Report 4: Overarching Themes on the Word of the Lord to YWAM
The final days of the Singapore Family Gathering (1st–3rd September) were a crucial and intense time of grasping the word of the Lord to YWAM in this time of transition, learning to walk it out in our locations around the word, as well as a time of updates on our key transnational ministries and further changes to our organisational structures.
This report will focus primarily on the input by David Demian and the words of the Lord submitted by other leaders at the gathering during the last 3 days. The final Report 5 will aim to summarise the updates on YWAM initiatives and key organisational changes.
“Do You Want Me to Rent Your Life or Own Your Life?”
As we sang in worship one morning, “You won’t relent until you have it all,” there was a keen sense that God was challenging us on the Lordship of Christ in our lives and in our mission. David Demian shared from a time of crossroads in his own life when God was challenging him to lay down his career in medicine, and had confronted him with the poignant question: “Do you want me to rent your life or own your life?”
Likening our lives to an apartment, David had sensed God saying to him, “I am the master architect; when I rent the apartment, I can make some small changes and improvements, but when I own it, I can remake it, tear down walls and reconfigure as I wish, so everyone can see that it is mine, the work of a great architect. But, in about 80% of Christians, I live in them, but I am ‘renting the apartment;’ I can’t do what I want with them beyond a few improvements.”
David said, when we give God a gift, we expect Him to use it a certain way, but if He throws it away, we think it’s a waste and we get upset. When God shakes the security of our titles or our ministries and we get upset, we need to ask ourselves: did we really give our lives to God, or did we commit our lives to a ministry?
All across the auditorium, people responded with prayers of surrender to the Lord, that Jesus would indeed be the owner and master architect of the house. We affirmed that we are “married to the Lord” and not married to YWAM, and confessed our pride that has made YWAM the goal. As David Hamilton prayed: “I don’t want to make YWAM the goal. It’s about what Jesus is doing. People need to see God, not YWAM!”
How Do We Continue From Here?
Many have asked David Demian how we are to continue what we have experienced of God’s presence after the Gathering ends. David exhorted us not to follow a form, but to listen to God and obey Him. Three practical elements he highlighted were:
1. Hosting the Presence: to teach about the presence; to prepare our hearts to host His presence.
2. Longing for the Presence: to ask God for fresh hunger if we are not desperate enough. Gather a team with a similar heart and go deep with God.
3. Honoring the Presence: take time and make room to wait on the presence. Make a commitment to never fake His presence. If He doesn’t show up, keep waiting. Anything we initiate when we cannot wait for the presence of the Lord becomes our “golden calf.”
As a father blessing his son, God’s heart is to always bless us, but we are not to mistake His blessing for His presence, said David.
Another key factor was unity. David encouraged us to seek the kind of unity Jesus exemplified and prayed about in John 17. And that kind of unity only comes through death and sacrifice. Unity is critical as it is an end-times evangelistic tool in the nations; there is a veil over the eyes of the world that can only be broken by the unity of the Body of Christ (John 13:34-35).
This unity is akin to musicians in a symphony orchestra whereby every person relinquishes their right to play their instrument whenever and however they want. They are to listen to and obey the voice of God, to move in harmony with Him and with one another.
In closing, David exhorted us: “Take this message and get radical with yourself and with your team. God will give you the strategies. Walk with your leadership above and below; don’t walk alone. Follow the Lord.”
Other Prophetic Words and Themes
Lynn Green opened the afternoon session on 1st September with the statement: “The prophetic is healthier than ever before in our mission. The apostolic and the prophetic are moving together and laying the foundations.” The leaders are walking with the team of intercessors and listening intently for the words of the Lord to our mission.
One prophetic picture that God had given to two separate individuals was that of a dam filled with water and ready to burst. The dam was man’s attempt to harness God’s power for his own glory. It was holding up the river of God’s glory and in this time of transition, the dam was beginning to break, so that the river of God can flow unhindered by our structures. “The time of the steady flow of the kingdom is upon us,” affirmed Lynn. “But a few ‘sacred cows’ could be in danger.”
Fred Markert shared a word he had received as he travelled to Singapore. Psalm 16:6 can refer to both our inheritance (future) and heritage (past), according to different Bible translations. If we align with the word of the Lord to us, both in the past and in the present, we will receive our inheritance.
Sharing also Joshua 14:6, Fred reminded us of our call to “pastor the nations”. We recalled the vision Loren received 40 years ago to disciple the nations through the U of N. Paraphrasing Ephesians 3:10, Fred affirmed that God wants to make known His manifold wisdom through His church—in all forms—and through His people in the seven spheres. We have a call to influence nations and release them into the fullness of their destiny. As we go out to pastor the nations, we were strongly exhorted to keep the unity within the body.
Powers & Principalities & Prayer for the Nations
During the evening session on 1st September, Lynn Green gave a teaching based on “Powers and Principalities” based on Ephesians chapters 1 and 2. Just as the first-century church was plagued by the “us and them” phenomenon—the tendency to take sides and see the divide between the Jews and the Gentiles—the same powers and principalities are at work today through our media and education systems to reinforce the “us and them” mentality.
In view of all the recent bad news we have heard concerning the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, as well as what was happening between Israel/Palestine and between Ukraine/Russia, we as Christians cannot align ourselves unconditionally with any nationalistic interests or religious spirits. We are seated with Christ (Eph 2:6), and not to come under these powers.
The morning of 2nd September began with intense intercessory prayer for the situation in Syria and Iraq, Ukraine and Russia and for Kenneth Bae who was arrested and sentenced to labor camp in North Korea. While the situations may look bleak, we were reminded that God is doing amazing things in these regions.
There was a sense of unity and corporate faith in the room as we stood together to cry out to God in prayer. Someone pointed out during the feedback time on the last day: “My highlight was seeing us as YWAM come into a new place of our authority in intercession.”
Exhortation on the Transition
In closing one of our sessions where he witnessed the process of our laying down some titles in our reorganisation, David Demian affirmed YWAM, saying that whatever breakthroughs we achieve through this transition will become a model for many other ministries in the world and will be the inheritance for the entire body of Christ. He prayed out God’s word spoken to Moses, “My face will go before you and I will give you rest” (Exodus 33:14).
In another session, David once again encouraged us to see that because we are a mission founded on the marrying of seeking the Lord and evangelistic missions, we have the right DNA to navigate our way through the transition. There will be adjustments to be made, and these will have an impact on the body at large. We can also possibly make mistakes, but we should not be afraid of making those adjustments. The word of the Lord to us is: “Don’t be afraid, you little flock. Because the Father is pleased to give you the kingdom” (Luke 12:32).
Ask God to search our hearts in prayer: Does He own our lives or is He renting them? Pray for YWAM in every location to embrace the words of the Lord to us as a mission and to seek God on how to practically walk it out, especially in the time of transition we are in.
To see all the reports from the Singapore Gathering, click here.
–by Lynn Yee and Judy Foo