Friday the 22nd May was my mother's birthday. She would be 57 years old. Usually this day is sombre by nature, as I reflect on a life that once was - and a death that was so unnecessary. Every year is the same, but this year Friday 22nd May had a few surprises in stall for me. It was a day/night I will most likely never forget.
At approximately 7pm I found myself standing in a packed out theatre with hundreds of young people gathered to watch the final Revolution Tour concert. (I managed to ride in on my daughter's coat tails as her personal taxi driver). The Revolution Tour has been around for a few years now (10 I think) and they have done some amazing things in our nation. They are a group of young Christian performing artists (singers, dancers, motivational speakers) who tour around NZ high schools once a year with a message close to my heart. #stopthebull. As a young person growing up many years ago I was bullied relentlessly. I still cannot think back on my high school years without cringing. It was a devastating time in my life and I remember thinking there was no way out - no chance to escape it. Little did I know that as soon as you leave high school and get on with your life the drama usually stops. I'm glad I waited it out......to be honest I nearly didn't, like so many young people who buckle under the weight of their pain. If we think it was bad back then, imagine what it is like today. There are so many more ways and "opportunities" to bully people (like on facebook, or snapchat or the latest craze - yik yak), and it almost feels like people (especially the teachers) have become indifferent to it all. I'm not saying all teachers are like this but I've seen and heard of some shocking examples lately. Lets just say complacency breeds normality. Anyway, that's a little background on why I am so passionate about this subject. THANK GOD someone's doing something about it and it truly is working!
But that's not even the real reason why Friday 22nd May was a night I will never forget. The Revolution Tour does tackle the problem of bullying, but they do it through keeping it real, and a little thing called TRUTH. They do it by "calling out" the identity of our young people, and reminding them of who they truly are. Most of these young people don't even know who they really are, and so the message becomes even more essential.
Even better than this, if you don't know the man who can help you through your pain and heartache, the only man who can take your pain away - then guess what. You're about to meet him at the Revolution Tour Concert. Introducing Jesus Christ. And it's not your average, ordinary, everyday introduction. By now all the youth who have sat, and sung, and danced in this electric atmosphere are ready and willing to listen (a miracle in itself!). Most of them don't have clue about what's going to happen because its not until the speakers start sharing their journeys and connecting with the heartache of this generation, that the walls start crumbling and young hearts are left unexpectedly vulnerable. They know...without being told, that something in them needs to change.
In the 15 years I've been a Christian (13 of which in one church), I have NEVER seen such a powerful response from so many people (let alone youth), as I did on the 22nd of May. Hundreds of young people stood up and received Jesus as their Lord and Saviour. It was one of the most profound and humbling moments in my life...just to sit there and witness it was an honour. I started feeling real hope for my city once again. Not just because I was asked to believe it, told to believe it, or hoped to believe it, but because I saw it. With my own eyes. It doesnt get much better than that!
And the only thing left to say now is Thank you Lord!