Monday, February 2, 2009


It's been over a week since I went to the youth conference called Thirst, but I felt the need to write a quick blurb about my experience.

It was quite a showy setup- a stage with spotlights and new equipment, projected lyrics, a worship band with attractive members, all dressed quite stylishly.

Great. An empty show, solely meant for a spiritual high with no real life change. I did not have high hopes for that night.

Taryn and I rushed the stage as soon as we walked in. Worship started soon thereafter. Since I didn't know the songs they were playing, I took to observing the people around me [as well as following the lyrics on the graphically appealing projection screen, of course]. Most people were really getting into it- raising their hands, kneeling, crying. Hm, I thought. That's cool, but are they really feeling it, or are they just showing off? It's unnecessarily hard to tell the hypocrites from the sincere these days. [Yes, I'm a cynic.]

Then something caught my eye. A few feet in front of me, a tall, strong young man [I'm guessing him to be about seventeen or eighteen] collapsed, I mean COLLAPSED, onto his knees in a completely submissive state of worship. I saw him crying.

There are very few forces that can bring a man down like that.

Worship ended, the sermon began, and while I did take something away from that it's not the main point of this post, so I'll save that for another day.

After that sermon there was another worship session. I was really starting to feel God in that room and I thought, Hm, maybe this isn't just a charismatic show after all.

A couple hundred of us, students and youth leaders alike walked to the aisles for worship.

I can't really explain what happened right then, but it was one of the most surreal things I've ever experienced. I'm not kidding you, I was literally expecting flaming tongues of fire to appear on the head of every person in that room.

As I stood in the aisle I was joined by this FREAKISHLY tall boy- as he walked up, the lead singer of the worship band invited everyone to join hands. So of course we did join hands, and together we worshiped, like a brother and sister. It was really cool. That got old after a while though, so we disconnected and wandered away.

Our little Faith Evangelical church group started to form a prayer circle. After a while three girls whom none of us knew joined us. A tallish girl with blond hair took my hand when she joined. After about a minute of prayer I heard her bawling, I mean really wailing- as I held her hand I could feel her tremble. I didn't know what her name was or where she came from, but all I knew was that God was working in her right then, that she was my sister and that I loved her as if we were the closest friends. Just as a sister would have, I embraced her and let her cry it out on my shoulder. It was surreal. I was completely overcome.

Simultaneously we both fell on our faces in worship and prayer. I wasn't crying out of desperation or loneliness like I know many of those other teens were- I was crying out of awe and love. I loved so much in those few moments that it physically hurt the cavity in my chest. I was so amazed by this God who could bring a roomful of seemingly invincible teenagers to tears.

This lasted for a really long time. No one wanted to leave, and the band played on. Several people took the microphone and shared their personal revelations. The young man I had seen fall to his knees at the beginning of the conference stepped up to the mike. He began to pray for all of us there, his family. He thanked God for the opportunity to come out here. He prayed for those he knew were hurting. After praising God for a while he became overcome with tears and couldn't talk anymore. I love him, too.

Our circle prayed on. Though we had disconnected hands we were all still in a circle. Most of us were kneeling, others were facedown on the ground. I opened my eyes once during my prayer, and I saw Danny praying over Taryn's ankle. I didn't tell him this, but that was one of the best things I've ever seen. You could feel the passion radiating from him.

Much more happened, but the English language doesn't have the right vocabulary to describe it. All I can say is, I don't know who all was in that room, I probably only knew a grand total of twenty people there- but I can't wait to see every single person who was there in heaven. I really can't. I can't wait to spend eternity with them.