Francis Chan, the speaker and author of an Evangelical Church in the United States, gave a sermon on Feb. 8 where more than 140,000 young people gathered at the Send conference in Brazil.
During the sermon, Francis Chan challenged the crowd to count the cost of preserving your own life instead of giving it to God with all your heart.
"We live in an era when too many Christians are obsessed with being alive," Chan said. "My life is worth nothing (without Jesus). I just wanted it to be used to tell others about Jesus.'
Chan began his sermon by reading Acts 20. "Paul told the elders of the Ephesians church that he would follow the handouts of the Holy Spirit to Jerusalem, even though he knew he would face "jail and hardship." In verse 24, Paul said to the elders, "I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me-the task of testifying to the good news of God's grace."
Chan said it is a very important phrase for our generation and asked if we could speak like Paul, "Even my life is not considered precious at all."
Chan also referenced Jesus' words in Luke 9:24 (also recorded in Matthew 16:25 and Mark 8:35). " For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it."
"I hope all of you will experience the life given for the gospel. It is difficult to live with this concentration because enemies are constantly trying to distract us with the idea that our best lives are in this world. Even in churches, people will advise you to go in a safe direction. But Jesus didn't say that."
Two weeks later, Chan and his family left the United States to do missionary work in Asia. They made the decision after returning from Myanmar's slums six months ago. He and his family spent time moving from huts to huts and talking to people about God.
"They've never heard of Jesus," he said. "They were just looking at me and listening. At that moment, I was really at peace in my mind," Chan said.
When he and his wife flew back to the United States, he asked her, "What do we do on a normal day that can't be compared to this?"
Then he offered to go to Asia, and she replied, "Let's do that."
Just two weeks ago, Chan was once again in a village where no one had heard of Jesus' name in Myanmar. He felt a deep peace again and thought in his mind. "I want everyone to feel peace. This is why we humans were created."
Chan currently lives in San Francisco. "And people here are picky about enjoying and eating food, so obsessed with eating quality food that they criticize food that doesn't meet their standards," Chan said.
This food culture is in stark contrast to what Chan experienced when he visited an African camp that was filled with as many people as the crowd listening to his sermon, he said.
When he arrived at the camp, he saw a woman there screaming and acting frantically. Soon Chan found out that she was suffering because her son was starving to death. He looked like a skeleton, and Chan saw that everyone around him was starving, too.
"So it was very difficult to go back to San Francisco and eat again," he said.
Now the church is full of spiritual foodies, Chan said. What he means is that many people listen to sermon after sermon, criticizing what the speakers say.
"On the other hand, there are people in the world who have never heard of Jesus."
And the purpose of the Send conference is to require people to calculate the value of life and go to the world. For that very reason, "We ask you to come to die."
Chan said his hope is not only for those present at the event to hear a sermon, but also for the Holy Spirit to be at the center of their heart and open people's eyes. Then they will clearly see the value of life, knowing the price that Jesus paid and sharing His name, not just for themselves.