ASI Conventions

Keynote: Amy Sheppard Ratsara

Three Angels Broadcasting Network

Program transcript



Series Code: ASIC

Program Code: ASIC180004A

00:01 Music...
00:14 Piano...
00:27 some more piano...
00:31 more piano...
00:35 You've written what You want from me in stone,
00:42 A reflection of Your character alone,
00:50 So I've tried to keep Your laws without regret,
00:56 But I'm easily distracted and forget,
01:03 So, write them on my heart,
01:07 Seal them in my mind,
01:11 The beauty of Your law and grace combined
01:18 Remind me just how loving Your commandments are
01:26 And write them on the tablets of my heart.
01:33 Piano...
01:37 more piano...
01:44 There's only one desire inside of me,
01:51 To be all that You created me to be
01:58 And I know the only way that I can grow
02:04 is for You to come inside and take control
02:11 So, write them on my heart,
02:14 Seal them in my mind,
02:18 The beauty of Your law and grace combined,
02:26 Remind me just how lovely Your commandments are
02:34 And write them on the tablets of my heart.
02:39 Your law reflects Your goodness,
02:43 The cross reveals your grace,
02:47 That's the motivation
02:52 behind Your perfect way,
02:56 So, write them on my heart,
03:00 Seal them in my mind
03:05 The beauty of your law and grace combined.
03:13 Remind me just how lovely Your commandments are
03:19 And write them on the tablets of my heart.
03:25 So, write them on my heart,
03:28 Seal them in my mind,
03:32 The beauty of Your law and grace combined,
03:40 Remind me just how lovely Your commandments are,
03:46 And write them on the tablets of my heart.
03:55 Remind just how lovely
03:59 Your commandments are
04:04 And write them on the tablets
04:09 of my heart.
04:16 Music...
04:24 more music.
04:29 Audience: Amen.
04:33 Good morning,
04:35 wasn't that a beautiful special music?
04:38 It absolutely touched my heart.
04:41 My name is Amy Ratsara
04:45 and I have the privilege of sharing with you
04:48 a little bit about what it is that God has done in my life.
04:51 Now, when I received the invitation from ASI
04:55 to come and speak at this Convention,
04:57 I asked them, "Okay, well,
04:58 what would you like me to talk about?"
05:01 In my role as a Lawyer,
05:02 the facts are usually given to me
05:05 about any presentation I have to make to a Jury,
05:07 I don't have to decide on the subject content,
05:09 I just have to figure out how to present it
05:11 in a convincing way,
05:13 well, they said, "We want you to share your testimony
05:16 and we want you to share it in the context
05:19 of the theme this year... Business Unusual. "
05:22 So, I thought to myself, "Well...
05:25 do you know how my testimony fits into the theme this year
05:29 and if so, could you let me know so that I know what to say?"
05:34 I thought about presenting about something else...
05:37 about talking something about something other than
05:41 the things that God has done in my life
05:43 but the more I resisted it, the more I was convinced that,
05:46 "No, this was what God wanted me to talk about,
05:49 I don't know why
05:50 some of the stories feel a little old
05:54 in terms of the distance and time that's gone by,
05:56 but the Spirit of God has blessed me
05:59 in thinking about these things and remembering these things
06:01 and so I just pray that this morning
06:03 it is a blessing for you.
06:05 Now the reason I hesitate
06:07 or why I was curious as to why my testimony
06:09 would be something you might want to hear is,
06:12 I grew up a Seventh-day Adventist,
06:15 I grew up in Berrien Springs, Michigan
06:17 at Andrews University
06:19 with Adventist parents who taught in Adventist schools,
06:22 I attended Adventist schools myself
06:24 and I never really wandered far from the faith,
06:27 now, I know that doesn't mean that I don't have a testimony,
06:31 each and every one of us do,
06:32 but I just wondered how would my testimony
06:36 be relevant or interesting
06:38 to a group of people who are coming to listen,
06:40 I don't have any radical conversion story
06:43 about being plucked from obscurity or something like that
06:46 and I haven't gone to an exotic mission field
06:49 to talk about the wonderful things that God has done
06:52 and worked in obviously miraculous ways,
06:55 my testimony just seems kind of... run of the mill
06:58 like everyone else,
07:00 but the fact of the matter is, I really shouldn't be here
07:03 and it's not just because of the fact
07:05 that I didn't know what to talk about this morning,
07:08 I shouldn't be here because...
07:10 at least the buzz in our church these days is
07:13 that my peers are not here, I am a Millennial
07:16 and the thought seems to be
07:18 that Millennials are not present in our church today
07:21 whether... either they're there but they're not active
07:24 or they're not there at all
07:26 and so as I reflected and thought about,
07:28 "Well, why am I here?"
07:30 "Why am I a Seventh-day Adventist?"
07:32 "Why has God been able to keep me
07:34 with that faith that I grew up with?"
07:37 and I realized... that's what He wants me
07:38 to share with you this morning.
07:40 So, before I do, why don't we pray together
07:42 and then we'll spend some time together
07:44 looking at God's Word
07:46 and also, just seeing how God has worked.
07:48 Let's pray.
07:49 "Dear Heavenly Father,
07:52 we thank you so much for bringing us together
07:54 here in Orlando, Florida
07:55 with this opportunity for us to spend time with one another,
07:58 Lord, I just pray that you would be with me now as I speak,
08:02 that you would share something from my life, Lord,
08:05 that you have done
08:06 that would bring encouragement and peace
08:07 to those who are listening
08:09 and Father, that would encourage us all to be faithful to you
08:12 in everything that we do, we thank you Lord,
08:15 we ask these things in Jesus' name, amen. "
08:17 Audience: Amen.
08:19 So, as many of you are probably aware,
08:22 social media is kind of changing
08:25 the way things that are going... everywhere.
08:27 There is a group of people called Social Media Influencers
08:31 and what they are are... many of them are Millennials,
08:34 they take their phones and they post pictures,
08:37 they post tweets, they post things on Facebook
08:39 and they get many, many followers.
08:42 As a result of getting all of these followers,
08:44 businesses are starting to leverage their social clout
08:47 in order to try to get their brands out
08:51 in front of other people
08:53 or get their business in front of other people.
08:55 These social media influencers have been so effective
08:58 at changing the way that marketing has been going
09:01 that they've spawned a new class
09:02 of want-to-be's and copy cats
09:04 who will go on to these different social media websites
09:07 they will pay for followers
09:09 to make it look like they have 80,000 people following them,
09:12 and then they'll e-mail a luxury hotel and say,
09:15 "I want to stay free for two weeks
09:17 and I'll do two posts about it
09:18 so all of my followers can see. "
09:20 These luxury hotels...
09:22 they're starting to get really frustrated
09:24 with these young people and what they're doing
09:27 but it does go to show
09:28 that those who are legitimately exercising this
09:31 are using their influence in a way
09:33 to change business as usual
09:35 and they're remodeling the way
09:37 that people are going forth with marketing.
09:39 I'm sure, many of you with your businesses
09:41 or with your ministries have even tried to figure out,
09:43 how can we use social media...
09:45 and are there young people who can promote what we're doing...
09:48 in what... in what we're doing.
09:49 But, this generation who has figured out
09:53 how to market so effectively on social media
09:57 can oftentimes seem absent
09:59 in the Seventh-day Adventist Church today.
10:01 Maybe it's because they're not here
10:04 or maybe it's just because they're not active.
10:07 Pause.
10:08 I praise God for blessing me
10:10 with the family that I grew up in.
10:12 As I indicated before,
10:13 I was born to parents who were Seventh-day Adventists,
10:16 I went to Ruth Murdoch Elementary School
10:19 and Andrews Academy in Berrien Springs, Michigan
10:21 well, in High School, I became a Sabbath School Teacher,
10:25 and I worked with Summer Day Camp Programs through our church
10:28 where I was able to teach children about the love of Jesus
10:31 as well as do summer activities with them,
10:34 but many of the friends who I grew up with
10:37 are no longer Seventh-day Adventists themselves,
10:39 they're not in the church
10:40 and some of them are even antagonistic against the church
10:43 and that's despite the fact
10:44 that we sat next to each other in Elementary School,
10:47 we sat side by side at Sabbath School,
10:50 we taught together at the Summer Flag Camp
10:52 and we did all of these things together,
10:55 we studied for baptism together
10:57 and yet they're not here.
10:58 Pause.
11:00 I don't claim to have perfect knowledge to know
11:03 what happened to my peer group
11:04 and why they're not in the church
11:06 or why they're not active in the church
11:07 but my reason for being here
11:10 is not to give some sort of scientific analysis
11:13 or explanation of the cause and effect of what's going on,
11:15 I'm here to talk about what it was
11:18 that God has done for me,
11:20 and how He led me along the way
11:22 and the joy that that has brought.
11:24 So, having grown up as a Seventh-day Adventist,
11:27 in a Seventh-day Adventist College town,
11:30 I assumed that when I finished academy,
11:33 of course, I would go
11:34 to a Seventh-day Adventist University.
11:36 I also thought I would go to Andrews University,
11:39 my Dad, by that point, was a Professor at the university,
11:41 my mother taught Andrews Academy,
11:43 why would I be going to school
11:45 anywhere else but the place where my parents were?
11:48 That's what a good Seventh-day Adventist would do.
11:51 But to my surprise,
11:53 in an answer to prayer that I was not expecting,
11:57 and a full tuition scholarship,
11:59 I ended up that fall at the University of Michigan
12:02 instead of Andrews University.
12:04 In making that decision to go...
12:07 in following God's leading there,
12:09 I became a statistic of the young people in our church,
12:12 the vast majority of whom... when I say, "vast majority"
12:15 I mean, at the 70 or 80th percentile
12:18 of the young people in our church,
12:20 I was at a secular Institution of Higher Learning
12:23 rather than one of our Institutions for Higher Learning
12:25 in order to continue my education
12:27 and it was that fall of my college year
12:33 that I encountered two things
12:34 that completely changed my life forever...
12:37 Campus Ministry and GYC.
12:40 I'll tell you in just a minute what drew me to each
12:43 but as I discuss each, I also want to share with you
12:47 a portion of Scripture that spoke to me in those moments
12:49 and how I think the Word of God acted to keep me
12:51 not just in the church but in the careful watch-care of God.
12:54 My last Sabbath at my home church, PMC,
12:58 before leaving... before leaving for school
13:00 was the first Sabbath of the school year.
13:02 All the Freshmen were on campus...
13:04 and these would have been my classmates... my dorm mates...
13:07 the people I would have been going to school with.
13:10 During the whole Service, my mind was wandering...
13:13 wondering if I had really made the right decision,
13:16 if God really was calling me to go to the University of Michigan
13:20 rather than staying in the place,
13:22 this place where I felt comfortable,
13:24 where I assumed He would want me to be.
13:27 The Pastor's message that day
13:29 was on being a missionary where you are
13:31 and he was encouraging the students
13:33 to encourage one another in the Lord,
13:35 even though they were on a Christian-University Campus.
13:39 He then directed us to turn our Bibles to Isaiah 49:6
13:42 and I'd ask that you'd do the same thing right now
13:45 and this is when my wandering mind finally perked up
13:48 and started to pay attention.
13:49 Isaiah 49:6 and in this verse it says:
13:55 he says: "It is too light a thing that you should be My servant
14:03 to raise up the tribes of Jacob,
14:05 to bring back the preserved of Israel;
14:08 I will make you as a light for the nations,
14:12 that My salvation may reach to the end of the earth. "
14:17 As he read that Scripture,
14:20 it was as though my heart stopped
14:22 and I could sense the Spirit of God telling me,
14:24 "This is why you are going to the University of Michigan,
14:28 you've been in 'Israel' for long enough,
14:31 it's time for you to be a light to all nations. "
14:34 This was a complete paradigm shift for me
14:37 even though I knew God was leading me
14:39 to the University of Michigan,
14:41 I didn't know why,
14:42 I thought for whatever reason,
14:43 He needed me to get my education there,
14:45 instead of somewhere else.
14:47 I could not have been more wrong,
14:49 because the education that they give there
14:52 we know is not true education,
14:53 but God was directing my path to that University
14:57 so that I could be a missionary.
15:00 Now, this perspective was so new for me
15:03 that I thought it was an original idea.
15:06 Surely no one has ever thought of the fact
15:08 that if they go to a secular university,
15:11 they should be a missionary.
15:12 To my surprise and joy, though,
15:15 when I found the Seventh-day Adventist group on Campus,
15:18 that is exactly what they were about
15:21 and I jumped right in.
15:22 I started attending the weekly Bible Studies,
15:25 they had both large-group Bible Studies
15:26 and small-group Bible Studies,
15:28 I soon learned how to give Bible Studies myself
15:32 and became a regular...
15:33 began regularly giving Bible Studies to people on campus.
15:38 I remember my sophomore year, it was the second semester,
15:42 I had maxed out the number credits that I was taking
15:45 so I was very busy
15:46 but I wanted to continue my ministry as well
15:49 so I think I was participating in two different small groups
15:51 and giving an individual Bible Study
15:53 only to find out that the President of our Student Group
15:56 was leaving...
15:57 and that now the responsibility of leading the group
16:00 was also going to fall to me,
16:01 I committed myself to God though and said,
16:04 "Lord, I don't want to suffer academically,
16:07 I don't want to suffer in ministry,
16:09 I believe you've called me to do all these things,
16:11 so, please help me
16:13 and that's exactly what He did.
16:14 He created time out of nowhere it seems
16:17 and he also gave me a mind quick for learning
16:20 that turned into one of my most successful semesters
16:23 academically... but also one of the most rewarding spiritually.
16:27 As I saw how God continued to work
16:29 in the lives of my friends on campus
16:32 and the way that we were able to influence
16:34 what was happening on our campus.
16:36 One of the things that a friend of mine and I really liked to do
16:42 in order to try to encourage in ministry,
16:44 was to take classes together
16:46 in order to find a student who was searching for the truth.
16:49 The first time we did this was our freshman year,
16:52 we took Physics together
16:53 and sure enough there was a young man in my Physics class
16:57 who invited me to study with him one night,
16:59 for us to learn,
17:01 now, I kind of sensed that
17:04 maybe he was secretly trying to ask for a date
17:07 and while we were open to creative types of ministry,
17:09 I did not believe that I should flirt to convert.
17:12 Audience: Laughter.
17:15 So, I called my friend, Erika, and I said,
17:17 "Erika, you need to study for Physics too...
17:20 let's go study with this man. "
17:22 So, we go...
17:24 he didn't seem too upset that I brought a third person along
17:26 for the study session
17:28 but as our conversation drifted away from Physics,
17:32 it started to drift towards spiritual things.
17:35 I don't remember exactly how
17:37 but we ended up talking about death
17:39 and that night we were able to give him a study
17:42 on the state of the dead
17:43 and share with him the truth that the Bible has for us
17:46 that we don't have to worry about what happens when we die
17:49 as long as we trust in Jesus.
17:50 We decided... this was so effective...
17:53 we decided to take another class together
17:56 and this one was called Second Temple Judaism...
17:58 so, focusing on what people would call
18:01 the "Inter-Testamental Period and into the New Testament. "
18:05 The professor in this class was clearly against the idea
18:08 that the Bible was the inspired Word of God
18:10 and that made us excited
18:12 to be able to show him that he was wrong.
18:14 But in the process, we found a girl
18:18 who had been coming to one of our Bible Studies,
18:20 she'd been making friends with other people
18:22 in our ministry group and growing close with them
18:25 and she took... and she was taking the class
18:27 and sat with us as well.
18:29 She had grown up in a Christian background
18:32 but she herself... on this secular university campus
18:35 was starting to ask the same questions
18:37 that the Professor was raising about the validity of the Bible
18:41 about whether or not it can be depended on
18:43 as the Word of God
18:45 but we continued to be friends with her,
18:47 we continued to study with her,
18:49 the others in the group continued to do the same.
18:51 A year after that class, she decided to keep the Sabbath
18:56 and a few months after that,
18:58 she made the decision to be baptized.
19:00 She has done mission work for the Seventh-day Adventist Church
19:04 all over the world
19:05 and continues to be an active Seventh-day Adventist today
19:08 more than a decade later.
19:10 Audience: Amen.
19:11 Also, we would take this opportunity to write our papers
19:16 and gear our presentations in a way
19:18 where we could talk about the truth of God in our classes.
19:22 In that class, for example, my friend, Erika, wrote a paper
19:25 showing that Daniel chapter 2 and Daniel chapter 7
19:27 actually are talking about the same kingdoms
19:30 when our Professor said that it was not...
19:32 and I wrote a paper talking about how Daniel chapter 9
19:35 really does point to when Jesus' first advent was
19:37 and not what the Professor was saying that it was.
19:40 We both received excellent marks in those papers
19:42 and had a captive audience
19:43 because our Professor had to read what we wrote.
19:45 Audience: Laughter.
19:47 Another example of this was a Spanish class.
19:50 I majored in History, I minored in Spanish
19:53 and it was one of my favorite Spanish classes
19:56 but I got assigned some poems I had to do a presentation on
20:01 for the class.
20:02 I am not a fan of Poetry in any language...
20:04 it just... it... it... it doesn't resonate with me...
20:07 my husband is a huge fan of poetry but it...
20:09 it just doesn't speak to me in the same way,
20:12 but this was like Classical Spanish
20:14 so the equivalent of King James English in Spanish,
20:17 in a poetry form
20:18 and Spanish is the weaker of my two languages,
20:21 I started to get very stressed about this assignment
20:25 and about having to share this with the rest of the class.
20:27 I wasn't understanding it... it wasn't clicking...
20:30 and anxiety was threatening to set in.
20:33 This wasn't the first time
20:35 something like that happened in college,
20:36 it would threaten me every once in a while every semester
20:40 to just get overwhelmed with everything that was going on,
20:43 trying to be an excellent student to God's glory
20:46 in addition to being active in ministry
20:48 but I developed the habit of turning to the Word of God
20:51 when that threat of anxiety would come in
20:53 and specifically, I would turn to Matthew chapter 6,
20:56 you can turn with me there,
20:57 Matthew chapter 6
21:02 and I would read verses 31 through34.
21:08 "Therefore do not be anxious, saying, 'What shall we eat?'
21:15 or 'What shall we drink?'
21:16 or 'What shall we wear?'
21:18 For the Gentiles seek after all these things,
21:21 and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all.
21:25 But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness,
21:29 and all these things will be added to you.
21:32 Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow,
21:35 for tomorrow will be anxious for itself.
21:38 Sufficient for the day is its own trouble. "
21:41 So, I would read this passage every time I felt overwhelmed
21:45 begging God to help me not to be anxious
21:48 to depend on Him
21:49 and to seek first His kingdom in everything that I was doing
21:52 in the University
21:53 and not to worry so much about what particular grade I may get.
21:57 Well, this poet whose poems I was struggling with
22:01 was a priest or a monk or something along those lines
22:05 and as I turned to this passage...
22:07 struggling with that material
22:09 asking the Lord to take the anxiety away from my heart
22:11 so I could get through this assignment,
22:13 I skimmed the surrounding verses and chapters to this verse.
22:18 The Sermon on the Mount...
22:19 and all of a sudden, something clicked.
22:22 This poet was making illusions
22:25 to the Sermon on the Mount in his poetry,
22:28 he was talking about the fact
22:29 that we should be laying up treasures in heaven
22:32 and he was also talking about finding the narrow way.
22:35 When I realized this, I was so excited... I went...
22:38 I printed out the relevant portions from the Bible,
22:41 made photocopies and...
22:44 and added that to the last part of my presentation for class.
22:48 When I got to class,
22:49 I had to make the presentation in Spanish,
22:51 and, in general, my Spanish is okay
22:54 but, you know, everyone was a language-learner in that class,
22:57 and as I made the presentation,
22:59 I was able to give my classmates a Bible Study
23:02 on why we shouldn't worry,
23:03 why we should be putting our treasures in heaven
23:06 and how we should be finding that narrow way
23:09 and when it got confusing or my Spanish got a little garbled,
23:12 the Professor would jump in and clarify...
23:15 explain what I was meaning to say.
23:17 so, really, I had a professor
23:18 who was helping me give a Bible Study to a class...
23:21 of colleagues there at the University of Michigan.
23:25 I know many people look back at their college years
23:28 with fun, nostalgia... for a variety of reasons,
23:32 maybe they had great camaraderie with their classmates...
23:35 with their dorm mates...
23:36 maybe that's where they met the love of their life...
23:39 the person who they married...
23:40 or maybe that's where they found the passion
23:42 for their professional pursuits
23:45 that they were going to continue on
23:47 for the rest of their adult life
23:48 and some of these are true for me too.
23:51 I made friendships that I hope to never ever lose
23:54 and I got a passion for both ministry
23:56 as well as the work that I do now
23:58 but what brings back the most joy upon me...
24:02 going back and thinking about these years in college
24:04 was knowing that I was in exactly the place
24:06 where God would have me
24:08 doing what He would have me to do in being faithful to Him.
24:12 Now, I don't want you to think
24:13 that this is necessarily an advertisement
24:15 saying all Seventh-day Adventists young people
24:17 should go to a secular university... it's not.
24:19 By and large our schools are the places where I believe
24:23 Seventh-day Adventist young people should be.
24:24 Audience: Amen.
24:26 But the Spirit of Prophecy does say
24:27 that the excess of work that will be done
24:29 and it must be done
24:30 by those who are taught and led of God
24:32 and so for some young people God is actually calling them
24:35 to go into these campuses... not to gain an education there
24:39 but to be a missionary and to be a light.
24:41 A finally Scripture that spoke to me
24:44 during this time at college
24:47 was Philippians chapter 2 verses 2 through 15
24:50 and I'll invite you to turn with me there as well.
24:53 Philippians chapter 2 verses 2 through 15.
24:55 Pause.
24:58 I'm sorry... not 2... verses 12 through 15.
25:01 so, Philippians chapter 2 verses 12 through 15
25:05 and it reads this, "Therefore, my beloved,
25:09 as you have always obeyed,
25:11 so now, not only as in my presence,
25:14 but much more in my absence,
25:16 work out your own salvation with fear and trembling;
25:20 for it is God who works in you
25:23 both too will and to work for His good pleasure.
25:26 Do all things without grumbling and questioning
25:29 that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God
25:34 without blemish
25:36 in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation,
25:39 among whom you shine as lights in the world. "
25:43 The values of excellence and missionary...
25:47 and a missionary mindset
25:49 are what drew me into Campus Ministry while I was in college
25:52 and God used these values
25:54 in the community that developed around them
25:56 to keep me from wandering from the faith
25:58 that I had been raised in
25:59 and that I had made a commitment to... as my own.
26:03 Turning back to the fall of my freshman year,
26:06 the second thing that I was introduced to
26:09 that changed my life was GYC.
26:11 Several young adults involved with that campus ministry
26:14 were the founders of GYC.
26:17 Now, for those of you who may not know...
26:19 GYC has... is... are three letters
26:21 that have stood for many different things over the years
26:24 ranging from the General Youth Conference
26:26 to Generation of Youth for Christ
26:28 to what it's called now, Generation Youth Christ.
26:32 But regardless of the name,
26:34 the purpose of GYC has been a place
26:36 for Seventh-day Adventist young people to go... be together,
26:39 receive training and encouragement
26:41 in their personal relationship with Jesus
26:43 in teaching them how to be faithful local church members
26:48 in active personal evangelists
26:50 in efforts to finish the work in this generation.
26:52 But I didn't know that back then...
26:56 I didn't even know that the Founders of GYC
26:58 were the people I was going to church with.
27:00 Somehow, I had stumbled upon GYC's website that fall
27:04 and as I read the description,
27:06 their theme that year was, "Higher than the Highest"
27:09 and it... it spoke to that part of me
27:11 desired excellence for myself and for those around me
27:14 and as I read the description of what GYC...
27:16 and saw that was going to be there
27:18 in Anne Arbor, Michigan that fall,
27:20 I wanted to go.
27:22 I misunderstood, I think, what they were saying on there,
27:26 I think they put the cap of how many people
27:28 were going to be able to attend
27:30 and I thought that that meant
27:31 there was some sort of special selective process to go to GYC
27:34 and I just hoped so much that somehow
27:37 I could be chosen to go to this wonderful place called GYC
27:41 only to find out that, no,
27:43 all I had to do was go and register and I could participate
27:47 and my friends there at church encouraged me to do so,
27:49 that Convention was the perfect way to end that first semester
27:54 at a secular university.
27:55 It was like a spiritual-boot-camp experience
27:58 where we were up before dawn at morning devotionals
28:01 and up still way past the evening...
28:03 or wait late into the evening hours
28:06 listening to the different Speakers present.
28:08 The messages were convicting
28:11 and they showed me that the Seventh-day Adventist message
28:14 has an intellectual integrity to it...
28:16 that we have no reason to be ashamed about
28:18 even at one of the world's most elite universities,
28:21 that I can hold my head up high in confidence
28:23 that my faith is not just faith
28:26 but it makes intellectual sense as well.
28:29 But the thing that really impressed me there was
28:32 what I saw was young people
28:34 were the people who were running GYC.
28:37 I was awed to see that these young people...
28:40 individuals who back then seemed old...
28:43 they were only three or four years older than me...
28:44 so they were probably 22 or 23 at the time
28:47 but they were doing a mighty work for God.
28:50 I finally prayed at that GYC that if He wanted me to...
28:54 if God wanted to use me in such a way,
28:57 that I would be willing to do that.
28:59 But I didn't really think anything more of it.
29:02 Over the next few years, I started to volunteer with GYC
29:06 in... in small ways...
29:07 I would sit in a Seminar and press the "record" button
29:10 so that that recording could get uploaded to the website,
29:13 eventually I was invited to work on a committee
29:16 where we developed the printed resources for GYC.
29:19 But it still came as a complete shock and it was very humbling
29:23 when I received a call from GYC's Board of Directors
29:26 to go and serve on their Executive Committee.
29:28 First as the Secretary for the Organization
29:31 and later on as the General Vice President.
29:34 I ultimately agreed to take on that role
29:37 but did not know what leadership at that level was going...
29:42 what impact it was going to have on my life.
29:45 Having been intimately involved with GYC
29:48 for the better part of a decade,
29:50 I've tried to think about what makes GYC... GYC.
29:53 People often think that it's unique
29:56 and it's cutting edge ministry
29:58 that's supporting the Seventh-day Adventist Church
30:01 and GYC's main work is to host annual Conventions
30:04 here in North America
30:05 and those Conventions tend to draw on four values...
30:09 I'm sorry... those Conventions tend to draw
30:11 an international attendance.
30:12 But what does GYC do to continue to garner this reputation?
30:17 And I believe that four values have led GYC
30:19 to have the influence that it does today on the church.
30:23 First of all, as I indicated before,
30:26 the thing that drew me in the first place
30:28 is that it is youth-led.
30:29 Fundamental to GYC is the idea that the youth are capable
30:33 of serving other youth
30:35 of reaching their peers both inside and outside the Church.
30:38 This does not mean that GYC rejects the idea of mentorship
30:42 or guidance or leadership from older adults.
30:45 Quite the contrary...
30:48 in order to help young adults become more effective
30:50 in ministering to their peers,
30:52 such involvement is not just necessary
30:54 but also desired on the part of young people all over the world.
30:58 What GYC emphasizes though
31:00 is that the youth are to take an active role
31:03 to feel a deep sense of duty and responsibility
31:06 to their involvement in the Seventh-day Adventist Church
31:09 from their local church level
31:11 all the way up to the General Conference
31:13 and every level in between.
31:15 Young people started the Seventh-day Adventist Movement
31:18 and we have prophetic understanding
31:20 that the youth will play a pivotal role
31:22 at this time in earth's history.
31:23 Pause.
31:25 God does not want to see those who are in the prime of life
31:27 simply sitting... idly sitting by...
31:31 He wants young adults actively involved
31:32 recruiting their peers to the mission.
31:34 Audience: Amen.
31:35 The other thing that has drawn people, I believe,
31:37 is the sense of volunteerism... of sacrifice and commitment.
31:42 Sacrifice and commitment have characterized
31:45 the type of dedication to those involved with GYC
31:47 from the very beginning.
31:49 Every year the Convention Centers hosting GYC
31:52 are amazed at the Organization
31:54 holding an event of this magnitude
31:56 is run 100% by volunteers...
31:58 I should say, 100% with one part-time employee.
32:02 Volunteerism though is often coming at a great cost
32:05 and it emphasizes that our involvement with the movement
32:08 is not for monetary gain or even for building a resume
32:11 but for rewards which are intangible
32:14 yet real and profound.
32:16 The fact of the matter is that no one has to be at GYC.
32:19 There's no employment contract,
32:22 there's no paycheck to entice participation,
32:25 instead, members of the Executive Committee...
32:28 volunteers... all the way up to the President
32:31 pay out of their own pockets to participate in GYC
32:35 to attend it... to travel to it...
32:37 to purchase the meals and to do everything.
32:39 Attendees and volunteers throughout
32:42 make even more significant sacrifices
32:44 to further the cause each year
32:46 besides those that are necessary to attend the annual Convention
32:49 and all of this... because at GYC,
32:51 the question is not, "What can I get?"
32:54 but "What can I give?"
32:56 Audience: Amen.
32:57 GYC is also a grassroots movement.
33:00 The simple idea of youth leadership
33:03 exhibited through volunteerism and sacrifice and commitment,
33:06 is incredibly sticky... and it's demonstrated broad appeal
33:09 at the ground levels of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.
33:12 GYC is more than an annual Conference,
33:15 it's a grassroots movement
33:18 with manifestations that have appeared all over the world
33:21 and beyond GYC doing anything
33:23 in order to try to see these things happening
33:25 all over the world.
33:28 GYC's own leadership... the Executive Committee
33:30 which I no longer sit on but my husband does
33:33 inspires that... and they're intensely grassroots.
33:36 All of them are either students, young professionals
33:39 or local church pastors
33:41 all taken from the grassroots level of our church.
33:44 As a result, GYC is able to tailor its programming
33:47 at the annual Convention and activities throughout the year
33:49 to the needs that they know are real in the church
33:52 because they are involved
33:54 with those parts of the church themselves
33:56 because that's where they're living.
33:57 Pause.
33:59 Finally, GYC values diversity.
34:00 The grassroots appeal of GYC has not been limited
34:04 to one-people group or even one country,
34:06 one of the marks that distinguishes GYC
34:09 is that it transcends racial and ethnic barriers
34:12 and is embraced by people
34:13 from many different walks of life in the church
34:15 and the diversity is not just limited to cultural.
34:18 There are people from vastly
34:20 different socio-economic backgrounds
34:22 who identify with GYC.
34:23 There are also people in this day and age
34:26 with a variety of political opinions
34:28 from the far right to the far left
34:30 that are espoused with those who are espouse
34:32 what's called the "spirit of GYC."
34:35 But what brings people together
34:36 from all these different walks of life
34:38 is a commitment to our Lord Jesus
34:41 and an acknowledgement that that commitment to Him
34:44 takes preeminence over every other identity in our lives.
34:48 The beauty of diversity that results
34:50 from this type of common commitment
34:52 to a higher cause is that it's not artificial
34:54 as many diversity programs in different workplaces
34:57 or academic institutions tend to be
35:00 rather it results naturally
35:03 and while coming in contact with others may challenge us...
35:06 sometimes to our cores,
35:07 it makes us stronger as individuals as well as a church.
35:12 So, being on the Leadership Team of an Organization
35:16 that holds such values was thrilling to be sure...
35:18 but as I reflect at my time at GYC
35:22 and how that experience God used to keep me in the church,
35:26 it was not necessarily any one of those values
35:29 that God was using,
35:30 rather, it was a principle on Scripture
35:33 that continues to astound me.
35:35 Turn with me... you should still...
35:37 you should be in Philippians,
35:38 let's go to Philippians chapter 3, verses 12 through 17.
35:41 Philippians chapter 3 verses 12 to 17.
35:45 Not that I have already obtained this,
35:49 or am already perfect,
35:51 but I press on to make it my own
35:55 because Christ Jesus has made me His own.
35:58 Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own.
36:01 But one thing I do: Forgetting what lies behind
36:05 and straining forward to what lies ahead,
36:07 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call
36:11 in Christ Jesus.
36:13 Let those of us who are mature think this way,
36:16 and if in anything you think otherwise,
36:19 God will reveal that also to you.
36:21 Only let us hold true to what we have attained.
36:24 Brothers, join in imitating me, and keep your eyes on those
36:29 who walk according to the example you have in us. " ESV
36:33 It's especially that last verse that just amazes me.
36:37 Paul is telling the church in Philippi to imitate him
36:42 and to watch those
36:43 who walk according to the example that He gave.
36:46 Now, we know that that's okay
36:48 because we know he's pressing toward the goal of the prize
36:51 of the upward call of God
36:53 but it continues to baffle me that Paul had such confidence
36:58 in his relationship with Jesus
36:59 and the influence it was having in his life
37:02 that he could call on other people to watch him
37:05 as a person to imitate because he was imitating Christ
37:09 and yet, it's exactly this
37:12 that ends up being one of the biggest pressures
37:14 for young people who are put in a leadership position
37:16 particularly at GYC
37:18 but I believe anywhere where young people are called
37:20 to be leaders
37:22 especially in this day and age where so much of young people's
37:25 lives are lived online
37:26 in pictures and in posts from Social Media
37:29 and all of a sudden, in their faithfulness to God
37:32 and in their desire to humbly serve,
37:34 they're thrust into a position where...
37:36 do you notice... even on their own,
37:38 they're made maybe even a mini celebrity.
37:40 This is not a position that is enviable...
37:43 it's not one that they desired
37:44 but yet in this position where there's this new pressure,
37:48 they're called upon to be the same type of person as Paul...
37:50 to be a person who is worthy to imitate
37:54 because they are following Christ in His upward call.
37:56 Now I will tell you,
37:58 this has been a challenge for many a young person
38:00 who's gone through the leadership at GYC
38:03 and so I know, many of you here know GYC,
38:06 I know many of you here love GYC,
38:08 I know many of you here send your children to GYC
38:11 and if all of these things are true for you
38:13 then I just want to take a moment and ask that you pray
38:16 for the young people who are leading GYC.
38:17 Audience: Amen.
38:19 They really are the Leadership, they need your help,
38:22 they need your prayers
38:23 that they too can be faithful to the upward call of Jesus
38:26 so that that pressure is not pressure at all...
38:29 but that they're truly living those lives
38:31 that are worthy of imitation
38:32 because they are imitating Christ.
38:34 I think this pressure too...
38:38 as did my contemporaries in GYC's Leadership,
38:40 but I realize that more than just the sermons we've heard
38:44 at the annual Convention
38:46 and even listening to sermons on preparation for the Convention
38:48 to choose Speakers,
38:50 more than the values of the... the spirit of GYC...
38:53 the way God used you as He did to keep me
38:56 was through the community that I'd built in my life.
38:58 By the time I was on GYC's Leadership,
39:01 I'd graduated from the University of Michigan
39:03 and moved to Charlottesville, Virginia
39:05 to earn my Law Degree at the University of Virginia,
39:07 I was now isolated from friends and family several States away
39:11 and while I would describe my college years
39:15 as a golden experience both in life and in ministry,
39:17 I felt like I was walking on clouds.
39:19 My graduate studies were
39:22 definitely not of the same character
39:24 and I am convinced that if I had been there
39:27 all alone... truly all alone...
39:28 without any accountability... without any community...
39:32 that I... that is the point
39:34 where I could have been lost in my Christian walk
39:36 but I praise the Lord that for whatever reason
39:39 He saw fit to use me... to call me to work with GYC...
39:43 and that in doing so, He gave me some authentic friendships
39:46 that called me to accountability...
39:49 that kept me faithful...
39:50 that helped me to remember
39:51 that I needed to keep my eyes on Jesus,
39:53 because other young people were watching me.
39:55 Every time that we would have a Leadership Retreat
39:59 or some event that we would have to go to,
40:01 we'd go kicking and screaming thinking,
40:03 "This is taking me away from what I'm supposed to do... "
40:05 only to then to leave that Retreat
40:07 realizing and remembering
40:09 that I needed to seek first God and His kingdom.
40:12 I realize I've said a lot in all of this,
40:16 but the reason why I have said all of this
40:20 and the reason why many of my friends as well as myself
40:24 are still in the Seventh-day Adventist Church...
40:25 it simply comes down to this,
40:27 it's because of the power of influence.
40:30 The influence of those a few years older than us
40:33 and that they had on our lives,
40:35 the influence that we had on each other,
40:38 the influence that resulted from the commitment to excellence,
40:42 a missionary mind-set...
40:44 a sense of ownership of our church,
40:46 sacrifice and commitment,
40:48 being involved at the grassroots level of our church
40:51 and embracing diversity
40:53 and because of the Community that God helped us build
40:57 and because of the influence that we have...
41:00 had on each other, I have seen the world change.
41:03 I've seen secular friends give their hearts to Jesus
41:06 and become Seventh-day Adventists
41:08 and I have seen wayward Seventh-day Adventist youth
41:11 come back into the church and become active.
41:13 I've seen local churches rejuvenated
41:16 by active participation of young adults
41:18 and I have seen Millennials taking ownership interest
41:21 in their church all over the world
41:24 and I've seen the church take notice of them too
41:27 and respond to their needs.
41:29 Once again, I don't know what I'm doing here...
41:33 I pray that something that I shared with you this morning
41:36 was helpful to somebody here
41:38 but I trust once again that God knows what He is doing
41:41 and that He did call me to share these experiences
41:44 for some reason.
41:46 I'm going to make three simple appeals right now,
41:48 listen very carefully to each of the three
41:50 and at the very end,
41:52 if any of them seem to apply to you,
41:54 I'll invite you to stand with me as I pray.
41:56 The first one is this,
41:58 you sense that though you've been an Adventist
42:01 for your whole life...
42:02 or for a long time...
42:04 that you've been tempted to wander away,
42:07 the words to that hymn speak too true to your heart...
42:10 "Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it,
42:12 Prone to leave the God I love... "
42:14 but today you want to say,
42:16 "Here's my heart, Lord, take and seal it,
42:18 Seal it for Thy courts above. "
42:20 You want to say,
42:21 "Lord, I know you can work in my life
42:24 and you can use me without me ever having to go anywhere
42:27 and I pray that you do that today.
42:30 Second, you know God is calling you
42:33 to a special and unique type of ministry,
42:35 calling you to be a light in the world,
42:37 even if it's not in traditional forms of ministry
42:40 or mission work.
42:41 Now, I said this at the beginning,
42:43 I'm a Millennial...
42:45 I do spend my own fair share of time on social media
42:47 and one of the things I love to do
42:49 is watch these short little videos
42:51 where they show people preparing food
42:53 and what I wonder is this,
42:56 where are the creative Seventh-day Adventists
42:59 making this type of video
43:01 that can also be a hook into our message
43:03 to bring people into the church?
43:05 I know there are Seventh-day Adventist young people out there
43:08 and Seventh-day Adventist older people out there
43:10 who have the creative ability who God can use to do this.
43:13 Maybe it's not specifically that
43:15 but you know God has been calling you
43:17 to some sort of unique or special ministry...
43:19 you didn't know when to start,
43:21 where to start... how to start...
43:23 but you know that you want to
43:24 and if that's the commitment that you make,
43:26 in a moment, I'm going to ask you to stand up as well
43:29 and finally, you sense that
43:32 maybe you've had a golden age of ministry
43:34 or your if your spiritual-walk experience
43:37 and life has happened
43:38 and maybe that's not what it is today anymore
43:40 but you know that you need a community
43:43 to help you to continue to live up to the highest standards
43:47 and ambitions for the Lord that you want to have lived
43:50 and you want to say to the Lord,
43:52 "Lord, I don't just want to be a part of that community,
43:55 I want to help make that type of community
43:57 in my home... in my local church...
43:59 in my field... in my sphere of influence. "
44:01 So, if any of those three things apply to you,
44:04 I ask that you stand with me and we'll close in prayer.
44:07 People standing...
44:10 Let's pray.
44:12 Pause.
44:14 "Dear Lord, we're so blessed by the way that You take care
44:18 of each and every one of us Father,
44:21 we know that even if we don't think that
44:24 it's sensational or flashy or an adventure story,
44:28 that You've given each and every one of us a testimony
44:31 and Father, I pray that You just bring that
44:34 to every-person-here's remembrance
44:35 as well as mine, Lord,
44:37 that You truly have worked in each of our lives.
44:39 Father, I pray for those who feel that...
44:42 do they really have anything to offer the church
44:44 if they've been here the whole time,
44:46 please Father, show them
44:48 that they can continue to be faithful to You
44:50 and that You can use them in a mighty way.
44:52 Lord, we live in changing times and changing places
44:56 but we know Your gospel is ever green and true,
44:59 we pray that You would help us, Lord,
45:01 to find the different ways to engage people
45:04 into this climate, Lord,
45:06 with the age-old truth that You've given us,
45:08 whether that's different creative forms of ministry
45:11 as well as being faithful to the things
45:12 that we know have worked in times past
45:14 and finally, Lord, I know there are people here today
45:17 who are hearing Thy voice who want to be faithful to You,
45:20 who want to continue to serve You,
45:22 who may even have wonderful stories
45:24 from their own past account about what You did
45:26 but they feel like they're struggling a little bit Lord,
45:29 that they're lonely and that they don't have community
45:32 Father, I pray that You would give them that community
45:34 that they need...
45:36 that You would also help them to be community builders.
45:38 Father, just continue to be with each of us,
45:41 we long to go home, Lord, we long to see You soon,
45:44 and so we pray, Father,
45:46 that You do everything in our lives,
45:49 that You help us to be faithful to You, Lord,
45:51 that we truly can be lights in this world,
45:53 that we would seek first Your kingdom
45:55 and that, as a result,
45:56 we would see Jesus coming very soon,
45:58 we thank You Father
46:00 and we ask all of these things in Jesus' name, amen. "
46:03 Music.
46:11 Piano...
46:18 more piano...
46:25 Nearer, still nearer,
46:31 close to Thy heart,
46:37 Draw me, my Savior...
46:45 so precious Thou art!
46:52 Shelter me safe
46:59 in that "haven of rest",
47:05 Shelter me safe
47:10 in that "haven of rest;"
47:19 Shelter me safe
47:24 in that
47:28 "haven of rest. "
47:37 Piano...
47:44 Nearer, still nearer,
47:50 nothing I bring,
47:55 Naught as an offering
48:01 to Jesus, my King;
48:07 Only my sinful,
48:14 now contrite heart,
48:19 Grant me the cleansing
48:25 Thy blood doth impart;
48:32 Grant me the cleansing
48:40 Thy blood doth impart.
48:48 Piano...
48:58 Nearer, still nearer,
49:03 while life shall last,
49:08 Till safe in glory
49:13 my anchor is cast;
49:18 Through endless ages
49:24 ever to be
49:30 Nearer, my Savior,
49:37 still nearer to Thee;
49:44 Nearer, my Savior,
49:52 still nearer
49:58 to Thee!
50:04 Nearer, my Savior,
50:13 Still nearer
50:21 to Thee!
50:27 Music...


Revised 2019-01-03