Last weekend I took my teenage cousin to ‘Acquire the Fire’, a 27-hour Christian youth conference that travels to different cities across the country. I originally wanted to go because one of my favorite bands, Royal Tailor, was performing there (actually wearing one of their tour shirts now). Other groups that performed included Rapture Ruckus and Manic Drive. Then I thought to invite my cousin so he could experience it as well. He is pretty active at church, and his grandfather, my grandfather’s brother is a deacon. He knows many scriptures and can emulate religion, particularly Southern Baptist traditions such as singing hymns, well. It’s my prayer that he knows Jesus as his personal Savior and not just surface level through religious displays. That type of knowledge can easily be forgotten once you are removed from that environment, such as going away to college.
We headed to the FL State Fairgrounds after I got off work Friday. We got there in time for an hour of worship with singer Adam Adamec, singing songs like Kari Jobe’s “Forever”. It was amazing to see all of those children surrendering to God, when the world wants them to do everything but that. I prayed for them to stand strong in a culture that attacks their esteem and seeks to turn them from God daily. I hadn’t experienced worship like that since the Hillsong United concert I went to in 2013. The theme of the conference was “Resilient” (‘bounce back’) which the speaker Kemtal Glasgow expanded on that night. He was very real with the kids and broke things down to their level. Although it was a youth conference, I did take some things from it. The main one was Kemtal’s puzzle box adage. He described us being like a puzzle that is missing a piece. Sometimes we try to force puzzle pieces from other boxes like ‘relationships’ into that missing piece, but the only thing that will fit is God. I’m sure I will use that with the kids I teach one day. He also used scriptures such as Titus 2 11-12:
For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope—the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.
And 1 Cor. 6:12:
“I have the right to do anything,” you say–but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything”–but I will not be mastered by anything.
There was an emphasis on not letting letting the fire ignited that weekend die out, but continue to burn well into the future. As I sat in my seat I realized that we were surrounded by many people of different Christian denominations, but we all have Christ as our center. We are all on a lifelong journey to grow closer to Him. I’m sure my cousin got a lot from the messages, but I think interacting with the other children had the most impact on him. I hope he is seeing that Jesus is bigger than religion, as we all should.