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I Saw God

March 15, 2009

Today I'm sitting in the airport waiting for a flight. The Alive Youth Rally in Spartanburg, SC just wrapped up and words really can't do justice to what happened there.

I was asked to be the speaker, and usually when I have to speak for youth events, I get really nervous, but this time I was unusually calm. From the time I accepted this invitation, there was a certain peace about the whole thing, and once I got to the event site, I understood why.

The rally was sponsored by the Spartanburg Seventh-Day Adventist Church in South Carolina. I don't think I've ever seen a church pull together so strongly for it's youth. Some members prayed for the kids, other members served in the kitchen to make sure all the kids were fed. Some members donated their time to serve as Chaperones. I had never seen love for young people expressed like I saw it expressed this weekend. You really could feel  it. The rally drew more than 200 kids from around SC, and Pastor Stanley Knight, the Carolina Conference youth director, supported the youth with his presence and his love.

On Friday night I spoke about Peter, the disciple most likely to stick his foot in his mouth. Peter didn't know who he really was, but after denying Jesus and being forgiven, he found his true identity. That night, more than 75 kids responded to the appeal. I was totally blown away by what I saw God doing.

On Sabbath I talked about the demon-possessed man in Mark 5. This guy had thousands of demons living in him.  Satan had literally stolen his identity and used his body to house thousands of demons. But when his situation seemed hopeless, Jesus showed up, and gave him back his identity and a new life. I asked people to come forward who wanted to give up the things that were preventing them from living out their true identity in Jesus. Again, the response was unreal. More people--teens and adults--responded to God's call than did the night before. But, wait, there's more.

For the final service, I felt impressed by God to do an anointing service. Who does that anymore, right? Well, I do. If you ask God to remove things from your life, you better ask him to fill you up with His Spirit.  We can never become who we were created to be without God's Holy Spirit working on the inside of us.  The Holy Spirit brings Jesus into our lives and transforms us into God's image. I asked a few of the leaders to join me in prayer over this, and then we began. After a brief message, I opened the appeal, asking anyone who wanted to come forward to be anointed--to be filled with God's Holy Spirit--to come forward. I wasn't sure what to expect, but I decided to do what God had told me to do.

The response was unbelievable. It seemed like everyone in the building that night came to be anointed, both kids and adults. It truly was stunning to see. Even after the meeting had ended, people were still coming forward to be anointed. I anointed three ladies today who wanted God to fill them with His Holy Spirit.

I thank God for the vision that he gave Pastor Ryan Hogins and brother Kevin Watson, the youth leader at Spartanburg. I really believe it was their hard work, and the work of their team of volunteers, that made the harvest possible.

I  saw God at work this weekend, and I'll never be the same again.

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