Thousands of Baptist youth gathered in Hong Kong to celebrate the 14th Baptist Youth World Conference on August 4, 2004. The Youth Conference, which is held once every five years, followed the theme Jesus Christ is the Life in All Its Fullness in their colorful worship and services.
Sam Luk, President of the Hong Kong Baptist Convention welcomed youth and guests from more than 70 countries, many of whom were awaiting the conference for over a year; initially, the conference was scheduled for 2003, but was pushed back because of the SARS scare.
Marking the first day of the weeklong conference, Hong Kong Baptists told the story of how missionaries brought the gospel to the small country in the early 1800s. The lasting fruit of that labor, they said, was the Hong Kong Baptist Convention that numbers 161 churches with 62,000 baptized members.
At that light, the Baptists urged attendants to pass the Gospel in the same way the missionaries first brought the message of the true Lord Jesus Christ.
The BWA Youth President Donald Lawrence delivered the main message of the day, which centered on the Conference theme. Lawrence used the story of the Good Shepherd and the hired hand in John 10 to contrast the qualities between the Lord and Jesus Christ.
"As young people you can get involved in things that can land you in trouble, but there is no pretense in Jesus who wants to give you fullness of life. Choose Jesus who will guard
your dignity," Lawrence said.
"Many people want to use you to advance their own cause and steal your souls," Lawrence warned. "Know there is salvation in no other name but the name of Jesus."
Lawrence said the devil does exist and that it comes to steal, kill and destroy."
"Youth is a time to experience life, "Lawrence said, but life even at its most advanced "can leave us empty and dry."
"Our soul needs something to satisfy us and set us free, not something that will make us feel full now and empty later. True satisfaction is found in no other but Jesus Christ, "Lawrence said.
"When hard times come the hired hand runs away because he cares nothing for the sheep, "Lawrence said, "and he will desert us when we most need someone to stand with us. The Devil moves around like an angel of light, only to desert us when we need help the most, but Jesus was willing to lay down his life for us," Lawrence said.
"As young people you will go through many uncertain paths in life, things that can shake and confuse you, but Jesus will go with you through every circumstance, "Lawrence said.
The conference is set to end on August 8, 2004. For more information, please visit: http://www.bwanet.org/Ministries/Youth/14th%20Baptist%20Youth%20World%20Conference.htm