We continue our coverage of Above All with our coverage of the two non-advertised performances on Wednesday and Thursday. Who were these performances for and what were their results? Find out by clicking the Read More link below.
Running through a an actual performance instead of a practice, there is a different weight that sits on your shoulders. There is no director out their to protect or position you if you mess up. You have to be on point throughout and that requires focus and prayer before each scene. The disciples did this, but it was also awing to see each and every subgroup do the same. The entire backstage area was a constant prayer room as we shuffled from scene to scene in the dark. The thickness and aroma of God's presence back there was so real and rich. What made it greater was that it poured out into the sanctuary every time we entered. To be a part of such a locked in and God focused cast is a humbling and enriching experience. It is one of the treasures of my time involved in this production.
Night One: Nursing Home and Special Needs
It would be easy to have gone through the motions with this one. After all, to many in society, the attendants at this show are the forgotten people of society. However, they came with a desire and a hope to interact with God this night. Many of them don't get the privilege of coming to church regularly and so this is all the more special. During the Triumphal Entry Scene, I was able to scan the crowd and all of their faces were alight with joy and expectations. It was as though these elders had been transformed back into children, full of vibrancy and energy. They were ready to receive what Christ had to give.
At the end of the night, we had several come down to the altar. Four received the Holy Ghost, two were baptized and a number walked away saying they had felt the touch of God on their lives. Getting to pray with these elders and people with special needs, it showed just how hungry we all are for God. It doesn't matter how old we are or what level of competency we have. There is a soul that hungers for God. On that night, our cast presented Jesus and the crowd hungered for him. Heaven rejoiced when those who came to repentance stepped over from desiring God to receiving Him.
Night Two: Addiction Recover and Youth Challenge
In one sense, this is the most challenging night. It's not the largest crowd we will have, but it is the one that brings the most hurts, habits and hangups. People dealing with addictions, past hurts and the consequences of unfortunate choices sat and watched as we presented Christ's last days. Many probably entered the auditorium wondering if God could really do anything for them. However, by the end of the Triumphal Entry, they were all locked in and believing. They had seen miracles recreated on the screens. Heard songs about Christ's ability to overcome their problems. They watched a true worship service as over 300 people shouted and sang praises to Jesus Christ. From there, the service went from difficult and uncertain to a certain outcome. People's lives were going to be changed because they bought in to what we were presenting. It wasn't a show or a recreation. It was Christ and His great sacrifice on full display through the actions and words of true believers. Believers that many of those people would soon become.
At then end of the night, the altar was flooded with expectations of hope and freedom. Fifty-three people received the gift of the Holy Ghost. Many of these people are in programs and situations that have displaced them from their home life. Tonight, they were at home with their Lord, Creator and Master. It's night's like these when people cry out to God for His love and mercy that you understand how wonderful this message really is. There is nothing like the gospel of Jesus Christ. It transforms lives and makes broken people whole again. Regardless of background, upbringing or current situations, God can and will overcome all that we let Him. I saw that last night and I expect to see it each and every night going forward.
I look forward to giving you a full recap of the weekend's performances on Monday around this same time. Until then, God bless and keep searching.
Chris Farris is the author of The Way, a manual detailing how to implement the Beatitudes into your life. He review events and other media and offers other insights into writing and working for the Kingdom of God.