“… For we are made a spectacle unto the world, and to angels, and to men.”
1 Corintians 4:9b.
2014 was ushered in with five blessed days at our last conference in Orlando. I can’t think of a better way to have started the New Year than seeking the Lord, studying the Word, and worshiping together with many of you.
For those of you who were not there, or unable to join us via live stream, our focus was on the great controversy that is raging between good and evil; particularly the way it plays out in our individual lives. Over 4,000 young people from all 50 states and 60 countries registered for the conference. Friday’s outreach was marked by 2,800 participants, 22,622 doors knocked on, 15,517 GLOW tracts passed out, 2,238 Great Controversys distributed, 2,089 people prayed with, 216 Bible study requests received, and $15,000 collected, all in four short hours. On Sabbath 6,500 gathered to worship and seek God’s face together, and Sunday morning we parted with the charge to allow the cross to stand at the center of our experience, living our lives to the glory of God.
The joys and blessings of each conference are the gift of God. As we look back on the beginning and growth of GYC we cannot help but thank God for His willingness to bless ordinary young people who long to serve Him. This conference was no different. All the good that has come out of it is thanks to Him. Any deficiencies that appeared testify to the fact that we are simply imperfect vessels. But we want His name to be exalted. “Not unto us, O Lord, not unto us, but unto thy name give glory, for thy mercy, and for thy truth’s sake.” Psalm 115:1.
We are thankful also to you – our hundreds of volunteers who sacrificed your time and money to make GYC Orlando a reality. Year after year, GYC is supported by the registration fees of the attendees, but that would not suffice to sustain the conference without your sacrifice and countless hours of volunteering without any returns except the joy of service. Thank you! May your reward be great in heaven.
And so we head into a new year, with a new page on which will be written the story of our lives. The conference is over, but the experience is just beginning. We have a blessed opportunity, in the middle of this cosmic war of the ages, to live a life that will be that spectacle before men and angels, vindicating the name and glory of our God. Of course, God doesn’t need us. He could do without us. He could make the stones cry out. And yet, somehow, by His outrageous grace, He chooses to tie up His name and reputation with us. He chooses to prove His greatness to a watching universe by displaying His mercy and power in our lives. “Ye are my witnesses, saith the Lord, and my servant whom I have chosen… Ye are my witnesses… that I am God.” Isaiah 43:10, 12.
As President of GYC, I am committed to bowing at Christ’s feet and following Him as He leads GYC into the future. Together with the team of dedicated Executive Committee members and hundreds of volunteers, we are committed to continue to put together inspiring programming, contagious outreach days, dynamic networking sessions, and all the other elements that make GYC a vibrant, growing, Christ-centered conference.
But just doing that is not enough.
As long as 1.5 million children die of starvation a year, our conference is not enough. As long as there are 27 million slaves in the world, most of them sold into sex trafficking so that purity can be bartered off to perverts, our conference is not enough. As long as there are children being hunted and beaten for sport in the streets, our conference is not enough. As long as there is one native in one remote island who has not heard the beautiful name of Jesus, our conference is not enough.
We are called to do something more. To saturate our minds with the Word of God and allow it to be a transforming, renewing power in our lives. To be ready to set ourselves aside, to serve the least of these, to sacrifice whatever we treasure as an offering for Christ Jesus. To love the orphan, care for the fatherless, and walk the road of submission to God that Christ journeyed in our world. To expect not glory on this earth, but a cross; not fame, but friendship with the self-denying King; not popularity, but purity; not applause, but an alabaster box for the Master’s feet.
If we, a united group of young people from around the world, will not get up and beg Christ to make us His hands and feet to a hurting planet, who will?
Christ’s command is simple. “Follow Me.”