Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Worship at The Summit

I spent two amazing days at the Christian Alliance for Orphans Summit in Minneapolis, MN last week. I came home a changed woman. Of course, I was encouraged and motivated with ideas and strategies that surround ministry, but more than that; I left more in love with Jesus.

There are so many things I want to share about the Summit, and I am sure I will write for days on the different speakers, seminars and conversations I had. But what sticks out most in my mind was the worship and prayer. I have never been to a Christian convention, only education conventions and homeschooling ones, so I wonder if what I experienced is actually customary at a Christian gathering. But, wait, now that I think about it, of course I have been to Christian events; women's retreats, youth retreats when I was younger. Again, there was something so different about this gathering of saints.

I called Joe and one point and said, "There is something so different here."

To which he replied, "You are in a room with over 1000 people who are all walking the walk."

True. And when it came time to worship, the Holy Spirit moved in mighty ways to unite these thirteen hundred souls. While each and every worship session brought me to tears with hands raised high, a few experiences really stand out. The first would be with Steven Curtis Chapman. He sang after his wife shared a very moving testimony about their past few years. If you don't remember, almost two years ago their family experienced a great tragedy. There was an accident in their driveway that resulted in the death of their youngest daughter. While her story was heartbreaking, she is clearly giving God all the glory. Then, Steven came on stage and sang his way through three of his well-known songs. When he sang, "It's All Yours, God", everyone started spontaneously standing, raising hands...singing along, "everything is YOURS!". Later, as Steven led us in worship of several familiar songs, we all sang words such as "You give and take away, but blessed be your name" and others...OK, I have to admit I am totally drawing a blank here :(. As I boarded the shuttle heading back to my hotel, I was exhausted and drained, yet invigorated at the same time. All the riders were a buzz talking with their seat-mates as we shared how God was moving in our hearts during the past hours.

Then, the next morning, what better way to start the day then to be on our knees singing, "Holy, holy, holy Lord God almighty. Early in the morning our songs shall rise to thee...". This was followed by The Desperation Band, who I had no idea sings one of my absolute favorite songs! More on their mission for another blog, but when they started with the words, "You are the source of life...."my heart swelled and the spirit moved so strongly. "I need you Jesus to come to my rescue. Where else can I go? There's no other name by which I am saved. Capture me with grace. I will follow you. This world has nothing for me, I will follow you." I stood and cried as I tried to sing the words....for I feel that I am at that place of truly saying to the Lord that this world has nothing for me and all I want to do is follow Him. Looking back, I think everyone was on their feet, but probably not. Acutally, only the few people around me were on their feet, but I didn't care. I was worshiping the one true Lord.

I worshipped this week like no other time in my life. Maybe it is because I feel as if I am coming out of the desert. Maybe it is because God has slowly stripped away so many distractions. Maybe it is because of how much I have seen God do over the past year. I am sure it is a combination of all. One thing is sure, most of the men and women in that room were doing the same thing. The worship was contagious.

My plane landed back in Milwaukee minutes before a huge thunder storm rumbled through. Joe called to remind me to be careful driving home. And sure enough, before I knew it rain was coming down in torrents and I could see the lightning while the thunder rattled my car. But as I looked to the sky, there was an amazing ray of light. A sun beam. There was a tiny break in the clouds up ahead, the direction I was heading, and there one single beam of light was shining. My worship continued as I felt completely overcome by the all-cosuming love of Jesus. The beam of light was this symbol, that even in the darkest, stormiest times, Jesus shares that ray of light which shows the way. I cried thinking of how much God loves me, humbled that the God of the universe who asks me to give everything to Him, loves me with a pure, amazing love.

And when I saw my family, my first words to all of them was, "Do you know how much Jesus loves you?"

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