This was my third year attending Generation Unleashed, and, as always, it was an amazing experience. My youth group brought around fifty people, and all of us went home touched by Jesus. I am overjoyed for everyone! Many people in our group asked Him for forgiveness and committed their lives to Him! Among the hugs, gut-busting laughter, tears, fantastic music, great food, sore feet and throats, healings, and words, we all heard different life-changing things at the same time. Jesus is amazing! The theme was “Live Love”, and we certainly did!
What did I learn, you ask? I’m honestly not sure how to explain it. I’ll share a few things with you in attempt, because I WAS changed, and wondrously! First: God wants to be everything to me, not just what I think I need Him to be. I tend to put Him in the husband and friend roles because that’s what I feel like I lack, but He told me at GU that He isn’t confined to what I think He is. His name literally means I AM WHO I AM! Have you ever been praying, and somehow you began to pray things you didn’t think to pray, your spirit praying through your mouth? That has only happened to me a few times, and the first night of GU 2012 was one of them. I prayed, “Teach me to call you my Father.” I had no idea I had that need. I have a dad, and he’s great! Although he is struggling to walk with God right now and I can’t always go to him for spiritual leadership, I never thought that I needed someone to fill a hole where a father should be. I have a father, I love him and he loves me, so when I prayed that, I was almost shocked! God wants to be my Father. He has things that He can do as my Father that He can’t as my husband or my friend, and He wants me to let Him be my Father so He can do those things and I can be closer to Him. That’s one of the most amazing things about Him: He’s different from anyone else. He can be everything in your life and it will be perfectly right. He adopted me, I am His child, I am born again with His DNA! That is now my prayer everyday: “Be my Father today, Jesus.”
Another thing I learned was surrender. Pastor Andrew Damazio’s message was the biggest help in that. He spoke on the story of Jesus feeding a large crowd with a small lunch from a willing little boy, and pointed out: what if the boy hadn’t given up his lunch? He could have seen that there was no way humanly possible for his 2 loaves and 5 fish to feed over 15,000 people. He could have said like we so often do, “God, I don’t see it. I don’t see how you can do anything with this. It doesn’t make sense, it’s too hard.” But instead he obeyed, surrendered, and trusted Jesus with everything he had. Jesus then performed a miracle, feeding every single person there with food left over, all because that boy said yes! It inspired me to do the same; the entire sermon felt like it was spoken directly to me, but I know many more people who took over four pages of notes! We all need to surrender our lives, and we know it.
The final thing I learned was worship, that worship isn’t the song you sing but the heart you give. When I’m in a hard place, worshiping Jesus is the only thing that makes me happy. On Sunday, I was a having a deeply hard day inside me. I cried twice and was just sad. The only thing I wanted to do was listen to a worship cd. When I went to youth group that night and we began to worship, my heart physically swelled up. I smiled! I sang and danced! I had JOY! I even felt like I was supposed to sit on the ground and lift up my arms, so that’s exactly what I did! That’s what gives me joy in the middle of my hard season: being close to Him. Life is seriously hard sometimes, but He makes it okay. I am now okay with being okay! Instead of begging for euphoria, I praise because I’m okay. I haven’t felt God in a long time, but I know He’s here, and that makes me MORE than okay. Pastor Russel Evans spoke the second night of GU, and his message was on Paul and Silas praising in prison. Instead of lamenting and expressing the sorrow they most likely felt, they sang to Jesus and let Him know He was the best thing in their lives, greater than their hard place. Because of that, their chains were broken! But they weren’t the only ones affected by it– everyone else in the prison was freed, too! Jesus told me right then that the same thing was going to happen to me. He also sent my friend Carlie to me the next day; we talked deeply and cried together, about this very subject among many others I was so relieved to talk about. I have countless reasons to worship, when I only need one: He loves me!
Next year, YOU should try going to Generation Unleashed! I am without a doubt going back! Check out http://www.generationunleashed.com/ to learn more and register!