By: Ariza Aquilizan
I think I speak for all the delegates when I say that the CYN Summit 2013 has started an unbreakable legacy for us. We are forever changed; and like the memories of our experience, we want to share this with the generations to come after us.
As I am writing this article, I am almost lost for words. I cannot even begin to describe what I experienced and what I saw with my physical and spiritual eyes. Blessed and anointed speakers sharing powerful messages and beautiful reminders, unforgettable encounters with the Lord, meeting new people and strengthening bonds between acquainted brothers and sisters. My time in the Summit was definitely a pleasing memory that I will remember forever.
Those who have gone before us in the Jesus is Lord (JIL) Church, our parents, pastors and leaders, paved the way for such legacy. They ushered in the strong moves of the Holy Spirit. We have seen them serve God wholeheartedly; witnessed them rise up from unbelievable crises, and seen them perform miracles by the grace of God. We have felt the presence of God through their lives. They started this church, this family. Having said these, we are ready to carry on with the pleasing and humbling burden now resting on our shoulders. Just as Moses had Joshua stepped in his shoes, our church leaders have passed on to us JIL’s glorious legacy. It is now our time.
So what was it really that was passed on to us? We now share the enormous responsibility to raise a generation who knows Jesus and what He has done for us. It is now our time to empower the young and old people. We now continue the call of God in the ministry.
Experiencing the summit
What I experienced, felt, heard and saw during the Summit shook everything in me. For instance, everyone saw Pastor Joey Crisostomo miraculously and immediately healed sprained ankles and wrists. I mean, how is that even possible, right? Beyond doubt, we saw how God lent His power to his servant. I asked some youths to describe their Summit experience and these are what they said:
"It was innovative; ground-breaking!"
"My summit experience will stay in my memory forever"
We learned to examine ourselves and look at where we stand and where we want to be. The speakers reminded us about the qualities God seeks for in a person; about the dependence and importance of our obedience and faithfulness in serving God here on earth. In the summit manual, we received an encouraging letter from our Spiritual Director, Bro. Eddie Villanueva. He spoke of taking on challenges and how we should forge ahead and push forward.
Challenges are terrifying, that is why we need a constant reminder to not fear them. That also means that we need to remember who we are and who God truly is in our lives. During the summit, we were all reminded that we were not in a playground or funhouse, but we are in a battlefield (that explains all the challenges). It was such a significant declaration when our CYN International Director, Pastor Jovi Villanueva, read a poem called "A soldier in the army of God". The poem spoke about enduring the challenges, claiming the victory and marching heaven-bound. It was a poem about an army that admits no defeat, an army hell cannot handle; it was a poem about us.
Messages from God
CHRIST LEGACY: The first speaker was Pastor Joey Crisostomo. He was supposed to share about the legacy of Christ, but the minute he sensed the Holy Spirit, the Summit agenda shifted its course. Before we knew it, we were all kneeling down, giving God our rawest shouts of praise and worship. And let me tell you, the encounter did not stop there. We were constantly filled with God's Spirit throughout our time in the Summit.
Days 2 and 3
THE LEGACY OF DOCTRINAL CERTAINTY& OUR IDENTITY IN CHRIST: Doctrines lead you to the realization of your true identity in Christ. It becomes a mirror that reflects the real you. Pastor Bobot Bernardo shared about the certainty of our identity in God. It was an important message for all of us. The enemy loves to tempt us, young people, and manipulate our minds. Why? Because we are in search for our identity. We search for places where we can belong. We look for people who can accept us for who we are. And sometimes, we search in the wrong places. God tells us that the certainty of our identity is based on two realities: (1) We are sinners saved by GRACE. We are nothing, but praise God for His love for us! And (2), We are servants called by the master.We are serving the King of all kings. What an honor! We should be proud of standing out like an oak tree in a wheat field. Our identity is in Christ (no wonder we don't feel like we belong with other people), so let us all shine for His awesome glory.
WORSHIP NIGHT: The worship night on Day 3 was led by Pastor Bobot Bernardo. He told us about worship, and how the levels or qualities of our worship depends on our personal relationship with God: (1) Primary – seeing God as the Creator; (2) Secondary – seeing God as the Doer of good things), (3) Tertiary – seeing God as the Hope of the future, and finally, the Graduate Level – the passion to see God. Worship is based on the reality that God is God. When we give Him worship, we are basically giving Him what's rightfully His: Glory.
We had tons of fun on the fourth day! The delegates explored Rome in groups. We went sightseeing and food hunting. We also got the chance to know each other more, create new bonds and strengthen the ones we already had.This day was all about learning to stick together as a team.
JOINING ANOTHER MAN'S MINISTRY: Just as God hand-picked your family members for you, He placed you in your church for a good reason. We don't pick our ministry, God does. We have all heard about churches that crumble for lack of bonding. They split because they no longer work effectively as a team. During the session with Pastor Bong Gonzales, we were taught how to avoid such problems. In order to work as a team, we need to recognize our leaders and serve them. We need to remember that God placed our leaders above us for a purpose. So stand firm, everything goes according to His plan. All we need to do is keep up and remember that the keys are obedience and faith.
THE LEGACY OF A CHRISTIAN CALLING: We were privileged enough to listen to Pastor Jovi Villanueva, our very own CYN International Director, share about the legacy of a Christian calling. Grace is an unmerited favor. Despite sins, God has given us the amazing grace that allows us to still serve him. Imagine having personal servants who always fail to meet your expectations! (What a disaster!) God is the kind of master who have such servants, but still He never gives up on them, on us. Why? Because He doesn't call the qualified, but qualifies the called! God's calling involves suffering and persecution, but that is what the calling is all about: Enduring them. And we choose to endure them because it's worth it! God rewards faithful lives with serenity and storied legacies. Live and die peacefully. But there’s so much more than that. Contrary to what we would hope, good people aren't exempt from violence, torture and affliction. We just need not to be intimidated. We just need to focus on our calling and our reward. Remember, without challenges, there will be no victory. "There is no oil without squeezing the olives, no wine without pressing the grapes and no fragrance without crushing the flowers."
THE LEGACY OF FIXATION: Another topic shared on the fifth day was about the fixation on Jesus. The hilarious Pastor Bong Infante told us that nothing and no one can touch our relationship with God as long as we continue to stand firm in Him. If we fix our eyes on Jesus, it will be easier to complete His calling, His purpose and plan for our lives. Tomorrow is already prepared, all we need is to settle down and not fear. When we learn to not fear we grow stronger, and when we grow stronger we will be able to resist the works of the enemy. So how do we remain hooked on Jesus? There are few key points: Spiritual discipline, faithfulness to God, and living by the example of courage. Courage emerges, not from increased security, but from enhanced spiritual maturity. We learned that we can choose not to fear those who harm us and focus on God instead. Just like boy scouts, we are to look at danger and study it, but not be afraid. God allowed only one fear, and that is the fear of the Lord.
BREAKOUT SESSION: THE LEGACY OF THE CHRISTIAN MISSION: We also learned about the Christian mission, which is to expand God's kingdom on earth. It is our duty to make people aware of God, sin, the Gospel, God's kingdom and Jesus as Christ. Life has a purpose, and God saved us all for the purpose of good works. Our true mission is to fulfil the call to make disciples and make Jesus famous. Pastor Emil Galang warned us about the danger of the "Triple S": Saved, seated and satisfied. We need to step out of our comfort zone in order to reach out to other people.
THE LEGACY OF THE CHRISTIAN HOPE: Pastor Bobot Bernardo told us about the life of Paul, who was steadfast in his hope. In 2 Timothy 4:6, the apostle Paul saw his death coming. He was ready to die for the cause of Christ and considered death as a gift leading to eternal life with God. Just like Paul, we learned that our highest treasure is to claim our eternal life with Christ. We can experience this because of the redeeming blood of Jesus. The crown of righteousness is in store for us which God will reward us with one day, and that includes everyone who have longed for His appearing.
COMMISSIONING SERVICE: All throughout the Bible, we read about God calling and anointing people to do His work. Anointing is about the presence and power of God manifesting in, upon or through a person's life by the Holy Spirit. God imparts His ability upon available and yielded vessels to fulfil and carry out His will and purpose. Anointing produces power, that is why Jesus prioritized, honored, ministered upon, imparted, treasured and protected the anointing. On the last day of the Summit, the pastors anointed the delegates with oil, and at that moment we felt God's power manifest in our lives. What an experience!
I believe the delegates have grown stronger and wiser since the Summit. I mean, we were privileged enough to have listened to so many anointed and humble pastors. The messages from God were so precious. We even experienced seeing the pastors kneel before every PK (Pastor's Kid) present in the room. The way they shared their testimonies really painted a picture. I will never understand how that must have felt for the PKs, but that was absolutely a prophetic gesture to remember.
”Rev. Ptr. Bobot Bernardo gave the most eye-opening and heart-changing teaching I had ever heard in my life (and that’s quite a lot considering I grew up in church!). He shared the most authentic and legit testimony as the life of a Pastor, living a dual role as minister and parent. In fact, his testimony was so transparent that I began to see things from his perspective. It was heart-breaking, yet love-compelling - so poignant, but sincerely dispensed. My entire outlook of being a PK suddenly turned (thank God!). After the session, I could not help but gather every courageous cell in my body and shake the hand of Ptr. Joey Crisostomo and Ptr. Bobot to simply say “Thank you for letting us see things from a pastor/parent’s point of view.
”... thank you Pastor dads and moms for doing the best you can. Loving God more than your family is highly admirable.”
- Sheryl Palmero
I thank God for opening our eyes and teaching us how to see things in different perspectives. Indeed, we have learned to honor the past. Thanks to our many mentors, pastors and leaders who have empowered us to shine. The CYN are chosen to lead because our leaders believe in us. I continue to pray that Jesus will be reflected in our good deeds and transformed lives.
The reality is that the things God showed us during the Summit were extraordinary. I believe the testimonies are endless, and I know that we have all found a new life, as well as our identity as an anointed generation. Our legacy is, indeed, grand.
Living out this legacy comes with its challenges. How will we keep ourselves and the ministry humble and grateful in the midst of compliments and successes? How can we make sure that Jesus Christ will remain the center of it all? This is our adventure, and it's our duty to navigate through. We don't know what tomorrow will bring. But blessings or trials, we are excited to press on forward to see God's glory shine across the earth in greater ways than ever before. We will come against the enemy with a bang, because believe me, the CYN are extremely loud and dynamic.
We have learned and seen a lot during our stay in Rome. And now, we are ready to work to continue with the legacy, and all the glory will be given to Jesus as we make His name famous!
Ariza Aquilizan is a member of CYN from JIL Oslo/Bergen, Norway.