Young people are wonderful and full of enthusiasm. They’re also full of … youth! I used to have lots of … youth, but over the years, it has slipped away from me, and has been replaced with gray hair and excess baggage around the middle.
This past Friday night was special for our youth because they attended Disney’s Night of Joy, held at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida. One of my favorite radio stations, Z88.3 was there in a big way, too. My wife and I didn’t go, but our youth minister was there, and really enjoyed himself.
There was an incredible lineup of singers for this two day event, which included some of the most powerful names in today’s Contemporary Christian Music. After seeing the list of anointed artists, I understood why this event attracts so many people from all over the states. According to my youth, it was a blast. Here’s a list of who was scheduled to be there:
My youth director opened the service for me Sunday morning, and he began talking about the awesome experiences he and the others had Saturday night. With tears of joy running down his face, he explained how he had gone to see Chris Tomlin, while the others went to a different venue. As he described the atmosphere of worship at that outdoor concert, you could sense the presence of the Lord in our church, in the very midst of the people.
He told how about 5,000 people were gathered as Chris began singing and worshiping the God of glory, and how such a powerful anointing filled the place. He told of a father, who had seemingly brought his daughter out of obligation. The man didn’t appear to have any interest in being there among the mass of humanity, but there he sat. After just a short while, my youth pastor said he looked around and was thrilled to see thousands of arms raised in worship. He looked again at the dad, who by now was standing, arms raised, tears streaming down his face, too. The next thing that happened was worth the price of admission – dad and daughter embracing each other, praising God and swept up with all the others. I wish I had been there just to see that.
After leaving the concert, all of my youth began heading home. It was about 3:30 in the morning when they finally made it to town. Hunger pains like to attack people in the early morning hours, so off they went to get rid of those pesky little things. The only place open was Denny’s, so off they went. They never would have dreamed it would be as crowded as it was, though. They were seated right in the middle of the restaurant.
Here’s the reason for the post: one minute my group of youth were in the midst of thousands of worshipers, glorifying the King of kings and Lord of lords. They were in a safe environment, surrounded by people who were very much like them. There’s no telling how many denominations were gathered together in those two nights, but the number was most assuredly high. There was kindred spirit filling the park as people showed their love for God in praise and worship.
Contrast that with the experience my youth group had at Denny’s. The bar from just down the street had just let out, and many of those patrons made their way to the only restaurant open at those early morning hours. A large number of them were loud and some were visibly affected by who-knows-what they had consumed during the night. What a contrast!
As Christians, we are to affect the world around us, effecting it in positive ways for the cause of Christ. My youth saw and understood the contrast; they realized how important it is to reach out to a lost and dying world with the message of the cross. The Bible says in II Corinthians 3:5&6 (KJV) “5 Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God; 6 Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life.” (emphasis is mine)
The Word of God declares in Luke 14:23, Jesus speaking,”And the lord said unto the servant, Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled. We must go into the world, lifting up the banner of Jesus Christ, living our lives so the world will see Jesus living in us. God, help us to win souls for your glory!