North American Youth Congress 2017, Wednesday Night
Expectation was as high and so were the hairstyles as over 34,000 young people poured into the Lucas Oil Stadium for the first night of North American Youth Congress 2017.
The night began with the North American Talent Search as the sound of exuberant worship filled the stadium. Each contestant and group used their talent by singing praises to God. Following the talent search, Christian Life College took the stage and continued in the spirit of worship and praise. The church was then led in a focused prayer for the service. We were exhorted to pray not merely a simple prayer to receive something from God, but to experience a demonstration of God’s glory and power. At the conclusion of prayer, a powerful video began to play on all the screens that reminded us this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel. What we are experiencing today is the same power and anointing that flowed those many years ago. As the video concluded, the 120 member Indiana Mass Choir filed onto the platform representative of the initial 120 members of the upper room experience on the day of Pentecost. Worship exploded as the choir began to sing God’s praises. Praise and worship continued as hearts were poured out before God in preparation to hear His word.
Our General Youth President, Bro. Michael Ensey, took the microphone and guided our attention to Judges chapter 8 where the story of Gideon and Jether is found. Jether was commanded to slay Zebah and Zalmunna, but scripture tells us Jether “feared because he was yet a youth.” It is with this thought Bro. Ensey began to preach from the title, “Faith Factor.”
Bro. Ensey began his message by drawing us back to the days of old. The outpouring started with a young group of college students wanting to study more about the infilling of the spirit, many things transpired following this study, including the outpouring the spirit of God which began the modern Pentecostal movements. During this era, Pentecostals acquired the name “Gliggy Bluks” as an attempt by others to intimidate and mock their exuberance and tongue speaking, but those attempts were in vain. Fear was not a factor for the apostolic pioneers. After all those years and countless attempts by the enemy and society to vanquish the spirit of God, there are still “Gliggy Bluks” thriving in that same spirit today! There are some that say water baptism, holiness, the infilling of the spirit by evidence of speaking in tongues are not necessary, but their words have come too late. There are still multitudes of believers standing on this truth.
Bro. Ensey exhorted the young people to think about what might happen when fear is not a factor. Think of the signs and wonders that would happen when you believe rather than doubt. God’s word says, these signs shall follow them that believe.” You won’t only see signs behind the ministers, elders, and those with more education. You will find signs behind those that believe. Let us be a generation of believers. Bro. Ensey exclaimed, “We need young men and women to passionately pursue the living dreams of our sleeping fathers.” He reminded us the ultimate success of this event will be based upon what happens after we go home. This is just the commencement; this is just the start.
Jether was commanded to slay Zebah and Zalmunna. The names of these men are significant because Zebah means victim, and Zalmunna means protection is refused. You can’t control what happens to you, but you can control what you do with it. You cannot allow anger to turn to bitterness and ruin your life. You must kill the victim mentality. You’ve got to slay Zebah. Zalmunna, meaning protection is refused, represents the spirit of leaving the teachings of truth, being unsubmitted to spiritual leaders, and refusing things that offer protection from the enemy’s tactics. Jether’s father had the confidence that he could do the job, but Jether was not submitted to the authority in his life. Scripture records, he feared because he was a youth. The level of your anointing will always correspond the level of submission to authority. If you’re old enough to have a sword, you’re old enough to use a sword. We must make sure we are slaying Zebah and Zalmunna in our lives.
Bro. Ensey questioned us, “Instead of testing the limits of our fear, like many do with activities such as Fear Factor games, how about we start testing the limits of our faith? What is your motivation tonight? Is it faith or is it fear?” Ephesians 3:20 proclaims God is able to do exceeding abundantly above all we ask or think. Your age will never be factor of whether or not you are eligible to be used by God. Doubt, fear, prayerlessness, apathy, and pursuing worldly things will keep you from being used by God, but your age is not a factor. Bro. Ensey stated, “Ministry is not a future possibility it is a very present reality. We need to pray for an understanding of the time, and a sense of urgency for this world. We don’t have enough time to wait for you to be ‘old enough’ or ‘ready enough.’” Today is the day to choose faith.
The attendees were charged with the question, “What is going to the legacy of your generation? How many followers you’ve accumulated on social media, or how many 3 pointers you can shoot? Or will it be that your generation hungered and thirsted after the things of God? Just because fear is present, that doesn’t mean it has to be a factor. Don’t self-define your window of opportunity, because God has already defined it. Let no man despise your youth. Jether, where are you? It is time to fight.”
Bro. Ensey shared his powerful testimony with the congregation as his father and mother joined him at the center of the platform. When he was a young boy, his birth father suddenly passed away. His mother was 24 years old with two young boys. You can believe fear was present in that situation, but she made the decision to not let fear be a factor. She felt the need to go to bible college, even as a single mom with two young children. During her time at bible college, she met Randy Ensey who would soon become her husband and the adopted father of her children. You can believe fear was definitely present there as well, but they chose to follow faith rather than fear. Just because fear is present, that does not mean it has to be a factor. Bro. Ensey shared, “The spirit of adoption says, ‘I choose you, not despite of your faults and failures, but I choose you because I love you.’ We have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you have received the spirit of adoption by which we cry Abba Father.”
Following his testimony, Bro. Ensey called multiple other individuals to join him on the platform and shared each of their respective stories of times in which fear was present, but they did not allow it to become a factor. It was a great time of faith building as person after person made their way to the platform standing strong in the faith they chose to follow, rather than letting fear be the controlling factor.
At the conclusion of the service, Bro. Ensey had small vials of anointing oil passed out to every young person in the stadium. After reading Jeremiah 1:4-12, Bro. Ensey directed everyone in the stadium to open the vials and anoint their own heads as an act of submission to the spiritual leadership in their lives. During this time, we prayed for God’s help to allow faith to be the factor, rather than fear. We prayed God would help us test the limits of our faith and we follow His will. Bro Ensey shared a prophecy that was told him. The prophecy stated, “What God has done through few, is being released through many.” In other words, the things we have seen done through a few leaders and elders will be done through many in this generation. He is calling us to stand and slay Zebah and Zalmunna; do not let your fear put limits on God. He is ready to use this generation.