Young adults from more than 40 churches gathered in Southern California for the first ‘SOLA Nexus’ Conference, organized by the SOLA Network, a group of Korean American pastors from nine local churches who have organized the SOLA Conference for college students for the past five years.
Incorporating elements of both retreats and conferences, SOLA Nexus featured main plenary sessions as well as small group sessions, and focused on the theme of connecting to God and others.
The conference, which took place from June 2 to 3 at Living Hope Community Church in Brea, CA, featured Alex Choi, the lead pastor of Sovereign Grace LA; Harold Kim, the lead pastor of Christ Central of Southern California; and Ray Causly, a co-lead pastor of Living Way Community Church, as main speakers of the event. Five more speakers spoke during smaller seminars which delved into more specific topics such as being a faithful witness, dating and marriage, and decision-making.
Speakers encouraged young adults to trust God, to find their contentment and worth in God, and to seek God’s kingdom.
Alex Choi, who spoke during the first night of the conference, said that the temptations that Jesus faced after his 40 days of fasting in Luke 4 portrays some of the major temptations that young adults may face today – that of self-preservation, instant gratification, and testing God.
“In order to really connect with God and with others, we need to overcome these temptations,” said Choi. “And there’s one thing that they all have in common. They are expressions of a lack of trust in God.”
“Deep down inside, we don’t believe his goodness or his power, we don’t get his timing. Instead, we hold on to our pain, our fears, and our sins,” Choi said. He encouraged young adults to continually “preach the gospel to [themselves],” and let go of those pains, fears, and insecurities.
Young adults were also encouraged to reflect on their motivations for work and the source of their self-worth. Finding self-worth in work, Harold Kim said, is a “cruel, cruel curse.”
“There’s really no rest from that kind of insignificance, fragility, insecurity,” said Kim. “If you succeed, it will go straight to your head, but you will be terribly insecure … If you fail, you’re crushed, despairing, suicidal.”
Instead, Christians should find their worth in “who” they are working for, according to Kim.
“If you work for Jesus, if you are really working and living for the glory of Jesus and what matters most to you is his approval, his pleasure, then get this: you can pour yourself out in a meaningless, dead-end job, never get promoted, not get the raise, pour yourself out faithfully and trust the results to God, because you’re doing it for him,” Kim said. “The numbers won’t make or break you … if your just reward is from him in eternity.”
Kim also encouraged the young adults and said that their work matters to God, and contributes to God’s kingdom.
“In every workplace, Jesus is the Lord of all,” he said, adding that according to the Apostle Paul in Ephesians 6, “Your work is directly related to the work before your ultimate master: Christ Jesus.”
Ray Causly focused primarily on urging young adults to live out their lives for God’s kingdom, and spoke from a passage in Acts 17 in which the Apostle Paul’s “spirit was provoked,” as the English Standard Version puts it, at the sight of widespread idol worship in Athens.
The word “provoked” in the original Greek has a “medical association with the word, epilepsy,” he said, and added that that was the extremity with which Paul felt emotional about the lack of worship toward God in the city.
“The question that this generation has to ask itself is, as you are moving into the rest of your lives as young adults, does your heart beat for God?” said Causly. “Does it bother you … that the exaltation of Christ is not the driving force of every person of every sector?”
“Do you dream about how you can engage this culture, to topple the idols that you see everyday?” Causly asked. “Is it the drive in your mind and your heart to see the idolatry in our culture ultimately fall and that this land would bow to king Jesus?”
Meanwhile, the leadership of the SOLA Network consists of pastors from local churches in Southern California, including All Nations Church, Bethel English Church, Christ Central of Southern California, Crossway Community Church, Good News Chapel, Good Stewards Church, Gospel Life Mission Church, Living Hope Community Church, and New Life Vision Church.