Courtesy Maurice Valentine
The falling away from Christ began in Paul’s day and continues to our day. After centuries of falsehood by the philosophers who taught rationalism, empiricism and skepticism, then the ensuing Dark Ages, it’s no wonder that we have “higher criticism,” a basic belief that the Bible is a lesson book, but nothing in it actually happened. It’s no wonder that moral relativism rules the day as, decade by decade, fewer and fewer have faith of any sort.
Although the political kingdoms of Babylon, Greece, Medo-Persia and Rome were destroyed, their influence still lingers in the hearts and minds of people today. Reaching the masses is getting harder, and harder, as each new sophistry piles on more and more darkness. Hence, The night cometh wasn’t just hyperbole. It is Jesus’ prophecy because He can see the end as easily as He can see the beginning.
With that said, thank God for our young adults and youth who, no matter how dark the night, are thoroughly committed to sharing their faith in the Lake Union Conference. Several weeks ago, I attended the Lake Union Youth Evangelism Congress in Shipshewana, Indiana, hosted every two years by our Youth Department, with Ron Whitehead at the helm. Save Oshkosh, it’s the most exciting event I’ve ever attended. At the Congress, youth and young adults alike make their pitch to get funding for their home churches to do ministry with a dollar-per-dollar match from the Lake Union and the North American Division as their venture capital partners.
I was moved as I heard a young lady from Indianapolis tell her story of sponsoring a performing and visual arts event where she resolutely told her volunteer staff “there will be no cursing, swearing or drinking!” She took a leap of faith and rented a hall, sponsoring this event with her own financial resources.
Many came to the event and she reiterated repeatedly to the youth and young adults in attendance wrapped with attention, “Once you know your God-given purpose in life, you are willing to take risks for the Lord. And (even) when you want to quit, ‘God always comes through!’”
Another young adult prayed the most powerful prayer at the end of her presentation that the youth and young adults all over our Union territory would become radically committed to the Lord.
A brother-and-sister duo had a powerful PowerPoint presentation on how to do food truck ministry to the underserved communities of Michigan. They shared how they received funding two years ago at the last LUC Youth Evangelism Congress and retrofitted a trailer to serve food to the hungry. Their church has a real passion for youth, and they work hard to keep them involved.
“The first question people ask is, ‘What church are you from? We’re really curious about what you believe.’” They explain: “The one that does the Health Expo dental clinic,” to which they receive the response: “Oh, you’re those people!”
Their father explained the Cadillac Church has three youth ministries that have a regular place in the church’s budget. They certainly are passionate about youth ministry.
I also attended the Lake Union Prayer Conference hosted by our vice president for Multicultural Ministry and Strategy, Elder Carmelo Mercado. About 500 persons came from across our Union principally, but also the North American Division, to simply pray. Oh, certainly there were powerful sermons on prayer, one of which was presented by Mark Finley. Youth attended in strong numbers as there were representatives from almost every academy in our territory. And the young (at heart) also were there in great numbers. Those in between anchored this event and all bathed the “General Conference” and all of the evangelistic activities leading up to it in prayer.
Many pastors were present, setting an example for their members. Giving their support as well, many of our local conference presidents took time from their busy schedules to join us in prayer, setting an example for their field. Their prayers were rich and powerful.
Like God did for Nehemiah, He placed a burden on Elder Mercado’s heart. He sensed the walls of prayer had broken down and enlisted a team made up of individuals from all over our Union territory who gave ardent support in organizing the meeting.
Although the preaching was powerful with speakers from every level of the church, it was the effectual fervent prayer which dominated the day. We prayed on many different themes throughout the day with the Holy Spirit in view. I thank God for our staff also, who did all they could to support Elder Mercado’s vision.
On a personal note, I sense the night cometh and the enemy is doing all he can to stop the work of God. I am reading our wonderful book of the year, The Great Controversy. I am reminded that, like the Waldenses, Wycliff, Jerome, Huss and many others who brought about revivals powered by prayer, God will always have a remnant who live Bible truth, proclaim His Goodness and seek His Holy Spirit’s guidance.
I am excited to announce that the 2020 initiative for the Lake Union Conference is Young Adult Ministry. This year we are supporting each local conference with an additional $10,000 dollars (in addition to the minimum of $25,000 each is receiving for evangelism).
It is clear the night cometh. But, thank God, there’s still time to be faithful in supporting the ministries of your church through your tithes and offerings. Sharon and I give automatically every month through online giving because we want to see God’s work finished and to see Jesus break open the skies of heaven to take us home.
Maurice Valentine is president of the Lake Union Conference.