Live8 (Reflections on IYC2012, Denver)
Last week I was blessed to represent Oaklawn Church of God, and join with about 5,000 from all over the country (and a few from other countries) for IYC2012 in Denver, CO. Great trip with awesome friends, and inspiring worship music and speakers! I would like to share just a few thoughts based on the theme.
Live8 is based on Romans 8. The challenge was, and continues to be, to not just hear the words of this powerful chapter of the Bible, but to live these words out daily. I've been thinking there are 66 "books" in the Bible, maybe a good theme for my life would be Live66. Here are the 4 themes and my thoughts:
Live FREE. I think most people want to really live free, but I'm not convinced we generally know what that means. I have learned that to live free is not to do as you please, so long as no one gets hurt (and there are those who don't even consider that second part). There is a grip that darkness can hold on us. Be it something in the past, or some form of addiction, or outright sin, there are some things and experiences that can hold us in their grip. This grip is one that we can't release ourselves from - even when it is tied to our own selfishness. But we CAN live free! It means intention and it means surrender.
Live AWAKENED. The week of IYC2012 was definitely a re-awakening week for me! I experienced a real re-focus and re-energizing as I worshiped God with 5,000 or so students and young adults who are passionate about Jesus and His mission. The Spirit of God re-awakened my hope for the church as we step rapidly into the future, as well as my calling to "preach the Word and reach the next generation with the love of Christ." You can take the pastor out of the youth, but you can't take the youth out of the pastor!
Live EMPOWERED. The Holy Spirit is our strength. His is the Source of the power we need. I like to say, "Let's do whatever it takes (short of sin) to reach those who are far from God," but it's only when we're empowered by the Spirit that we can actually do whatever it takes. That's because what it takes more often than not takes us out of our comfort zone. Staying in your comfort zone will never announce and reveal the Kingdom of God. Jesus says that we are like salt. In order to accomplish its purpose, salt must be poured out. Salt isn't meant to stay in the shaker!
Live CONNECTED. The generation emerging right now as the largest generation in history has been labeled various things, but the one that resonates with me most is "the Connected Generation." Twitter, Facebook, blogs, Youtube, texting, Instagram, etc. are not simply fads such as Cabbage Patch Kids and mullets. People are now more connected than ever, and will continue to be so as we step rabidly into tomorrow. The church must live connected as the Body of Christ by embracing technology and eventually, leading the way!
What an exciting time to be alive and FREE and AWAKENED and EMPOWERED and CONNECTED to live the abundant life of hope that God has created us for!
Our IYC2012 crew!