Sorry I didn't post a story on Saturday. I was away from my computer for four days. Although I had my laptop with me, I only opened it up to check e-mail and Facebook. But I am excited, yet saddened by what I learned while I was away.
Each year, usually the first weekend after the Fourth of July, we here in Wisconsin are treated to a rather large Christian music festival known as Lifest. It's a wonderful event put on by my brothers and sisters in Christ at Life Promotions.
In my eight years of attendance I have seen quite a few "God-incidents" and have also experienced some incredibly sad moments as well. I have made many amazing friends there. I have talked to hundreds of teens and had lengthy discussions with youth leaders, pastors and musical artists. Lifest has always provided a wonderful opportunity for God's Holy Spirit to move among God's sons and daughters. But this year was different. It wasn't about the music. It was about the people.
" . . . when peoples gather together, and kingdoms, to worship the Lord." - Psalm 102:22
As I have grown in my faith, being "pruned" and sanctified by God's Holy Spirit, my opinion of things has changed. One of those "things" is Lifest. Initially, I was focused on the music and the bands and hearing God's message through the words and the testimony of the artists. Then my focus was on teens and ministering to them, encouraging them
We as Christians are commanded to become more like Christ, to love God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength. The more we grow closer to God, the more we are to leave worldliness behind and pursue righteousness. The will of God.
This year my friend and I created a questionnaire and ask people about their faith. The initial purpose was just to get people to think about their faith and what it means to be a Christian. But as the questions were are and the answers were given, something became rather obvious.
"Houston, we have a problem."
I had read all the statistics and surveys from Barna about how 75% of youth group teens leave the church when they leave high school. and how 2/3 of teens make a decision for Christ before the age of 18. So I thought I would ask some questions of those attending Lifest. All were Christians, but sadly, that's where the similarities ended.
Over the next few blog posts I will be sharing some of those survey results and many of the stories that made Lifest 2013 what it was, at least for me, extremely God-honoring and worth every sleepless minute. But I will also share some stories of how we are slipping away in many areas and turning our backs on God. We need to change those ways . . .
"14 if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land." - 2 Chronicles 7:14