Forward Conference 2017

Hillsong United, Free Chapel, and Bethel Music lead around 13,000 young people and leaders in worship this past weekend.  Pastor Reggie Dabbs, Joel Houston, Jentezen Franklin, Chad Veach, Ben Prescott, and Christine Cain deposited so much truth from God’s Word into young souls. An arena in Georgia was overflowing with hearts hungry for God’s Presence. We were moved by His Spirit, encouraged in our faith, and inspired to live so contagiously for God. Forward Conference is led by Pastor Jentezen Franklin, his family, and church, Free Chapel. They have a heart for our generation, and invest time, talent, and wisdom into equipping us for building God’s Kingdom. Let me tell you about our trip, and what God did!

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Reggie Dabbs and others reminded us that Forward Conference is not just a conference. It is a movement. The conference was where we were fed and inspired to reach the lost. We are called to use what we experienced to make a difference in our homes, schools, churches, and friendships.

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Joel Houston, who sings in Hillsong United, spoke Thursday night. His message resonated deep within me. I related to his personal struggles, and realized how the enemy attacks us where we are really most strong. He loved to skate board as a child, but his parents pushed him to take music lessons. He didn’t enjoy practicing. It was definitely not his favorite thing to do. Since Joel’s childhood, Joel has been used to lead millions in glorifying God through worship music. Here are some points from Joel’s message:

  • “The darkness is a canvas for God to reveal His light”
  • Never put a limit on what God can do in and through you
  • The gift God has given you is more than enough
  • Don’t waste the gifts God has placed inside your hands
  • Don’t allow insecurity to hold you back from the things God has in store for your life
  • Don’t throw away your gift
  • God doesn’t need us, but He wants us
  • God will give us everything we need to do exactly what He calls us to do
  • God wants all of you just the way you are

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“Don’t let fear keep you from your destiny”, warned Reggie Dabbs. He also emphasized the importance of our choices. He said, “Insignificant choices are really life changing!”

Pastor Jentezen Franklin is a man full of Godly wisdom. He connected stories from The Bible in a way that was fresh and new. He powerfully stated that “The enemy always targets who/what God is going to use.”

In Luke 19:40, Jesus proclaimed: “I tell you,” he replied, “if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.”

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There are many rocks in the Bible we should notice.

  1. Jacob’s Rock- Genesis 28:18
  • God can give you an anointed dream for your life
  • Exodus 17:6- God can bring a river to your desert
  • God makes a way when there is no way
  • Praise God in the small things, and watch Him do big things
  1. Joshua’s Rock- Joshua 6:20
  • Walls of resistance cannot stand when someone praises The Lord
  • Walls still fall when God’s people cry out
  1. David’s Rock(s)- 1 Samuel 17:40-51
  • When you are in the river, God is working on your rough edges
  • The Shepherd hand-picked you out of the mud
  • God puts you into a sling, and releases you into your destiny
  • Giants still fall
  • Just as the enemy has a genealogy of giants, the church has to be producing giant slayers
  1. Legion’s Rock- Mark 5:5-13
  • God killed the spirit of suicide and self-hatred
  1. Adulterous Woman’s Rock(s)- John 8:1-11
  • Jesus is a stone mover- not a stone thrower
  • You can’t change the past, but you can make wise and God honoring decisions today

“The Mess in the Middle” was the title of Pastor Chad Veach’s sermon. He preached about the story of Samson, found in Judges 14-16

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  • Samson was destined for greatness
  • Samson was distracted by weakness
  • Don’t just know the calling on your life. Fulfill the calling God has on your life
  • The enemy knows that you are a threat to him
  • Samson was determined for redemption

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I loved hearing, learning from, and being inspired by Pastor Ben Prescott. He said:

  • We can’t miss our calling by being focused on the training
  • God says, “If you go, I will show”
  • The calling on your life is uncommon, and is going to require faith
  • Flee from evil and cling to what is good (Romans 12:9)
  • There is power in what you flee and cling to
  • If we do something that’s supernatural, it draws people to God, who lives within us
  • The call of God comes in a quiet place
  • David’s call did not come when He was King. David’s call came when he was a shepherd
  • Moses was not called in front of all the Israelites. Moses was called in the desert
  • The enemy only goes after those most threatening to him
  • One of the greatest things the enemy uses is tricking us to settle for less than God’s best
  • There is a higher calling on your life
  • The enemy isn’t after you. He is after the calling on your life. The calling on your life doesn’t just affect you. The calling on your life is strong enough to touch millions and change the world!
  • There is safety in wise counsel (Proverbs 11:14)
  • The call of God on your life has nothing to do with you
  • Life is about taking the Kingdom of God to those in need of Him
  • We have to be more hungry for the touch of God than anything else

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Mrs. Christine Cain brought truth to us in our last service. She spoke on shame, and how God never intended for us to know what shame feels like. (Genesis 2:25) She is passionate about people finding life in Christ so that they can set others free.

  • Jesus shamed shame on the cross
  • You have to know Whose you are
  • Build your life on the truth of God’s Word
  • Don’t elevate any other voice above God’s
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This trip was not only spiritually rewarding, but relational as well. The laughs my friends and I shared while traveling were priceless. We sang, dreamed, shared goals, were ourselves, joked, snacked, and grew closer to each other while digging deeper into the love God has for each of us. I’m thankful for all the experiences God has used to make me into who I am today. I’m also more full of passion to spread the Love of Jesus with those who are lost. We have a Father who loves us with all He has. I pray we all come before Him humbly, and serve Him with the lives He has given to us.

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