Those Crazy Millerites. . .
It’s been almost 170 years now since the Millerite movement swept through New England with their powerful tent meetings. Those were exciting times. Intense preaching. Radical commitments. These people were yearning for the kingdom of God. They were a force to be reckoned with and would eventually catch the attention of the media. The prominent members of this group would soon become household names across America.
These people were yearning
for the kingdom of God.
In the November 17, 1842 issue of The Midnight Cry Joshua V. Himes described the conviction and fervor that characterized the movement: “We sacrifice time, health, money, personal comfort, and all earthly possessions, to the cause.” “We have held 30 camp meetings within the last four months.” It’s easy to miss the significance of that. Wrap your mind around it. We’re talking 1842! First of all, that would be amazing even in our day. Yet this was done in difficult circumstances, with poor transportation, and without the modern technology which we take for granted today. That’s awe-inspiring determination. Even the worst enemies of the Millerite movement were willing to admit that.
Why the emphasis on meeting together? Why the urgency on assembling the believers? Is there a connection between their conviction that the Lord was coming soon and their desire to unite together under one tent? Is there a relationship between a passionate love for the truth and an eagerness to join forces with like minded believers? Yes! It seems like this is what Paul had in mind when he wrote: “not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together. . . but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.” Hebrews 10.25
The Day is definitely approaching. And as we get closer to the end, God will bring more and more young people together from every corner of the earth. This is an essential ingredient to how the Holy Spirit leads a movement. But why?
Remember Your Brotherhood
“Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world.” 1 Peter 5:9
It’s interesting to notice the context that these words live in. Peter is addressing Christians who are struggling through persecution and have been scattered throughout the world. He’s speaking to people who are engaged in a struggle for spiritual survival in an unfriendly world.
This verse follows the apostle’s often quoted warning about how we need to be “sober” and “vigilant” because the devil is trying to “devour” us like a “roaring lion” (1 Peter 5:8). It’s with this in mind that 1 Peter 5:9 comes into focus. It presents a compelling motivation for us to resist the devil and remain faithful. What is that motivation? “Knowing.” Knowing what? Knowing what is being “experienced by your brotherhood in the world.” In other words, being aware of your fellow soldiers out there! That awareness is essential to our own survival and perseverance in the faith.
Most of us live in our own little circles. We attend our individual churches. Often, all we see is the Laodicean environment immediately around us. It can get lonely out there. Sometimes it’s discouraging. Sometimes it feels like there are few other young people who share our burden to do something meaningful for the Kingdom of God. It’s easy to forget that there are more committed young people than what we see.
And then there’s GYC…
Not just another gathering. But a special reminder that ours is a world-wide movement! We come for a gasp of fresh air. To be refreshed. Inspired. Encouraged. Challenged. I need this because what awaits me out in the world will demand all the guts and glory I can muster:
“. . . to fight the battles of the Lord when champions are few–this will be our test. At this time we must gather warmth from the coldness of others, courage from their cowardice, and loyalty from their treason.” (5T 136)
That’s the real world we live in. Those are the brutal facts. But at GYC we can turn that on it’s head. We gather warmth from the warmness of others, courage from their courage, and loyalty from their loyalty!
I need to rub shoulders with my mission minded brethren from South America. I want to meet those walking testimonies of faith and sacrifice from my people in Africa. I want to shake hands and pray with excited young people from Asia and Oceania. I want to walk through those booths and learn about more ministries starting up throughout Europe.
This fires me up! It makes me want to do more damage on the devil’s kingdom!
See you in December!