LBASYC Testimonies

Who We Are
We, the Louisiana Baptist All-State Youth Choir (LBASYC) are made up of high school students from all over the state of Louisiana.  This is the 24th year that LBASYC has been in existence. Our choir comes together every year to tour around the United States for one purpose – to share the love of Jesus Christ.

Why We Sing
We, the students who are in LBASYC, have been changed by the love of Christ. Because we have been changed we want to share with others how they can find love, peace and forgiveness. Here are some of our God stories.

Hayden

My life before Christ was pretty much the same as any other regular kid. I attended church regularly with my family, but I never felt a desire for Christ in my life. I was content with living my life, enjoying doing kid things with my friends, the rest of the time, being quiet and playing video games. I never really got into any trouble and was, to the standard of society, an exceptional kid.

The end of my freshman year of high school was when I came to Christ. High school had really opened my eyes to the realization that I needed to make a change, in not only my spiritual life but others’ lives as well. I felt a strong desire to submit my life to Christ, and get to know my spiritual father, so that I could make a difference and stand out from the crowd and show others that it was “OK” to be different.

Since I gave my life to Christ, He has allowed me so many opportunities to share his gift. I became involved with our local football team as the athletic trainer, and that has given me the opportunity to get involved with Fellowship of Christian Athletes. I am currently a Huddle Leader in FCA and that has allowed me to share my faith with others and set a godly example for those that may not normally have one. Lastly, here recently my church has formed a small youth choir and I have had the opportunity to share God through praise and worship.

Grace

My life before Christ was really lonely.  I was moving schools, trying to make friends, and “fit in”.  In my head I thought I wasn’t good enough. Then I started hearing how God’s love was unconditional and never-changing.  With God I had a friend.  I had someone that I knew would never leave.

Sally

As a child, I had been told about who Jesus was, but I didn’t actually know Him. I knew intellectually that He was God’s son, but I really didn’t understand much and didn’t know anything about a purpose.  Everything I did was centered around me.  I was selfish, ignorant, and lost.  But then I realized I really needed to know Jesus, He chose to die on the cross for me so I could live and have a relationship with God. So I prayed to God and admitted that I had messed up, that I sinned and always tried to do things on my own, that I knew Jesus was His son, that Jesus sacrificed himself on the cross for me and that God raised Him from the grave.

Because of what Jesus did for me, I no longer have to try to be good to earn my way into heaven. In fact, nothing any of us do will get us into heaven. I don’t have to do things on my own. But this was just the beginning. Having Jesus in my heart is like having a being or presence inside of me. No matter where I go, He’s always there giving me love, support, and guiding me. He gives me a purpose and leads me.  He carries me along the way so I can live with meaning. Even when awful things happen, I have peace in my heart because I know God.

Two years ago, my mom was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. If I didn’t trust Jesus, it would have been devastating. But because of Jesus, I have hope. I’m a pretty logical and orderly person, and I like to know what’s going to happen and what to do. I’m a planner. And now God is teaching me to fully rely on Him because He truly, truly is my foundation and strength. I’m learning to keep focus on God and trust Him every single moment of every single day—to be a light for Him in this world—to let God be in control instead of me being in control.

Joshua

Before I met Christ, I was lost.  I was a sinner and cared only for myself.  Now I am a follower of Jesus.  Now I care for others more than myself.

Kristi

Because I was brought up in the church, I struggled with the validity of my faith until I realized all God brought me through.  I was bullied as a young child so much that I had to transfer.  I went to a new school with no friends and no self-esteem.  My entire identity was destroyed.  I made it through to high school and was blessed with friends I never thought I would have.  But then everything seemed to fall apart.  The self-image I had was terrible.  I hated everything I was.  I never thought anyone would love me.  I felt every friend was lying to me.  I couldn’t see anything past the darkness surrounding me.  I began to think about suicide.  I thought I’d do myself and everyone else a favor and just end it.  I don’t know how I’m alive today.  I only know that God wasn’t finished with me, so He saved me again.

Today, I see why I’ve faced what I’ve faced.  He uses me, a messed up, insignificant girl, to tell people He loves them.  I’m alive because He loves me. He loves you too! SO MUCH! I can’t even explain it to myself half the time, but He does.  He’s changed my life and has given me people who love me, no matter what.  Wait for Him.  He knows what’s best.

Caleb

Before I met Christ, I was confused.  I had so many questions: How did everything exist? Who created it?  I learned it was God and that He sent His Son Jesus to save me as the sinner I was.  Today Jesus has saved me and I live for Him. Each and every day I live by faith, trusting in Him and learning what he has in store for me.

Brynna

My walk with God has been a struggle throughout my life. My life before Christ was not a happy one, I was once so depressed I would resort to self-harm just to feel better. When I felt like there was no way out of my depression, I attempted to end my life. I carried around wounds from dysfunctional relationships from the home I grew up in. My anger and lack of respect caused me to lash out and curse and be disobedient. There was a point that I was so desperate to get away, my sister and I ran away from home in hopes to escape our unhappy home. We were picked up by law enforcement. Things were still in turmoil and my mother sent me to a mental hospital at one point during that time and it was the worst experience of my life. I later moved in with my father hoping for a fresh start, but unfortunately I soon realized that life with him wasn’t what I expected and in the end I decided to move back in with my mom to be closer to my sisters.

I became a Christ-follower at 15. Ever since then my walk with God has gotten so much stronger. I absolutely love everyone in my church family! I have no idea what I would do without them. They have been there for me through every step of my journey. The most important thing God taught me is forgiveness, I have learned to forgive those who hurt me and even myself, to forget about the past and move on to build relationships stronger than they have ever been.

When I think about my future, I see so much and God has everything to do with it. I thank him every day for giving me the gift of the future! If I hadn’t been introduced to the church that I am going to now I may have not have a relationship with God and I don’t even want to think about what my life would still be like without Him. God is my strength and my refuge, He brings me up when I am down, He gives me hope for the future and He loves me more than I could ever love myself.

How Can You Know?
How can you know the love of Christ that we are singing about and sharing? It is as simple as A-B-C.

A-     Admit: Confess to God that you are a sinner. Repent, or turn away from, you sin.

  • Romans 3:23 “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”
  • Romans 6:23 “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
  • 1 John 1:9 “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

B-      Believe: Trust that Jesus is God’s Son and that God sent Jesus to save people from their sins.

  • Romans 5:8 “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”
  • John 3:16 “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.”
  • John 14:6 “Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.’”

C-      Commit: Give your life to Jesus. Ask Him to be your Lord and Savior.

  • Romans 10:9-10 “that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation.”
  • Romans 10:13 “for ‘Whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved.’”

We invite you to pray this simple prayer if you would like to give God control of your life.

Lord Jesus, I believe that you are God’s Son and that you came to earth, died on a cross for my sins and were raised again on the third day.
I know that I am a sinner and separated from you by my sin.
I ask you to forgive me of all my sins. I accept the gift of your salvation which you purchased for me on the cross and I ask you to be my Lord and my Savior.
In Jesus’ name, amen.

If you prayed this prayer you now belong to God based on Romans 10:13 (shown above).

Please write us a note and tell us your God story.

In addition, we encourage you to follow up with these ABCs.

A-     Access: Access God’s Word every day. Read the Bible and pray.
B-     Baptism: Follow Jesus in baptism.
C-     Church: Find a local church body of believers to join with.

The Art of Making Disciples

Thank you for being the kind of leader who desires to be used by God to make a difference in other people’s lives. This ebook and associated resources are simple tools to help you guide the people you lead to determine where they are in their spiritual pilgrimage and develop a plan to help them move forward. Maybe along the way, you will find a path for your journey that will move you forward as you continue to become the person God desires you to be. As believers, our goal is to glorify God. Our mission is to make disciples.

We glorify God when we help others establish a personal relationship with God and mature to the point where they begin to do the same with others. In other words, we make disciples that we pray one day will become disciple-makers themselves.

My prayer is that God uses this resource to help you fulfill your call as a leader and disciple-maker.

No matter what role you may play in the church, you are an ambassador for Christ.

May you be found faithful to do just as Paul did for young Timothy: And what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, commit to faithful men who will be able to teach others also (2 Timothy 2:2).

[fancy_header]Overview[/fancy_header]
Chapter 1: What is a Disciple?

Jesus’ intent was for us to do more than make converts. He wants us to make disciples who will in turn also make disciples. In order to do that, we must lead them to Christ and make them a part of a vibrant community of believers who will assimilate and nurture them. Then we are to teach them to observe everything Jesus commanded. Put another way–we teach people the Bible so that they might love Christ and live like Christ. In today’s world it is not enough to simply believe.

Chapter 2: Assessment

How do I assess where I am in my spiritual journey? How do I assess where others are in the process? Assessment tools help us take a snapshot so that we can evaluate where we have been, where we are and where we hope to go. Spiritual growth does not operate in a straight line. So why a standard assessment? The most significant reason is so we can establish a reference point. We do that by applying a value to our perceptions.

Chapter 3: How to Make Disciples

Our goal should be to reach the lost, develop them as believers, then send them out to serve, lead and make more disciples. There is no silver bullet. There is no one way to accomplish this. There is no “easy” path to making disciples. It is simply one person at a time, one day at a time. However, I have found using the transitions in a person’s faith journey can help us to guide people along the way. The key is helping people know the next step.

[fancy_header]Get Started[/fancy_header]

Foreword by Bruce Raley
The Bible clearly instructs every Christian to reproduce themselves… disciples reproducing disciples. To many Christians and churches this instruction appears vague and almost mystic. They engage in discipleship through studies and activities, but struggle with disciple-making.
Sean Keith has clearly articulated an understandable disciple-making process for both individuals and churches to fulfill the Great Commission. This process will answer the questions and needs of churches around the world through its implementation. Sean has provided a needed help for today’s church!

Ready to dive into the disciple-making process? Download The Art of Making Disciples now, free, by clicking the button below.

[padding40][vc_button title=”Download eBook” target=”_self” color=”default” size=”size_large” href=”https://louisianabaptists.org/wp/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/The-Art-of-Making-Disciples-Electronic-Copy.pdf”][/padding40]
[fancy_header]Additional Resources[/fancy_header]
Peer Assessment

Sometimes close friends are able to offer insight to your own walk with the Lord that you can’t see for yourself. Take this opportunity to seek wisdom from a believing friend and see what the Lord may reveal to you through their eyes.

Download Peer Assessment Tool
Personal Discipleship Assessment

This assessment is designed to help you establish a reference point for where you are in your spiritual life. While spiritual growth doesn’t occur in a straight line, this can help us see where we have been, where we are and where we hope to go in our spiritual walk.

Download Personal Discipleship Assessment Tool
Mentor Assessment

These questions are designed to guide you and the person you are discipling through a process of determining the spiritual life markers and then guiding them through an assessment of each one. The purpose of this tool is to help others develop a strategy (plan) to move forward.

Download Mentor Assessment Tool
Spiritual Gifts Survey from LifeWay Christian Resources

God has gifted you with an expression of His Holy Spirit to support His vision and mission of the church. It is a worldwide vision to reach all people with the gospel of Christ. As a servant leader, God desires that you know how He has gifted you. This will lead you to where He would have you serve as part of His vision and mission for the church. (author: Gene Wilkes)

Download Spiritual Gift Survey

Ideas That Stick

In 1892, William Wrigley began placing two pieces of chewing gum in every order of baking powder purchased from his fledgling company. He hoped this “premium” would increase sales. To his surprise (and profit), the gum became more popular than the baking powder. His new brands Juicy Fruit and Spearmint became household names, and the Wrigley Co. grew into a multi-billion dollar business. (It sold to Mars, Inc. in 2008 for $23 billion.)

Thanks in large measure to William Wrigley, chewing gum developed a life of its own.

Even though it had existed in some form for centuries, chewing gum became a part of Americana. Do you remember baseball cards with chewing gum enclosed? Today, kids still practice blowing bubble gum to see how large a bubble they can make without it getting stuck on their face and hair.

Gum chewing is touted as a remedy for refreshing your breath, cleaning your teeth, calming your nerves, and performing emergency repairs when a more ordinary adhesive is unavailable. Millions of people of all ages like to chew gum. One reporter said of Wrigley, “He taught the world the gum chewing habit.”

Of course, gum chewing has its detractors. Since the product is virtually indestructible, how do you dispose of it? Thousands of users simply stick it to the underside of whatever piece of furniture is handy. When I was a teen, my job as a busboy included removing gum from the table-bottoms with a putty knife. Disposing of used gum on furniture was so widely practiced, some wag composed this obituary at Mr. Wrigley’s death: “In keeping with his family’s wishes, his remains will be wadded up and stuck to the underside of the lunch counter at Woolworth’s.”

It is this “mess” gum can make on furniture and sidewalks and bottoms of shoes that has led most schools (and the nation of Singapore) to ban gum chewing. In fourth grade, it was a daily drama to see if Mrs. Whitlow could catch Roger Dale before he swallowed his gum. She never did but that boy had lower GI tract problems we do not want to discuss here. I checked with my grandkids. The cat-and-mouse struggle over chewing gum continues apace at their schools.

Yes, gum chewing has its problems. (Did I mention tooth decay?) But still we chew! Did Mr. Wrigley think his gum would make this much impact? Oh, of course, it has not changed the world. And, it is not nearly so important as discovering cures for diseases or advances in agricultural production. But it is visible everywhere, and it has stuck around a long time. What an idea!

I want to celebrate ideas that stick in our work for God.

I’m thinking of those inventions, creations, dreams, programs – large and small – that find their way into our lives and make a difference for Christ. I have a friend in Texas whose mother, sometime around World War II, invented “Bible Drill”. How many generations of Baptist kids (and others) have benefitted from this idea? Twenty years ago, Richard Ross and Jimmy Hester sketched out an idea on a napkin in a coffee shop. That idea, called True Love Waits, has helped millions of students live victoriously through moral and spiritual challenges. In 1894, an Illinois public school teacher Ms. D.T. Miles invented Vacation Bible School. Now, there’s an idea that has stuck. How about Evangelism Explosion?

God has used ordinary Christians to think of, invent, and implement an amazing array of small and large initiatives that have advanced the kingdom of God.

We’re looking for ideas that stick. Our LBC 2020 Commission findings present us with a wonderful “opportunity” to think and act in new, impactful ways that will be remembered and imitated for decades to come. (I will be addressing those findings in coming days.) Will you come up with the new idea? Will your passion and energy take it from the drawing board to the streets? I am excited to see what explosions of Christian ministry erupt from your ideas. Get your spiritual eyes and ears attuned. Put on your thinking caps. Put on your work gloves. Let’s see what God does with your idea.

Noah’s New Year

Now that it is over, how do you rate 2013? Are you singing with Sinatra, “It was a very good year”? We like good years where there is bountiful harvest, good health, memorable experiences with family and friends, and a general sense of peace and satisfaction. Those are the years we remember with fondness. We get out the photos or pop in the DVD and enjoy once again the pleasant times.

Then… there are those “other” years- the ones marked by loss and hardship and conflict. We pack the artifacts of bad years in a box tied with strong twine, and shove it in a corner of life’s attic, hoping to never look at it again.

The biblical man Noah lived a long time and a long time ago. Across his lengthy lifespan, he probably had a wide admixture of annual experiences. There were years that were good, bad, mediocre, exhilarating, frightening, happy, sad, mundane, forgettable- -the whole gamut.

But his 600th year was catastrophic— a life-changing, earth-shattering, epoch-making, never-to-be-repeated calamity. It was the year of the deluge- the great flood. He had been warned it would come and told how to prepare. But it was still catastrophic. The Bible’s description: “He (God) blotted out every living thing that was upon the face of the land, from man to animals to creeping things to the birds of the sky, and they were blotted out from the earth; and only Noah was left, together with those who were with him in the ark. And the water prevailed upon the earth 150 days.” (Gen. 7:23-24).

Now that’s a bad year! Everything and everyone Noah and his family knew, save their special menagerie, was gone. They rafted for just over a year. How long could they survive in this floating warehouse?

What was next? Would there be a “next”? “But God remembered Noah and all… that were with him in the ark.” (Gen. 8:1). It was New Year’s Day. “Now it came about in the 601st year, in the first month, on the first of the month, the water was dried up from the earth.” (Gen. 8:13).

The old year was gone. The new year had come. The old year was the flood. The new year was dry ground. The old year was the deluge. The new year was the rainbow. The old year was filled with violence, and wickedness, and evil. The new year was filled with promise: “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth.” (Gen. 9:1). The promise would bring, not just a new year, but a new world!

Have you ever had a year that was marked by a “flood of mortal ills”? I have. Maybe 2013 was that kind of year for you. The Christian community in America seems to be going through a rough patch, too. Recent declines in areas of belief, morality, integrity, and godliness represent a flood of mortal ills. And the waters are rising rapidly. What will 2014 bring? Will we lose everything we’ve known? Can the church survive? Can we overcome what we have experienced in the past? How can we possibly prevail?

God will remember us. As Martin Luther wrote:

“And though this world, with devils filled, Should threaten to undo us, We will not fear for God has willed His truth to triumph through us.”

The Psalmist said it this way: “I will not be afraid of ten thousands of people who have set themselves against me round about. Arise, O Lord; save me, O my God. Thou hast smitten all my enemies on the cheek; Thou hast shattered the teeth of the wicked.” (Ps. 3:6-7).

It’s a new year. Be fruitful and multiply.