Seize the moment. It is also known as Carpe Diem. This statement has been used to get people to maximize the experiences in life. It is one of the most powerful forces in life. The value of a moment.
I have worked with teenagers for 30 years. And I am looking back on so many of those memories tonight as I sit in Joplin, MO on the eve of the NCCAA National Championship Tournament. As the Head Coach of the North Central University Lady Rams, I have asked our girls to Seize The Moment. They will never be in this situation again. Not this team. And so I am looking back tonite at the power of a moment. When I experienced a Carpe Diem many years ago.
July, 1989, Sandusky, Ohio
As a Youth Pastor at Grand Rapids First Assembly in Michigan, while on a youth event trip to an amusement park (Cedar Point), the course of my ministry and the lives of countless youth were changed. That sounds like a dramatic statement to make, but, many young people can attest to the significance of that statement. Here are the details surrounding this 2 day trip that turned into 4 days.
-The bus broke down on our 6 hour journey
-We arrived at the park at 6 pm on that Friday night instead of 9 am Friday morning
-We had to leave the park by 10 pm because a tornado was going through the area
-Our hotel was closed and about 90 students and leaders stayed the weekend at a little church in Sandusky
-When we arrived home in Michigan on Monday morning, no one was the same
What made this weekend so historical? Seizing The Moment. If I had not obeyed the prompting of the Spirit that Friday night to take the time to force our students to seek the Lord in the sanctuary of that little church til late into the night and early morning, we would have missed a suddenly. I was tempted to simply eat pizza and sit around and play games. But, I knew that God wanted to meet us in that place that night. And in the midst of so many disappointments on that Friday, and with a tornado bearing down on Sandusky, the Spirit blew into that place and did the following:
-Called a young teenager to the piano who began his public worship leading. He is still leading worship today and one of the leading national prayer figures in Florida.
-Radically saved a young high school kid who was a nominal believer at best, and unknowingly called to ministry. Today, he has accepted the call, and pastors a mega church in Michigan.
-A young high school senior who was headed to a life in business became a Youth Pastor, a Christian University professor, a vice president at that university, and now pastors a mega church in Minnesota
-Walking into that weekend as a prideful athlete and with no idea that God had a call on his life to ministry, a young high school senior was wrecked by God's presence that weekend. And he speaks all over America today as one of the top evangelists in our nation.
-Another young lady was among the best of Who's Who in America and had scholarship offers to just about any university she wanted. But, she was called to missions in Africa and still serves there today.
There are so many stories from that weekend that have impacted the kingdom of God. Maybe the most important to me was the lesson I learned about Seizing The Moment. I became an idealist that weekend. And nothing has changed 25 years later as I sit here in Missouri thinking about taking a basketball team to a National Championship. No matter what happens this weekend in our tournament, I am challenging 10 young ladies and 3 coaches to take this moment seriously.
And I give you the same challenge as a young person today. After reading this story, will you listen to God and believe Him for the great plan He has for your life? Will you stop what you are doing and trust God with your life? You must hear me. God is playing chess with your life while you are playing checkers with your life.
I am willing to Seize The Moment for a National Championship this weekend and trust all of the hard work and preparation this basketball team has put into the game for many years. Will you give him your life in this moment and see what He can do with it?