Wow! Thank you Jesus for an incredible past week. We had four days straight of the Lord doing amazing things, and then last night was also awesome! I am going to try my best to fill you in on what Jesus has been up to here at Rise.
Thursday evening started off the weekend with a bang. Worship was led by Matt Poznanski and I think it was the most powerful night we have ever had. Most nights I am so captivated by worship that the thought never crosses my mind to video tape it. I wish you guys who weren’t there could see what happens during worship. The entire youth room is saturated with the presence of God, shining down on each and every kid. It is undeniably spiritual; there is no way any one can walk in our youth room and say that God is not present. Danielle Evers was the only girl on the worship team that night, and she sang her heart out to the Lord. It was the most beautiful sight, seeing someone with so much talent praise the One who gave it to her. One of the songs we sang “Break Every Chain” which is a song about the power of the name of Jesus. As I looked around the room, hearing the voices of our kids, I knew there were chains falling.
Orshon Sampson, a close friend (I should say bro) of our very own Logan Beal, took time to speak to the kids. His message was titled “Get Back Up.” Orshon got very honest with us, sharing his testimony and all that the Lord has done for him. I didn’t see it that night, but looking back I can see that he set the theme for the coming weekend, “His Promises”. Orshon’s story was a perfect example of how the Lord is faithful to His promises, even when we are not. I am so thankful to Orshon for taking time to talk to and pray for our kids.
Friday afternoon kicked off Fall Retreat! We have been waiting for this weekend for a while, and it was finally here! The leaders were ready and beyond excited to see what the Lord had for us and the campers. We had a full and overflowing camp with more kids than we really thought, praise God! The first night, each of the leaders gave a little nugget about the Lord’s promises, topped off by Pastor Jamie talking about rainbows and what they really mean. One of the coolest points that Jamie made about rainbows, which represent God’s promises, is that behind every cloud there is a rainbow. We can’t see them because we don’t have the right perspective.
Day 2 was a long day filled with lots of laughter, a few tears, and the Lord teaching us all things. The wonderful and extremely wise Mrs. Katherine started off the morning by talking to the group about responding to God’s promises. For Fall Retreat, the worship team this weekend consisted of Jodi Hudy, Brooke Jones, Bobbi Jo Burge, Isaac Sawyer, Matt Poznanski and Josh Olvey. They did a few new songs, and a few of the classic ones. I could talk to you about worship for a long time because it is one of my favorite things ever, but I really believe the kids were getting connected to God through worship.
Saturday night we went to see the movie Woodlawn, a Christian football movie about revival during the days of segregation. It was a true story, and I really believe the kids were inspired by it. If you have not seen it yet, I totally recommend it!
Sunday morning we attended church; we filled up a huge section! We were a part of the cabin dedications and then we played football and kickball in the afternoon. Finally, to bring the camp to a close, Sunday night we had worship and time for testimonies about the camp. The testimonies really moved me, and I’m pretty sure everyone there. It is hard for me to tell you all about such an awesome weekend in just words, so that’s why I made a video! Please enjoy 🙂
This week was full of awesome bible studies for every age and gender (so there is no excuse for anyone to not be plugged in!) If you are a parent and want to find your kid a bible study please contact us! We have lots of amazing leaders who take time to really pour into these kids outside of youth group 🙂 I must brag for a moment about my lovely and crazy high school girls bible study. It is one of the highlights of my week!
So last night was the first night we started youth group at 6pm, so we can get the kids home a little earlier. The house was PACKED! We started off the night by showing the kids the video about Fall Retreat, and then Mr. Mike and I did a voiceover, which the kids totally loved. Next, we entered right in to worship. The worship team had a new face this week: CJ! Also we had Ben DiFillipo was on the drums, Matt Poznanski on guitar and vocals, the lovely Victoria Hobbs on vocals and our incredibly talented Ryan Seal on vocals. Every week the kids really engage in worship. The music is awesome, but there is nothing better than the sound of just our voices lifting up the name of Jesus.
Jamie asked for a volunteer to share a little about Fall Retreat and a boy named Zach Bradley bravely and honestly shared. Zach was beyond thankful to the Lord for all the beautiful things He did. Zach had some brokenness going into Fall Retreat, but he is a new creation now and Jesus is healing him. It was a beautiful moment when he shared from his heart and the Holy Spirit was very heavy.
Jamie’s friend Meaghan, who is a missionary who started right here at Liberty, came to talk to the kids for a few minutes. She kept repeating the phrase “why not?” and she shared her story about how God is radically sending her out to places she never thought she would go. I know it really moved me, because everything she said was true. God will call us to do things far greater than what we can even imagine, so why not follow Him passionately?
We started a new series last night called “Let’s Talk.” We set up our new couch again on stage and tonight Mr. Mike was speaking about purpose. It was an awesome message about really tapping in to the perfect and unique purpose God has for each and every one of us. We are children of God, and He designed us with a purpose in mind. We opened up the floor for more of a conversational atmosphere, so the kids could ask questions dealing with purpose. I believe it really got the kids engaged and I could tell a lot of them were truly hearing from God. I am so thankful to Jesus for being able to be a part of all the incredible things He is doing here at Rise. Glory to God!
Lately, it seems like every time I hear the news, get on social media or talk to someone, I feel very defeated. The world has become such a dark place, and it’s hard to live in it sometimes. This week I was feeling very down because for some reason I started to believe the enemy was winning. But yesterday, Ryan showed me a video called “Darkness is Losing” by Jefferson Bethke. I will attach it below, and I really recommend you listen to it. Yes, this world is dark, but Jesus is stronger. He is bigger. Our God REIGNS. In the end, He wins the battle anyways. We are fighting FROM a victory not for a victory. So maybe you have been feeling a little defeated like I have recently, but I am here to tell you that we follow a God who has already won, and He will help you win your battles too. So be encouraged. Jesus has already overcome this world, and we will be more than conquerers through Christ. The pain now cannot compare to the joy that is coming. Remember, the darkness is LOSING. Love you all.