GYC 2011: Day 1
Straight to the point. That’s how it was. For months we’ve been anticipating the landing of Generation of Youth for Christ here in Houston, TX. And then, unashamedly it showed up. GYC is here and while it’s been a couple years since I’ve attended the conference, it still is what it is – a movement of youth upholding the distinctive message of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.
As I jumped on the escalators at the George R. Brown Convention Center everyone was heading down to the main auditorium. I couldn’t help but notice the crowd seemed much younger than I remembered, but perhaps this was just me settling in to my late twenties. Anticipating just under 5K attendees this year, the place was buzzing with friends reuniting.
While the faces may have changed, entering the worship service brought back that familiar pungent GYC spirit. We made it through the preliminaries and were briefed on what to expect over the course of the next few days. Lots of prayer, time for small groups, evangelism, and even a personal devotion time slated in the schedule. Mark Finley’s 92-page “10 Days in the Upper Room” devotional workbook was distributed at registration along with your name badge and program guide. It was time to get down to intense study and revival… Ready.
Set. Go. Justin McNeilus led us straight to Truth with a message focusing on our theme for the week, Fill Me: Our Earnest Plea. We started in Acts 1 and identified the effect – the gospel going to the world, and rewound to understand one cause – Jesus being at the center as our foundation.
Justin, the banker juggled the numbers and broke down any doubt about the ability to take the message to the 7 billion people occupying planet Earth. With 120 people in the upper room challenged to take on 180 million people in the world at that time, we can’t get overwhelmed by the current stats. The ratio landed somewhere around 823 souls to be reached by every 1 SDA individual. “It’s easy,” Justin said.
But the message went on and we zoomed in on Acts 1 verse 4.
And, being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye have heard of me. (KJV)
After instructing the disciples to take the message to the world, Jesus then commanded them not to leave Jerusalem. The process outlined like this: Jerusalem > Judea > Samaria > World. Likewise, we have to take care of business at our home churches, and reach our neighbors before worrying about what we’re going to do about our neighboring countries. The process outlined like this: World < Country < State < City < Local Church < Y o u. First we have to be reached in order to reach.
Justin put it plain and simple, “You have no business making plans to reach the world when your prayer meeting in your own church is suffering.” We must wait, as the verse says (something we Millennials don’t like to do). The call is that we must bring about revival in our home churches.
Following the message we had some time for prayer (real, honest, scripture-focused prayer). Reading Joel 2:15-17 we prayed that God would help us take this solemn event seriously, that He might cleanse us of our sins, and rid us of those things hindering our ministry. Kneeling on the concrete floor, praying our hearts out to God in silent earnest unison as Peter did many years ago: F I L L M E.
So that’s what we’re here for. The journey has just begun.
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