North American Youth Congress, Friday Night
As the final night of North American Youth Congress had arrived all too quickly, attendees poured into the Chesapeake arena with great expectation. As the crowd shuffled in to find the best seat available, the North American Talent Search began with various apostolic bands seeking to offer their gifts for the glory of God. With each group of contestants, the students rallied behind their peers and voted on their favorite group.
Following the talent search and a few promotional videos, evangelist, Chris Green, led us in prayer as we prepared our hearts for the Word of the Lord. Each young person in the congregation was asked to place their hands on their head and bind all fear, doubt, and disbelief so God could work freely among us. Bro. Green proclaimed, “The spirit of prophecy is already in this place!” Expectation and faith were rising by the second. He continued by building more faith in the arena by testimonies of God’s mighty works of healings and raising the dead to life again.
As the young people took to their seats again, Bro. Aaron Batchelor, Bro. and Sis. Bernard, and Bro. Ensey took the stage to announce the winners of the talent search. The votes were all in, and the crowd anxiously awaited the results. In the solo category, Natalie Reyes received the honor of being the first place winner. In the worship arts category, Brett Grubb took first place, and Bonilla was awarded first place in the bands category.
Due to the sacrificial giving and relentless fundraising of all those that help and give to Sheaves for Christ, our Missionaries’ Kids from around the world were able to attend NAYC15. It is only by the sacrificial giving to Sheaves for Christ that so many ministries are blessed and funded in order to continue making a difference in this world.
Bro. Anthony Mangun, came forth to charge this generation to commit to a deeper level of sacrifice. He explained, “God has chosen you for this time. You are the generation matched with the end time. You are matched with these difficult, perilous, and utterly wicked days.” He reminded the congregation that God did not call G.A. and Vesta Mangun to be teenagers during this time, nor did He call Lee Stoneking to be a youth in this age, but rather He called us. He is raising up this generation for these times specifically. Things in this world are “anti, anti, anti, until everything eventually leads to the antichrist.” However, the antidote for these days is this anointed, Holy Ghost filled, apostolic generation. Bro. Mangun stated there are five things we would need in order to be greater than the former, to defeat the enemy. There are five things, and this generation has exemplified four of the five already throughout the time at NAYC. They have knelt in repentance, walked in faith, worshipped unreservedly, and been filled to the brim with the Holy Ghost, but do they have the level of sacrifice needed in order to further this gospel to the world? He requested all to stand if they were willing to give in the offering for Sheaves for Christ, and upon this request, there was not one seat filled. This generation is rising up to meet the needs of the hour.
This sacrificial offering was a record breaking offering for Sheaves for Christ at NAYC. As the offering buckets were picked back up, they were not only filled with money, but also watches, prepaid debit cards, class rings, and someone even donated a car to be sold. While this is an amazing sacrifice, before these were counted into the amount the total for the offering of moneys given was over 273,000 dollars. That is over two times the cumulative amount of the Sheaves for Christ offering from the previous year. One sacrificial offering was over double the amount of three offerings received in 2013. To God be the glory!
Bro. Ensey was pleased to address the youth congress in order to announce the new location of NAYC in 2017. He said while we hate to see the end of one North American Youth Congress gathering, we are only a little over 700 days until we meet together again. NAYC has been breaking records left and right, and this year is certainly no different. This is the first year NAYC has completely sold out in less than 24 hours, thus exposing the need to move to a larger venue. Bro. Ensey was proud to announce the location for North American Youth Congress 2017, and it is none other than the Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Indiana. This will be a new record for NAYC as it will be the first year we will need to be in a football stadium!
Following a powerful time of worship and lifting high the name of Jesus, Bro. Aaron Bounds approached the pulpit. He continued to lead us in dynamic worship with some of the old classics and a medley of songs about the blood of Jesus. Soon after, he took our attention to 1 Kings 19 and titled his message, “Elisha is Here.” He prefaced his message with this statement, “There will be a spiritual impartation, and we will not leave here the same way we came.”
He began by explaining the text, which held the account of Jezebel’s promise to kill the prophet Elijah. Jezebel began to kill the prophets of the Lord. She was sick about someone standing up for truth, and she would not stop until they did. Elijah had killed the prophets of Baal because, “Tolerance will always lead to acceptance, and acceptance will always lead to involvement!”
There are just some things we should not allow around us and among us.
Bro. Bounds reminded us of the three Hebrew boys who would not bow to the image of Nebuchadnezzar. That king was about to have a party, but they had to cancel that party because only three boys who refused to bow. How much more could we do when we refuse to bow to this world’s idea of entertainment? We choose to bow to and worship the only living God, Jesus Christ!
When we look at our elders and those great leaders who have gone on before us, we often question why we do not see the miracles, signs, and wonders that accompanied the men and women of God who have gone on before us. Why don’t we see God’s spirit poured out in the way we have heard of it from our elders or read about it from scriptures? Bro. Bounds shared a word with us that the Lord spoke to him. “The fire will fall when you offer to me something that you cannot afford!” Elijah’s generation (1 Kings18) could not afford water, and yet he poured twelve barrels full of water on the alter before God. “Our generation cannot afford time.” We spend so much time doing things that do not matter for the kingdom. “The enemy has tricked you to save a world that doesn’t exist, when God has called you to save the world that does exist!” Bro. Bounds urged the congregation to offer God our time, to give more of ourselves in the prayer room, in His Word, and in service to Him.
As we look back at the scripture, in 1 Kings 18 ends with the hand of the Lord upon Elijah, but chapter 19 begins with Jezebel hearing of how Elijah killed the prophets of Baal and she promised to do the same to Elijah. Because he feared for his life,he hid in a cave because he was the only prophet of the Lord left standing. She did not agree with his killing of these false prophets. She was fine with him saying rain would come on the land, but when he started cleaning house and removing the things that were not of God, she rose up against him.
As Bro. Bounds drew our attention to this part of the story, he charged us to be in submission to our spiritual authority. He told us we must understand, “Submission begins where agreement ends.” The true test of submission is when our spiritual authority vetoes something in our life, and don’t be mistaken, we need someone who has “veto power” in our life.
Bro. Bounds stated, “Jezebel was not only queen, but she was a witch.” Moreover, the same spirit that came against God’s people then, is the same spirit that plagues His people now. “This is why revelation speaks of the spirit of Jezebel.” Jezebel taunts and asks, “Where are the young preachers?” However, The UPCI has broken its records in almost every area of ministers and missionaries. The church is not dying. Jezebel is a liar!”
Just as Elijah was told by God to get out of that cave, we must also come out of the cave! “Get your mantle because I have a generation that will stand! You are not alone! There are thousands of young people that do not want to compromise, they do not want to back down!”
God sent Elijah to anoint two kings, and to anoint Elisha to be a prophet of the Lord. When Elijah found Elisha, Elisha was not sitting around waiting on his opportunity, he was working in the field. “He just wanted to be about his father’s business, he just wanted to see his pastor’s vision come to pass in the city.” Elijah came up, smote him with the mantle, and continued walking, but young Elisha ran after him. He said, “I want to follow you, I want to learn from you, but before I do, I need to go back and do something.” When Elijah permitted him to go back, Elisha went back and killed two oxen. “He had to go back and kill some things before following wholeheartedly.” Bro. Bounds then encouraged some young people to evaluate what is in their life that must be killed before they can wholeheartedly follow after God.
Bro. Bounds continued preaching as he mentioned the story of when Elijah was taken up, and his mantle fell down on Elisha. He spoke of our elders who have passed on, “Men might be taken, but their mantles never die.” It is time for this generation to pick up the mantles of our elders and receive the double portion. When we think of receiving the double portion its not only that we will see double the miracles, signs, and wonders, but our dedication, time, and effort will match that of our elders as we receive their mantles and see the double portion come to pass.
There was a powerful visual aid used as Bro. Bounds spoke of our elders who have passed on to be with the Lord. As he spoke of one elder and said, “he may have been taken from us, but mantles never die.” As those words were spoken a mantle was released from the ceiling and fell into the congregation. He did this a few more times as the words “mantles never die” resounded through the arena.
As the altar call began, Bro. Bounds called Bro. Lee Stoneking to the platform and spoke a word from our elders. Bro, Bounds encouraged us by telling of how much the elders and leaders of the UPCI believe in this generation. We have been raised up for such a time as this. As Bro. Stoneking began to speak, he proclaimed, “There is unlimited potential in this auditorium.” And he continued by telling the congregation that God spoke to him and said if we would do one thing, then God would deliver us from all fear and inhibitions. “I’m not sure I understand this, but in the Old Testament people would shout at the command of God and walls would come down, enemies would be discomfited, battles would become won. I thought to myself ‘what is it about shouting that would cause such a tremendous manifestation of power?’ With a little study, I found out that there is something about the human voice that when it shouts it shreds the air. The devil is the prince and power of the air. So I understand then that if the people of God would shout…” Before he could finish his sentence every soul in the arena had erupted in boisterous shouts unto God. This shouting continued for several minutes before another word was spoken.
This was a pivotal moment in history where lives were changed and new directions where unleashed for the kingdom of God. It is evident by the many reports and testimonies that have followed this service that NAYC has become more than a moment, but it is now a movement. We believe revival is sweeping the nation as young students and adults return to their schools, jobs, churches, and cities.
To see the photos from this service, please click here.