The All Ontario Youth Convention is planning a new prayer initiative called Divine DMs.
SUMMARY: We'd like to give each conventioneer a text message from heaven, a “divine direct message” of encouragement with a small symbolic gift attached. This is done by shopping for a small gift and taking time to sit with God and hear from Him (as best as we are able) for an encouragement for a young student at AOYC.
WHY: Often youth can have a difficult time getting direction from God for a number of reasons (as we all do) and it can be quite helpful for a more mature member of the church to hear from God on their behalf. This is different than simply giving advice to others. In this exercise we’re seeking to discern God’s thoughts for this youth rather than our own. Every Christian has the ability to hear directly from God in many ways (e.g. through the Bible, creation, circumstance) and God always want to talk to his children. One of the ways God talks to us is through thoughts and pictures in our minds when we are focused on him in prayer.
- John 10:4 “When he (Jesus) has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice.”
- John 10:27 “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.”
- Jeremiah 33:3 “Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.”
- 1 Corinthians 14:3 “…the one who hears from God speaks to people for their strengthening, encouraging and comfort.”
- Acts 20:2 “He (Paul) traveled through that area, speaking many words of encouragement to the people…”
- 1 Thessalonians 5:11 “Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.”
If you have any biblical or theological questions about hearing from God, please direct them to the convention emcee, Andy Luchies ([email protected]) or your local pastor.
HOW IT WORKS:
- You will be responsible to shop for a few small gifts, one for each youth you volunteer to pray for (usually from dollar store- must be $2 or less). When you shop, ask the Lord to direct you what to buy and trust that He will draw your attention to the gifts He’d like you to get. You don't need to know the whole encouragement ahead of time, but try to have a sense of what God might want you to say when you buy the gift, and remember to write down key thoughts you have when they come so you don't forget later on. Gifts you buy should be symbolic, but they don’t have to be useful. Like a piece of art, the purpose in the gift is what it symbolizes, not what it actually does. You do not have to buy all different gifts, but if you get 2 or more of the same gift, please ensure you have an individual encouragement for each person that receives the same gift.
- Once you have your gifts bought, take time aside to wait on God for a word of encouragement for each gift. Ideally God will also remind you of a Bible verse that ties in. Google is a great way to search Bible verses on a topic if you'd like ideas to mull over. Your encouragement word should connect the gift and the Bible verse to the person who will receive it. You obviously don't know who will receive the gift so just follow God's leading as best you can and trust the Holy Spirit. My suggestion is to do one each day so that you take the time to hear from the Lord with each gift.
- The goal of each encouragement is for the receiver to gain a clearer understanding of what God's doing in their lives. It may be a few words about their destiny, their past or current situation, God's thoughts towards them, etc. Sometimes God will share something specific with you (e.g. “you have a big decision ahead”), sometimes it will be more general (e.g. "God really likes you"). The specific words are a little more risky to share but they are often the ones that have the most impact. Don’t be afraid to say something specific if that’s what you sense. You’d be surprised how often that’s exactly what someone needed to hear!
- It's great to add two or three small thoughts in there and your encouraging word should be at least 50 words if possible (not including your bible verse), there is no limit to how long yours can be, but pace yourself if you’re doing more than one. Make sure you can devote the same amount of attention to each of your encouragements. If you only get one short thought, don't panic just put it aside and come back to it later. God will speak to you in his own time.
- Please type out your encouragement word (unless your handwriting is VERY neat) and attach it to the gift as a slip of paper, a recipe/index card, etc.
- Don't wrap the gift. Please send an email to Joel Sypkes ([email protected]) by April 17 with 1) the number of gifts you are providing, 2) what gender your gift is directed towards and 3) your address. He will coordinate the necessary logistics to ensure the gifts are received by the AOYC worship team in early May. Our team will review what everyone has written to confirm it is safe to pass onto the youth and we will wrap the gift for you.
- AOYC would like to reimburse you (up to $2 per gift), so please hand in your gift receipts marked with your name when you turn in your gifts to Joel. If you don't hand in your receipts, AOYC won't reimburse you—but you will still get treasure in heaven!
- During the weekend, each conventioneer will receive a gift and there will be an opportunity to hear testimonies from anyone who wants to share how God blessed them through the gift. Any leftover gifts might be given to friends of those who came to AOYC or handed out during street evangelism in the city.
Package of plastic dime rolls: I sense God is very pleased with how you handle change. I believe God wants to tell you that you are being faithful in stewarding and handling the small change in your life. He's also pleased with your ability to understand how small things can add up to great blessings and as you're faithful with the small changes in your life, God will entrust you with much bigger things. I also feel like God wants you to know that he's better at math than you. Matthew 25:21 "His master replied, 'Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master's happiness!'
Fake daisy flower: You may have been wondering if God loves you (he loves me, he loves me not), but not only does God love you and take care of you, he is walking along side you to 'fertilize' the soil you’re growing in because when you are in full bloom for God, you will be one of the most beautiful things many people will see: a woman fully alive for God. Simple elegance trumps flashy trinkets and makeup any day. Matthew 6:28-29 "And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these."
Thanks again everyone! Let us know if you have any questions and we look forward to hearing back from you if you can participate this year.
—Andy Luchies, Joel Sypkes & Julie Kikkert, AOYC Worship Team