Tonight, I have to say that I had the best New Years I’ve ever had. I was blessed enough to play WinterFest 2011 at Liberty University in Lynchburg, VA yesterday and decided to stay another night to watch some of my favorite bands ever- Red, Tenth Avenue North, and Switchfoot- sharing it with my wife, brother and his wife. During a quick message after Red’s performance, I watched as over 1000 youth stood unashamed and gave their life to God, while another 6000 people cheered in their salvation. What a perfect way to start the year- to start a new life.
During the Tenth Avenue North show, Mike (lead singer) walked out into the audience and blessed my heart as he reminded us that God has given us everything. We focus on what we can try to do for ourselves, or what we can try to do for God for New Years resolutions, but we forget that God doesn’t need us at all. We, I, am only privileged enough that the God that created the Universe, the Multiverse, the complete beginning and the end, has given me opportunities to obey what he asks of me to do. I am honored to know that God, my father, has had conversations with me, loves me, and even died for me. God is a loving God, and has given life for those to accept Him. He has given us the ultimate gift. Imagine what God can do in our lives if we stop focusing on ourselves so much, and completely focus our lives on Him.
Later on, I was backstage as Switchfoot got ready to start their show. I watched as the five guys that create Switchfoot stood in a circle, bonding in arms, and praying before they played. I grew up listening to Switchfoot, loving the creativity in sound, and admiring their lyrics. So to see a band that has been so successful in both the secular and Christian music industry still staying true to the God that gave them success, really gave me hope that God is still the king in the lives of ones he raises up. Even though some fall, there are still the strong hearted, God fearing, faithful believers.
As Switchfoot was rocking the house, me and many other of the bands there stood watching and admiring the Switchfoot show. Mike and I talked a bit about how we both are in love with Jon Foreman and secretly have a crush… kidding, but he really is a great artist and lyricist. I told Mike about how I saw Switchfoot praying before they played and how it blessed me to know that there are still people that stay true to God and do not let success and the world blind their faith, as many in the industry do. Mike agreed that “Swtichfoot” are soild great guys, but said “You know none of us are perfect- we are all sinners and unworthy of salvation. It’s only by God’s grace that we are saved and used by Him”. We are all sinners. There isn’t better sinners and worse sinners. We are ALL sinners. It’s amazing that God uses any of us for his glory, but he is gracious and merciful and powerful enough to do so. I immediately had to reflect and realize that yes he is right. I am a sinner… a dirty, worldly sinner that has disobeyed God time and time again… but God still chose to save my soul and give me life. God uses me for his glory and doesn’t have to at all. He doesn’t need me, but chooses me… and I am so honored. You really blessed me tonight Mike. Thanks for being used by God.
Switchfoot played their “last” song 1 minute before new years. As the audience cheer for an encore, they walked back on stage and led the crowd in the count down for the new years. 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1… “Welcome to the planet, Welcome to existence”… “I Dare You To Move!”… Switchfoot begins their famous song “Dare You To Move”. I then thought about the 1000 or so youth that gave their lives to Christ a few hours earlier and now welcome them to the planet- welcome them to their new existence in Christ. I dare you to move this new years, I dare myself to move… I dare you do move for Christ, let go and let Christ take control of your life and see what happens.
I love all of you guys. Thanks for a great year in 2011. See you soon. -Aaron
PS. My wife took these pictures with her iPhone… pretty cool.