BLOG: Missions Conference 2012
Oscar Muriu addresses faith and calling
Friday, March 16
Two alumni, Elizabeth Norried and Dennis Nadley, spoke about their experiences since Biola, giving wisdom and encouragement to the students during the last session of Missions Conference, 2012. | Ashley Jones/THE CHIMES
The final session of Biola’s Missions Conference began with testimonies of Elizabeth Norried and David Wadley, Biola alumni. The gym was so crowded that people were sitting in the foyer.
Wadley spoke of three responses to God that students should have following the conference. The first was to say “I love you” to God. The second was to say “I trust you” and the third was to say “I will follow you.” Then Wadley summarized some of the major goals of this generation, one of which was to see every people have a translation of the Bible in their own language by 2025.
Oscar Muriu shares examples of faith
Then, Oscar Muriu began to speak, wrapping up Missions Conference by talking about faith. He said, “I say to you Biola, do not let the smallness of your vision limit the greatness of God.”
He then told the story of George Muller, the German advocate for orphans. Muriu spoke about how Muller was distressed because of the lack of faith those in his generation had in the Lord. Muller desired to display with open proof that God could be trusted with the daily affairs of life. He never asked anyone for money, but made it a point to trust God for everything. This is an example of faith.
Muriu’s second example of faith was that of William Carry and how he said, “Expect great things from God and attempt great things for God.”
He expressed two different types of faith. The first was sustaining faith, or that which manifests in daily life. The second was “mustard seed” faith. There are two distinct times in Scripture where God said, “Nothing will be impossible with you.” The first was at the Tower of Babel in Genesis 11. The second was in reference to mustard seed faith in Matthew 17:20.
“The power of unity in the eyes of God is that when we stand united and do a work of faith together, nothing will be impossible for us. Mustard seed faith is the faith that believes God for the impossible and that does not depend on our ability, strength, resources, contacts and networks,” according to Muriu. It is the faith that begins when our strength and ability end.
Praying for God's calling on student's lives
He said that many of us are too comfortable to pray “big prayers” or challenge God to do the impossible. We are content with sustaining faith and are not willing to ask God to do great things. He called us to faith.
Muriu ended with a call: “I call forth a harvest of dreamers . . . a harvest of men and women who will pray big prayers — that would travel the narrow path less traveled, who would fix their eyes on Jesus and become that man or that woman. Would you be one of these?”
People rose and responded to a series of callings. The first was the call to be a person who would pray “big prayers,” and the second was for those who felt called to be a missionaries to the unreached. The third was a call to those who felt that they were called to the dangerous places of the world--the call of martyrdom. Wadley prayed over those who approached the stage with the second and third calling. He anointed and blessed each one of them. It was amazing to see the next generation of martyrs stepping out in faith, assured of their calling.
Clark focuses on authority of Christ in final evening session
Thursday, March 15
Missions Conference director, Kyle Donn, spoke for a period about calling and giving ourselves to God, during the final conference of the day on Mach 15, 2012. | Tyler Otte/THE CHIMES
After a couple days full of seminars, the ministry fair and Global Awareness, students filed into the final evening session of Missions Conference. Malia Flores-Lacangan and Kyle Donn, co-directors of this year’s conference, opened the session by sharing their heart and vision for the theme: "Consume."
Donn reiterated the songs previously sung relating to not “riding on somebody else’s passion” and “finding your own flame.”
“2.8 billion people have not heard the name of your Savior,” Donn said, encouraging the student body to ask God where and how he is leading them.
Speaker Nolan Clark opened by sharing a statement from John Piper: "Missions exists because worship doesn't.” He spoke on the importance of this and pointed out that he will also be out of a job in heaven, as there will be no more need for preachers and evangelists.
His sermon, titled “All for All,” honed in on the text in Matthew 28:16-20. The word “all” is used three times within those verses. Clark focused on the fact that Christ has all authority and that now we are commissioned to go into all nations.
Session ends with confession and prayer
Before Clark’s final prayer, the students sang “Happy Birthday” to him, as he had announced it was his birthday.
United Pursuit led worship as artists gathered around the stage to paint on various canvases. Paintings of trees, fire, people and thrones ensued.
Donn and Clark both led the students into a time of confession, in hopes to see freedom from sin and a sense of community fostered. For almost an hour students confessed their sin of pride, control, sex, lust, worry, fear and anxiety.
SMU President Chris Johnson continually reiterated what corporate confession is intended for and even led the crowd to pray for their fellow students as they confessed their need for clarity and direction.
Don’t miss the final session tomorrow at 9 a.m. featuring the United Pursuit, alumni and Oscar Muriu. Also check out the mission booths and Global Awareness one last time as Missions Conference 2012 comes to a close.
David Guzik highlights God's invitation to service
Thursday, March 15
David Guzik speaks during the fifth session of Missions Conference on March 15, 2012 about the throne of God and whether or not we will join him there. | Jessica Lindner/THE CHIMES
Thursday’s second session continued to explore the role of the arts in expressing the conference’s theme, “Consume.” United Pursuit returned to begin the session with a brief time of worship, which was followed by a drum performance that resulted in thunderous applause from the audience.
A short film artfully communicated the conference theme by likening the idea of “consume” to being enveloped in the ocean. The visceral imagery captured the attention of the audience as the narrator expressed his desire to be consumed by the seas.
“Some say you’re enough to save me. Maybe you can wash off what I’ve been carrying. But how? Your mist kisses my skin, but I need more. I need to be sure. I’ve been on these rocks for too long. I want to know what you are. So I throw myself at you. I let you surround me. And you consume me,” he said.
After a brief introduction by Dr. David Nystrom, Pastor David Guzik of Calvary Chapel Santa Barbara returned to lead the session. Teaching from Isaiah chapter six, Guzik spoke about the holiness of God and the prophet Isaiah’s response to the call of God.
Referencing Scriptural experiences
Guzik noted the absolute sovereignty and power of God that is displayed in Isaiah’s vision as he witnessed God upon his throne. “What was it that Isaiah saw? Where was the Lord? He was where he always is — he’s on his throne,” he said.
Referencing the experiences of other individuals in Scripture, Guzik affirmed the importance of this illustration for Christians in every age, stating, “You cannot connect with heaven in truth without having some sort of encounter with the throne of God.”
Guzik also expounded on the holiness of God that is demonstrated in this passage of Scripture. Citing the reverence demonstrated by the angels surrounding the throne, Guzik explained the implications of the holiness of God in light of the world and his creation.
He also highlighted the beauty of the invitation God offered to Isaiah to enter into the service of his kingdom. “I’m astounded that God in heaven asks questions. He’s inviting Isaiah’s participation. This God of majesty, sovereignty and power — he asked for volunteers. He wants willing and surrendered servants,” he said.
Guzik drew from his personal experience in cross cultural missions to communicate the difficulties that those who are called into that area of ministry. He and his family lived in Germany for seven and a half years while he served as the director of an international bible college.
He encouraged the audience not only to willingly enlist in the service of the Lord and be ready to adapt to difficult circumstances, but to count such trials an honor.
“It should be your honor as students at Biola to say, ‘We go to the hard places. We take on the difficult tasks’,” he said.
The session closed with a time of extended worship led by United Pursuit. Session six will begin at 7 p.m. with Nolan Clark.
David Guzik focuses on passing Christianity from generation to generation
Thursday, March 15
During the fourth session on Thursday morning, students danced their way to the front of the stage holding signs with their major and a section of the world map drawn on to each piece. The students puzzled together the earth's landscape. | Adam Lorona/THE CHIMES
Students filed in from the overcast chilliness to the flag-covered interior of the gym for the first session of the second day of Missions Conference. After a melodious time of worship led by United Pursuit, a string of students entered the gym in an energetic parade of majors. Making their way around the chairs and to the front, students held up signs representing their majors and put them together, like a jigsaw puzzle, to create a map of the world. Following this, two Spoken Word poets delivered their thoughts on being consumed and acting as God’s ambassadors to the world.
“Don’t let God Adele you and tell you, ‘Never mind I’ll find someone like you.’” Recited the second poet.
Focusing on Elijah the prophet
Next, David Guzik, pastor of Calvary Chapel Santa Barbara, took the pulpit, focusing his message on 2 Kings chapter two and the story of Elijah, the “prophet of fire.” From the account of Elijah’s ascension, Guzik emphasized the passing on of the torch from the older generation to the younger.
“Christianity is always one generation away from perishing on the earth. If it doesn’t pass from one generation to another, it will pass away.” Guzik said.
Guzik emphasized the fact that Elijah separated himself from the crowd and desired to have his spiritual experience in secret. Often times, our intimacy with God is just done to be on display. We must challenge ourselves to move beyond that to a place to understand the riches of God are only made real in that very secret place.
As Elisha took up the torch of Elijah, Guzik explained that he found the God of Elijah in two different places. First, in Elijah’s intimate connection with God’s word. Guzik asked a challenging question to all those listening: do we really love the word of God the way they should? In our lives, we need to strive to have a love, passion and fire for the Bible. Secondly, Elisha sought God in the faith-filled works of the older prophet. Our generation has an “inordinate fear of failure,” of being known as a failure. But we need to have enough trust in God to be bold enough to do work for the Kingdom that has the potential of “being a big flop,” said Guzik.
By taking up Elijah’s mantel that falls from heaven, Elisha chose to take up the torch and continue his ministry. In the same way, we are posed with a similar choice. Are we going to pick up the mantel from our fore bearers? Will we take the responsibility of their legacy of upon ourselves? Will we fulfill this calling?
Ultimately, Guzik sees Elijah’s ascension as a prefiguring of Jesus’ ascension. Just as Elijah passed on his mantel to Elisha, Jesus passed his work onto his disciples.
“We inherit not the mantel of Elijah but the mantel of Jesus. He called you and he sends you forth with his mantel, his mandate, and says, ‘Will you take it? Will you follow?’” said Guzik.
Oscar Muriu challenges students to respond to God's call
Wednesday, March 14
Oscar Muriu speaks about surrendering our life goals and plans to the Lord during the third session on Wednesday night, Mach 14, 2012. | Tyler Otte/THE CHIMES
Pastor Oscar Muriu summarized Biola University’s third session of Missions Conference with a single question: “Are the things you want to live for after college worth Christ dying for?”
Muriu explained that after he became a Christian, he still wanted to be a scientist, but God called him to be a pastor.
“Something has changed in me. I am not driven by the old passions, desires and angers, and those who know me can testify to me. Christ gave us the ministry of reconciliation. We are not only being reconciled to God, we are being commissioned as ambassadors,” Muriu said.
In light of his own testimony, Muriu directed students to 2 Corinthians 5:14-21. He then challenged students, saying that we have been given the task of testifying to God’s grace.
“No great advances have been made for the gospel by men and women who are unwilling to give up their lives. Give up our life? We can’t even miss a TV show — one that is not honoring to the Lord. Give up our life? I can’t even give up sleep to wake up early to pray,” Murui said.
He told a story about how missionaries used to pack their belongings in coffins when they went to Africa because the life expectancy of a missionary was two years after reaching the shore of the continent. They knew that after the two years was up, they were going to return to their home country in those same coffins.
“When did they die? They died before they even left for the shores of Africa,” Muriu said.
Muriu emphasized his belief that students, and Christians in general, are ambassadors. They are to conduct themselves as ambassadors — there are things that are not becoming to ambassadors, there are places they cannot go and things they cannot do. This is a small sacrifice.
He also informed students that 2.8 billion people have never heard of Jesus, and the Christian’s job is to go and tell them about Christ our Savior.
He called students to lay their dreams and hopes down and surrender to the call God had on their lives. All who felt called were asked to bow before the stage — more than 100 people in the gym did.
Muriu commissioned them, saying, “Know that this day, the men and women who kneel in your presence have laid down their careers at the altar. They are free and they are proud.”
Nolan Clark emphasizes importance of exalting God
Wednesday, March 14
Church planter Nolan Clark speaks about spiritual cleansing during the second session of Missions Conference on March 14, 2012. | Katie Juranek/THE CHIMES
As students filed back into Chase Gymnasium for session two of Missions Conference, United Pursuit led the Biola community in a series of worship songs in preparation for the afternoon teaching. Conference coordinators then came to introduce the session’s speaker, Pastor Nolan Clark of British Columbia, Canada.
Clark, who is the pastor of Revive in Kamloops, British Columbia, then prayed for the conference and for God to reveal His glory to everyone there in order to become shining ambassadors for His glory.
Similar to the first session, Clark turned to Isaiah 6 and began to explain the importance of an encounter with God and the necessity for Christians to have an exalted view of God in order to reach the world.
Clark emphasized not belittling God or the gospel message, stating God is bigger than any sin.
“You must see your sin but you must see God’s grace is bigger,” Clark said.
A major theme emphasized in session two was to be close to God like the angels in Isaiah 6.
“God is a God of fire and Jesus came to set fire to the world,” Clark said.
We as Christians need to be captured by the person that is God and burn for His mission, which is to see His glory spread to the whole world, according to Clark.
“Jesus rubs off on you,” Clark said. “Be near Him; come close to Him and He will truly burn on you.”
Clark then added a warning against self-righteousness and explained it is not until you stand before bright white that you see how dirty you really are.
“Whatever your struggle is, you can come before the Lord and hear your sins are forgiven,” Clark said.
The message of the cross was also emphasized in the session, mainly that Christ died and conquered sin, and only because of Jesus’ death can we have freedom and forgiveness for sin.
Clark closed the session praying for God’s fire to make things holy. He also explained sin cannot be overcome in the flesh alone, but only through God’s spirit and grace can anyone overcome sin.
“May God capture your heart,” Clark said. “May His spirit give you the strength to serve him all your days.”
Oscar Muriu calls Biola community to confession
Wednesday, March 14
From left to right, Esther Perumalla, Sani Putsure, and Jacinth Musuku represent India during the Parade of Flags at the first Missions Conference session on March 14, 2012, by waving the flag and wearing traditional Indian clothing. | Adam Lorena/THE CHIMES
The hearts and minds of the Biola community were turned from their studies to the nations as the 83rd annual Mission Conference commenced this morning. Over the next three days, the campus will focus on one thing: the heart of God for every soul in every place. As the opening address and the conference theme affirm, this understanding must first be realized in ourselves.
“This year’s theme is consume,” said conference director Kyle Donn. “It is an invitation to say, ‘God, would you consume our idols and would you consume us with a greater passion for you?’”
International flags — both familiar and foreign — were paraded through Chase Gymnasium by student representatives to the throbbing rhythm of cultural music as the first session began. With each passing flag, the audience’s perspective of God’s heart for the nations expanded. Several international students had the opportunity to represent their native land to the Biola community.
Pastor Oscar Muriu travelled from Nairobi, Kenya, to deliver the first message. Muriu is the pastor of Nairobi Chapel and has dedicated much of his life to the ministry of the Gospel. As Donn stated in Muriu’s introduction, “For the last 20 years, [Muriu has] seen tens of thousands of converts coming to Christ,” said Donn.
Muriu shared with the audience that, though his home congregation may be thousands of miles away, they were personally invested in the work God wanted to do. “Even right now, we have people in Nairobi on their knees praying for you and this conference,” he said.
Muriu ushered the audience into a time of sobering reflection on the hindering effects of sin in the Great Commission. “You are the light of the world, but is your lamp lit?” Muriu asked the audience.
Using visceral illustrations and scriptural references, Muriu compelled the audience to consider and confess the hidden sin within their own lives as the conference began so that the Lord would be able to accomplish his purposes through each session and seminar.
“No matter how gifted we are or how much potential we have, if there is sin in our lives, God cannot consume our lives with His purposes. Our sin quenches his fire,” he said.
He expressed his sincere conviction that he was sent to this conference with a specific message of confession and repentance.
“I do not doubt that God has sent me as a messenger to you all the way from Africa and that right now he is speaking to one, or two or ten or a hundred or maybe even a thousand [of you],” he said. “This message I bring isn’t hypothetical or theoretical... Today, God has found you out and spoken into your heart.”
Muriu expressed the great love God had for his people and encouraged the audience to reflect upon his heart for each one of this children. “My dear friends, you are servants of the Most High and he has placed his name and his grace upon you. You matter to him. You are his son, you are his daughter — how can he not care for you?” he asked.
As the session came to a close, Muriu invited the audience to respond to the message and the Spirit of God by making a public confession of their sin and repentance. When prompted, hundreds of students rose to their feet to signify that they were forsaking their sin in favor of holiness.
“Lord, do what it takes so that you can consume us,” asked Muriu of God in his closing prayer.
Over the next three days, this prayer will faithfully resound.