“Whoever believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him.” — John 7:38
Generation YES!, by Bobby Conner & Randall D. Kittle

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“I will die for my God. I will die for my faith. It’s the least I can do for Christ dying for me.”

— Cassie Bernall  


These were the words 16-year-old Cassie Bernall wrote to one of her friends in 1998. How often have we made similar strong declarations, which, fortunately for us, are never tested to see what they are really made of. For Cassie, however, they were tried and tested less than one year later.

When she walked into the library of her suburban high school, around 11:00 on the morning of April 20, 1999, she had little more on her mind than completing her latest English assignment. By the end of that hour, two classmates would storm into the school with guns blazing and kill as many people as they could. With a loaded handgun in his hand, one of these madmen confronted her with the question, “Do you believe in God?” She answered “Yes.” She said yes even though she knew it would inflame the gunman and endanger her life. And in the end it was an answer that cost her life. The gunman put the gun to her head and pulled the trigger, ending her young and passionate life.

Modern-Day Martyr By any true definition of the word, Cassie was a martyr. According to the dictionary the word “martyr” comes from the Greek “martyria,” which means “witness,” and refers to someone who refuses, in the face of terror and torture, to deny his or her faith.

 Reporting on this tragedy, the
Miami Herald concluded, “For Christian youth across the country, Cassie Bernall has become a modern-day martyr — but her story is one of redemption rather than perfection — her legacy: believe in yourself.” They missed the whole point of this tragedy: Cassie had not just learned to believe in herself — she had come to believe in something far beyond herself. Earlier on the morning of this tragedy she had handed her friend a note that ended “P.S. Honestly, I want to live completely for God. It’s hard and scary, but totally worth it.”

Part of the problem is that we have grown to think of martyrs with a “Stained-glass” mentality, not as a teenager who carries a backpack and worries about how much she weighs and if she will pass her finals. The very word martyr congers up thoughts of ancient days and distant lands. When we look at Cassie’s “yes” on April 20, 1999, we want to make a memorial or shrine — to make her some special, sanctified saint so we will not be held to the same standard.

Cassie struggled like everyone struggles, but she knew what she had to do to let Christ live in her — and she was willing to do it! It’s called dying to self, and it has to be done daily. Paul told us that this was a part of the Christian walk when he affirmed,
“I die daily” (1 Corinthians 15:31). Martin Luther King once said, “If a man hasn’t discovered something he will die for, he isn’t fit to live.” Dying daily means learning to break out of our natural, selfish life. Dying daily is not some warped death-wish that has been Christianized. In fact, it is not a negative thing at all. It is the only way of freeing us to live life fully for Christ. Only a person who “dies daily” can truly live each day for the Lord. To understand Cassie’s ability to say “yes” to her assailants, we need to look at the daily “yes” she was learning to say day after day, month after month long before that final “yes.” Through this she was living life in such a way that she was able to face eternity at any time.

The Yes Generation God is raising up a whole generation like Cassie. They live life “full-bore” with nothing held back. They are unwilling to do anything superficially. With them it is all or nothing. The Church will be amazed and uncomfortably challenged by this upcoming generation. The selflessness of this next generation is going to cause much of the Church to be discomforted and, unfortunately, some will declare their action too radical.

Many teen-age boys and girls will be stronger in their faith than their parents. They are not going to appease their conscious and excuse their actions by claiming that they can remain silent about Jesus and let their “lifestyle” do the talking. They will boldly speak out the truth about the great love of God to a lost world who doesn’t want to hear their message. God has been speaking to this generation over and over again, like He did to Joshua,
“Be strong and courageous!” (Joshua 1:6).

 This end-times generation will live life passionately with an all-or-nothing attitude. Like David they will not run from the battle — but to it! They will be ready and willing to lay their lives down for the cause of Christ; willing to die for what they believe. Our generation didn’t find God worth living for, while this next generation will find God worth dying for!

 The last generation has been called by many Generation “X,” which has led some to refer to this next generation as Generation “Y.” This is a sign — for the “Y” stands for YES. They will be able to say yes to the downgrading and mocking questions of the world because they will first give an abandoned yes to God. They will not give a guarded, holding-something-back yes, but a full and hearty yes; the yes of someone who truly believes they have found something worth living for. They will say yes to God with a zeal that amazes older believers and overcomes the world. God is releasing upon this upcoming generation a “passion” for the presence of the Lord. It is this passion that will allow them to be filled with such a resolve.

It will be the wise church leaders who will begin now to help prepare for the training of these leaders. The Spirit of God is releasing an urgency in the hearts of the true intercessors to begin to pray for these youth on a new level. None of us can truly finish our course if we have not helped the next generation to accomplish more than we have. The question for many of us is this “Will we heartily say ‘yes’ to the Yes Generation?”


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