When the circumstance weighs heavy, it is easy to just give up. When stress hits hard we are taught to just give up and take the easy way. After all it is the new way that our generation functions. Instant, successful, and easy is our current ‘ring tone’. Here is a simple test I had this last week.

Last week while ministering at a camp for another Pentecostal denominations Western Canadian Youth Camp, I had a first. Everything inside me wanted to take every opportunity (and there were a lot) to close in prayer and retreat to my dorm room. But tenacity kicked in.

I was preaching out of Luke on the topic of losing the ability to respond to the Holy Spirit and how to regain that. Before I could start we were all crammed into the chapel, a historic camp chapel with no AC, walls or lack of bugs. It did however have LARGE pictures of an iconic Jesus doing cool things like pulling people out of hell while wearing a giant cross around His neck… So the worship ended and everyone was sitting under the power of the extreme heat. The camp Pastor recommended a move to the amphitheatre. Good move!
In the beautiful out door surroundings I got started into the message, but I could see the forecasted storm about to make an early appearance. I just got through the introduction, I am sure it was a well crafted, culturally relevant work of art, then the rain started.

The group all ran to the next venue, which would be the dining room. The kitchen staff was still working and the students filled up cups of juice on the way in. We all know that lots of sugar helps students pay attention. (insert sarcasm here) I started to try and regain ground again and the next distraction started, the fire alarm. The camp Pastor took out the batteries and signalled to continue. I would have rather just ran away and slept off the defeat. Then I started thinking about all the circumstances this last year of watching people give up when tested and how they dropped everything including their reputations. I was not going down like that. Besides I believed that God gave me this message for that night. Make no mistake, this was not a light message and it was now hard to deliver to students suffering from the church sauna.

I asked that we could clear tables and chairs and make a huge alter space at the front. I asked that we could bring up the leaders to stretch across the front and get ready to pray for students. So with a fireplace to my back I climbed up on a chair so I could be seen by everyone including those at the back. Then after 3 venues and more distractions than I wanted, I gave the alter call. It felt like 110 degrees in there and if I was one of these students would have faked a nose bleed about now to get out into the cool rain. But then they started coming to the front, 3/4 of the students identified that they had lost the ability to respond to God or never had it. They didn’t care about the heat or comfort, they just wanted to respond to what the Holy Spirit was doing in their hearts… then a bat flew in the room and the next hour was spent trying to kill or trap or remove the bat. I was however smart enough to leave while people were running around with brooms and bags trying to kill what could have been batman’s cousin.

It ended up being a powerful night at the alter, many tears and reactions to the power of God. The next two nights of services would show evidence that God was at work as the students responded in prayer, worship and to the word. I am so thankful for the power of the Holy Spirit to not give up!


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