I really felt impressed by the Spirit to ask him to preach. Japheth has a unique gift of leadership – the quiet, humble, servant-like kind, as well as an intense desire to understand the relevancy of the Scriptures more intimately in order to be able to share with others . I saw something in him, perhaps a potential for something great. So, for the next few months I kept on badgering him to preach for our next youth Sabbath. Time and time again he would decline my offers, slyly change the subject, or just outright rejecting my gentle encouragement. Then, one day he made me an offer I couldn’t refuse. “Pastor Anna, to be honest I’ve continued to reject your offers to preach because I don’t feel it would be right since I’m not yet baptized.” I felt the Spirit urge the words right out of me before having the chance to think it over. “Is that something you’d like to change? Would you like to be baptized?” I asked him. The words that came next could not have been sweeter than if I had just been proposed marriage.
“Yes. And after I’ve come up from the waters a new person, I will preach!” he said.
I asked the Spirit to permeate our Bible studies in the weeks to come, to captivate us, to inspire us, to enlighten us, and to work miracles not only on the behalf of this eager young man, but on our whole youth group.
And instantly those prayers were answered. The week after Japheth and I began studying, Griffin came and asked to be baptized! Two weeks later, Bridgit came and asked to be baptized! Another two weeks after, Hannah and Becca came and asked to be baptized! It wasn’t the number that surprised me, it was the condition of their hearts – their yearning for a deeper relationship with Christ which humbled me with the affirmation that it wasn’t my job to convict and convert…it was the One whom the Father had sent to us to draw us closer to Him.
What started out as a short Bible study series lasted for months because of their passion to know the Scriptures better. And frankly, we were just having so much fun! At times their tough questions motivated me to dig for answers and cultivated lengthy Spirit-filled conversations as we wrestled together in becoming more authentic Christians in today’s culture.
Overwhelmed by the vision of what I saw God calling this generation of youth and young adults to become, I heard an audible voice declare these youth to be the Daniels in today’s Babylon. With unique talents and gifts they will be called to places we once deemed too evil to break into with the gospel message because of the urgency of this testimony to be proclaimed in exactly those kinds of places. Places like Hollywood and corrupt billion-dollar corporations, politics, and media – God is calling this generation to live in the world and equipping them with the Truth so as not to be of this world.
On May 18 and June 1 these five youth went into the waters of baptism and came up as new creations, transformed by the work of the Holy Spirit, ready to discover and fulfill the calling God is working out to completion. I could hardly be more proud and humbled to have been a witness to their journeys and I can’t wait to see how God will use them to bring about His soon coming!
Assistant Pastor – Southview SDA Church; Assistant Director for Young Adult Ministries – MN Conference of SDA
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