It was a great weekend to spend in the Bluegrass State. My good buddy, Tree Akers, invited me to preach at a DNOW where 13 (or so) churches in the Elizabethtown area united together for the entire Disciple Now weekend.
I was reminded of something: Kentucky is cold.
But it was a fantastic time ministering to these students.
We gathered for three worship services. Their theme was “Living Faith.” This is how the area youth ministers organized the weekend.
- Own It. I preached from Revelation 3 on the need to draw near to Jesus this weekend.
- Live It. I preached from Rom. 6:5-14 on the need to live like we have been changed. We need to fight the sin in our lives.
- Proclaim It. I preached from Eph. 2:1-10 and explained the gospel with the hopes for some to receive it and the others to leave and proclaim it to others.
I loved the energy and focus of these students. I loved watching area churches truly partner together. I loved watching Jesus use his Word to change lives!
Last night, it was a very thick invitation time. Not sure of the count on decisions (by the way, only God truly knows the number), but I heard that many students received Christ and it was a holy moment to be present for when God touched down and brought the dead back to life.
One of the best conversations I had after the service came from a young man who was crying intensely and ran up to me:
“Dude, are you a hugger? Cause I got to hug you! Man, it all made sense tonight. I’ve been living a lie my entire life. I was deceiving myself. I have been to church all my life. I can quote the Bible. I can engage in theological discussions, but God showed me tonight I had never been saved!
“I made a decision when I was younger because I wanted to avoid hell not because I wanted Jesus. Tonight, Jesus saved me! There’s no doubt. He brought me back to life!”
That right there was worth the entire trip!
I also was overwhelmed with the amount of students in our midst who had been adopted. After sharing the love of God as he adopts us into his family, they saw salvation in a new light. “God wants me! He gave me his name and brought me home! Just to think that he treasures me that much!”
While I loved preaching to these students, I also loved playing games and cards with them. I loved going into the host homes and hearing about what God was teaching them. I loved getting to know their names and their stories.
What you do off the stage often validates what you do on the stage.
I got to hang out with many of the students. We got close. Close enough that one of them said I resembled a polar bear 😳.
I also got the privilege to preach at Tree’s church this morning. In Kentucky and I can’t get away from another Northside Baptist!
I preached on family discipleship from Deut. 6:4-9. To conclude a youth weekend, I felt it necessary to give biblical insight on what can make this weekend’s growth endure – parents accepting their biblical responsibility to disciple their children.
I love Tree and Rebekah Akers. They are dear friends and it was worth the trip just to reconnect. Love watching God use them.
Praying that God will continue to build upon what he did in our midst this weekend.
And now, Obadiah just told me on the phone, “Dad, I’ve been missing you a long time.”
I’m coming home as fast as Delta can take me!