Thursday, August 16, 2012

24Seven 2012: A Summer Recap

24Seven youth spend time with a homeless man during outreach in Sacramento, CA

"Discover Your Destiny!"
by Brandon McNabb

This summer, I had the awesome privilege to help lead 24 teenagers to a deeper more intimate relationship with God!  We taught on discovering your destiny through your identity.  Our goal was to awaken their hearts to have more of a kingdom mindset in their everyday life, teaching them to turn to God and hear His heart for their friends, family and school.

24Seven receiving teaching about "Freedom of the Heart"
 Speakers who travel all over the world came to share with our teens on different topics such as "Hearing Gods Voice", "Moral Revolution", "Freedom of the Heart", and "Identity".  The youth responded by rising up to their calling and discovering who they are and what they are capable of being in the Spirit of God.  They expressed this growth this in different ways.  Some examples of their experiences include: serving in "hotel turn around" (cleaning rooms and bathrooms) in between the groups of hundreds of campers and counselors who stayed here every week, working long hours in the kitchen to clean up after meals, participating in team-building activities on our obstacle course, participating ministry training (evangelism, dramas, etc), 
24Seven youth performing a drama
going on a one-week local outreach, and engaging simple times of worship .  They grew in their strengths and learned through their weaknesses, as they began to understand that every member of the team plays an important role in the whole group's dynamic and purpose. In Ephesians, it says that we are all part of one body and we all fit in differently.  These teens saw first-hand how they fit in.  They have gone home now that the summer is over, and they are living in their own roles of influence to further the kingdom of God!

One testimony I thought was really cool was from Aaron.   At age 16, Aaron came and fell deeper in love with Jesus.  At the end of the summer, he told me that during the course of the two months when he was here at YWAM Chico, he realized that he could not ride on anyone else's relationship with God but needed to have his own. In his personal devotion time with God, he said that he used to pray like other people or use cliche terms.  During this summer, God convicted him and just said to be himself.  So, Aaron now talks to God in the way he would talk to anyone else - truly being himself.  He learned that people are not Christians by inheritance (because their parents are), but because each person decides to dedicate their own life to God... the God who loves us and wants us as we are.  Aaron learned he could simply be himself in relationship with God.  That is the heart of the Gospel!

On our week-long outreach to Sacramento, CA, the staff and the teens of 24Seven all stepped out of our comfort zones and ministered to the homeless, the church, and each other.  It's hard to choose which testimonies to share about outreach, because every time we went out something good happened!  I'd like to share about one of the three times when we went out with the simple goal of loving on people in the streets (and that's just what we did - stepping out and showing love to everyone we met... sitting, talking, and having fun with the homeless).  This
24Seven at the state capitol building during outreach
testimony is one from one of our interns.  His name is Michael, and he is 22.   Michael's group of teens was discouraged by literally not finding anyone to love on.  Then he went under a bridge and found some people playing music.  His team quickly got excited as they approached them.  Michael handed out some food/snacks the team had brought along to share.  As he started to walk away, he said, "God loves you."  One of the men sitting nearby said, "Haha - God loves you more!!!"  Michael said, "No! God loves you more!"  which started them into bantering back and forth... It was literally a "God loves you" "battle" under the bridge between Michael and the homeless man he had just met. The thing that stood out to me about this testimony is that even though he had nothing, the homeless man sitting under the bridge still had love!!  He would not let Michael win.  God works in mysterious ways, and it is cool to be reminded how three small words can put a big smile on someone's face. :)

I love it that the summer program awakens hearts to God.  It gives youth the ability to hear God for themselves and rise up into who they are created to be. This generation is called to carry a big torch, and I'm excited because I know that the teens who came this summer won't give up. They will always remember the summer that changed their life and awakened their heart to the very thing we were created to live in: the presence of Jesus!  Our hope as a staff team is that these youth from all over will not let the flame burn out, but that they choose to let God fan the flame in their hearts, and then tell their friends, and ultimately change the world!  As YWAM, our mission is "to know God and to make Him known" - this summer, we did that!

"Step Into Your Destiny!"

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