Live 8, Live Free

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


By Mary Baker Boudissa

IYC is an opportunity to experience the life-changing power of God through worship, fellowship, and studying his word. This IYC, 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 free was the emphasis on Wednesday of the convention.

God wants us to be free. That was the message delivered to the students and leaders at IYC 2012 by speaker Zane Black. Black, speaking from Romans 8:2, shared his own story of being set free from a life of drugs and alcohol. Despite being left in a coma for weeks after a night of heavy drug use, and though his life was spared after this brush with death, Black still couldn’t get out from under the weight of his addiction. Only God could pull Black from the life he was living. “Although I was running from him,” said Black, “he was running to me! It was the love of God that began to melt my heart.”

So it is for every believer. We all suffer under the weight of sin until we encounter Christ and choose salvation. “We are all objects of wrath. We have all fallen short, and we all deserve punishment. But,” said Black, “there is always a but that offers us hope and tells us what God can do in response to our shortcomings.” In this case, he pointed out that the rest of the sentence is “but, by placing our trust in him we can be saved because we are all saved by grace.”

Black used a powerful illustration of how we are freed. Using a skateboard that was turned upside down, he told the young people that we can all spin our wheels, having fun, but never getting anywhere. In a single, smooth gesture, he flipped the board over and jumped on, skateboarding around the stage. As he put it, when we turn our hearts over to God, he will take us places we could never imagine.

We can all live free, as Black encouraged the IYC audience. He challenged the students to ask themselves five important questions: 

1.    Do you belong to him?

2.    Do you know him?

3.    Do you trust God?

4.    Have you gone back to spinning your wheels? Are there things that are holding you back from freedom in Christ? 

5.    Are you ready to give those things up? 

Living free is all about allowing God to restore us to the life for which we were created. Because he loves us, he wants us all to live free.

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

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