Culture

FOPx BURN Conference 2018: Taking the fire in our hearts out into the world

Samantha Loh & Joanne Kwok // December 3, 2018, 4:34 pm

FOPx 2018 Day 1 (23 of 237)-2

“Jesus doesn’t just want to make history in you. If He did, He would have saved you and left you alone on a planet. But He didn’t, because He wants you to make history together with Him!” declared Pastor Brian Barcelona at FOPx BURN Conference 2018.

One of the largest youth movements in Singapore, this year’s FOPx gathering, which took place from November 29 to December 1, 2018, focussed on burning for Jesus as shining lamps out in the world.

The three-day conference featured speakers from international ministries such as Pastor Brian, who founded One Voice Student Missions, as well as “local legends” – all to set the 2,000 over young people who had come together on fire for evangelism and discipleship.

“We often disqualify ourselves from the call of God because we think we are lacking,” shared Pastor Brian, referring to Peter being the only disciple who dared to step into history with Jesus when it came to walking on water.

Andrew, Peter’s brother, also took the initiative and pointed Jesus to the boy with five loaves and two fish instead of dismissing the task to feed the 5,000 as impossible. Immediately, he was part of the story. Part of His story.

“You might think your fish and bread are the simplest things – but the simplest things can change history. Will you step in?”

Pastor Brian’s repeated call for the youths – who together represented over 100 churches in Singapore – was to take up this mandate of Jesus. That’s how revival will be sparked in our nation.

The response from the crowd was electrifying. Hundreds went up to dedicate their lives to the call of Jesus Christ. Many were weeping and crying out for the touch of God.

“But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvellous light.” (1 Peter 2:9)

And then this happened: As the conference took a break for lunch on Day 2, right after this message, the Thir.st team noticed an old man just up ahead of us at the bus stop outside Bethesda Cathedral, where the conference was held. 

Clutching a scruffy tote bag and mumbling to himself, the man was stumbling barefoot along the side of the road. Our first instinct: To leave him alone as he did not appear to be of sound mind.

This was FOPx for us: Youth who took the fire of the altar out into the world and set it ablaze.

Only after we’d boarded the bus did we notice that the large group of youths who were also trying to get to lunch had bottlenecked at the front – they were trying to help the old uncle pay for his bus ticket!

When it was clear he had no money for the bus fare, the youths immediately started looking into their wallets and offering any coins they had. And for the rest of the bus journey, they sat with him and engaged him in conversation.

When we reached Bedok Central, the last we saw of the group was them walking with the old man towards the nearby hawker centre.

Matthew 25:40 immediately came to mind as we watched them from afar, “Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for Me.”

What is faith put into action? It is obedience. Where does revival take place? In acts of obedience every single day beyond a conference.

What we witnessed that afternoon at Bedok Interchange was FOPx. Not just the energetic worship and rousing sermons within the hall. Not just the promises and prayers made at the altar. This was FOPx for us: Youth who took the fire of the altar out into the world and set it ablaze.

The young people of FOPx didn’t just move their hearts and mouths. They moved their feet and took the Gospel where it was always meant to go: Every heart that does not have Jesus yet.

And as youth leaders ourselves, that’s what we love about them – they light easily, and with the right conditions, they spread that light everywhere, anywhere.

They step into God’s story and make history with Him at any chance they get.

FOPx: Is youth worship just for the young?

We don’t know if eternity was changed for that man in need, but we know history was made regardless.

And sometimes, that is enough. Your yes, your willingness to be used by God is enough. Everything else that follows is in His hand. Seeing the youths’ hunger and earnest obedience challenged us to bring down the walls of cynicism and passiveness surrounding our hearts.

Wouldn’t you want to be that someone who would stop for anyone? Don’t you want to make history with Jesus?