North American Youth Congress, Friday
The final day of North American Youth Congress has come and spirits are soaring! The day began with a jump start session led by L.J. Harry. Following the jump start were the split sessions where Andrew Romine (teen), Brent Coltharp (Hyphen), Jonathan Quinones (youth workers), and David K. Bernard (young ministers) spoke to the various audiences of NAYC attendees. At the completion of the split sessions, all attendees reconvened in Lucas Oil Stadium for the general session where Victor Jackson preached “A Call to Greatness.”
He took our attention to Genesis 11:3 and Genesis 12:1-4. In the first passage we see the men of Earth building a tower to reach into Heaven. We know this tower to be called the tower of Babel. In the next passage we read of God calling Abraham to leave everything, his kindred, and everything he knows behind to follow God.
Rev. Jackson began to tell the story of his testimony. Eight years ago he first got into church and attended NAYC. He was in college and an all-star basketball player. He had full scholarships, was captain of the team, and led the team to the number one spot in the nation. His friends were being recruited for the NBA and he was headed in the same direction. But during a service at NAYC, God called Victor Jackson to preach. He went home and was on fire for God, going to all the Bible studies he could possibly get to. He brought several of his teammates to church, and as he was praying for them in the altar watching tears flow down their faces, God told Victor, “You’re done with basketball. Leave it behind and follow Me with everything.”
Of course, Victor listened to God. Despite all the opinions from teammates and coaches, he followed through with what God asked him to do. Because he was on basketball scholarships, those were forfeited when he quit the team, so he had to get a job to pay for college. He was doing landscape on a golf course in the scorching Florida heat trying to be as modest as possible with long sleeves and long pants. This was a low point emotionally for him. He was frustrated that God called him, asked him to leave everything, and now he was working on a golf course instead of preaching. He explained, “The enemy likes to attack your self-esteem.”
His story continued, “The very next day during a church service, my pastor was preaching and called me forward and told me to kneel down. I did as my pastor told me to. As I got down on my knees, my pastor poured anointing oil over my head and anointed me.” It was a moment that changed his life forever. He continued to encourage the young people, “If you’re in your worst moment, that means there’s an anointing coming from Heaven. Satan is afraid of you, so he fights you, but when you get a hold of the anointing, everything changes. When Satan attacks you, it’s only affirmation of what God has already spoken to you because he’s trying to keep you back. We have to choose not to be intimidated because we are here to do something great for God.”
At the Tower of Babel, they had all the talent and ability, but when God came down He scattered everything. He scatters everything in Genesis 11, and in the next chapter God calls Abraham to leave everything and follow Him. “Man measures greatness by what you build and gain, God measures greatness by what you leave behind.” He reminded the students, “What we are experiencing is the result of a previous generation. And if we want this to continue, we will have to learn to get on our knees and learn to sacrifice. The family of Joseph was close enough to Jesus, but not close enough to make room for Him in the inn. Many of us are close to Jesus at camps and services, but aren’t close enough to go home and make a room of devotion for Him.”
He continued preaching in the anointing, “Joash did not keep the oil; he kept the room that kept the oil. He only had to keep the room, and the king would provide the oil. We can’t make the anointing, but we can make the room and allow the king to provide the anointing! I don’t want to do the work of the apostles without the walk of the apostles. I don’t want to just be used by God, I want to know Him. Greatness without sacrifice only leads to confusion, which is what babel means.” People can have so much talent and so much ability but end up confused why they’re not seeing any results. We are quick to profess a calling we aren’t willing to sacrifice for. Many are called, but few want to consecrate to it. What will you give up in order for this to be sustained?
In Mark 19, the rich young ruler said, “I’ve kept the commandments from my youth, what lack I yet?” Jesus’ reply was clear and simple, “Go and sell all you have, give to the poor, and follow Me.” In other words, “Your problem is that you aren’t lacking at all…God forbid we leave this assembly and go away sorrowful because God asks us to give up something we esteem valuable. He will do it. He will ask you.” We need to be willing to say, “I want the presence of God in my church more than I want these things.” Moses said “God I can’t go into the promised land without your presence. I’d rather stay in the wilderness with you than go into the promise without you.”
When God calls you to greatness, remember ministry is not about what you gain, it’s about what you leave behind. You know what made Jesus great? It’s what He left behind. He left the splendors of Heaven because He saw a world in need. God doesn’t call you for you; He speaks to us in order to bless someone else. He is asking us to submit ourselves to the process so we can be used by Him.