Icthus (A BIG PROP to AUDIO A)
…that’s what one of my t-shirts says that I got at Icthus this weekend…praise God He isn’t safe, praise Him that he desires us to blow through the walls we build and create and authentic true representation of who we are…messy and all!
You know there is a quote in “Into the West” that says, “God fashioned us a little below the angels and a little above the beasts…but He gave us a choice!” I find that statement very true, but one thing I’ve learned just over this Icthus weekend is that I don’t want to get to close to either. I’ve absolutely been living closer to the beast side lately, while I don’t want to forget that raw sometimes ugly and yet very beautiful and real side of humanity, I also don’t want to get too mired up in it. I want a strong true dynamic to the Christian walk I’m living. I praise God for giving me so much and for His grace and provision. I don’t want to be sugarcoated…I want to be authentic. I don’t want to be perfect…I want to be transparent! I can’t do everything just right…I’m too human. I can’t mess things up to much…I’m too forgiven!
26In the reverent and worshipful fear of the Lord there is strong confidence, and His children shall always have a place of refuge.
27Reverent and worshipful fear of the Lord is a fountain of life, that one may avoid the snares of death.
So, I wrote way back when that if life isn’t revealing the answers you need or something confuses you, or you don’t understand why…like living in a broken dream, that if you are patient enough sometimes God reveals an answer, and sometimes it is to something you weren’t even asking for and other times it is exactly what you asked for. God will reveal Himself whether it is the way you expect Him to or not…
My sister Michelle and I went to evening performances at Icthus in Wilmore, KY…those that don’t live in the Kentucky area think Christian Woodstock w/ clothes and teens. God bless those courageous fools (total term of endearment) who can rage the elements like last years rain, sleet, hail, and wind… or even spend day after day in the hot sun like this year. In my efforts to keep up my Deep Alaskan Tan and from perishing under heat exhaustion we opted out of the day performances. It was also awhile since my sis had been home from Memphis so our Mother would have never forgiven us for spending the weekend at Icthus.
Thursday night Michelle and I got to the grounds around 9:30pm. Jeremy Camp was just finishing up his set. He is so sold out. Between Mr. Camp and TobyMac Michelle and I chatted about the breathtaking sunset and what a good environment this was for young teens (and just how old we are…gracious me!). As the sun finally sinks below the horizon bleeding the last moments of light away a spotlight illumines a man on stage…with a red ball cap turned backwards and a shirt that reads “VOTE FOR JESUS!” we suddenly realize who he is…Stephen Baldwin. Michelle and I squealed like giddy schoolgirls while all the youth of America looked at us like we were insane! We had hoped to see him two years ago, but the mud and the yuck was just too bad and blocked traffic from Lexington to Wilmore. Just hearing him talk, he truly has never lost the passion, and in those moments that followed something wonderful began to happen…I began to feel. I had already started the necessary anesthetizers flowing so that I wouldn’t be pierced, so that I couldn’t feel the truth seeping in. After all I was miserable in this state, but it was better than the alternative…pain…or even worse God forbid true worship and joy.
Mr. Baldwin bowed out gracefully and Toby came out and brought the funk for about an hour and fifteen minutes. He really knows how to put on a show. I left feeling sort of giddy and happy that Michelle made me come.
Friday night was Casting Crowns, but first it was a little Audio A shopping. I bought two t-shirts, a wrist band, and the “Lift” album because I had it on tape. I’ve also just ordered “Don’t Censor Me” on CD because when I first discovered Audio A all I had was a tape player, oh yeah!...not that CDs weren’t invented I just didn’t have a CD player at the time. We headed down to the stage with our loot in hand stuffed from both jean pockets and had the wonderful opportunity of hearing on of the most amazing new bands Casting Crowns give a great show…they are so Christ-centered. They prayed about 3 times throughout the show, and the truth they gave was so candid. The lead singer has both ADD and Dyslexia. He described ADD exactly the way it was…the whole time since I’ve lived with the disorder I’ve never had someone describe what your brain does. One of the things that hit home with their message is that God doesn’t want to use the perfect, the squeaky clean, the spotless…he wants to use the losers, the downtrodden, the heavy laden…one of the things I found most prolific was when the lead singer said that the world doesn’t get mad at us because we fail, but it’s because we act like we don’t. There is an authenticity in Christianity that has been replaced by duty or acting. Who said we had to perfect? God uses Losers everyday to fulfill His ministry. Until we accept that we are sinners saved by Grace and what that truly means we will never be effective witnesses to the cause…
At the afterglow show we went to see Kevin Max…the 1/3 of DC Talk I hadn’t been keeping up with. Man he can sing. What an amazing unbelievable gracious talent. I just ask you to keep him in your thoughts and prayers…he has been through a lot, but I know that God can deliver Him from all.
Before I go into Saturday night I have to give you a little background. When I became a Christian at age 13 one of the most wonderful things the group of friends I hung out with did was go to Christian concerts. We had tones of people coming through Rome, GA and Atlanta, GA and areas of Tennessee, so we were never at a loss for having something to do. Two of my absolute FAV bands were DC Talk and Audio Adrenaline. I got to go backstage to meet DCT, and I’ve met Audio A twice. I had a picture somewhere of me w/ Audio A after the Some Kind of Journey (Zombie) Tour…I can’t remember what they called it, but I couldn’t find it…which sort of makes me sad, so you don’t get to see me with the guys, anyway I digress…I LOVE them…still do! There is always an Audio A or DCT CD in my car if I so choose to listen. They were my youth. I started listen to Audio A when I was about 13 and just grew up on them. Loving that garage feel and high energy and strong message that they brought to every album, every concert that they have. One of the most amazing things about Audio A today is that they are still reaching out to young people. Whole new generations have discovered and fallen in love with them. It was weird to see, at 25…10, 11, 12, 13 year olds falling in love with this band for the first time. Their message has never changed and their love for the youth of America has never changed. They may have gotten older, the bands dynamic may have changed, they may have expanding families and new journeys, but one thing that remains constant in the world of Audio Adrenaline is their heart. I first found out that the band was disbanding from my boss of all things. She isn’t a Christian, but knows I am and was talking about the band having to say “adios” because of Mark’s voice, from years of touring, needing a rest. I was saddened, but I knew that their hearts and ministry wouldn’t stop with the end of Audio Adrenaline. These men are destined for greatness in their servant hood for the Father.
So, this whole weekend has gotten me thinking on my youth…I just couldn’t help it. I thought of the late nights at a concert, the energy that you felt afterwards, the Jesus high you got. Every time I just knew it would stay, it would last beyond the rigors of high school life, of part-time jobs, and endless homework. I knew I would keep the fire alive. Being older and wiser I have a more sobering sort of sad feeling with the end of Icthus…I realized that more than likely the high wouldn’t stay, that I would be forced to go back to the monotony of day to day life, and that eventually it would weight me down passed my ability to feel the buzz…Beth Moore talks about how we often will go get juiced or pumped up on the Word and the good feeling it brings…we can chew on it and reflect on it and feel full, but we never plant it in our heart, we never let it grow, we never make it personal. Casting Crowns talked about serving someone else’s Jesus, and until we learn to have a relationship with a personal Jesus instead of the Jesus of Sunday School we wouldn’t be filled. I realized that this is what I did in my youth. I not only loved these bands and many others, but I took their Jesus home with me. I thought He would fill me up, I thought I could live a reflection of their life. Eventually the light dims, the world crushes in, and you are left with a hollow shell.
My Jesus…praise His name that I found Him, and praise Him that we are all Brothers and Sisters that not only have a personal intimate relationship with the most high, but can also have a connection and level of intimacy with fellow believers. So, the night of Audio Adrenaline’s concert I was all aflutter. I felt like about 15. My journey had not yet led me through some of the darkest and devastating years of my life, I wasn’t struggling so much, and of course I thought I knew absolutely everything. I knew what it was like to live sold out and I kept Jesus on my sleeve for everyone to see. There was no work to weight me down, or the demands of a journey move that, while I have complete peace about, which is weird…I keep thinking maybe I’m not thinking on it enough…this peace stuff is new territory!...there was nothing in my way but about 100 people or so, a fence, and a stage from, for lack of a better word, some of my heroes. I just want you to know that they ROCKED ICTHUS! I don’t think I have ever seen a performance like that. They were on point, Mark was so energetic he was almost bursting at the seams. The guys were reflective on their success and gave much gratitude to the fans. I got swept up in it all and just didn’t want to leave. However, the lights had to fade, the journey had to end, and my little Jesus High did ebb down from the night…but guys I got to feel again and I wondered why it took me so long to just do it.
Jesus is amazing, and I’m getting to read the Psalms right now in my daily Bible reading and I just want to praise Him and love Him and give Him all the glory. He works in a Loser like me. It’s incredible. I find myself wanting a familiar intimate connection with the guys of Audio Adrenaline…I tend to do that with anyone I admire (and plan to discuss that in another entry entitle “Affection for Connection”), but what I’ve learned is that all believers in Christ are connected in a very special way…I want to be real, authentic and truthful about my journey…most of all I want to get dirty and leave a mark for Christ on this world…Praise Him for the Danger…Praise Him for the Journey!
21At that time Jesus, full of joy through the Holy Spirit, said, "I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. Yes, Father, for this was your good pleasure. – Luke 10:21