Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Gloria Copeland once said, "You don't get what you deserve.  You get what you believe for."

Tonight, we had a major breakthrough in our youth group.

We have been involved with the youth for about 10 years now, and Jason has been the youth pastor for almost 4 years.  We have never seen anything like what is happening right now.  When we first stepped into the position of youth pastors, we talked about, wrote down, and prayed about the vision that God had given us concerning our leadership with the youth.

One thing we really wanted to see was unity.  We wanted to see them become a family that truly loved each other in a way that the world doesn't understand.
We wanted to see acceptance.  No cliques.  We wanted anyone to be able to walk through those doors and feel like they belonged and had a safe place to be who they are.
We wanted to see them changed.  We did not want them to attend year after year and remain the same, with no true change in their real, everyday life.  We wanted them to hear the word and then do it, not just hear it and leave unchanged.  
We wanted them to understand how to worship.  We wanted them to know the freedom that happens when they truly forget about who might be looking at them, and just worship God.  

Last summer at Forward Conference 2010, we had 8 who were filled with the Holy Spirit, with the evidence of speaking with other tongues.  This was in our rooms after the services.  We also had several who were set free from addiction.  We had some who really heard from God about what they were supposed to do with their life.  It was an amazing time that I can not possibly put into words.

You wanna know the difference between this "summer camp" and the 9 we've been to before that?  The fire that God put in these guys is still going.  It's been 9 months and they are worshipping with more passion than they were when they came back from Forward.  We have never seen anything like it.

Rewind for just a second...

About 2 years ago, a few of my friends and I got together once a week to pray for our church.  We prayed for every area of our church.  The reason we did this was because we felt an urgency to pray for the passion of the love of God to be awakened in our church like it was being awakened in all of our hearts.  I remember saying something over and over again, every time I would talk with them about it, and every time Jason and I would talk, even during prayer.  I would say, "I believe that passion will be awakened in our church, and it will spread like WILDFIRE, and I believe it's gonna start with the youth."  I truly believed that in my heart, and so I would say it whenever I thought about it.

Back to Forward Conference...

When we came back home, these guys were so excited about what God had done, they started telling their friends about it, and so we had more being filled with the Holy Spirit even after we got "back to reality".  It was awesome to watch.

In the past, we've watched them stand there during worship with their arms folded, just watching the band play their hearts out.  But since Forward, every week we notice them worshipping more and more. It's to the point now, where we have a full house, and there are hands up all over the place.  It's one of those things you just stand back and remember when you were thinking about what else you could do to get them to really enter in to worship, and you realize that what you've been praying and believing for is within eyesight.  It's breathtaking.

Over the past few weeks, we have had several (not sure how many exactly) salvations, but they haven't all been in our services.  These guys are sharing Jesus with their friends and getting them saved left and right!  It's spreading...

This past Sunday night, Daniel Eric Groves was at our church, and our youth got ministered to in a BIG way.  Some of them were called out, but the most exciting thing to me was what Daniel said.  He shared with them about how he hates the "youth camp" fade out, and that the FIRE had to be alive inside each of them.  He said they could have the best youth pastor in the world, but it didn't matter.  They had to have the FIRE in them to minister to EACH OTHER.

We decided to have a testimony night tonight in The Loft.  We knew that God had done some things in their lives and we wanted to give them an opportunity to share that with each other.  Our service starts at 7:00.  We had to stop them and tell them to leave at almost 9:00.  At 8ish, we stopped and told them that church downstairs was out, and they could leave if they wanted to.  Nobody moved.  At some point in the middle of the service, we had 5 make decisions to either be saved or rededicate their life.  And then they kept getting up and sharing testimonies.

Wanna know the best part?  They were sharing about how they felt so accepted and loved when they started coming to this youth group.  When they felt so out of place at their school, they felt like they fit right in when they came to The Loft.  They were sharing how God was putting it on their heart to talk to some people at their school about Jesus, that they had decided they didn't wanna just make it through the day anymore.  They wanted to make a difference because they feel like they have a purpose now.  This wasn't just one or two...this was nearly all of them!

Some call it a revival.  I call it an AWAKENING!  Salvation, the infilling of the Holy Spirit, and passion is spreading like WILDFIRE in our youth group!  The flame has been lit, so church, get ready to burn!  It's happening!


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