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Live 8, Live Empowered

 In All Church of God, IYC: International Youth Convention, Youth Ministries

 IYC12_Logo_No_Kids

IYC is an opportunity to experience the life-changing power of God through worship, fellowship, and studying his word. This year, rather than having a theme based on a single verse of Scripture, the convention focused on understanding and living out Romans 8. This text provided the theme: LIVE! LIVE free, LIVE awakened, LIVE empowered, LIVE connected. “LIVE empowered” was the emphasis on Friday of the convention.

Romans 8:18 says, “I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us” (NIV). Suffering gives way to glory if we live by the spirit described in the eighth chapter of Romans. That is the message that former professional football player Steve Fitzhugh brought to students and leaders at IYC 2012 as he addressed them during a morning session.

Fitzhugh wanted his young audience to understand that living empowered is to understand that, by the spirit, you are equipped for the struggles and suffering that you will endure on earth. To help students recognize their own power in the Holy Spirit, Fitzhugh offered three important steps.

First, realize how much God loves you. Fitzhugh said, “You are the thing that God loves most. He loves everything about you. You were created so that he could love you.” He further explained that Christ loved all of us enough to take the whole of the world’s pain on himself. In spite of this sacrifice, and because of it, we no longer have to suffer condemnation because we are in Christ Jesus. We are empowered to stand against sin.

Next, Fitzhugh challenged the crowd of nearly four thousand youth to “praise God for the struggle!” As he explained, “You can’t have the victory of Romans 8 unless you first have the struggle of Romans 7.” Fitzhugh compared the struggle against sin, as discussed in Romans 7, to that of the butterfly emerging from its cocoon. The struggle is necessary to cleanse the butterfly and lighten its wings so that it can soar.

“God allows struggle to come your way so that, as you wrestle with it, as long as you stay steadfast, unmovable, and grounded in the things of God, God will make beautiful things come out of your life!”

Finally, and most importantly, Fitzhugh encouraged the young people to be “all-in” for God. It is only when we become all-in that the door is open for God to be in all by the Spirit. Being all-in, living fully by the spirit, and being endued with the power that can only come from on high will ensure that difficulty will always pale in comparison to God’s glory in our lives.

According to Fitzhugh, being all-in is a full commitment to walking with Christ, loving God with our whole heart and mind. When we are all-in, we will recognize three key things that empower and equip us:

    1. God’s presence, which will allow us to move and act by faith.
    2. God’s power, which will move within us and give us victory over sin and suffering.
    3. God’s purpose, which has already been written in our DNA.

Fitzhugh challenged the IYC delegates not to wait to make their lives all-in for God. After all, as he put it, our Father in heaven expects nothing less from us. “God can’t wait to see the look on your face when you decide you’re going to be all-in instead of in and out. Don’t give up on him because his plans for you are great.”

Click here to read the next article in the IYC 2012 recap series.

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