In the midst of a stormy day, swine flu scares and school closings, the music and speakers at IGNITE 2009 lit a fire in hearts of the Christian masses. Some nestled beneath umbrellas or ponchos and others standing in the rain, one security volunteer described the attendees, “Come rain or come swine, the Christians are here to stay.” The sky was thundering but the music was thunderous.
On May 2, 2009, CW Festival hosted the “IGNITE 2009 Passion for God, Compassion for people & Justice for the oppressed” event at Burleson, Texas with the main purpose to awaken in each of us the spirit to make a difference now. The event, through major sponsors like the Student Discipleship Ministries (SDM), featured notable performers and speakers that lit the crowd into a blaze of praise.
In the beginning, there was Sanctus Real… a Grammy-nominated and Dove Award-winning Christian rock band from Toledo, OH. Matt Hammit (guitar and lead vocals) started the day with Chris Rohman (lead guitar), Dan Gartley (bass), Pete Prevost (guitar), and Mark Graalman (drums). It was an empassioned beginning despite the rain.
Then, the sky opened up, and the cleansing waters poured out upon the crowd. We were divided into two groups and directed to seek shelter in an adjacent gymnasium and stadium to wait out the passage of a first of several storm cells.
After we gathered again, Bethany Hoang of International Justice Ministries shared a heart-wrenching story of Elizabeth, a 12-year old victim of child slavery (human trafficking), sold by her parents to a brothel to supplement the family income.
Even through all the torment, sexual abuse and disgust, Elizabeth believed in the grace, mercy and compassion of our God. The workers who rescued her from the brothel found inscribed on her bedroom wall the passage, “The Lord is my light and salvation. Whom should I fear… Though war be waged against me, even then do I trust.” (Ps 27) A truly powerful witness of unending faith and trust in our God.
Zach Hunter, a 17-year old slavery abolitionist and founder of “Loose Change to Loosen Chains” spoke and shared words of encouragement urging people young and old into action. There is no age limit to discipleship or to responding to God’s call within each of us.
Flyleaf turned up the pace and volume with a mixture of pounding rhythms (James Culpepper on drums), fiery guitar (Sameer Bhattacharya) and bass (Jared Hartmann) riffs, screaming vocals (Lacey Sturm) and pained sorrowful lyrics. The teen crowd responded to the music and lyrics with screaming cheers and rousing applause. Though Lacey confessed they were not accustomed to performing in Christian music concerts, some of Flyleaf’s songs were truly worthy of recognition.
Then, the sky opened up… the second of several storm cells. Rather than merely wait out the storm, Billy Beacham of SDM gave those in the gymnasium the opportunity to listen to Pastor Francis Chan’s (Cornerstone Church) message on the need to respond immediately to God’s call to action, to not let ourselves be calmed, to rouse the boldness within us to be better disciples and apostles for Christ. Following a trashcan duo, we gathered outside again.
Kirk Cameron, a.k.a. Mike Seaver of the television series “Growing Pains” and Buck Williams of the “Left Behind” films based on The New York Times best selling novels of Tim Lahaye and Jerry B. Jenkins, shared his message of strength of will, trust in God and real commitment to a Christian life.
Billy Beacham introduced The David Crowder Band after sharing a testimony of his daily struggles with the many hidden challenges to a Christian life. DC-B stirred the crowd, which appeared to be about 5,000-6,000 strong, with high intensity songs into a thunderous praise choir overshadowing the storm cell coming over the horizon.
Finally Kari Jobe joined Chris Tomlin in a moving song that showed us the depth of her faith.
Pastor Chan gave a reprisal of his first sermon before the entire crowd and set the tone for Chris Tomlin and his band to take us through the waves of passionate and intimate praise of God our Father, Jesus Christ His Son and His Holy Spirit. We sang with Chris. We sang for God. We sang His praise.
IGNITE 2009 will be remembered. We were awakened. SDM fulfilled its mission. I look forward to the next event hosted by SDM. Operated by Billy Beacham, SDM is a non-denominational ministry that provides Bible-based evangelization and discipleship resources.
Posted by: Rick Matos
Tags: Bethany Hoang, Billy Beacham, Chris Tomlin, David Crowder Band, Flyleaf, Francis Chan, IGNITE 2009, International Justice Ministries, Kari Jobe, Kirk Cameron, Sanctus Real, Student Discipleship Ministries, Zach Hunter
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