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Youth Answer the Call


Youth Answer the Call

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A sweet presence filled the Municipal Auditorium Arena on Thursday night as more than 5,000 teens gathered to worship and express their love to Jesus. On the last night of the Youth Congress, the arena floor as well as most of the seats in the arena open for viewing were occupied as The Terry Kelly Band drove an intense time of worship that the teens seemed to bathe in. With arms raised and seasons of prayer peppered between songs, the youth sang with Kelly and his band.

Many of the students seemed to be reeling in a positive and spiritual way from the events of last night when many were filled or refilled with the Holy Spirit—or committed to make Christ their Lord and Savior.

Bernie Elliot, National Bible Quiz director, encouraged the teens to get involved with Bible Quiz [See Bible Quiz story on page 12]. Allegra Fisher, the 7th grade runner-up, and Marla Porter, this year’s Bible Quiz One-on-One champ, were introduced and applauded by the students.

"Amazing love, I know it’s true / It’s my joy to honor You / Amazing love how can it be / That You my King would die for me / Amazing love I know it’s true," filled the arena along with several other worship songs. Some signed the songs as others swayed back and forth basking in His presence. Though the mood was mellow compared to the previous nights, the intensity of worship was on par or beyond.

"Let’s worship Him one more time," said Tom Greene, national youth director for the Assemblies of God. "I look around the room and I see 6,000 young people who are ready to kick the devil in the teeth. Come on, let’s worship God."

The teens responded with cheers and claps fueled by the twin engines of delight and enthusiasm. When youth pastors and their wives were recognized, the applause reached high decibels again.

Moments later, Scotty Gibbons, youth pastor from James River Assembly of God in Springfield, Mo., took to the stage and a contingent from Springfield roared. Gibbons came equipped to encourage the students to act on the Great Commission. As an illustration and prelude to his sermon, a team from James River Master’s Commission took to the stage and performed a human video. Lights flashed wildly as the music played and a re-enactment of Jesus being crucified filled the three jumbo screens. Graphic footage from the Jesus video as well as disturbing news footage scenes were also played and drove home the point of the consequences of sin. But on stage, as in real life, Christ rose from the dead and conquered sin—the audience, as shown

by a standing ovation, met this with great approval.

Gibbons then played a video that showed him kneeling before Casey, his wife. The video was to illustrate the point that one needs to be determined and willing to pay a high price for leading others to a relationship with Christ. Doing so, said Gibbons, will require perseverance, persistence, and sacrifice—the same stuff a marriage relationship requires. "We have to take risks so others will come to know Jesus Christ," said Gibbons. "Do you know that they threw a party in heaven when you accepted Christ?"

His sermon was laced with personal stories of evangelism. Many were funny, but poignant. "Are you willing to invest in missions so others will know Jesus?" he asked. "Maybe tonight God is going to call you to be a missionary. You have to have the courage to listen."

He asked the students to bow their heads. He then asked if there was anyone who wanted to come home to Jesus Christ. Several students throughout the arena stood and made their way to the altars as thousands stood to their feet and applauded.

The youth had reason to celebrate; within minutes, more than 40 teens had made their way to the altar to make Jesus the Lord of their lives. Some of those who came forward fell to their knees when they reached the altar; others just raised their hands in surrender. As the clapping continued, several latecomers ran to the altar. Gibbons led them in prayer as the rest of the teens extended their hands toward those at the altar.

"Let’s call on the Holy Spirit to come and break us," said Gibbons. "Come to the altars if you feel like you are being called to be a minister or missionary. Come if you want to be touched by God tonight."

Hundreds of teens made quick work of getting down to the altars. When The Terry Kelly Band returned to the stage, the arena seemed to flood with a fresh presence of the Lord once again. And like last night and the night before, the teens were content to worship for an extended time. Time and everything else that usually distracts people from their relationship with Christ was not of essence.

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