The Ideals of Three Letters

They are only three letters, but the context associated with them has now become vast and varied. In this movement’s history, the letters G Y and C were an acronym for the General Youth Conference, Generation of Youth for Christ, and now currently Generation. Youth. Christ. Call it reinventing ourselves, adaption for the times, or whatever other incredible reason, these three letters have come to stand for something altogether irreproducible.

The movement started as an experiment in 2002, nearly 15 years ago to last weekend. A group of young adults from diverse racial and educational backgrounds were inspired by a set of ideals found in Scripture and best illustrated within the Seventh-day Adventist Church. In this exceptional convergence of personalities, events, ideals, skills, and experiences, the experiment sought to be reactionary to the reactionaries and progressive to the progressives. Socially disturbed with the critical and derogatory attitudes of Christ-less Adventism, this prototype sought a tone centered on the character, message, and lifestyle of Jesus Christ. Cognitively dissonant with the contemporary, entertainment-mimicking models of youth and young adult ministry, this movement also sought to verify out whether young people regardless of background would appreciate and respond to His sobering claims within biblical Adventism.

Below is condensed version of one of the initial emails of GYC’s beginnings from December 14, 2001:

We are living in an exciting time period. And from reading SOP (Spirit of Prophecy), it’s inferred that young people will play an important part in the last days. And already there are things happening that just seem to coincide with each other, such as SPARC, Campus Hope @ Boston, Univ. of Michigan, Brown, Rutgers, UVA, UTN, Princeton, and a renewed revival among some members at Andrews and Loma Linda. There are still 7000 who have not bowed down to Baal.

Our vision is to unite all these groups in America and create a General Youth Conference. These would be only the serious committed Adventist students coming together once a year for one week and would be very different from a retreat or camp meeting. We would hold it once on the East Coast, then West Coast, then Midwest or something. Only the most willing dedicated, leaders from all over the country would meet, including HS, collegiates, grads, young profs, and young people.

Most importantly, it would be interracial. Not out of political-correctness, but out of worship for our Lord, we would want blacks, whites, Hispanics, Asians, what have you involved. Today, you see only each group doing their own thing. I sincerely believe God blesses interracial worships and fellowships more abundantly, because isn’t that what heaven is all about?!

We would invite the highest caliber of speakers and each would do a workshop for one week. This way, the adult speakers would be able to network, as well as the student fellowships and other youth.—not out of dating purposes, but out of contacts and guard tower stations. These workshops would be a pseudo-school of the prophets, where recreation and social activities would be very limited (but not eliminated), and where intense Bible studies would take place.

At this point it’s still a vision, so we dare not share it with everyone. But we are in the midst of contacting the speakers and getting dates for the winter of 2002. We are looking for about 200 people to come…

I see this as the beginning of a large movement with lots of work involved. But what work for God is not a joy? If you feel uninterested or think there is much work ahead, or just doubt the potential, we understand. But if not, please tell me what you think.

‘Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.’ 1 Cor. 15:58.”

What was used was instant messengers, newly introduced cell phones the size of refrigerators with buttons like ice cubes, laptops the size of battleships, and credit cards with no credit on them. What emerged was an expanding grassroots movement with exponential growth within its first five years. From two hundred to one thousand to four thousand, the growth was overwhelming and uncontrollable. Who did this? The greatest underestimation of young people is to assume they are not full adults and that other “adults” must be behind the scenes. And the reality of the matter is there was one: the Lord Jesus!

Eventually groups seeking these ideals of GYC were found in different localities of North America as well as nations around the world. The international scene of GYC has been persistent. Its dynamic is clear evidence that something is happening of which any simple human observation can explain.

Simply, they are biblical ideals. The ideals of Scriptural fidelity, exploration into the historical roots of Seventh-day Adventism such as the Spirit of Prophecy, their expression of these ideals in a practical and modern context for young adults, the philosophy of excellence and Christian cordiality converged into an annual national convention, an exploding network of global youth conferences, and the formal organization and natural growth pains of GYC. In subsequent years with each conventional cycle, GYC had embraced and/or revitalized further ideals such as:

1. Church and Professional Leadership Development – empowering young adults to change their immediate environments in the church and professional arenas for the furtherance of the Gospel

2. Christ-Centered Knowledge, Lifestyle, and Character – calibrating every component of the individual’s life and lifestyle for heavenly trajectory

3. Distinctive Role of Seventh-day Adventism in Christianity’s Timeline – understanding what the word eschatology means and its implications for the twenty-first century

4. Biblical Faithfulness in Application and Issues – rejecting the simplification of theological issues as rhetoric, but rather applying religious and spiritual rigor to the problems that face our church today from a biblical perspective

5. The Pursuit of Excellence in Academia, Professions, and Spirituality – raising the levels of expectation to their highest potential as a reflection of God’s hope in His people

6. Radical Discipleship – going all out for Jesus Christ while disregarding all social and cultural conventions that limit proper and biblical discipleship

7. Youth Ownership of and Respect for the Seventh-day Adventist Church Leadership – reeducating young people about the need for respect for biblical organizations, restoring hope in providing mentorship experiences with current leadership, and exemplifying how different generations can collaborate in today’s church for tomorrow

8. True Education – rejection of group think, but allowing a format for spacious individuality, obedient creativity, and a craving for righteousness

9. The Experience of Christ and Righteousness by Faith – underscoring, italicizing, bolding, superscripting, and subscripting the imperative centrality of the one and only Jesus Christ as Lord, King, and High Priest of our faith, and understanding what statements like this mean practically everyday

In the end, these ideals were distilled into a tangible experience with Christ as articulated by the “Spirit of GYC” in the About section of the GYC website.

There is nothing like an ideal that invigorates or infuriates the soul. But this is called passion. It is called conviction. When combined with truth and the Lord’s blessing, amazing grace is heard and seen in the air and around the world. With humility, these three letters G Y C have been greatly successful on some ideals, while dilatory on others. But after 15 years, it does not repudiate any of its past ideals, but only seeks to affirm them, vivify them, find new ones. The growth of GYC around the world, burgeoned since its adolescent beginnings, is clear evidence that the Lord Jesus is finishing up His antitypical work in the second apartment of the heavenly sanctuary and will return to bestow the merits of His blood and judgment to those who await His arrival. Until then, may GYC continue to creating breathing space for the Holy Spirit, confidence of the judgement in Jesus, and reliance on the Father’s foreknowledge to unleash and inspire continual generations…of young people…for Jesus Christ. So Lord, help GYC.

-Justin Kim, GYC Board Member, Editor of Collegiate Quarterly / Ast. Director of Sabbath School, General Conference, Maryland

Experience the Gift

A few years ago, I watched a documentary that followed a group of pilgrims on a grueling journey through the Himalayas to Lhasa, Tibet’s capital. I was spellbound by the pilgrimage. Every eight steps the pilgrims would stop, kneel, and extend themselves into a full prostrate position—their arms outstretched with their faces to the ground. They would stand, walk eight steps, and then repeat the same arduous ritual over and over again with mind numbing grit. Eight steps. Kneel. Prostration. Eight steps. Kneel. Prostration. Every mile of the journey consisted of the same agonizing kowtow. The pilgrims donned wooden clogs on their hands and leather aprons around their waists to prevent their skin from being ground to the bone from the endless repetition. They would cover six miles a day through mountain passes, around waterfalls and avalanches. The pilgrimage would take over six months to complete—a distance of over 1200 miles!

As I watched, I was filled with conflicting emotions—admiration for their perseverance while profoundly heartbroken. They were suffering in order to be counted worthy; the relentless ritual arose from the angst of trying to measure up. The pilgrims were enduring this searing exercise for one purpose—merit.

In the 16th century a tormented monk, climbing Pilate’s staircase in Rome with the same meritorious mindset of earning salvation, had an awakening. In the midst of his agonized drill, he heard the thunderous words “The just shall live by faith.” He sprang to his feet and a revolution was born. The Protestant Reformation rediscovered the radical notion that salvation requires no human merit—in other words, no payment is needed. It is a gift.

I couldn’t help but think of Ellen White’s emphasis when she said:

“There is not a point that needs to be dwelt upon more earnestly, repeated more frequently, or established more firmly in the minds of all than the impossibility of fallen man meriting anything by his own best good works. Salvation is through faith in Jesus Christ alone.” —Ellen White, Manuscript Release, vol. 3, p. 420

Some may say that if we take this position we’re giving license for a lackadaisical, lethargic, listless religion—as if to imply that the only possible motivation for good works is merit. Quite the contrary, through faith and acceptance, the unmerited gift touches the very soul of our fallen humanity. Filled with divine gratitude we respond, “My Lord, and my God.”

The fact is, if we feel the need to pay for the gift, we haven’t experienced it. If we’re unresponsive, we haven’t experienced it either. The root issue is the same.

Why did Ellen White make such an adamant statement of the need to continually replay the message of humanity never meriting salvation? Perhaps because it’s human nature to assume we must pay.

“Let the subject be made distinct and plain that it is not possible to effect anything in our standing before God or in the gift of God to us through creature merit. Should faith and works purchase the gift of salvation for anyone, then the Creator is under obligation to the creature. Here is an opportunity for falsehood to be accepted as truth. If any man can merit salvation by anything he may do, then he is in the same position as the Catholic to do penance for his sins. Salvation, then, is partly of debt that may be earned as wages. If man cannot, by any of his good works, merit salvation, then it must be wholly of grace, received by man as a sinner because he receives and believes in Jesus. It is wholly a free gift. Justification by faith is placed beyond controversy. And all this controversy is ended, as soon as the matter is settled that the merits of fallen man in his good works can never procure eternal life for him.” —Ellen White, Manuscript Release, vol. 3, pp. 420-421

For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God.” — Ephesians 2:8

Let us experience the gift.

—David Shin is the pastor of the
Hillside O’Malley Church in
Anchorage, Alaska. His passion is
that all may come to know and
experience the wonders of
God’s grace—“Christ Our Righteousness.”

Coming Out Ministries New Documentary!

‘Coming Out’ Ministries has been working on a documentary for the last 3 years. We feel that there are many people who are struggling in a world of sexual confusion and as we have been presenting on all kinds of damage that exists in the world (as we present around internationally) we realize that we are speaking about the ‘sin’ issue.

GYC was the first to have faith in us to actually give a workshop on “The Gay Puzzle” back in Orlando GYC four years ago. We had a meeting with the president at the time who said if we got fifty people to come to the workshop it would have been worth it. But at the time of our workshops we were at maximum capacity of over three hundred people and with many being turned away because we were overflowing! That was a monumental break-through to us and to the organizers of GYC.

The next two years we continued to provide dynamic testimonies and presentations on pre-marital sex, pornography, transgenderism, and how to instruct the church on these issues that are rarely mentioned in Christian circles. GYC has been a beacon to the youth with these and many issues when no one else was willing to address sexuality in and outside of God’s will.

So, on Saturday night at 8pm, we will be presenting the movie, “Journey Interrupted”. We want to encourage you to finish the New Year by watching the documentary and engaging in the question and answer period with all the members of ‘Coming Out’ Ministries and GYC staff. The movie is an hour long and the Q&A will follow immediately in the nearby ballroom to address questions that the movie may have brought up. There is a special surprise addition in the movie that makes the stories more relational and dynamic! It’s a real plot twister and exponentially shows the power of God, the mercy and long suffering of God to permit freedom of choice as the ultimate freedom in serving God.

You have many choices to make during your time at GYC, and if you are wondering how to love those that are caught up in the sexual explosion of homosexuality, bi-sexuality, gender confusion, addiction, pornography, and brokenness, we hope that you will postpone your evening long enough to check out to “Journey Interrupted” and meet the members of ‘Coming Out’ Ministries. Also come and check out our booth where we can talk and offer many products to help understand what is taking the world by storm in open sexuality that ignores Biblical guidelines.


Michael Carducci is a Co-founder of “Coming Out” Ministries.



John mounted, shifted his saddle bags, waved to his family, and wheeling his horse around rode away. He was following God’s call to preach His soon return to an apathetic world. John traveled across the young American countryside, and through him, hundreds found God’s strength waiting for them and peaceful excitement knowing He would take them home soon. He was sixteen.

Annie sat at a worn oak table years older than she was and spun His grace in her heart into song. She wrote passionate words, and she wrote them in an exhilarating time. Many of them were put to music and even appear in our hymnal today. She was in her early teens.

And then there was Ellen. When she was seventeen, frail Ellen saw heaven opened, and an explanation for seemingly unexplainable disappointment. She shared this message of hope in the little church in her town. She continued sharing messages from the Lord for the rest of her life, through the establishment of a new denomination. She was seventeen.

J. N. Loughborough, Annie Smith, and Ellen White were instrumental in founding our church. And they were young people. They were 100% committed to Jesus and sharing His love with the world. They couldn’t even vote, but they were shaking the world at its foundation.

They believed that Jesus would come back in their lifetime, but He didn’t. Now, one hundred and seventy-two years later, it is still up to us to share the truth of redemption with the world. The key to the Adventist church has always been our generation.

It’s still up to us. The world is ending and we can protest crumbling freedom, or we can use these last moments of earth’s history to actually doing the job we’ve been avoiding for years.

This isn’t a time to be popular, it’s a time to stand for truth. The great commission is for us, the millennials. We have been Laodicean far too long, but that very name means “people of the judgment.”

Christ is calling for one more generation of soldiers to lay down their lives for eternal deliverance. Will you commit your life to the advancement of our heavenly kingdom in this, the last generation on earth?


Evan Bates is a student of Christ and His redemption, living in Northern California and North Carolina. He is committed to ministry of the mind, spirit, and body of humanity. He wants to be part of the last generation on earth, and to that end helps run, a voice of truth in a clamoring. His life consists of the outdoors, sharing Jesus through relationships, and writing. His new book Cicada Song will be released in 2017.

7 Considerations Before You Vote

It seems like everyone and their grandma is talking politics and who they’re going to vote for, or not.

You have church leaders, pastors, Xers, and millennials feverish about the presidential candidates. Everyday you see people you know on Facebook, Twitter, and other platforms spewing demeaning chatter from both sides of the aisle. And it’s ugly.

This is concerning because historically, and for good reason, Adventists have maintained a firm stance on the separation of church and politics (in its partisan sense). Failure in this regard has diminished, to some extent, our personal and corporate influence for spiritual good.

I’ll be honest. It hasn’t been easy staying quiet. Everyone has opinions, and I do believe being informed about our society is important. We shouldn’t live in a bubble, isolated from the concerns of thoughtful Americans.

I believe being informed about the world around us is the left arm of the gospel, the other “entering wedge” that initiates discussion on seemingly secular matters, which can transition to conversations about our biblical worldview.

But, back to the election. It’s imperative for us to examine a variety of factors when deciding who to vote for.

Consider this:

  1. Voting for a candidate on the basis of one moral issue gets tricky. Both presidential candidates stand for measures that are both pro and anti Scripture. Narrowing your decision down to one issue, say—gun or gay rights—to the neglect of other moral perspectives on war, freedom of conscience, xenophobia, nationalism, and the environment, to name a few, is downright arbitrary. This should lead one to conclude that others may see things differently than you do. That doesn’t mean they’re socialists or religious bigots. Also, bear in mind—and this is a critical point—who you vote for shouldn’t be determined by what will make America great, which takes me to my next point.
  2. Pro-American slogans aren’t necessarily biblical. Look, the notion of “Make America Great Again,” isn’t found in the Bible. Not even in the KJV. Neither is Hillary’s “Stronger Together.” It may sound closer to biblical lingo, but it shouldn’t be confused for the notion of Christian unity found in the New Testament. The American Dream or making America powerful in world affairs isn’t an endorsement we find in Scripture. Also, leave it to politicians to debate what it means to be truly American. Christians should be concerned with what’s really Christian (& being Christians).
  3. Make sure your news sources are credible. There’s a lot of negative discussion regarding the mainstream media, and I get why. But the alternative isn’t reading some blogger dude working out of a basement with a stash of guns and ammo, or the tree-hugger at Starbucks sipping his latte. There are many respected editorialists and news outlets that lean in both directions. I would suggest spending some time researching who they are, their broad reputation, and be intentional in reading material from individuals and entities who are informed, thoughtful, and reasonable. I personally avoid listening to people who aren’t professional and kind when they deal with others who have differing opinions. Finally, read broadly and widely. Don’t get your news solely from any one news source, whether that’s Fox News or MSNBC, and certainly not from Stephen Colbert or Rush Limbaugh.
  4. Don’t vote for a candidate because you’ll benefit. A candidate may enact policies that benefit you financially, or otherwise. But, that shouldn’t be the basis of your vote. When voting, leave self-interest and party lines out of the equation. Politics—defined by the notable political theorist, Harold Lasswell—concerns “who gets what, when, how.” But that isn’t what Christians should be about. It’s not about winning for yourself, or even God. I can assure you, He doesn’t need my help or yours. If we want to make America Christian “again,” it’s not going to be the result of the state’s right arm.
  5. Understand that politicians may have ulterior motives—that very rich companies, banks, and companies donate to politicians and expect something in return. Know that the financial benefits of various entities are affected by government policies. So, it makes sense that companies would donate to candidates that reflect their interests. Also, recognize that many wealthy entities in the aggregate invest billions of dollars to shape perceptions on guns, global warming, and other hot-button issues. So. . .
  6. Understand from the get-go you may be getting played. Politicians live in the matrix of spin. They understand that their success is contingent on shaping perceptions. So, it’s no wonder many politicians suddenly alter or emphasize their stances on same-sex marriage or abortion when it’s voting time. It’s important to be aware of this.
  7. Finally, as Seventh-day Adventists, let’s stay on point. We have the message of the three angels to proclaim. Our mission is to proclaim the everlasting gospel. Individually, we may be pro-gun, pro-Wall Street, pro-equality, pro-military, pro-Black Lives Matter, or pro-All Lives Matter. But social activism and increased legislation aren’t going to fix society’s problems. Furthermore, we need to avoid partisan politics like we would Ebola. Mudslinging is just not what Christians should do. Ever. That doesn’t mean we stand idly by. We may indeed be called to serve as public servants like Daniel. As Christians, it’s our duty to help the poor, the neglected, and the marginalized. That’s why the church exists. That’s why WE exist—to meet the needs of humanity, and then to point them to the ultimate remedy, found in the person of Jesus. Remember, in our passionate endeavors to win the nation for Christ we are also called to personify the methods and virtues of Jesus.

You know, the irony is I just said all that, and I’m not even voting. I’m not implying it’s wrong for you to vote, or that you shouldn’t. It’s not contrary to Scripture or the Spirit of Prophecy to cast your ballot, and it’s a personal matter.

I just can’t, for now.

I’ll leave you with this to chew on from The Desire of Ages, p. 509:

“Today in the religious world there are multitudes who. . . are working for the establishment of the kingdom of Christ as an earthly and temporal dominion. They desire to make our Lord the ruler of the kingdoms of this world, the ruler in its courts and camps, its legislative halls, its palaces and market places. They expect Him to rule through legal enactments, enforced by human authority. . . . The government under which Jesus lived was corrupt and oppressive; on every hand were crying abuses,–extortion, intolerance, and grinding cruelty. Yet the Saviour attempted no civil reforms. He attacked no national abuses, nor condemned the national enemies. He did not interfere with the authority or administration of those in power. He who was our example kept aloof from earthly governments. Not because He was indifferent to the woes of men, but because the remedy did not lie in merely human and external measures. . . . Not by the decisions of courts or councils or legislative assemblies, not by the patronage of worldly great men, is the kingdom of Christ established, but by the implanting of Christ’s nature in humanity through the work of the Holy Spirit.” (Desire of Ages, p. 509)


Andy Im is a pickleball enthusiast and cook who loves to travel. He’s a political science graduate from the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill, and also has a master’s degree in religion from Southern Adventist University. Currently he works for the Michigan Conference as Communications Director where he writes, edits, attends lots of meetings, and take pictures. He’s passionate about ministry to secular university campuses, teaching apologetics, and sharing the distinctive, Adventist message.

Ambassadors – GYC 365 Days a Year

Fourteen years ago, a group of young college students came together and began praying for God’s guidance as they planned the first GYC conference. Today it has become one of the largest youth movements in Adventism, and has inspired thousands to reclaim their Adventist identity and become involved in ministry and mission around the world.

For the current GYC executive committee, the questions that weigh heavily on us are: How can we share our burning passion to see the gospel encircle the globe? How do we connect the annual conference experience with everyday living? How do we empower young people to work with and become active in their local churches, schools, and mission fields? We don’t have all the answers, but we want to give it our best effort!

One such effort is a new pilot program we announced this year called GYC Ambassador. Through partnerships with other mission-minded organizations, including It Is Written, Amazing Facts, GLOW, Disciples, ASI, and others, we are able to provide resources that offer information and tools to enable them to become successful in reaching others for Christ. Seventy-five GYC Ambassadors, who now serve in nine different countries, signed up at GYC Louisville to commit to doing ministry in their local area this year. Through monthly training webinars, mentoring calls, and peer-based support, we are already seeing God work in powerful ways!

Kamali, who is participating from Georgia, shares her experience:
I became an Ambassador with the intention of sharing the wonderful experience I had and the wisdom I gained from GYC, with the youth of my church. Before beginning my mission as an Ambassador, there were a few things I was apprehensive about. I wondered how I would be able to start a successful Bible study small group. Would anyone even be interested in attending? How would I be able to keep the momentum of the group going?

The first step I took was prayer, as I knew God had led me to take this opportunity to further His work and win souls for Him. I didn’t feel experienced or “good enough” to take on such a feat, but I have allowed God to show His strength through my weaknesses and lack of experience. For the first week of hosting my small group, I didn’t expect more than one or two people to come, if any, but seven people showed up! I even heard later that they really enjoyed it! When the second week of the small group came, I had allowed some fear to creep back in again and didn’t expect anyone to return. I thought they probably had better things to do. However, the same seven people showed up again and they brought four more friends! Some of their friends were not even affiliated with a Christian church!

It’s been nearly three months since the first meeting and there is a consistent group of 7-12 who look forward to participating in Bible studies each week. Each week, the attendance, participation, enjoyment, and satisfaction of the group surpass my expectations. Outside observers, along with the pastors, elders, parents, and members of my church, have taken notice of how the group is growing and how the youth of the church are consistently going out of their way to participate. We will even need to move to a bigger room soon! Many people want to give me credit for what I am doing with the youth of my church, but I give all the praise to my Lord who has equipped me and granted me favor to do His good work. Praise God!

Rianna and Auner are participating in the Philippines. Rianna recently shared how God is already working:
In 2015, we felt God was calling us to serve His people in the Philippines. When we reached my homeland, the life of ministry I envisioned didn’t really turn out to be the way I expected it would be. The first few months were rough. Doubts started creeping in. We wondered if God had really called us. But we decided to live by faith and not by sight. Just as He paved the way through the Jordan River after a step of faith, I was certain He would do the same as we took a step of faith on this island.

It has now been six months since we took that step. In this time, God has opened doors for us to do Vacation Bible School programs in three different areas, youth development sessions in two locations, soccer clinics, feeding programs in an orphanage and an elderly home, AFCOE evangelism training workshops in local churches, and an evangelistic meeting. For the months of April and May, the Lord led us to run three more VBS programs and another evangelistic meeting. Oh, what a joy it is to serve the Lord!

The GYC Ambassador program has been God’s instrument in guiding our ministry. God calls all of us to finish the work with Him. We don’t need to be worried of the uncertainties because He leads those whom He calls. He has also given us the faith of Jesus to take that big step. We just need to hear the call, follow His leading, and serve wholeheartedly.

Please pray for this year’s GYC Ambassadors as they seek to reach their communities for Christ through prayer, small groups, various outreach efforts, and Bible study. Please also pray for wisdom and vision as we seek to refine this pilot program into something that can make the greatest impact possible to enable young people to get involved in year-round ministry.

Eric Louw
serves as the Vice President of Communications for GYC. A graduate of theology from Southern Adventist University, He serves as Associate Pastor at the Richardson SDA church near Dallas, Texas. He has a passion for seeing young people mobilized for service and mission to reach the world for Christ in this generation. He also enjoys nature and the outdoors, as well as reading, technology and graphic design.

Be of Good Courage, GYC!

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid or dismayed. For the Lord thy God is with you wherever you go” (Joshua 1:9).

Today, Christians are in the midst of a fierce battle, the battle between good and evil — and this battle is for a heavenly kingdom and eternal glory. God has a message for those who have made the decision to stay at their post of duty in these last days even to those who feel the battle is too fierce and are on the verge of giving up, God has a message for you too!

In looking at the context of Joshua 1:9, we realize that this is not the first time, nor the last, that God tells Joshua to be strong and courageous. In fact, He gives him this message 7 times–4 times in the first chapter alone! Why do you suppose God had to repeatedly tell Joshua to be strong and courageous? Maybe Joshua is afraid; maybe, after all, his humanity his getting the best of him. Moses, their great leader and military genius, is no longer with them.

In “Patriarchs & Prophets,” Mrs. White recounts that Moses was such a good military commander that he was the commander of choice for the army of Egypt. The soldiers would rejoice when they learned that Moses was in charge. Additionally, Moses was a great statesman; he appeared to be fearless. Exodus 20:20-21 relates that Moses drew near when everyone else drew away because of his or her fear. With such a high precedent set, perhaps Joshua’s fear could be justified. Before him lay the task of guiding approximately 2 million people–the newly formed, oppressed, and confused nation of Israel who had been wandering in the desert for more than 40 years because of their discontentment with being God’s people–across the Jordan river into the promised land.

To make matters worse, inhabitants of this promised land were wicked nations who not only despised the Hebrews and their God but were also highly skilled in warfare. With all of these circumstances under consideration, we could easily sympathize with Joshua’s fear and see his God-given charge as an impossible task. But, when we look at Joshua’s character more closely, we see that he was no coward. Remember, he had been one of the men sent to spy out the promised land, and he had first-hand knowledge of it. He and his friend Caleb were ready to conquer the promised land 40 years before, so Joshua was no stranger to this challenge; however, Jesus still tells him 7 times to be strong and of good courage. It is perhaps true that Joshua had been somewhat afraid, but God wanted him to understand something much deeper: He wanted him to understand Who the true source of courage and strength is.

An example of this important lesson of true courage can be found during Jesus’ time. Picture the apostles hanging out with Jesus, and we could, at first glance, pick the most courageous of all of them to be . . . Peter. Peter exuded the most courage and was typically the first one to speak–the first one to command everyone. He seemed, on the surface, to be the brave one; however, when the true test of courage came and guards and religious leaders were coming for his Master, Peter failed. He showed outward strength by cutting off the servant’s ear but was filled with fear in reality. This was also evident when he was pressed three times to reveal his identity and association with Jesus and denied any contact with Him. Mrs. White writes regarding Peter, “If he had been called to fight for his Master, he would have been a courageous soldier but when the finger of scorn was pointed at him, he proved himself a coward” (Desire of Ages 712).

True courage is not really displayed when everyone is watching; true courage is seen when no one is watching you. In the times when you are alone and have to make a decision for right or wrong, which will you choose? True courage is saying “no” when all others are bending and saying “yes” to things they should not do. True courage is seen in submission to Christ. The type of courage God is looking for is the courage to do the right thing, no matter what the cost may be.

This type of courage made the difference between a standing wall of Jericho and a crumbling wall of Jericho in Joshua 6, a flowing river of Jordan and a parted river of Jordan. Militarily, it would look absurd to walk around a city with music as your primary offensive. Realistically, it would appear nonsensical to walk through a major body of water. But, God said it! So, Joshua did it. He did not argue with God; he obeyed. As a result, the walls came tumbling down and the waters parted. Imagine if Joshua had persisted and argued with God. Imagine the calamities that would have happened to the Israelites if Joshua had not submitted to Christ and obeyed. Submission to Christ, Israel’s Supreme Savior, was Joshua’s true test of courage.

How can we attain this type of godly courage and strength today? It does not come from forcing oneself to be brave or courageous. Rather, it comes through an awareness of your true condition as a sinner and an awareness of who God is and what He did, is doing, and will do for you. This awareness comes only when we submit our will to Christ and decide to engage in a daily communion with Him ourselves through faith. This type of awareness from personal experience will cause you to trust and love God wholeheartedly. “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear because fear has torment. He that fears is not made perfect in love” (1 John 4:18).

That is why the second part of Joshua 1:9 states, “Do not be afraid or dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Total trust in God and His sure word is what God demanded from Joshua and what he demands from us in these last days. Trust in God and His word reveals to us the heart of God and gives us access to its ever-sustaining presence and peace to face anything:he loss of yesterday, the aches and pains of today, the uncertainty of tomorrow. Most importantly, it helps you to be in the center of God’s will – a sweet place to always be!

The following excerpt from “Selected Messages” tells us, “I seem to see Jesus saying to you, ‘Lean on Me, lean hard. I will bear you up. My arm shall never fail you. It shall be strong to support you over all the rough and difficult places. Only make Me your trust and you shall be guided safely and upheld firmly” (260).

It is important for each of us to listen to God today because He wants to use you for His glory, GYC. There are many people in our community today who have a desire to worship the true God; they are tired of their lifestyle or are living without hope. God is calling each one of us to work with Him. He wants to use you to bring them home, to teach them how to have a saving relationship with Christ. Maybe your Wall of Jericho is time, or maybe it is that you are afraid of people. Maybe your Jordan River is a struggle with unbelief, or perhaps it is your health. Whatever your Jordan River is today, God is calling you to be strong and of good courage. Do not be afraid or dismayed for He has promised that He will be with you wherever you go. Will you trust Him today to help you be bold for Him? GYC, now is your time.

Moise Ratsara

GYC President


The Art of Listening

It’s often been said that you can’t learn from speaking– only by listening. Listening is a valuable skill to have whether you’re talking with a friend, sitting in a classroom, or interacting with people at work. For me, it’s an essential part of my nursing career.

A couple days ago I got to work late after snoozing my alarm one too many times and then hitting traffic on my way to the hospital. At first I was tempted to rush through my patient care to be sure and get everything done in a timely manner. After getting reports on my patients, I walked into the first room.

“Good evening, my name’s Seth and I’m going to be your nurse tonight! How ya doing?” I grinned good-naturedly as I walked over to the patient’s bedside.

“I’m good! Did you know everything you learned in school is a lie?”

Everything? Well now. I’m still paying off student loans so that bit of news was definitely not what I wanted to hear right now! “I was not aware of that but I sure am appreciative of you pointing it out to me.” Sometimes I become sarcastic no matter how hard I try not to be. Especially today; I was in a hurry.

“It’s true. What was the first thing you saw when you started Kindergarten?”

“Well let me think for a minute. The couch. … My pajamas! … My mom?”

“Oh you were homeschooled.”

“Yep, I just couldn’t bring myself to leave the house,” I laughed as I pulled out my stethoscope.

“But you still had a globe,” she continued, “Did you know Satan invented that? The earth is flat.” I stopped right where I was. I’d heard these people existed, but I never thought I’d get to meet one in person. In my hospital even! Under my care no less!

“No way, is it really?” I gasped. “How do we keep from falling off?”

“There’s an ice wall around the entire planet,” she seemed so confident I had to admire her spirit.

“And what about the planes that have flown around the world?”

“They were flying in a big circle.”

“And Antarctica?” I questioned.

“It’s just the part of the ice wall the Masons want to tell us about.”

“Hold on, the Masons are keeping this secret from us? That’s infuriating!”

“Yep, they’re in cahoots with the devil. They’re the ones that funded NASA.”

“Right, because we never went to the moon.”

“Exactly! It was all a film production. You can even see a Coke bottle sitting on the moon in the unedited video clip of Neil Armstrong.”

“And Gus Grissom?”

“He and the others were about to expose the whole program so NASA eliminated them. Every single astronaut that died did so because they were going to expose the lie.” I was getting really excited. Sometimes I have dull patients who talk about nothing more than Pokemon Go, other times I have combative patients, or angry patients, or sad patients, but never before in my life did I have a patient who had so much life-changing information to share! I was riveted.

“Do you believe in God?” she continued.

“Yes ma’am I do!”

“Well in the Bible, it says He uses the earth as His footstool. Can you imagine God standing on a beach ball?” We both laughed heartily; for different reasons I’m guessing.

“And remember where God says the angels are holding back strife from the four corners of the earth? Where do you find corners on a globe?”

There are times when I enter into a lively conversation and like to throw a different perspective into the train of thought, but clearly today was not one of those days. Today was a listening only day. One assessment and 67 undiscovered truths later, I was ready to leave the room.

“I have thoroughly enjoyed talking to you, young man!” she stated emphatically as I walked out the door.

“I’ve enjoyed it too!” I wasn’t lying.

“Can you help me with one of my patients?” One of the other nurses met me in the hall. “Apparently she likes guys and she won’t do anything for me. I can’t get her to answer questions or take meds.” I walked in to the room. Immediately the elderly patient perked up.

“Well hello there young man! You look good tonight.”

“Mmmmm, yes ma’am, thanks for noticing! But tonight’s not about me, it’s about you. Let’s get you some meds here.”

“Oh of course,” she smiled. I sighed. Tonight was not going as planned. I didn’t have time for this! The nurse out in the hall caught my eye and mouthed a “thank you” mixed with “wow she listened to you” and “I’m so sorry you have to do this” before laughing at the awkwardly odd situation we were in. I laughed too.

I walked into my next patient’s room to continue my rounds. A relative was sitting on the seat next to the bed. “Good evening!” I said.

“Well you look chipper tonight,” she said, not taking her eyes off the cellphone in her hands. I told her all the reasons why I was “chipper” and was excited to be caring for them that evening. I was being completely honest.

“You a believer?” Same tone. Same nonchalance.

“Yes ma’am, I’m a Seventh-day Adventist.”

“No way!” Her face immediately lit up and she looked up from her phone. “Have you heard of David Asscherick?” And so began a long story of how her and her husband had been invited to an Adventist church in their hometown during an evangelistic series. When their family went through an extremely painful experience shortly after, the church rallied to support her with welcoming arms. “I’m not Adventist yet, but I go to the church and believe everything they teach so far,” she finished. “I figured you were an Adventist. I could tell when you walked in the door; I’m sure a lot of people tell you how vibrant you are.”

Throughout the night as I went into the room and cared for them, we talked about our faith and I shared my personal testimony with them.

Every night is different. I’m always meeting new people. Some make a huge impact on me while others I forget about a few weeks after they leave the floor. I’ve gotten to pray with patients, talk with patients, laugh with them and cry with them. Yes there are the bedpans I’ve got to empty, the blood I must clean up, the vomit, the sickness, the drudgery of meds and diets and lab sticks.

But at the end of the day, I realize once again why God called me to nursing. I schedule 5 minutes during my first rounds – stethoscope down, computer off, my full attention on the patient – to have a heart-to-heart with them. Personally, I think it’s even more important than the meds I’m administering because everyone needs to be heard, understood, and cared for.

James encourages us along these lines,”Let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak…” (James 1:19) Once we truly learn to listen to God’s voice, He will teach us how to listen to those who need us most. Because it really doesn’t matter what you do, where you work, or how many people you talk with each day. If you truly listen to those around you, show them you care by being intentional with your time, and seek to make every interaction a positive witnessing experience, God can use you.



Seth Sutherland

–GYC attendee–


Snapshots of the World

“I think someone famous might be in town,” conjectured my friend Ryan as we pulled to the side of the road and watched a fleet of police vehicles race past our car. Further up the street, a cluster of people began to form and trickle into a blocked off intersection.

“Maybe it’s the president . . . or Trump. That’d draw a crowd for sure,” he joked. Could it be? But why would either be in downtown Seattle in the middle of July? Wasn’t the Republican National Convention in Cleveland currently stealing the political spotlight? I thought to myself. I craned my neck to catch a glimpse of the crowd in greater detail as we zipped onto a one-way side street.

Ryan’s phone started ringing.

“Hey, did you guys find parking?” asked Stella on the other line. We planned to meet her and another friend for dinner.

“No, we’re still trying to get to the place. We got delayed and rerouted by that police entourage. Did you see it?” I asked on speaker phone.

“I didn’t! What’s going on?” interjected Keri, the other friend.

“Not sure, but I think it might be some type of protest. I’m pretty sure I saw a few people holding signs just now.”

“Oh man. Wonder what’s happening. Call us when you find parking! We just found a spot,” Stella explained. I agreed, hanging up and scouring the congested streets for empty sidewalk space.

With no parking in sight, my eyes wandered beyond the streets and began taking mental snapshots of the city: an old man in a faded white T-shirt mowing his tiny lawn; a 20-something punk rocker covered in tattoos, taking his two, well-groomed collies on a walk; a group of ladies in sundresses, sipping their Starbucks; people playing Pokémon Go in the park, their phones tilted and fingers swiping; a busker with dreadlocks serenading the public, his guitar case peppered with one dollar bills and coins.

“Found one!” exclaimed Ryan as he pulled into a spot four blocks from the meeting place. We hurried to find the others, promptly forgetting the police barricade and protesters.

On the walk back to our cars after dinner, the four of us thought up touristy plans for the rest of our evening in Seattle. We rounded a corner and, to our utter surprise, ran straight into the crowd of protesters. They’d grown in size and had formed a huge circle in the middle of a main road. A man armed with a megaphone stood in the center with people of all ethnicities and genders surrounding him. Some held signs that read “Black Lives Matter,” and others raised images of the Black Power fist. Uniformed police on bicycles dotted the perimeter, supervising the event at a distance. “We need to end this senseless, racist violence! The police cannot keep shooting us. Share your voice!” the man in center urged.

He put the megaphone on the ground and gestured with his arms for people to step forward and speak. I stood frozen at the scene, watching as a tall, shirtless Caucasian man walked into the center and took up the device.

“I am a supporter of the—“ Squeeeak! “Of the Black Lives Matter—“ Squeeeeeak! The megaphone cut in and out, splicing his words and making it impossible for anyone to hear him. He fumbled unsuccessfully with the buttons.

“Mic check!” yelled someone off to the side. The multicultural crowd shifted to a more alert stance and lasered in on the man. He put the megaphone down and started speaking clipped sentences at his normal volume. Those in range of his voice repeated him word for word at a shout, essentially becoming ahuman megaphone. Collectively, they spoke a message of pain but of encouragement, imploring listeners to come together and support their fellow humans, regardless of ethnicity—to acknowledge the race and gender discrimination rampant in society and to counteract it. His segment ended in applause as the next person walked up to take his place.

The subsequent speaker, another Caucasian man, managed to operate the megaphone and also began his speech on a note of solidarity and support. Gradually, however, his speech devolved into a tirade of vitriol targeted at the police, specifically those stationed at the perimeter of the crowd.

“People like them want to keep us from having these marches!” he yelled, pointing a finger at the police on bikes. “They’re blocking our voices from being heard! We don’t need that!” he screamed, concluding with a stream of vulgarities. The crowd cheered and repeated his sentiments, just as they had with the previous speaker.

Standing at the perimeter of the circle, I shot glances at the stoic police officers sitting on bicycles a few feet away from me. Were they really there to block or to protect?

A young, charismatic African American woman walked into the center next, taking the megaphone and validating the previous speaker’s anger; however, she was quick to add, “Let’s not forget: we cannot hate everyone. Otherwise, we’ll be just as bad as the people we’re protesting.” She went on to explain that not all police are “bad”—that some are, in fact, there to protect and support the Black Lives Matter movement. Nods of agreement and cheers followed her as she found her place back in the circle.

Moments later, a final speaker—a lanky, light skinned African American man with a brunette afro—inched his way to the middle, carrying his young son on his shoulders. His two little daughters stood by his side, hands linked. Into the megaphone, he solemnly stated, “I don’t know how to explain all of this to my kids.” He waved his arms around him, taking in the whole crowd. “The simple fact is that I shouldn’t have to. Black lives matter.”

The original man in the middle joined this family at the center and took up the megaphone again, calling the group to march onward. “Whose lives matter?” he asked.

“BLACK LIVES MATTER!” shouted the crowd.

“No justice?” said the man.

“NO PEACE!” answered the crowd.

This call and response continued as the procession marched down the street. From the group’s first step forward, the police on the periphery immediately snapped into action, ensconcing the marchers into a protective bubble with their bikes. Police on motorcycles cleared the streets ahead, and larger police vehicles brought up the rear. My friends and I turned in the opposite direction, once again finding an alternate route to our parking spots.

After witnessing the powerful scene both within and without the circle, I found it ironic that just blocks away, someone was mowing his lawn, walking his dog, sipping her Starbucks, catching their Pokémon, singing for spare change, finding a parking spot—all completely oblivious or deliberately blind to the sobering events happening in their neighborhood. I also found it quite ironic that some in the circle, while bursting with support for the oppressed, demonized the very forces that enabled the streets to be clear, the protest to remain peaceful, the individuals—even the ones spewing hate—to maintain their personal safety. On the other hand, however, it was equally ironic that the same protective forces could so easily and preemptively take the life of a man named Mike Brown, a man named Alton Sterling.

I reflected on these tensions as my friends and I gazed at the Seattle skyline from Kerry Park later that evening. Captured in this last mental snapshot of the city were all of these groups: my party of four, the Seattle neighborhoods, the protestors, the police, the movements and ideologies that superseded us all. Each group had a blind spot and a means for filling that void with something else: blissful ignorance, seething anger, palpable discrimination, a political agenda. While seemingly innocuous or “noble,” the justification for each void suddenly seemed like a mere anesthetic—a temporary fix for an endless cycle of misery. Even the glimpses of hope—the human megaphone and the African American woman’s added explanation, for example—became overshadowed by the overwhelming hopelessness in the world, the “all of this” that the father found so impossible to explain to his kids. Through my human eyes, I looked at the glittering city lights with sadness.

Bible-believing people, however, see with an alternate perspective. While they also recognize the extreme brokenness of the world and should take action to repair it to the best of their abilities, followers of Christ ultimately recognize that no human-made tool or method of (counter) defense will definitively fix the world’s dysfunction. They acknowledge that their human expectation for change will always meet disappointment. Thus, they live seeking not a mere anesthetic or a stance rooted in anger. Neither do they sit idly by in blissful ignorance as the world around them suffers. Instead, they march forward saying, “My soul, wait silently for God alone, for my expectation is from Him. He only is my rock and my salvation; He is my defense; I shall not be moved. In God is my salvation and my glory; the rock of my strength, and my refuge, is in God. Trust in Him at all times, you people” (Psalms 62:5-8). With such assurance, they replace their human manufactured hope with one reinforced in divine power. They believe that “power belongs to God. Also to You, O Lord, belongs mercy; for You render to each one according to his work” (vs. 11-12). Knowing all of this, their daily lives, their activism, their ideologies fall in step with God-given expectation and become empowered by an unchanging source of divine strength; their actions, regardless of the outcome, find triumph in His glory—not their human efforts alone. Through this lens, they can view their mental snapshots of the world with an everlasting hope.


Shauna Chung

–Executive Secretary–



In today’s world, identity is everything. Who you are and what you stand for determines the way you are perceived and often can decide the trajectory of your life—unless something steps in to change that. In different circles and to different people, we all have different identities. To our bosses we are employees; to our friends we are a friend; to our families we are sons and daughters, brothers and sisters, fathers and mothers. To the world, we are strangers. But what kind of strangers are we? Are we truly strange-ers? To the world what is our identity? What do you and I look like to the world and those around us?

Our identity should not be “those people who are health-conscious.” Our identity should not be “those people who are always socially active.” Our identity should not be “those people who go to church on Saturday.” Our identity should not be “those people” at all.

Instead, when they look at us, they should see Jesus. People should be able to say of us… “Mary, Casey, Joe, John, or whoever— if Jesus is like him/her, I might give Him a chance.”

While people may still look at us as “those people,” that is not our identity. Our identity is in Jesus—wholly and completely.

That sounds nice, but what does that mean? To have an identity in Jesus means we live like Jesus. We are associated with Jesus. We are Christians. We literally take on the name of Christ, just like one does in a marriage; and we keep the covenant of that Name. Our identity is not wrapped up in our job, schoolwork, grades, family, or friend group. Our identity is found in Jesus and rooted in His Word.

What does it mean to be SDA? It means that you find your identity, you and I shape our lives, in and around Jesus and His Word.

It sounds easy and hard at the same time. But praise the Lord, we are not alone. Jesus has promised to be with us to the end of the age. Forever.

“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” Romans 12:2

— Casey Vaughn —

General Vice President of Internal Affairs