The week leading up to !gnite 2011 was full of prep and being part of the VA team, I knew what the set up was going to look like and even what the band sounded like because I was around so much. Knowing all this added to my excitement and I just couldn’t wait for the conference to start. I was going to meet people from our other church sites, hear an amazing band, and go crazy for Jesus. What else could I possibly ask for?
I walked into the first evening session with that attitude and I was met with all that I was expecting: Lasers, fog, band, lights, curtains, and a countdown. The conference finally started and it was everything I wanted and was excited for. The music was amazing, the sermon was great, and the prayer times were powerful. !gnite was amazing… and then the second day came along.
We had a morning session, workshops, a BBQ, and etc. and I went into the second evening session tired and exhausted. Everything, in terms of the setup and music, was the same yet for me, the praise felt emptier and I couldn’t seem to focus on God. Pastor Jimmy ended up speaking that night and it was powerful for everyone in the room… except me. I sat there for the entire however many hours it went for feeling absolutely nothing. It wasn’t even like I felt sadness or anger but I literally felt like God was ministering to everyone except me. I was confused and wondered where all that excitement and zeal went within a 24 hour period. During response time, I started praying for something… anything. I wanted to feel Him again, I wanted to cry, I wanted to feel something. And that was the problem. I related a powerful sermon or praise time to feelings. I related the Spirit moving to me crying. I related emotions to God. Looking back at !gnite, God started teaching me the hard truth that regardless of however I feel, He’s still God. And from that conference on, He started the refining process. Later that same night, we were told to pray for a brother or sister around us and even when I felt nothing, even when I was bargaining with God asking to Him to show me a sign so I can “feel” good and worship Him again, in that moment, He decided to bless me with a spiritual gift. When all I was to Him was a little child asking for a toy so I would stop crying, He let me bless a brother with a new spiritual gift.
Looking ahead toward !gnite 2012, I have a feeling I might have to re-learn this lesson again yet I’m excited. Excited to see our other sites come to visit. Excited to grow and see what God has in store for our church, our missions teams, and our lives. Excited to see the Spirit moving powerfully in people even if it may not be me. Excited to kick off our field work and be commissioned off. And I’m thankful. Thankful that God loves our church enough to allow us to have a conference. Thankful that we have multiple sites to share this experience with. And most importantly, thankful that God’s power has nothing to do with how I “feel”. It’s going to be an amazing conference because of who He is and not because of how I feel.