So I just got back from a conference studying Acts and just seeing how on fire for God the early church was right when they received the Holy Spirit and I am excited.

I was just watching the 700 Club (yes I’m old… but it came on after Secret Life on ABC Family and I didn’t have my remote on-hand) and saw this one report of a Iraqi Christian who was tortured for 7 months for his conversion to Christianity from Islam… Everyday he endured gruesome torture of eclectic shock, beating, and much more… and you know what he said constantly to the men who was doing this to him? Jesus loves you!!! And you know what else… he smuggled a bible in the prison and EVANGELIZED to the very guards who would beat him every day and got 4 to convert!!!

This is just awesome and yet so convicting… He allowed the Holy Spirit to work through him the whole time he was in that prison… never backing down on his proclamation of Christ… yet I have crippling fear to proclaim Jesus as the only way to God because I might be rejected or might offend… The early Christians all died proclaiming Christ… from persecution… are you willing to do the same???

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So LOTS means Lessons Outside the Sessions 🙂

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The enemy’s been defeated. Death couldn’t hold you down. Gonna lift our voice in victory. Gonna make our praises loud. Shout unto God with a voice of triumph, shout unto God with a voice of praise. Shout unto God with a voice of triumph. We lift your name up, we lift your name up!

I saw it fitting to begin again with this song because It is what I’ll be talking about next. So I guess its time for the spiritual journeys and lessons learned at ATL ’08 outside of the seminars and sessions… This is where my life was transformed the most anyway which is why I just love conferences.

So we arrive at the conference center around 2 pm which is good considering we left late because someone was having some issues and overslept or something ( I never really got the story but it didn’t matter) AND because our van was trippin and shaking while we were on the road at first (but thank God through prayer and faith it stopped and we made it safely). So we register and right then and there I’m like smacked in the face with a test. Why? Well somehow I got separated from the group when they were doing housing and so I was pretty much isolated on my own in a different building with a roommate I didn’t know. Now for some people they’re thinking ok, big deal, so what? Yeah well for me this was a very big deal because I saw this as me needing to do more work than I had anticipated (to be included with the group) and (probably more honestly) was willing to do. The fact of the matter was, I didn’t need help isolating myself from the group, because I did that well enough when we were together anyway. So yeah, this was a big problem and I let everyone know it. LOL! I am moping because I will be forced to extend myself to other people when I wasn’t really close with the group I came with in the first place and saw the conference as a potential bonding time. Aren’t we glad that our ideas aren’t God’s ideas? I mean really like I mentioned it wasn’t even the fact that I was with someone I didn’t know… because meeting people is the story of my life… but it was just the fact that we weren’t even in the same building… and like it was a pretty far walk in between, so I doubted anyone would visit my room and vice versa (which actually became true LOL)… So I cry and call my bff (who didn’t answer) so I yell @ God and He smiles and laughs @ me… and then speaks to me through my staff worker saying “Maybe God put you there for a reason. Don’t let this ruin the whole conference for you.” I wish I could say the Hallelujah Chorus rang and I had instant revelation and was all good from that point then… ha! No… My response in my mind was yeah, I know he put me there for a reason and I don’t like it at all… and my verbal response was Yeah, whatever, I’ll get over it. And I did… but that didn’t stop me from being upset at certain points in the conference when what I expected to happen happened like my being in another part of the main conference room because I wasn’t with them when we entered or my eating meals with strangers because we couldn’t coordinate to eat together or the free times I spent alone in my room because I waited for phone calls or text messages to see what they were doing that never came… But in all of that God spoke to me… because he really let me know I had no right to be upset because I really didn’t voice clearly to my group how I felt or what I wanted or expected… what I “expected” for them to do was read my mind… what I “expected” them to do was to think about me and make sure I was included (as if they were intentionally excluding me)… God really forced me to grow up and stop being a baby in that area of expecting people to like cater to my wants and desires… and I’m sure that’s apart of what He had in store when he placed me where he did. Also my roommate was pretty awesome and amazing and blessed my life beyond imagine and made me want to cry and shout all @ the same time in certain occasions where I now have a mutual connection with a good sister and friend that probably wouldn’t have happened if we weren’t roommates.

So for the conference we had morning corporate prayer times (non-mandatory) where we’d get up early 7:30 am and go to this room and pray with the leading of a staff worker. Prayer is amazing… but corporate prayer is just so powerful, especially the way we did it… like it was just such a lifter and a boost in the mornings and I actually kinda miss it and wish I had someone to pray with in the mornings LOL… (I used to try to get us to do family morning prayer times… it didn’t really work too well cuz my mom didn’t like me trying to tell her what to do LOL) anywho… it just really stirred up a fire within me every morning and I was ready to face the day and it was just so great… I don’t even know how else to describe it… and like you’d think it was something great and spectacular, it was just prayer but prayer is awesome! LOL Spending time with Daddy is awesome! 🙂

So speaking of prayer and spending time with God… 🙂 December 30th… Don’t remember what time it was cuz I was pretty out of it afterward… but woo… I already know I won’t do this experience justice BUT I will try… so we did an all conference corporate prayer time after one of our main sessions… they said they were just going to let the Holy Spirit move and whatever happens, happens… HA! Like nothing I’ve EVER experienced before in my life… we started by praising God through reading praise scriptures simultaneously and we were to read and read until the “Holy Hush” (we would just know when it was time to be quiet, no one would tell us) came and would get further instructions from the Holy Spirit there after… Let me tell you the Holy Spirit just rained down like fire on that place after the Holy Hush… we were lead into a corporate moan/scream/crying out to God and I don’t know about anyone else but I was floored (face down prostrate)… and then one of the staff workers prayed over me things that I hadn’t told anyone but that only God knew… and said things that God had told me before but I had forgotten… and such a peace came over me when I got up off the floor (oh and somehow everyone got floored LOL) I couldn’t stand still I was so full of the Spirit and I was FREE like all of my pain vanished (even the physical pain that I came in there with) and all my emotional wounds healed, and in that moment, God took the time to make me whole and tell me I didn’t need to look to any other person for the love and affection that he was currently bestowing upon me.  He was telling me that He was always with me… even in those dark times when I felt that He wasn’t… That HE was the whispers in the night saying Don’t Do it your life is too precious… That HE knew me better than I even knew myself and HE would never leave me and I was protected with Him… and I began to think back to the times where I felt like dying and felt like death had a grip on me… where I felt so close to the edge I just might have jumped… AND I just praised and praised and praised… and that praise has been etched in my heart… and I began singing songs I didn’t know but I was singing and I don’t remember any of the words to the songs but I remember the staff worker praying that I’d be filled with songs of Joy and I totally was… and THEN 🙂 another staff worker led by the Spirit got on the microphone and began to sing theme song!

The enemy’s been defeated. Death couldn’t hold you down. Gonna lift our voice in victory. Gonna make our praises loud. Shout unto God with a voice of triumph, shout unto God with a voice of praise. Shout unto God with a voice of triumph. We lift your name up, we lift your name up!

Talks with my roommate really helped me grow… I know we were talking about places God has called us to be where we don’t want to be and she has been to the place where I don’t want to be but am supposed to go… and I hadn’t told her about it yet… and she just randomly brought it up and was talking about it and I was just like shut up (not the bad shut up LOL) and wanted to walk out cuz at that point I hadn’t like fully committed to go and of course God would bring it up and our conversation like I’m not going to let you forget about this missy! LOL

To Be Continued