|Thousands attended BigStuf 2012|
I hadn't been to any type of summer camp in forty years. And I certainly never had attended a BigStuf conference, nor had I even heard of it until two days before it started. All I knew was that I was going to some kind of youth-oriented happening in Daytona where I'd be hanging out with some great kids from my church, East Coast Christian Center -- a few days of freedom, fun and fellowship. Simple!
|Justin Bieber's mom and I own identical hats.|
(Check out my YouTube clip and see.)
In short, my personal experience surpassed my expectations by a mile. I was blessed to spend five days on The World's Most Famous Beach, connecting -- playing and praying with some of the most important people in my life -- the teens and leaders from ECCC. Our luxury oceanside hotel was awesome, the staff was top-notch and none of us went hungry -- although to my chagrin, we did run out of Cap'n Crunch, but that's a very touchy subject, best left for another blog post.
As for the conference itself, BigStuf was a slam-dunk success. The weeklong production looked and sounded spectacular. I enjoyed the guest speakers -- Andy Stanley is truly inspirational and Justin Bieber's mom is a hottie. Phil Wickham proved to be a perfect frontman for the incredible Praise and Worship house band -- and when not playing Adele and Skynyrd covers, their performances were truly powerful. And everywhere I looked, I saw young people whose lives were being affected by hearing the Word of God.
ROMANS 10:17 (KJV) - So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
|Jesus Christ headlined BigStuf 2012.|
BigStuf's headliner this year was to be über super-human speaker Judah Smith, lead pastor at Seattle's City Church. As I sat in the audience towards the end of Thursday night's finale, I became mesmerized by Smith's entertaining yet compelling message. "Is Jesus enough?" was Smith's repeated "power point." Suddenly, things got "weird." I tried to stand up, but I couldn't. I felt paralyzed. I soon became overwhelmed -- physically powerless. All I could do was sit with my head in my hands, sobbing. But these weren't tears of sorrow or pain. These were tears of indescribable joy as I realized the true headliner -- Jesus Christ had arrived at BigStuf -- and he was seated directly beside me with his hand on my shoulder. I'm completely cognizant of the Holy Spirit -- the atmospheric presence of God -- the spirit that also dwells within believers. But this was different. I believe that this was a personal one-on-one encounter with The King of Kings.
After sitting together in the arena for a few more moments with the band now blasting, I felt Him lead me upstairs to the private ECCC meeting room where I spent the next few minutes simply talking to Him. He soon encouraged me to get myself together, go back downstairs, jump in "the pit" and finish the night with some hardcore Praise and Worship. This is precisely what I did.
Say what you will. Call me "crazy." Call me a fraud or a poser -- you won't be the first and you certainly won't be the last. But Jesus Christ is real. He's the true son of God. He was born only to die so that we ALL might have eternal life. Salvation is a gift that comes at no charge -- it's FREE. It's for us merely to accept. Jesus was the ultimate sacrifice and there will never be need for another. He paid it all. He's alive and he desires a personal relationship with me AND you...
Now that's "HUGESTUF!"
*This is the fifth and final installment of my weeklong BigStuf series. I hope that it offered you a blessing, or at least a good chuckle. And yes, I'm completely amped for BigStuf 2013 -- coming to Daytona, June 17-21!
*Author Christopher Long's latest book
is available NOW on Amazon!