Saturday – Celebration
Our week at National Convention ended just as it had begun, in full pursuit. Pursuit of the one we were created to know, the only one who can satisfy the longings of our hearts, Jesus Christ. During our time in bonjour, we received the reminder that we have been sent to proclaim that we have found the living water. Though our week at Naitonal Convention has made us long all the more for heaven, for unhindered fellowship with one another and with God himself, and for the fullness of continual praise and worship, we recognize that Jesus came to seek and to save the lost, and we have been called to follow in his footsteps.
During the morning session, we sang of the Lamb of God, who took our place, and poured out his blood that we might be raised to a new life. What better way to take hold of that reality and to revel in it then to dream of sharing it, to burst forth in gladness and proclaim that Jesus has given everything for our sake? That was exactly what our morning session speaker, Stephen Kendrick, had to share, as he begged us to understand the momentous beauty of the fact that we get to share in the great commission, the unimaginable joy of participating in the salvation of other children of God. Stephen urged us to be prayerful, and shared powerful examples from his own life and time in the film industry where God did just as he promised in the great commission, coming alongside those who yearned to share his Gospel.
God loves to use our talents to reveal glory, and he’s been doing it all year in state classes across the country. Today, however, we were amazed to see the winner of the talent show, Jaxon Roberts, do more things with a yoyo and some string than many of us dream of doing with a college degree. In celebrating our talents, we hope to be a people who, first and foremost, offer all we are to God with humility, asking him to be glorified in all we do. As our new elected officials were sworn into office, we committed ourselves as a nation, once again, to put the glory of God first through our dedication to servant leadership. Our longing is to be like children, turning time and time again to our Father, to be filled with truth, righteousness, and love.
Knowing that the week’s fun was nearly behind us, you might have expected there to be a subtle gloom around campus, but instead, exuberance was visible, especially during the championship sporting events. In a shocking turn of events, the afternoon volleyball final showcased teams by the names of “Mr. Peter Martin” and “Mrs. Lydia Martin”. The match did not disappoint. A nail biter that had students jumping up and down, hooting and hollering, the match drew a packed crowd and ended with Mr. Martin’s namesake as the victor. Later, in the golden evening light, students watched the championship and exhibition ultimate frisbee games and enjoyed conversation on the grass with friends they might not see for a good while, but whom they had come to love deeply over the last week. The warmth was not just in the air; it was in our hearts.
This week, this season, this ministry, didn’t just happen. On this final, celebratory day, we took the time to thank one last essential group of individuals who God used to change the world; the intern team. This group of students, a team who gladly volunteered to be pied in front of hundreds of their peers to raise money for International Justice Mission today, this group led the way in giving up their lives. What a privilege it was to thank them for their sleepless nights, their back to back flights, their flexibility in love, and the way they poured their lives out for others when they had no energy left to give. Then flipping the script, what a blessing to see these young men and women continue to deny themselves as they returned all the thanks to Mr. Martin, Johnny, Serena, Quinton, and all the parents, state coordinators, class directors and most importantly, to God. The gratitude was enormous and students rose several times to offer standing ovations.
If nothing else was accomplished, God was praised. During our final times of worship, as we sang “All Glory be to Christ”, students linked arms, cried together, and knelt in the isle ways in whole-hearted adoration of the one who holds all things together. We cannot praise you enough, oh God, for the beautiful way you have held us all as a TeenPact nation in the last year, and we strain on toward the years ahead. To God alone be all the praise, all the honor, and all the glory, forever! Amen.