Afshin Ziafat shares the importance of following Christ at Momentum. (PHOTO: Hillary Glaze)

Baptist Collegiate Ministries’ Momentum 2010 was a fantastic depiction of what a group of collegiate students dedicated to the Lord look like. The representation of more than 1,000 students from 37 Oklahoma colleges made for an exciting bunch.

Momentum is not just a time for students to get away from their campus for the evening; it is a time for students to praise God, hear His Word presented and enjoy fellowship with one another.
The Jeff Johnson Band started the conference by leading the students in passionate worship. His transparency and ability to relate to the students got them on their feet immediately.  Johnson shared that he, himself, became a Christian while in college.  The talent and heart of the band shined through songs of Truth and praise. The band ended the worship session with an original song, “Ruin Me” that mirrors the Scripture in Isaiah 6. The chorus proclaims, “Ruin my life, the plans that I’ve made. Ruin desires for my own selfish gain. Destroy the idols that have taken your place. ’Til it’s you alone I live for.”

The last song could not have been a better segue for speaker Afshin Ziafat’s message. He repeated a line from the Johnson Band’s song, “Now the plans I’ve made can’t compare to your glory.”
Ziafat told the students, “You were made for something more than the world is trying to sell you.”

He said they were made to know God and bring Him glory through their lives. Ziafat began his message by reading 1 Thessalonians 1:2-10. He highlighted that the believers in Thessalonica were an example to other believers because from them the Word of God was spread everywhere.

Ziafat then turned to Matthew 16:24-25, where Jesus tells his disciples, “If anyone would come after Me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for Me will find it.” Ziafat said, “‘Follow me’ is the call of Christ in your life. ‘Follow me’ is the most-used phrase of Jesus in the New Testament.”

Students praise God as the Jeff Johnson band leads in worship. (PHOTO: Hillary Glaze)

Ziafat said most people think Jesus just wanted anyone who would “jump on His bandwagon.”

Ziafat thinks that the opposite is true. Jesus was looking for a way to weed-out those who were not fully committed to Him and wanted the followers who would truly follow Him.
Ziafat reminded the students that there is a cost to following Christ. When Jesus commanded that His followers must take up their cross, they understood that the cross was the execution of choice in that day. Ziafat explained that as followers of Christ, “we must be willing to lay down any idol in our lives.”

Ziafat gave an illustration of a sail boat to explain his point: “If you are willing to lay your life down, you will find life. It may not be your plan, but it is the one you want. We bring our ‘sail’ down in an attempt to control life, but we’re not going anywhere. When you bring your ‘sail’ up and allow the Lord to lead, it is scary, but worth it.”

Ziafat understands the cost of truly following Christ.  Raised as a Muslim, when he first became a believer, he hid his conversion from his family. He said he, “didn’t realize what it meant to follow Christ.” Ziafat’s father was his hero, so telling his dad of his faith would mean disappointing the most important person in his life. When Ziafat’s father found out about his son’s new faith he said, “If you are a Christian, you can no longer be my son.” Ziafat responded, “Dad, if I have to choose between you and Jesus, I choose Jesus. If I have to choose between my earthly father and Heavenly Father, I choose my Heavenly father.”

That statement was the beginning of surrender in Ziafat’s life. He clarified that following Christ was not as easy as one statement. There were still areas in his life that he valued his dad’s opinion over God’s will for his life. Ziafat said, “You could be idolizing a bad thing, a sin, or it could be a good thing. If anything becomes more important than Christ, it becomes a bad thing.”

Following the service, 25 students came forward in a profession of faith in Jesus Christ.