by Djoanna Crystie Anne Gocotano, RMT
Last April 16, there were 209 young people from Central and Eastern Visayas who gathered for the long-awaited “Empowering the Nex Gen” conference to enlighten our young minds with what God has in store for the next generation. In between the morning and evening sessions, there were four workshops to attend. The Music Ministry Workshop led by Brother Govi had 67 registered attendees, Youth Ministry Workshop led by Pastor Jay had 70, Children Ministry Workshop led by Pastor Em had 41 and lastly, there was the Family Life-Raising Teenagers Workshop led by Pastors Allan and Constant with Pastors Chuck and Jocelyn. These workshops, with their Spirit-filled mentors helped many teenagers, young adults and even those young at heart. It was designed to develop Jesus-centered gifts, talents and skills for the service and honor of our Savior King.
Our guest speaker, Pastor Allan Lit, shared his life and experiences with us—how he had been called to minister as an assistant prison chaplain in his early years in Singapore and how he became a missionary in Hong Kong to train workers for church planting among the teeming millions in mainland China. He taught and fed not just our minds but our hearts and souls with empowering truths as well. It was a very refreshing experience that stirred our hearts to hunger for more. Personally, I learned that we behold a God of UNLIMITED CHANCES. This conference was indeed God’s marvelous plan to grab hold of us for the empowerment we have been prepared for. These are highlights of the lessons we learned at the conference through God’s humble servants:
A vision begins as one encounters the Almighty One. The word “vision” is usually associated with something that is ahead of us like a goal. This is the mission statement of our lives. It is initiated by the King of kings Himself. We then experience Him like we had never experienced Him before. We begin to see things around us as opportunities, not just problems. We seize every chance for the completion of the vision entrusted in our minds and hearts by God.
A PERSON NOT DEFINED BY THE PAST
Where we come from does not determine where we are headed. In other words, our past does not define our future. Dwelling on past failures, mistakes and “should-haves” are useless. When we live in the past, we cannot move toward the goal of being the empowered change agents in this world. We cannot be the person He wants us to be when we keep looking back. He is asking us not to regard the past but to focus on the work and the blessings He has for us today. Deuteronomy 28 records a long list of God’s wonderful blessings in place for His people. We must live our lives with His blessings that chase us. As one of the “Nex Gen”, it is inspiring to know that we can be a man and a woman of influence, great reputation and success. Our Lord desires nothing less than the ultimate good for His people.
REACHING THE NEXT GENERATION by Pastor Chuck Chua
Our church is only one generation away from extinction if none from the new generation will rise up. There are two keys in effectively reaching the next generation. One is to renounce selfishness. King Hezekiah in the Old Testament sadly represents one who was selfish and failed to reach his next generation. 2 Kings 20:19 relates what this king was like. He was shortsighted and self-preserving. Consequently, a few generations away from his reign, his descendants were held captive and taken to Babylon just as God’s prophet had declared. What if those whom we consider as spiritual parents and older brothers and sisters were like that? Would we be able to determine right from wrong in the near future? This must be our plea and our cry: Fight for our children and the hope of the world! The second key to reaching the next generation is to receive spiritual power. Only the anointing and the power of God can break the bondage. Without our most powerful, ever-constant loving God, we are indeed nothing. Only God can convict hearts and touch lives. Our present generation must receive spiritual power to release spiritual power to the next generation.
Water baptism is not just a ritualistic deed; it is an act of faith and obedience to God’s Word. Before we started our night session, five of our brothers and sisters in Christ obeyed the command to be water baptized. Listening to their testimonies, you could really sense the Holy Spirit’s evident working in their lives. Truly, God has lifted these five Christ’s followers to a higher plane of commitment, and thus inspired others to do likewise.
STARTING, STAYING AND SUPERSEDING
When we exalt God, we are exalted together with Him. It is important for all of us to have that spiritual ambition for God’s glory. We must be eager to do great things for God. Then we begin to work that desire into action. The anointing of the Holy Spirit comes through our doing something for His honor. He then sees us as a good deposit, and He will dwell powerfully inside us. As we continue to trust His promises and faithfulness to us, the staying power for spiritual ambition will be all the more evident. When life throws at us defeat, discouragement and disillusionment, we do not stop. Instead, we march on towards Him more and in fact, supersede with the work He has done in and through us. Deep inside, there remains a holy dissatisfaction but yet filled with clear destination and sheer determination. Then, we know we are gaining breakthrough.
A LOVER, NOT A WORKER
Loving is never easy. Why must we love God then? Several Scriptures in the Bible tell us that the One who first loved us commands, compels, convinces and consolidates us to love Him. Loving is a task, and we must impart that love to the people around us. When we give God our whole hearts, we should not worry; He’ll give us plenty more and more and more back to give to someone else. We begin to show our love for Him through serving Him and people too. Service becomes our will, our commitment and our character. We become more of a lover than a worker. Hence, we do things out of marvelous love. In return, the Great Lover Himself is mindful to reward us with divine creativity, comprehension and confidence.
All these truths and principles are so essential to becoming the generation that can change our world. Messages in the conference from the servants of God were truly timely and heart-piercing. The amount paid for attending the event was far outweighed by what we received spiritually. From the first day until the last, we were eating, grasping and confronting truths we could hold on to for life. We were taught to heed God’s calling for our generation. Some might have and some might not have realized yet their calling. However, the important thing is that we are all willing to obey God totally and wholly.
On April 19, 2014, all the city church and outstation delegates returned to our different churches and homes more fulfilled and ready to take on the challenges. We’re ready for God to reveal His vision and calling for us. By this, I celebrate that God exists and truly cares for the young. He is at work in us. I say, ‘AMEN’ to that!
We are deeply thankful to God for leading the Spiritual Leaders of JECPP to hatch the plan of hosting the “Empowering The NEX GEN” youth conferences in the different regions. Great appreciation is also extended to the leadership of JECPP Central and Eastern Visayas for organizing and raising the resources to empower our emerging generation for Christ.