The 15th GYC (Generation of Youth for Christ) conference was held in Houston, Texas, from December 28, 2016, to January 1, 2017. There were about 5,000 people in attendance on Sabbath. GYC has grown from just 400 people in 2002 to many thousands in the past few years.
This was my first GYC conference. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but what I witnessed was encouraging—a group of speakers and seminar leaders that are preaching the Gospel Laodicea needs to hear. Both the power of God to save, and our need of repentance, were made plain.
The spirit of Laodicea is a spirit of compromise with the world. The Laodicean tendency is to believe that such compromise isn’t really hurting us, that it isn’t really impairing us spiritually. Over and over, and in many different ways, the GYC speakers and seminar leaders showed our pet compromises for what they are—demonic footholds in our lives that block the work of the Holy Spirit and keep us from experiencing a rich relationship with Jesus Christ.
As many seminars were held simultaneously, it was impossible to hear all the presenters. I’ll give a brief summary of what I heard, though. Eric Wilson, who achieved black belt in several different martial arts and was a martial arts instructor for many years, spoke of the dangers of martial arts, yoga, and eastern mysticism. His testimony is a powerful call to righteousness. He runs Isaiah Ministries—click here for more information.
Jared Thurmon gave a series of seminars on the media. Entertainment is not neutral. It’s not something we can mindlessly indulge for a few hours to relax, and then return to our spiritual life unaffected. I caught two of his seminars—one of the things that stands out in my memory is a long list of popular musicians claiming (not so subtly) to be “I Am.” Some of these same individuals also claim to be demon possessed. Another is a series of video clips of famous actors extolling the virtues of spirit possession as a means to excellent acting. Satan has an agenda—he wants to teach every one of us something, and he will do it every time we listen to his professional instructors.
Alex Niculaescu told a gripping testimony of his anti-human-trafficking work in Brazil. His presentation underlined the need for the Christian to depend on, and be focused on, God. Living in unconfessed sin and being spiritually distracted can be deadly when we venture into warfare against the enemy.
Other presenters spoke about the Sanctuary Doctrine, the teaching of which has been generally neglected in our schools. Our church urgently needs to study and understand the Sanctuary Doctrine, however, as it has important bearing on our place in prophetic history and our calling to show Christ's character to a world reeling into chaos.
In conclusion, this is the kind of gathering that can inspire young people to action and spiritual-mindedness—what is needed to bring about the completion of the Gospel commission. We cannot fulfill our mission as long as we serve two masters—as long as we leave Satan a foothold in our lives. Ellen White wrote:
Even one wrong trait of character, one sinful desire cherished, will eventually neutralize all the power of the gospel. The prevalence of a sinful desire shows the delusion of the soul. Every indulgence of that desire strengthens the soul's aversion to God. The pains of duty and the pleasures of sin are the cords with which Satan binds men in his snares. Those who would rather die than perform a wrong act are the only ones who will be found faithful (Testimonies to the Church, vol. 5, p. 53).
We must always be willing to take the next step with the Holy Spirit. Whatever He asks you to do, either through the Bible, the Spirit of Prophecy, or the voice of conscience (which must be brought into submission to the written word of God), place your will on God’s side, be willing to do it. Plead the blood of Jesus—remember that when Christ’s righteousness stands in place of our sins and self-righteousness, we stand before God as if we had never sinned. Claim the promise of Philippians 2:5 and ask for the mind of Christ. When you have the mind of Christ in you, you will know what to do in every situation, and have power to fight the good fight.