"And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love,may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God." Ephesians 3:17-19
What is it that makes waking up and getting out of bed so difficult? The alarm clock goes off, we reach for that 10 minute snooze. Perhaps you're like me and you intentionally set your clock ahead 5 minutes to afford you that opportunity to smack the snooze bar. Or perhaps you put the clock on the other side of the room so that you have to get out of bed and turn it off in the hopes that you'll wake up on your way back to bed after turning it off. OooorrrRRRR, maybe you're like me and a lot of my friends who stay up too late and don't go to bed with nearly enough time to catch up on sleep. What is that nagging voice in our bodies, in our heads and even in our hearts that says "Go back to sleep".
You know, I've come to hear a similar voice whispering to me about my identity as a Christian, as a child of God, as the one who is dearly loved. A voice that tells me, tells us, that we are really quite awful at a lot of things. A voice that breathes doubt into our value, our purpose and our identity. A voice that whispers, shouts, sings and speaks "Christian, go back to sleep"! Maybe you're heard it too. No this isn't just about being tired on a Sunday morning when you know out of some "duty" you should "go to church" for something. No, this is a voice that is saying so much more and it's amazing to me how often I hear it and how often I reluctantly follow it, at least part way.
In the Garden of Eden, Satan whispered to Adam and Eve "Did God really say?". To Aaron Satan whispers "Where is Moses, what will you do with these people?" To Jesus himself Satan Whispers, "Give up, give in and I will grant you fame and power... a new identity!" Well in the bible, in a letter written by one of Jesus close disciples named John, we learn of this "Good Shepherd" Jesus. In verse 10 of that chapter we have one of the clearest mission statements that Jesus makes about his own life and by extension, the mission statement of people who by faith believe. Jesus said "The thief comes to steal, kill and destroy, but I have come that they may have life and have it to the full"! His blanket statement is that all other voices besides Jesus are, in the end, simply in it for our downfall and demise, physically, spiritually and eternally. If all we really want is "Life to the Full", which all of us do on some level, Jesus says that the only way you'll get to experience that is through Jesus.
In a nutshell, that is what Awake and Alive 2014 is all about and it is what the Awake and Alive concert and worship events are about as well. A chance to celebrate who Jesus is, what God has done for us and the purpose he has given us. A chance to get around the Bible, specifically a look at Ephesians and dig into our true identity and the mission and purpose we have in living out this life. And we want to pay special attention to speaking into the 18-25 generation about this life. We want to be a group that is praying "Lord, make me AWAKE to who I am in you; make me ALIVE to your plans for my life today as I live out this identity in my world around me".
If you are in that 18-25 generation, I have heard your stories for the past 10 years from all over the country as you've shared the ups and downs, the questions and doubts, the joys and break through moments of your journey with Jesus in your young lives. I hope you will consider coming to our three summer group sessions specifically for your age group and generation. You can learn more about it at AwakeAndAlive2014.com, especially for those of you in SE Wisconsin. This is FOR YOU!
If you can't come to these summer sessions, we are making a portable and smaller version of it to bring to your church, your city and your campus. This Awake and Alive Concert/Worship event is meant to speak more directly to the 18-25 generation, but is also built to help churches and communities better walk with this age group and step into serving them and serving WITH them as we learn to better walk together for Jesus sake. That an older generation would ask God to wake them up and make them alive, and then give them the strength, wisdom and opportunity to pray for the 18-25 year olds in their midst as well.
Wherever you are in life, whether you're new to Christianity or were "born in the church". Whether you have questions or are walking on solid ground, we pray this will be a prayer for your generation as it is for mine: "Lord wake me up to who I am in you (my true identity) and then Lord make me alive to the plans and purposes you have for me to live out that identity as your child in my life today. Right here, right now! For the sake of others and for your glory, Amen!"
God be with you this summer! - Mike
Ephesians 5:13-16 - "But everything exposed by the light becomes visible—and everything that is illuminated becomes a light. This is why it is said: “Wake up, sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.” Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil."