Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Awakening Europe

The purpose of the Awakening Europe conference was -you guessed it- to awaken Europe. In the spiritual sense, of course. Because my home church in Boston was partially funding this trip, I found myself in a bit of a bind as to whether or not I should go. I think deep down inside I felt it would be too much fun, and that people shouldn't be giving their money for me to have fun. Absurd!

However, upon consultation with God he unceremoniously told me to go by giving me the distinct impression that I was asking a very silly question.

Did I give you a heart for Europe?
Isn't it one of your greatest desires to see awakening and revival in Europe and the world?
Do you trust you have the resources to go?
Do you want to go?
Then why are you asking me whether or not you should go?
Ahhhhh. Gotcha

So, with some very close math, I bought a bunch of tickets and booked a hotel room in Nuremberg, figuring that the money the church raised would cover any emergency expenses until my next paycheck came in.

So, on a very fabulously comfy flight from Boston to Milan, I played a language learning game to learn some German. I recovered from my jet lag and visited with a local small group and then I was off to Nuremberg, quite alone. Through directions downloaded from the Fahrinfo app and the German I learned on my flight, I managed to get from the airport to my hotel room, and from there to the stadium in time for the opening session.

Germany is much cooler, especially at night, so many of us froze as we worshiped, but worship we did. The parade of nations was lovely, and I was pleased to see the U.S. among the nations represented.

I met lovely amazing people all with lovely amazing stories, and it was just such an incredible time. In the end I had divine encounters with quite a few people from Germany, some people from the U.S., Azerbaijan, Peru, Italy, Kenya, Switzerland, the Netherlands and more, I'm sure.
I learned a bit about what I want my Christianity to look like and what I don't want it to look like.

I don't want to partake in what I call "obnoxious evangelism". You know, the phenomenon that occurs when a bunch of Christians who normally rarely, if ever, step out in faith to share the Gospel suddenly find themselves surrounded by other Christians with the expectation placed upon them to step out in faith, and so they come together to be obnoxiously loud (usually the preferred means for this is through music), and continue to do so, while staying together, and did I mention while also being incredibly loud and quite possibly off-putting?

Personally, I prefer the more guerilla style evangelism tactic of buying unsuspecting strangers ice-cream (like the nice guy who bought me ice-cream in Nuremberg), but maybe stick around and explain you want to share some Jesus love. Or maybe offer seats on the often crowded public transportation, ask someone their story, actually take the time to listen, and then pray with them about it.

Honestly, regardless of my personal preferences, it all comes back to love. Don't just pounce on every person with crutches or in a wheelchair who goes by, or sing really loudly about Jesus because you don't want to actually engage with people. I get it, trust me. My primary calling is worship, and so evangelism for me largely happens at the spiritual level. I worship and claim the space for the Kingdom, and my friends actually talk to people. But when the opportunity presents itself to step out, I do.

I've found that if I'm just looking for a story, not much happens.
Who do I really want to see glorified here? You know what I mean?

Basically, I want my walk with God to look like humility and love.

In the end I think I got more out of this conference that I put in, but I shouldn't be too surprised. I was able to encourage many people, but I will treasure most the words and the spiritual deposits I received at Awakening. I feel empowered in a new way, and ready to step into a new season of favor with God. I am so ready to see the awakening and revival explode in Boston, Milan, and beyond!

Young lady and her husband, who gave me an incredible word of encouragement :)

Some stadium views. We were in Frankenstadion.

My friend Joachim from Germany, who I met in Poland!

My lovely new friends Luisa from Italy and Milagros from Peru.

                                         The guerilla ice-cream ;)

My good friend from Azerbaijan, who shall remain nameless here.

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