Personal Blog

Night of Joy (2 of 2)

Night of Joy was a great evening again tonight, and we got to interview a number of people who shared their testimonies and answered questions about what being a Christian meant to them

We were out of t-shirts which was a total bummer, but we will bring a lot more next year, and to any future events we go to!

The day was a little bit slow starting as we didn’t get to the park until about 6pm or so, then ran around doing interviews before settling into the music

I was really looking forward to seeing TobyMac as he seems to be the current leader of Christian pop music, and the show was a good display of taking styles, sounds, and even outright songs from other non-Christian bands that are currently leading the top forty charts

Again, I found it odd that a Christian band would play Afrojack’s “Take Over Control” as the lyrics are not Sunday school material, but the overall show was a diverse string of songs that spanned a wide range of genres

The thing that I enjoyed the most about TobyMac’s set was hearing people singing praise in unison to God when he slowed his set down

I don’t really have a mind to hear an individual sing or perform as I have heard only a handful of musicians truly welcome God’s presence on their own as they typically just perform, but hearing a large group of Christians sing is an amazing thing to behold

Overall, as I sat there listening to the music tonight, and the night before, I saw that a lot of the people didn’t seem that into the performances, and I wondered why

Is it that people aren’t there to be moved or is that people aren’t hearing things that move them?

I am sure for each individual it is a little bit unique, but overall there has to be a common thread, as at some points it was hard to believe I was at a music festival given that two-thirds of the audience were parked there doing nothing even with music raging away at them

However, more importantly, I did not feel God’s presence strongly except for one point tonight when TobyMac stopped singing and everyone was singing as a crowd without anyone leading them–that was powerful, and I felt God lean forward to listen

Even during the times when people were excited over the past few days, I kept wondering if this was a concert or an event to welcome and worship God

I have been to countless youth retreats, concerts, prayer meetings, church services, etc… and it is unmistakable when God’s presence is strong, and I really missed having alter or prayer calls, Disney World just might not have been the place

Maybe this is something the event organizers can include next time as having that many Christians agree in prayer would have been an amazing thing to witness, especially since they kept pushing charity initiatives throughout the night

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  • “Do not plant two kinds of seed in your vineyard; if you do, not only the crops you plant but also the fruit of the vineyard will be defiled.” – Deut. 22:9

    “You must obey all my decrees. “Do not mate two different kinds of animals. Do not plant your field with two different kinds of seed. Do not wear clothing woven from two different kinds of thread.” Lev 19:19

    I admit Leviticus isn’t one of my favorite books for modern times–understanding it without a grasp of context makes it a stumbling block to many, but your story here reminded me of the quote. The injunction against adultery can’t just be limited to marriage, I’m afraid. When you try to make Christianity palatable to non-Christians, you get stuff like The Jesus Seminar, or the “great teacher” fallacy that C.S. Lewis mentions. And when you try to make non-Christian things palatable to Christians, you aren’t doing either one any favors. That isn’t to say that all things can’t be done reverently or in tune with God, but sin sure can’t–that’s why it’s sin.

    So you mix up believers with non-believers, Christian messages with un-Christian messages, and you’re going to get a hodgepodge that nobody really likes or finds inspiring. Not a shocker.

    For one more little passage, one of my favorites from Paul, in Corinthians 15:33

    “Do not be misled: ‘Bad company corrupts good character.'”

    That isn’t to say that I wouldn’t or couldn’t have friends who aren’t Christian–heck, even my Christian friends, much like myself (very much so) are sinners, and imperfect, and by some definitions would themelves be ‘bad company’, just like I would sometimes. But the thing is, if we aren’t working to help improve one another and keep each other accountable, then that’s what bad company really is. If you aren’t improving your neighbor, and him you, then you’re both working towards the destruction of the other.

    It’s painful to think about, but sometimes when a friend’s heart is set of things of the world, there’s nothing you can to do dissuade them. They will come around when they’re ready, or they may never at all. Part of handling the Problem of Suffering is realizing that God wants us to be free, and make choices, and that one of those choices is to love him. The second it becomes forced, it’s no longer love. I’ve been having to do some real hard assessments of some of the friends I have from my ‘old life’, and how I’m going to have to either change my relationships with them, or terminate them. It’s hard, especially for those who are precious to me, but Jesus spoke pretty clearly about this in Matthew chapter 5.

    “If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away… If your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. For it is better for you to lose one of your members than that your whole body go into Hell.”

    Oh, and a little Matthew 16 to go with: “And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul? Is anything worth more than your soul?”

    On a less preachy note, have you been to see Hillsong United? They were one of the first praise acts that I saw live after converting, and made a big impact. They’re very open and fluent about every night being a worship service and every arena becoming a church for that night. So it isn’t a ‘show’ that’s ‘about God’, it’s 100% worship, with a musical act onstage.

    I’d have to say my only possible beef with some of the most inspiring concerts is that very quality of inspiration. We feel uplifted and excellent–and that’s a very good thing! But we have to realize that we’re going to come down from that. That we may ‘fall in love’ with God at a concert, but that excitement is going to fade. I’m glad, honestly, that people’s devotion to God isn’t like the way that they cheer at a Taylor Swift concert. I like her just fine; I’m sure I’d cheer and whoop if I saw her live, but what impact would it have on me the next day? Feelings are great liars. Love is still love when we don’t ‘feel like it’, or else it was just infatuation.

    So if we get excited about God, but can’t carry through on our promises to Him, because of our devotion to the world or our secular buddies, then who do we really love?

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