character prepares us to stand unAshamed here on earth (like Daniel) and be ready for Heaven. Is there any doubt that this was the specific message that God had for us? Hardly.