Believe: A Jr. High Only Christ in Youth Event
October 22-23: Dallas, TX. Our theme this year is Fifty Day's from Now, based on the time from Jesus' death at Passover to the Holy Spirit birthing the church at Pentecost. In those fifty days God transformed Peter from a coward to a bold proclaimer of the gospel. We pray God does a similar mighty work in the lives of these middle-school students. D.J. Mickley is rockin' the house with his music. He is such a cool cat. He has allowed me to call him out from the stage and point out the fact that he is serving Jesus while struggling with a drug addiction. Oh, he's clean, but only with a daily effort to submit to Jesus.
October 15-16: Nashville, TN. The Mecca of country music was our weekend home for a very lively and receptive group of Jr. High students. Brock continues to amaze and delight the students with his illusions and Johnny rocks the house in worship. The highlight of the weekend for many people is the last session when we anoint the leaders with oil and they, in turn, anoint their students. There is something incredibly powerful about doing God's things in Biblical ways. There is a sense of purpose and power of the Holy Spirit as we attempt to imitate the Pentecost experience and send these kids out with a commission as they begin their fifty day journey.
October 8-9: Davenport, Iowa. The quad cities on the mighty Mississippi hosted us this weekend. What a great group of students and what a powerful, transformational weekend. I am beginning to sense the power of what we are doing, calling students to walk through the fifty day journal after this weekend is over. I realize that not every student will do this, perhaps only a minority. But a minority of 15,000 over the next six months is still an extraordinarily large number! I'm so proud of the Believe Tour Team. We are just a bunch of Humpty Dumpties who allow our brokenness to bring healing. I love you guys and am so honored to have you as friends and co-laborers in the kingdom.
September 30 - October 1: Denver, Colorado. Hundreds of Jr. High students
converge on the convention center and make a lot of noise for Jesus. Next door
to us in an adjacent hall was a beer tasting festival with several thousand
participants . . . we made way more noise. This age group is so very interesting
because they just believe what you tell them. If you say they are cool, they
believe it. If you say they are loved, they believe it. If you say they can
change the world, they believe it. In fact, that is how I open my first sermon.
Now some of you reading this will say, "But they can't change the world."
Really? It seems to me they already have. Advertisers and Hollywood have long
been targeting this age group. Technology industries, youth specialists, fast
food, even drug dealers have targeted this group. They are consumers, volatile
and powerful. They are worth investing in because they are already changing the
September 23-24: Richmond, Virginia, the one-time capital of the Confederacy. One of the most dynamic parts of the tour are a group of dancers from inner-city St. Louis. They move with energy that electrifies the room; their physical praise reaches heaven itself. Best of all, they love Jr. High kids nearly as much as they love God. They are true believers. Another dynamic part of the tour is Brock Gill, an illusionist that is incredible. I have yet to figure out a single one of his tricks. If I can't figure out at least one of them I may have to perform an exorcism on the boy because this stuff is freakin' me out! Back stage is here Brock is the best, however. Interestingly, he is doing a personal study of the miracles of Jesus because he is as interested in Jesus as we are in his illusions because Jesus, to Brock is just as mysterious. It is a delight to watch his wonder at Jesus.
September 16-17: This year, through the generous invitation of Johnny Scott, I will be speaking at fifteen Believe events in the next eight months. Each event will have an average of a thousand Jr. High students and let me tell you, they come in excited! The theme of the weekend is "Fifty Days from Now" based on the time between Passover (Jesus' death) and Pentecost (the coming of the Holy Spirit). I've written a book for each of the students to take with them that is a fifty day devotional guide for Jr. High Students only. We believe that in the next fifty days, they can change their world. This tour is kind of a "reality TV" tour where my sermons are blended with interviews with four different cast members. These interviews tell their real stories and real struggles. While some of this is obviously and necessarily staged, the great bulk of it is real, dynamic, and unpredictable. So far the response has been fantastic. Our first week out is in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, in the beautiful convention center overlooking the Pirates stadium. It was a beautiful beginning.