The singing was absolutely incredible. It was suggested that this might be the largest gathering EVER of this many members of the Lord's church together in one place. The lessons were on Purity. And how fitting it was to hear the invitation song sung together of "Break My Heart" as dozens of souls with broken hearts responded to the message!
I wasn't one of them. But instead, I was one of the "white-knuckled" persons that you may hear preachers speak of sometimes. You see, it wouldn't be typical for a minister to "go forward" at a youth conference. There is no underlying law or code that says you can't. It just isn't normal!
CYC 2015 (#CYC15). This was my 5th year to attend, and the third for the majority of our group. This year was different. New venue, new city, new attendees. Our "normal" group of drivers and adult chaperones had not planned out all of our events as we normally have done in the past. We weren't really all that excited to go. Matter of fact, there was discussion early on of possibly not going at all this year.
We got there early enough to get good seats. This year, the sessions were combined and that made it so much easier to make it on time. That also made it much bigger! You had to pretty much hold on to the person in front of you to not get separated. I mean, nearly the entire population of the whole county in which we live would not match up to this number of attendees!
It was reported, I believe, that 12,977 people were in attendance. I believe it! 12,977 singing beautiful songs of praise. 12,977 smiling and happy faces and hearts full of joy. 12,977 people that seemed to love God much more than most other things.
In that group of 12,977 people, there were a lot of broken people and broken hearts. Not the "love" kind of broken heart, but the "I messed up and am hurting" kind of broken hearts. How do I know this? Because I was one of them!
Take a listen to how powerful being in this audience was on February 28, 2015:
Unbelievable and angelic isn't it?
Our God was certainly showing that He was alive this past weekend. Not only in the midst of this group, but also in my heart, and even back home with our church family. It was an incredible atmosphere.
We heard great lessons from Kyle Butt, Ben Hayes, Reed Swindle, and Lonnie Jones. Our young people got to hear how THEIR contribution was going to help build some sustainable wells and farms in a third-world country, as well as saw pictures of the church in Sneedville that is currently attempting to build a new building because their current meeting place is all but condemned. It was suggested that if each person gave $5 in the collection on Sunday, that both of these projects would see a much closer chance of becoming reality...and I know several of our young people did just that...and more.
But, I want to tell you about what happened Saturday night...after the last lesson of the night from our dear friend and brother Lonnie Jones. For the past couple of years, we have had devotionals in our rooms. We typically rent condos that have a lot of common space in order to be more unified. This year was a bit different as some stayed off site as a family as well. The plans were made. My good friend and brother Drew Milligan was going to attend, and I had asked him to put together a devotional based off of the suggested ones sent to us from CYC.
All was good! I would lead a few songs, Drew would deliver a message, we would sing a bit more, then pray and everyone would go to bed. Simple, right? Yup....all the way up until I got the text message from Drew that he was sick and couldn't go on Friday! I had nothing prepared. Matter of fact, I hadn't even spent a lot of time looking at the devos. That was already covered!
We got back to the condos about 9:40 p.m. I picked one of the three selections that were sent and thought "well, you can just roll with it and see where you end up." And that is just what I did. After reading through the material and having some of the youth read scriptures that went along with the lesson, I was ready to close it out with a song or two and a prayer. Something came over me though. I was feeling my own brokenness. I was looking around the room and I saw a lot more brokenness it seemed. Some were hanging their heads, others were crying, and even some continuing to read on past their assigned verses.
I thought "this isn't going to stop here." I knew that something had to be done! The previous week had been rather tough on me personally, for reasons that do not need to be discussed. I had a "poor, pitiful me" attitude...and I know it showed. We had come to the end of the day...a remarkable one to say the least as one of our young ladies that has attended a few times as a friend of my youngest daughter had been baptized just a few hours before. The excitement and sincerity was still in the air.
My heart was broken. It was heavy. It was needing to release! And, as I looked around, I saw others that were in the same boat. I could tell something was on their hearts, as it was mine. So, I asked if we could open up the floor to open discussion, and everyone agreed that would be a reasonable source of allowing our feelings to be shared among the group.
Beginning to my left, I asked each person to tell something that they needed prayers for this very moment. The very first "candidate" was a sweet young lady that just days before had been dealing with some of her own barriers in her heart. I couldn't believe that I asked her first!
As we went around the room, each person told of something that they wanted prayer for. Then we got to one of our other members, and she was quite choked up, and couldn't speak right away. She eventually told her "story" as well as sharing all aspects of some poor life choices .
Her story brought many to tears. She had been "broken" with the burden of this story that overcame purity and undefilement in her younger life.
Then it happened...
The first young lady...the one that was still shaken about several things in her own life...stood up from her chair, walked past the middle of the group, and put her loving arms around this dear sister to console and empathize with her.
That "opened my heart" like you wouldn't believe. Here I am watching a young lady act much more unselfish than anyone I had seen in a very long time. She had just gone through some major hurt in her life, but she put all of that aside. All for one precious soul. All for someone else...
That was it for me! I knew that I had to do something about my own sins and my selfishness. I asked an elder that was with us to lead in a group prayer after a few more words and an invitation song. We sang and souls responded! All total for Saturday night was 5 souls restored! Sunday ended up adding one more in the corner of repentance! 6 souls restored and a baptism!
My selfishness shows my own ignorance and lack of Faith! But, that same faith also led these others to a home waiting for them in the end if found faithful. All because we were broken and needed help from one another!
So, now, you can understand how "Break My Heart" has been echoing in my mind for the past three days. My heart was broken...and Christ broke it open even more for me to find His love for me through one sweet young lady...who continues to fight brokenness every day herself...
So, what about you? Are you broken? Are you selfish? Are you lost? Let's study together, pray together, and get to heaven together! You see...the Lord HAS Given us this opportunity. Don't waste it!
May God bless you all!