Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Shift 09

        Going into our fall conference this past weekend, I was really excited BUT, also, really nervous about not getting enough sleep.That sounds weird, right? I mean who worries excessively about stuff like that? That's what God said to me this weekend... he's like, seriously, Jess, seriously?? So me, being, most likely, the only person excessively worrying about not getting enough sleep over the weekend, barely slept at all Friday night. For some reason, I just couldn't sleep. I tossed and turned for a few hours, cried about it, then tossed and turned some more. I think I slept for about two hours. I had to nap in the afternoon (for another two hours). Then I was looking forward to going to bed really early on Saturday night (plus getting an hour for daylight savings), but that didn't happen either. We ended up having a Millersville leader's meeting that went until after 2 AM. Something that Betsy said this weekend really rang true for me, and it wasn't even in reference to me and my lack of sleep; Betsy said that there are better things that this weekend has to offer than sleep. Which brings me back to what God thought of my excessive worrying about not getting enough sleep: "Seriously, Jess, seriously? You think not getting enough sleep is such a huge deal? Well, in that case, I'm going to NOT give you enough sleep. And you will STILL be okay." Touché, God, touché.

        So Shift consisted of the South Central area InterVarsity chapters: Millersville, F&M, Elizabethtown, Dickinson, York, Penn State Harrisburg, and LVC (but no one came from LVC!). There were 60-70 students, I think. I forget. It was a really great time to spend with Millersville students, meet new students from the other schools, and lead with other staff (aka my wonderful friends). The speaker was a friend of Bret's, Nick Peterson, who is just a really awesome man of God. It was a really challenging weekend for all the students and for me.

        I saw God working all the students. I was blessed to be a part of the worship team. We had a practice session about a week or so before Shift, and I was just struck by this awesome opportunity to worship God with those who have quickly become some of my best friends. It's what heaven must be like: 24/7 of worship team with Betsy, Jesse, Evan, Megan, and of course, George. As part of the worship team, I was able to see how God was working in the students. They sang with such passion and just seemed so open to hearing what God had to say to them.

      Shift is a chance for students (and staff) to hear how God is calling them to make a shift in their lives. At the end of the conference, the students were given an invitation: accept Jesus for the first time, make an adult decision to follow Christ (claim their faith as their own instead of their parents), or committing something they have or hold precious to God. So many students went up there to write on a post it note. A few accept Christ for the first time, many others chose to claim their faith as their own, and tons of students wanted to go deeper and give more of themselves to God. How incredible!

        Another activity that we had as a response after hearing about John 8, the adulterous woman that the pharisees wanted to stone. Nick paints the picture of this woman who was caught in the act of adultery, meaning she was probably naked or half naked. And everyone knew about this sin. He contrasted this with the way we like to cover up our sins. As a response to this lesson, we had black posterboard that students could write down the sins they felt needed to be exposed. Jesus gave no condemnation to this woman, so we can make a shift from shame ---> no condemnation. Well, I still feel shame, apparently, because I had a hard time believing that a lot of people would go up and write their sins down. But they did. And during worship, they had the opportunity to erase those sins from the board, knowing that Jesus offers no condemnation and says, "Go, and sin no more." Most people were able to erase their sins from the board. I was really moved by the overwhelming amount of people who exposed their sin, and it was just so evident that God was working to cause a shift in students' hearts. Which brings me to our Millersville leader's meeting that went until 2 AM, we had a "Let's Stop Pretending" meeting where we intended to expose sin that we felt was holding us back from becoming a closer community as a fellowship or just discuss problems we had in the fellowship. At first, I was like, seriously, it's midnight! Then I thought, seriously, it's 1 AM! But by 2 AM, though I was exhausted, I saw that God was bringing us closer together.

        In other news, we got to have an open mic night which Millersville totally dominated! haha I got to read a poem, and something happened just like the poem wished for! I seemed to stop people dead in their tracks with my words. People stopped playing games or talking and were listening to me. Also, Mary and I played gaga, a fun game of Israeli dodgeball. We were the last two left in the game (because the guys thought it would be funny). It was hilarious and ridiculous, as things with Mary and me usually are.

Well, clearly, God had better things in mind for this past weekend than sleep.

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