Monday, November 3, 2008

Youth Convention, Night 2

The second night of youth convention was even greater than the first.  More laughter, more worship, more change in lives!  Saturday night I got the opportunity to watch and pray as hundreds of students came forward to pray for freedom from the “lovers” they had been turning their attention to and trying to find comfort in instead of God.  The message was the story of Hosea, the prophet, and his wife Gomer, the unfaithful prostitute, whom he loved and chased.  “She decks herself with rings and jewelry and goes to find her lover.  But me she forgot.” was the key verse that evening.  Those are the words the Lord spoke about Israel’s unfaithfulness.  You can hear His heartbreak. 

1,500 students were challenged to stop turning to their vices for comfort and solace and instead recognize God’s freedom and love.  I watched, prayed and cried as hundreds of students came streaming from every corner of the La Crosse Center to turn away from the answers and fulfillment of the world to God.  Students prayed and were changed.  They were set free from suicidal thoughts and depression, addictions to pornography, drugs and alcohol and anorexia, bulimia and cutting.  God is good and it was wonderful to see Him work so personally in lives.

The freedom found when we stop trying to make our vices stretch to cover our pain is amazing.  We admit our tactics and comforts don’t cut it and don’t fix the hurt.  We stop telling ourselves the lie that we can handle the situations and trials of life.  Instead, we stand in Christ, trusting not in our understanding and ability, but in His goodness and faithfulness.  Releasing the lie and embracing the Truth brings miraculous freedom.  And the miracle of freedom is what hundreds of students experienced on Saturday night.  The relief and joy seemed tangible as students began to worship God with all of their hearts, minds and souls, not just the portions that weren’t busy trying to find a solution and hold it all together.

It was an amazing and miraculous event.  I’m so happy I was able to be a part of it.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Youth Convention, Night 1

This weekend I get the privilege of helping the district with registration at youth convention in La Crosse, WI.  Last night we opened up and it was great.  Smooth sailing for registration, but nearly flawless check in, while incredible, was nothing, absolutely nothing compared to the service!
There are 1,500 people here this weekend and last night the vast majority of those people were worshiping God full tilt.  Interface is the worship band here this weekend and the excellence of music and heart they bring opens the doors for students to respond by pouring their worship out to God too.  A message given by Reggie Dabbs, interspersed with drama and music, on choosing to turn in the lies and junk of the world for the truth and life of God, to turn away from the past that has hurt to the God who heals, was exactly what was needed.  As I stood by the registration table in the lobby, I watched over 400 students pour out of the stadium and head to the response room where they talked about their first time or re-commitment to Christ.
Then I saw all 1,100 people left in the stadium praise God and worship Him with all of their might and as those 400 rejoined the rest of the group they entered in completely as well.  It was a great night to be in La Crosse and a wonderful first night at WNMD Youth Convention.
This afternoon there are football, basketball and dodgeball tournaments taking place.  The champion team from each sport gets to take home a 5' trophy.  There is definite excitment and competition in the air.  Let the games begin!  
Looking forward to a good day and evening!