Tuesday night, students attending the 2012 National Youth Convention entered the KFC Yum! Center in downtown Louisville energized from Monday night's service, and after the first day of non-stop Fine Arts presentations and the AIM Outreach.
Worth Dying For led the crowd in worship as videos, which highlighted Louisville AIM Outreach efforts and The Hosanna Plan, a mission to reach the people of Russia in eight years, stirred the hearts and turned the students' focus to missions for the evening.
Worship leader and recording artist Jeff Deyo, performed the title track from his new album, "Moving Mountains," during the Speed the Light offering. Teens came prepared with cash, check, credit and text options to raise more than $26,000 for The Hosanna Plan.
The Hosanna Plan was created in honor of Artur Saleimanov, a pastor of Hosanna House of Prayer in Russia, who was murdered by a masked assailant in July 2010. His passion for evangelism inspired the project.
Following his performance, Deyo announced the video for the new Speed the Light theme, Finished, inspired by Paul's words in Acts 20:24. Following the video, Chet Caudill, national Speed the Light and student missions director, came to the stage to deliver a message on "The Heart of a Finisher."
"Speed the Light is all about people," Caudill said as his sermon told the plight of Russian people who were struggling to survive - and thought they were finished - when their paths fortunately crossed with The Hosanna Plan.
|National Speed the Light and Student Missions Director Chet Caudill delivers a message of "The Heart of a Finisher" to students Tuesday night. Finished was announced as the 2013 STL Theme and an STL offering was also taken during the service.|
Caudill also shared the story of William Borden, heir of Borden dairy company, who in the early 1900s left the family fortune to attend Yale University to pursue God's calling to be a missionary. At Yale, he began a prayer group that saw 1,000 of the 1,300 students come to the group by his senior year. He traveled to East Asia to share the gospel. When Borden died an untimely death at the age of 25, his parents were given his Bible. They found he had written the words, "No Reserves;" "No Retreats;" and "No Regrets" in it. These words and his determination to complete the calling on his life have inspired people around the world - and moved the approximately 10,000 that were in attendance at the KFC Yum! Center.
Caudill noted throughout his sermon that the biggest hindrance to completing a task or calling is not denying one's self instead of relying on the Holy Spirit for strength. His message reinforced the challenge "to stand" from Monday night and encouraged students to seek the power of the Holy Spirit to help them as they return to school in the next few weeks.
As he concluded, Caudill challenged the students - those who were ready to be finishers and call on the Holy Spirit for strength - to stand once again. Thousands of Assemblies of God youth stood throughout the arena as leadership laid hands on them as they called out to the Holy Spirit for fullness and empowerment.
"Yesterday's service really showed me the importance of finishing our task that we have been assigned by God," Tolu Fadahunsi, a high school senior from Eternal Life Christian Center in Somerset, New Jersey, says. "We have been assigned to go out into all the world and preach the gospel. The message really encouraged and strengthened me. It was refreshing and a reminder that God didn't give up on us. He is relentless. We have to be relentless in our pursuit of Him. God really poured out yesterday and it was awesome."
For more information on Speed the Light, click here. Students and leaders who desire to support The Hosanna Plan project can do so throughout the week by texting STL to 85944 to give $10.
For streaming of the final rounds of the Christian Band and Percussion, Unconventional performing live on the KFC Yum! Center stage this evening (6:25 EDT) or to watch the archived messages from earlier this week, click here.
Photo credit: Bethany McGrath