Re-post from 2011… my first impression of Teen’s Conference.
Subhead: God is strong enough to displace a mountain, yet gentle enough to move hearts towards Him.
TC!!! WHOOOOO!!! Some of you may know what I’m talking about and may be screaming in our minds because we lost our voices…
Alright, alright, one step at a time. What is TC? It’s a Teen’s Conference (no not the business kind) where teens get together as one big family and just praise God for two days (and lose our voices in the process). There are teams, and games, and worship, and drama, and, and, and… well, words are inadequate to describe it!! I’m going to describe my personal first experience at TC as best I can below, but if you’d like to learn more, click here.
For anyone out there who has been to TC, WASN’T IT AWESOME?! For those who have heard this and are interested, I STRONGLY encourage you to go!!! For those who might want to go, but are not in the area, maybe you should try starting something like it in your own community, it’s an experience of a lifetime. For parents who are interested, send your teens!! I obviously can’t guarantee that they’ll love it, but it’s a great learning experience, not for just head knowledge, but in their “people skills” and most importantly, their walk with God.
But, let’s cut to the chase here. Ever since I joined my school fellowship, all I heard about was “oh yeah, remember that at TC?” or “HAHAHAAA that was so awesome at TC!!” or “Who?” “You know, the captain of that team at TC.” So, naturally I asked around, WHAT IS THIS TC?! Well, I just came back from it, still hyped up, still can’t speak without my voice cracking, and still can’t believe that so much happened in only two days.
Registration. I signed up, saw a bunch of people (a lot of people from my school actually. It really encouraged me!) and got my T-shirt, my bracelets, my schedule, all the boring details… blah blah blah.
Then I sat with my team (TEAM IMAGE!!! WOOOT!! Image for the nation, we are His reflection!!!) and we started off with some skits (PHENOMENAL JOB TC MEDIA!!) that were really touching and which I could really relate to… Then we had worship which really touched my heart and, I know for some of you might sound weird and cheesy, but I could really feel the Holy Spirit moving in me, in others, in the whole sanctuary filled with over 600 teens. I knew already, right there and then, less than a couple hours in, that this is going to be one of the best times of my life. Worship and skits alternated, then we had a little reminiscing of past TCs, and the rules.
Our guest speaker, pastor David Overholt (who is so hilarious and so wise), came and gave us a sermon about disobedience due to sin and temptation, and bad habits of sin. I might get into that in another post, but for those who are reading, please let me know!! I have holes in my head, so I don’t remember many things at the same time 😛
Alright, so we got into our teams (I-M-A-G-E made to reflect G-O-D!! Which reminds me, we were often called team “I’m a G”. Still not entirely sure what that means, but it seemed it was all in good fun…) and had our first interaction to get to know each other more to learn our team cheers of course! If Simon, Daphne, Natalie, and/or Johnathan, my team captains and coaches are reading this, THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR AN AWESOME FIRST TC EXPERIENCE!!
Anyways, lunch!! We were hungry, there was food, dozens if not hundreds of teens waiting to get in… if you know teens dear reader, I’m sure you can picture what the scene was like. There were table calls, there was more bonding, and already I felt like I was in one HUGE family and I hadn’t known more than half these people only a few hours before.
Next came more interactions, my first workshop that I signed up for, bible studies, third interaction, dinner (YEAH!)… OH WAIT. I forgot one crucial thing in there. I know I could easily backspace and insert, this is the 21st century after all… ehn. But ya, REC!!! Sheesh, I have no idea how I missed that. Games! Competition! Teamwork! Screaming at the top of our lungs! Jumping! Waving arms! Cheering! Team Spirit! WHOOOOOO!!! huff huff… awesome stuff. That’s when our voices go.
Ok, ok, ok. My favourite part of the day. Evening worship and sermon. Before I say anything else, PRAISE THE LORD!! He was there that night, I know it. We had our sermon, about God being our Father, the perfect Father who cares so much for us. He loves us not because we did anything for him, not because he pities us, but simply because we are his own, and he loved us enough that he sent his only begotten son to die for us. I’ve been told that so many times from ever since I could remember anything, but that time, it really hit home, I really understood. God takes us as we are, regardless of what we’ve done or haven’t done for him, because we are his children. He created us with his own hands, he knows our hearts, he knows our thoughts, he knows what we’ve done, he knows we don’t deserve anything, but he takes us in anyways. Why? Simply for being his original masterpiece.
I could feel him, my team could feel him, the worship team could feel him, every single living thing in that sanctuary could feel him. The Holy Spirit practically shook the place, and many many hearts that night. It was so emotional, just everyone, huddled in together, arms around and upon one another, praying for one another and worshiping our amazing God. We stank of sweat and could feel the body heat from so many people around us, but did we back down and stick to ourselves? Of course not! We huddled up, we cried out to God, we cried on each other’s shoulders. We cried with tears of joy that God could love sinners like us. We cried with tears of sadness as He stripped our pride away. We cried, asking for forgiveness, praying for the weary, thanking Him for all that He’s done for us.
Rereading this, I really can’t seem to find the right words that would really capture the moment… I suppose it’s one of those things where you’ve got to live it for yourself. I can see why people were speechless at first when I asked them about TC… it’s indescribable.
It was mostly the same stuff as DAY 1, interactions, workshops, REC, bible study, intense worship morning and evening, lunch, dinner… we had a lot of sharing going on during the interactions, and it was very comforting to know that we are not alone in our struggles, nor were we meant to be alone. I still find it difficult to wrap my head around the fact that I had only known my team members for little over a day, and already we were sharing as though every hour spent together was a day spent together.
The sermon in the morning was very inspiring, about our mindsets and attitudes in different situations. Are we thinking thoughts of life, or thoughts of death? Thoughts of the Spirit, or thoughts of sin? Thoughts of happiness and joy, or thoughts of depression and believing you have the worst life ever due to so many reasons? We need to capture those thoughts of death, and replace them with thoughts of life, and ask God: “What do you want me to think?” Got me thinking a lot, and I wouldn’t be surprised at all if gears were spinning in your own head right now as you’re reading this.
The evening sermon was very motivating as well, about reaching out to those around you and spreading the Good News, telling and retelling the Greatest Story Ever Told to anyone who asks. God opens doors if you ask Him to send you out. He makes things happen beyond our wildest dreams.
One of the stories that Dave told us that was absolutely MINDBLOWING went something like this:
One of Dave’s friends was in the praise group at church, and he had just broke a crucial and expensive part of his guitar. Dave was supposed to be working on an important paper, until out of the blue he thought of his friend and reluctantly decided that he should give him some money, because it was the right thing to do. So he put a hundred bucks in an envelope, scribbled a note: I think this is from God, don’t freak out, and sent it off. Three days later, his friend’s mom called Dave, and told him He had changed her son’s life. How? At the time, Dave’s friend was having doubts about God, and decided he’d test God. He decided he’d give some money to the ministry, and challenged God to show him He is real.
Three days later, he received Dave’s letter, with a hundred bucks (more than 4 times as much as he gave to ministry) and a note saying: I think this is from God, don’t freak out.
God is great, He is good, He is amazing!!!
I mentioned skits earlier in the post, and I just wanted to describe briefly a few of my favourites.
1. Sin, the puppet master – Don’t let sin control you. God already forgave you and broke your chains, all you have to do is throw that puppet master to the ground.
2. Obey – God created the stars, the moon, the planets, the rivers, the oceans, the continents. He had a specific plan for each and every one of them, and they obeyed, and it was good. Then God created man, the ones created in his own perfect and holy image. He uttered one single command: “Come.” And we said no.
3. Trapped – We are trapped behind this glass wall, people judging us, labeling us, and we can do nothing to erase them, but Christ sees us for who we are. He comforts us and holds us tight, and he erases all account of our sins, our labels, for we are made new in Him by His blood.
Life is an adventure, full of experiences out there that God has planned for us… Are you ready to answer the call?