For the second D-now of the season, Glowing Heart returned to The Hills Church in San Antonio, Texas. We have had a long-standing relationship with The Hills, and it holds a special place in many member’s hearts. For one member in particular this is especially true. Ryan Wilson, our keyboard player and rec leader, actually grew up in this church under his grandfather as lead pastor and attended the high school that is housed in the same building. For about a month before hand, Ryan had a countdown in his room to mark off the days.
Many from both the youth group and the school showed up for the weekend and we were excited to get started! After a dinner of pizza, the staple food of youth groups across the country, everyone headed up into the worship center for a quick rally. Now, Henry doesn’t normally do this, but for this particular D-now, Henry made an exception. He allowed Ryan, who has a deep appreciation for standup comedy, to have his own standup portion for the night. After several successful comedy bits, we then played a few songs. For anyone who has been in or around GH, you know that the “normal” (note: nothing is ever really normal when it comes to D-now) for a Friday night is to play a few songs, the kids get excited for the weekend, and then we head to the host homes to do sessions. However, while we were singing, several kids came down to the stage and began praying. We could tell that the Spirit of God was moving mightily in the lives of several of these students. After the rally, we all went back to the host homes to hang out before starting sessions.
The high school boys all ended up hanging at one host home together for a little while, roasting marshmallows and playing basketball in the backyard. After sessions, the senior boys went back to their own host home for the night.
Saturday started off in typical fashion with sessions and then everyone meeting up at the church for recreation. At most churches, there are always at least a couple of athletes in the group who thrive in rec. At The Hills, most of the students go to Legacy Christian Academy, and a vast majority of these also play sports for the school. So, when they come to rec, they come to win. We played several different games like the body part game and ball tag. Afterward, we ate lunch and went back to the host homes.
At worship Saturday night, Trent Hipp lead us in the word. He spoke about taking our faith seriously and encouraging us to resist the temptation to simply go through the motions. For people who are constantly flooded with the Christian message, such as students at a private Christian school, it is easy to forget the importance of the words that we hear. The words of the Living God become commonplace. After the message, several students made the commitment to either give their life over to the Lord or to stop going through the motions and give themselves over to Jesus.
As we drive back from San Antonio, I am grateful for the words that Trent spoke. It can be so easy for Christians in the safety of our American churches to forget how radical and revolutionary Jesus is. How often do I myself forget the words of Christ in Mark 8:34-35 “And calling to the crowd to Him with His disciples, He [Jesus] said to them, ‘If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it.’” Jesus calls to radically give our lives over to Him and not forget him in the comfortable Christianity we have today. So the question I ask myself and also ask you is, who’s ready to live radically?