GYC Beyond 06 – Natasha Dysinger – How to Have a Vibrant Devotional Life

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In this week’s podcast episode, Esther Louw and Shauna Chung discuss with Natasha Dysinger methods that each of us can implement to improve the quality of our devotions. Natasha is down-to-earth as she talks about her own personal struggles through the years, as well as unique solutions that she and others have implemented to put God first despite busy schedules or lack of motivation. Have your devotions become habitual and lacklustre? Or are you struggling to simply turn devotions into a habit? Regardless of how long you have been a Christian, there is something for everyone in this interesting discussion.

05 - How to Have a Vibrant Devotional Life - Natasha Dysinger

GYC Beyond 05 – Gem Castor – How to Have a Powerful Life of Prayer

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Our next episode features Gem Castor and Shauna Chung as they discuss the power of prayer and how to put that power to practice. Gem Castor is an itinerant missionary from the Philippines who travels the world leading out united prayer sessions and seminars. Inspired by the life of George Mueller he has spent the last seven years relying entirely on the Lord’s providence to provide for his needs and mission ventures. Listen in on this engaging conversation.

05 - How to Have a Powerful Life of Prayer - Gem Castor

GYC Beyond 04: Amy Ratsara – Leadership Skills and Time Management

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This week’s episode features Shauna Chung and Esther Louw in conversation with Amy Ratsara. Together, they discuss the relationship between being an effective leader and knowing how to effectively manage time. Amy shares a number of practical ideas that have benefitted her life and ministry both in the past, during her tenure on the GYC Executive Committee, and in the present as a busy wife, mom, and practicing lawyer. Listen in and don’t forget to keep a pen and paper nearby to note those ideas you may want to pursue.

04 - Leadership Skills and Time Management - Amy Ratsara

GYC Beyond 03: Sebastien Braxton – How to Navigate Past Brick Walls

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In our third podcast, listen in as Shauna Chung and Esther Louw discuss how to overcome failure and disappointment with Sebastien Braxton. Sebastien’s perspective is down-to-earth as he describes practical lessons from his own life. In this lively discussion, Sebastien addresses practical tips for overcoming failure as well as encouragement for pursuing the passions and dreams that God is laying on your heart and life. Join us on the journey as we travel with Sebastien from the projects of Chicago to the jungles of India.

03 - How to Navigate Past Brick Walls - Sebastien Braxton

GYC Beyond 02: Mark Finley – How to Live a Consecrated Life

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Our second podcast features Mark Finley in conversation with Shauna Chung and Esther Louw. In this inspiring interview, Mark Finley shares insights, gleaned from a life of ministry and evangelism, on how to live a consecrated Christian life. He answers questions such as: How do I know if my Christianity is genuine? What does surrender look like? What role do emotions play in my conversion experience? We encourage you to tune in and learn answers to some of life’s biggest problems.

02 - How to Live a Consecrated Life - Mark Finley

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GYC Beyond: The Podcast

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Several months ago, the idea was born to create something that has never yet been done by GYC. From personal interactions with many of the speakers who present on stage during GYC conference, we recognize the wealth of wisdom, biblical knowledge, and experience that is collectively available. With this in mind, we sat down with various individuals during the Arise conference and recorded our discussions. We are now giving you the opportunity to listen in to these conversations by making them available in a podcast format.

Our first podcast features Shauna Chung in conversation with Lisa Topete as they discuss incorporating evangelism into your life interests and work. In a direct, down-to-earth fashion, Lisa shares how you can get started with outreach, even when you’re not sure how to begin. Scattered throughout are personal stories, advice, and practical ideas that are immediately relevant to anyone seeking to deepen their experience. We have been blessed as we have prepared this podcast and we know you will be too!

01 - Incorporating Evangelism into Your Life - Lisa Topete

GYC 2017 Recap – A New Direction

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Two weeks ago, over 4,500 young people took part in GYC’s 2017 conference in Phoenix, Arizona, focused on the theme: “Arise” from Isaiah 60:1-3. As one of those young people, my experience throughout the conference was one of transformation, inspiration, and empowerment. One might ask, what compels a millennial to spend five days during the holiday season listening to sermons, attending seminars, and reaching out to the community in service? The answer is both simple and profound: a vision and a mission.

I first saw a glimpse of vision when I pushed through the usual morning sleepiness so that I could attend a United Prayer session. As nearly a thousand people pressed into the room and then overflowed into the foyer outside, I couldn’t help but compare the experience to scenes in the book of Acts. Gem Castor, who led out during each session, stated later: “When the Lord is about to pour out His blessings, don’t open your umbrellas!” God’s presence was felt throughout the United Prayer sessions and we were soaking wet.

The United Prayer sessions weren’t the only inspiring aspect of GYC 2017. The president of GYC, Moise Ratsara, opened the conference with a strong call to mission. “Don’t ask what your church can do for you,” he encouraged us, “but what you can do for your church.” In words that would be repeated by other speakers, he asserted: “You are GYC. You are this generation.” The appeal to mission seemed to be an unstated theme for every plenary session, challenging us to evaluate our experience with Christ in relation to the calling he has on each of our lives. This was most clearly expressed during the Thursday noon plenary when GYC Beyond was introduced. Eric Louw and Jonathan Walter revealed plans to encourage year-round participation in evangelism and outreach in our local churches. “Who is GYC?” They asked. “I am!” everyone thundered. At that moment I realized more fully that GYC isn’t just a conference – it’s a movement of individuals united by a common purpose and mission.

The GYC conference did more than promote outreach through sermons, however. GYC also gave attendees the opportunity to arise and be empowered for practical service. For me, this opportunity began with GYC’s pre-conference program, which was offered in partnership with Your Best Pathway to Health. For three days young people like myself volunteered alongside medical professionals, chaplains, and beauticians to make services available to those who are unable to afford even basic care. As I saw thousands of patients receiving everything from dental care to haircuts, I was reminded of Jesus’ ministry of healing and compassion. What a privilege it is to be the hands and feet of the Savior!

Your Best Pathway to Health wasn’t the only chance to get involved in outreach. On the Friday of GYC conference, everyone had the opportunity to serve through a variety of creative outlets. Some groups teamed up to assemble and deliver refugee care kits for the many refugees living in Phoenix, others took part in a canned food drive for the homeless and underserved population of the city, and still others went door to door conducting a short electronic survey offering free Bible studies to those who were interested. The result of the outreach conducted during the conference was powerful! Through the efforts of roughly 2,000 GYC participants, 28,456 doors were knocked on, 1,589 prayers given, and over 31,000 pieces of literature distributed. Not only this, but 3,729 pounds of canned food were given out to the homeless, 255 refugee relief kits were distributed, and 765 people signed up for Bible studies! Even though GYC Conference only lasted five days, its influence has left a permanent impact on the city of Phoenix.

The conference ended on Sunday, December 31, with a final charge and the reminder that 2018 is full of new opportunities to be transformed, inspired, and empowered for mission. The theme for GYC 2018 is: To the End. This year, GYC isn’t just about attending a conference for five short days. GYC is you and I going to the end of the earth to share an end-time message.

Esther Louw,
Volunteer, GYC

Finishing the Work

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“If my people, who are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.” 2 Chronicles 7:14

We need revival. We need the latter rain. Jesus will not come in our lifetime without it. Renewal will not come until we truly seek it; unless we thirst for it. This is a call to surrender and service. How can we experience the latter rain today?

First, by focusing on the Bible. There is nothing more relevant today than the Word of God. In the last book of the Bible encapsulates the most urgent message, given to every race, age, and geographic location existent at the end time. It is the Three Angels’ Message, found in Revelation 14:6-12. It is a message that calls us to realize God’s great sacrifice of love through the cross, the everlasting gospel; a call for us to lovingly obey Him and His commandments, to give Him total worship not only in word, but also in our lives. It calls us to come out of any system that negates our faith in Christ and His righteousness or promotes man’s ideas above God’s word.

Furthermore, it warns us that the decisions we make today bear eternal consequences. We are living in the judgment hour and God has given us the freedom to choose. Who will receive our worship: the world or Christ? Everything at GYC comes out of that intense desire to lift up Christ and His end time message for us today. This is our prophetic identity as Seventh-day Adventists. Jesus is coming soon!

Secondly, revival will not come without commitment. We must seek to experience Bible-based revival today, by living a life of service for our Savior. A life of service is more than just what we do; it’s at the root of who we are. It is about character. Because God is love, He sent us the most excellent gift Heaven could ever bestow—His only begotten Son. Because God is love, He gave us the best. A life of service is total commitment to excellence in any sphere of influence we are placed in. It pours out as a result of love and respect for Christ.

You do not need to be a full time church employee, a pastor, a Bible worker, or a nurse to be used by God to seek and save the lost. Joseph was a civil servant, Christ was a carpenter, Mary was a homemaker, Paul was a tent maker, Luke was a physician, Daniel a governor, and Lydia was a business woman. What they all had in common was their willingness to use their intellect, heart, and resources to promote the gospel and glorify God, resulting in some of the greatest revivals ever seen by man. I imagine most of the time it was not in the words these individuals spoke, but in the quality of their work and character. For thirty years, Christ worked as a carpenter and the way He worked was a reflection of His Father’s character. God gave all because He loved us to the end, and He calls us to do the same for one another. Share your faith and if you have to, use words.

Lastly, we as Christians must seek to experience the latter rain by not only engaging in serious Bible study, singing spirit filled songs, and seeking Godly relationships; but most importantly through prayer. What the church needs today is not better machinery, new organizations, or more novel methods; but men whom the Holy Ghost can use–people of prayer. People mighty in prayer. Many talk about it, but we at GYC must practice it.

The disciples never asked Jesus, “teach us how to preach,” or “teach us how to give a Bible study.” The one discipline they wanted to learn above anything else was expressed in their plea: “Lord teach us how to pray” (Luke 11:1). Imagine what God could do if we would humble ourselves, turn from our wicked ways, and approach His throne of grace! What could happen if not just one or one hundred men and women, but thousands from every nation, kindred, and tongue united in prayer, approach God’s throne seeking the latter rain? What would happen if our local churches gave God their time and prayed for the Holy Spirit? We would behold the greatest revival ever seen by man.

Why not start now? On November 17, we will begin a 40 days of prayer initiative on our social media platform. Commit with us in daily claiming a promise from God’s word and adopting a specific prayer focus for each day leading up to our GYC conference in Phoenix. When GYC begins on December 27, we will have a prayer marathon where individuals can sign up to pray at all hours of the day. On the last day of GYC, we will hold a special consecration service and see what God has in store for us, as we humble ourselves for His glory.


Moise Ratsara
President, GYC

The Epiphany of Sanctification

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Knowing is everything. It’s why we read the news. It’s why we surf the internet. It’s why Facebook has become ubiquitous. It’s why we probe Yelp reviews. Simply put, knowing satiates.

And knowing is important. Even our eternal life depends on it. “And this is eternal life,” Jesus said, “that they know. . . the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent” (John 17:3).

Ellen White highlights the boomerang of getting God wrong. “The whole spiritual life is molded by our conception of Him, and if we cherish erroneous views of His character, our souls will sustain injury” (Review & Herald, Jan 14, 1890).


In other words, our Christian experience—how we perceive it, feel it, and do it—is affected by our aggregate perception of who God is.

And for the unbeliever, their understanding of God will determine how they’ll react (or not) to God.

This is why Satan works so hard to slander His name. Satan “has sought to misrepresent the character of God,” she says, “to lead men to cherish a false conception of Him. . . as arbitrary, severe, and unforgiving,—that He might be feared, shunned, and even hated by men” (Testimony Treasures, vol. 2, p. 334).

And for the believer, our comprehension of God determines the essence of our spiritual experience.

Think of a dog that’s been physically abused by a previous owner. Once that dog’s rescued, and no matter how nurturing the new owners may be, a gesture of love will be misunderstood. At least initially. It will cower and cringe from the new owner. What the dog knows of humans determines how it will react to any and all gestures.

In the same way, our accurate (or misguided) perceptions of God will determine the outcome of our experience. And if one’s impression of God is based on what’s true of God, the result will be a cognitive coherence between their positive experience and the rational understanding of who He is.

But here’s another profound thought. We cannot know God—in the quintessential, deeper sense—without becoming like Him. Only like can appreciate like. Only a Vietnam or World War II veteran can truly appreciate the heroism and atrocities forged on the bloody ravines of Southeast Asia and Normandy.

Fundamentally, our potential to know God is limited; we’re confined by our subjective capacity and limited experience. We can only truly understand what we’ve gone through.

Consequently, we can only comprehend God, in this sense, to the extent we’ve become like Him.

In the book, Thoughts from the Mount of Blessings, Ellen White states,“Only like can appreciate like. Unless you accept in your own life the principle of self-sacrificing love, which is the principle of His character, you cannot know God. . . . We discern the truth by becoming, ourselves, partakers of the divine nature.”

This is an intriguing thought. Chew on it for just a second.

There was a time whenever I visited my folks I would wake up to fresh-squeezed orange juice by my bedside. Every morning, my mom would squeeze fresh orange juice for me.

And I took it for granted.

But one morning, my mother asked me to prepare the orange juice for the entire family, including extended family who were visiting. It wasn’t until I began to slice each orange, and painstakingly squeeze what seemed like gazillions of oranges that I began to appreciate more deeply the love of my mother.

Only like can appreciate like.

As the father of a three-year-old and a 10-month-old, I’m beginning to love my parents more than ever because I now understand the sacrifice, the sleepless nights, the hours spent washing bottles, and the handling of smeared and whiffy diapers.

Similarly, the experience of sanctification—the life of a converted, self-sacrificing Christian—informs our take on God.

It really does.

Knowing who God is, is everything. But if we want to know Him deeply, we must also become like Him. To me, this is the ultimate purpose of sanctification. In the end, it’s all about Jesus, and I have no problem saying that.

In the church today, the notion of sanctification is sometimes undermined or minimized, and frankly this is really really concerning. It decapitates our potential to feel, know, and emphathize with Jesus, and there’s nothing more we need than that.

Because only like can appreciate like.


-Andy Im
Department of Communications and Sabbath School Director
Michigan Conference

The Ideals of Three Letters

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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