It’s 12:49AM and I can’t sleep.
No, it’s not insomnia or Netflix keeping me awake tonight. It’s not the rabbit hole of random youtube videos or late night work projects keeping me from dreamland.
It’s you that’s keeping me awake.
It’s your students that have sleep escaping me tonight.
I’m not an overly spiritualized hype man. I’m not a dramatic zealot by any means, but I can’t stop praying for you and your students.
North American Youth Congress (NAYC) came to its powerful conclusion a few short hours ago in St. Louis, MO. And I sit the dark living room at my house in Dallas, Texas I know that in the next 12-18 hours, 37,000 students, Student Pastors, chaperones, parents and pastors will be making their way to their respective homes across North America.
That’s what is keeping me up tonight.
I’ve always been fascinated with the story of Moses, specifically as he received the ten commandments. The Bible was specific in stating that when He came down the mountain from his encounter with God that his face was glowing. What’s more fascinating though, is Paul’s account of what was taking place in I Corinthians 3:7 (NLT).
“…though it began with such glory that the people of Israel could not bear to look at Moses’ face. For his face shone with the glory of God, even though the brightness was already fading away.”
Tomorrow as your students return home, they are returning to home lives that could knock the “glory” off of any one of us. They are walking back into abusive homes, into drug infested living rooms and into impoverished neighborhoods. They’re walking into kitchens with empty refrigerators, into houses with loveless parents and into gang run communities. They’re walking right back in to the same situation that they left a few days ago. They’re walking into crumbling family units, they’re walking into circumstances we wouldn’t believe if they told us and into secret lives that have been hidden from the public eye.
The next 24-48 hours are the most pivotal hours of the year for your students.
As we speak, the glory is starting to fade. As they sleep right now (and hopefully, they are), the temporary, experiencial moments of NAYC are being converted to memories on the hard drive of their brains. Tonight’s sermon, yesterday’s encounter with God, the powerful anointing of this week will soon be a memory, locked in the vault of their mind.
The glory is already starting to fade.
And that’s normal. The spiritual high from NAYC will fade and it’s place a foundational and pivotal point of their spiritual journey. A memory of the incredible things God did in their hearts.
So my prayer tonight is simple.
“God, let the emotion and power of the moment they just had with you resonate so deep within their heart that it changes them. Let it reverberate within their spirits as they walk into those same circumstances they left. Let them realize that whether or not the storm is calmed, you can calm them in the middle of the storm. Let it be more than great sermons and anointed music, but let it be transformative. Let it be world shaking. Let this encounter with you shape the framework of each and every student. Let this experience with you be more than just empty promises and frivolous commitments, but let it be permanent, let it be Earth-Changing and most of all, let it lead them closer to you.”
You may be up late yourself contemplating the very same thing- How do we bring what we encountered at NAYC to our home church? How do we continue to encourage our students to push in worship and to lead through example? How do we recapture what we just encountered?
The answer is simple – His presence always brings His glory. In fact, the Bible says that plainly that He will “inhabit the praises of His people”. Although the glory faded as Moses left God’s presence, being in the presence of God always brought back the glory.
And whether your youth group is 2 or 200, that doesn’t change. You may not have the staff or resources other groups do. You may not have the youth space or the the financial support of other church organizations.
But what you do have is the same Holy Ghost. You are just as called and just as anointed as any group to complete His mission for your life. You have every bit as much access to His presence.
The glory is temporary and may already be stating to fade… But what happens in the heart is permanent and never fades…
And that starts now!