It’s a little past 7 and I am up way too early after a couple of days like we’ve had. We got home from Student life around 5 PM yesterday and all that I wanted to do was crash on the couch. I haven’t been that exhausted from something that I enjoyed so much, in a very long time.
We left LMBC around 4 on Friday. Three adults, 12 youth, and 2 vans and we headed west. We had probably been driving for about 45 minutes when the phrase of the weekend was started. I dont remember the song playing on the iPod at the time but from somewhere in the back, the phrase “I can play that on my banjo!” was said.
And so it began…We checked in to the hotel and headed for the conference.
The conference began with at2ap leading drama, Kristian Stanfill leading worship, and Francis Chan bringing the message. It was very obvious from the beginning that for these 2 days, I was exactly where God wanted me to be. It was going to be an incredible time of worship and chance to bond with the kids.
Kristian is an awesome worship leader. There were times that I looked down toward the stage and the sea of kids down front close to the stage were too many to think about counting. In the middle of this sea of kids, I look and notice one kid with a LOT of hair jumping up and down with the mob. Later I figured out this was one of our youth.
Francis came and brought a message about who God is and the image of God. In the 9 month study of Revelation that I went throught at LMBC, I didnt see the image of God that he brought. He spoke of “falling asleep” during prayers and waking up later to say Amen.
Friday night ended with everyone having pizza in the lobby together and then later, Steph taking the girls at midnight to get the movie Twilight. Me and the guys in my room were OUT LIKE A LIGHT.
Saturday started early for me. My phone went off about 4:30 with alarms for work so I got up and showered before everyone else. This gave me a chance to go downstairs and have some peace and quiet and to update my blog before everyone else came down. After we all had breakfast, we headed back to the conference about 8 AM.
At2ap opened the conference on Saturday with a really weird but really funny skit and got the kids going right away. Francis came after this and brought another great message but the highlight of the morning for me was again, the worship. Kristian did Oh How He loves. Later he did Jesus Paid it All and did an awesome job as usual.
After the morning session, they asked for all youth pastors to go to the gym for a moment just so they could meet with them and talk to them about Student life. Steph suggested that I go in Matt’s place and I resisted. Now I am not a youth pastor yet but may be one day. When she said that I could learn something, I looked up at the kids sitting a few rows in front. Her encouraging me to go learn what I could and seeing the kids, I was out of there. As I went out the door, I met Ron, one of our other adults on the trip, and he said I was coming too. They brought us in the gym and just basically explained where Student life is going. It gave me a chance to see how many people are in this area of ministry some of which are there for their first time. It was really encouraging to me and was again confirmation of where I feel God is leading me.
When we got back for the next session, at2ap began the session with the best skit of the conference about love in 5 parts. It had parodies to michael jackson, twilight and high school musical. It was hiliarious. Later, they would come back and bring another skit about witnessing that really hit home about how we communicate our witness.
Then, one of the most amazing moments of the service for me happened. At the exact same time as our conference was going on, halfway around the world another Live Love Student life conference was going on in the Ukraine. We were able to get live video feed, (I am assuming through the internet) from that conference. They prayed for us in their language and we then prayed for them in English. This may not sound like a lot but it was incredible for me. To know that God could bring people together a world apart at the same time, to pray for each other was overwhelming. (As I sit here typing, it still gets to me).
Francis came and brought the final message of the conference. It was about helping others, widows, orphans and people needing help. Knowing that our next big event at LMBC is 30 Hour Famine, this could hit home with our youth.
Now I knew, this conference was going to end on a big note. It just had to. After all the great skits, the great messages from Francis, I just knew Kristian was going to tear the roof off of the building with the closing worship. I had joked with the kids about the old guy in the club going to the front with them. When the final worship started, I saw 2 of the kids headed to the front but none of the other 10.
I dont want to ever have regrets about things in this life that I should have done but didnt.
I got up, went over to one of the youth and said come with me and to the front we went. The 2 kids already there began giving me high fives and making the old guy fit in.
I was right. The music was intense. I was surrounded by youth jumping up and down praising God and I joined in right there with them. For that brief moment in time, I was living what Francis had spoken about Friday night. In my own little way, surrounded by kids half my age, I was a kid again. One of the youth asked me in the middle of this “did I know I was the oldest one up there?” My reply was simple, “Do you think God cares (that I am up here with kids)?” I knew I was up there praising God in hopes that one day, like Francis said, He will acknowledge me, to God. One day, I pray, that Christ will say, “Yes this is Keith, he took a bunch of youth to a conference and threw care to the wind and became a kid again to praise Me in front of thousands of other youth and adults. Yes, he’s with Me!”
I looked around and the rest of the youth were right there behind me. The ones who didnt come when I did were there now having a crazy time praising God right along side the old guy in the club.
It was the best moment of the entire weekend for me!
Dear God, all that I can say is WOW. This weekend was complete confirmation of where You are leading me and what You want me to do. You put me with 12 kids who are so much farther along in their walk with You, than I was at their age. Sometimes I feel like even at my age, I am still trying to catch up to them. You gave me a wife to go with me and support me completely, even at events like this where I am just a big kid again. I dont know exactly where this journey that You have me on will take me, but I am on board.
“I can play that on my banjo!”