So I have this awesome husband who is willing to babysit 4 kids so I can take a two day road trip out to Midland with a girlfriend to hang out and listen to awesome music. We arrived this afternoon, got our canopy and chairs set up. Me setting up a tent is always awesome! The early bands were pretty lame. It did cross my mind many times, "We are so much better than them." As the sun went down, the bigger bands played. Family Force Five was fun. They screamed a lot and threw their guitars around, jumped, ran, and head-banged. I was exhausted just watching. But I did enjoy the show, even if it did not lead me into worship.
Now for the good part. Newsboys closed out the evening with an awesome, amazing, incredible, super, wow concert. I am not a huge Newsboys fan in general, however I was really impressed by the lead singer Peter at a worship conference several years ago when I heard him speak about his heart for worship and songwriting. They are not a band that I go out and buy their cds, so I was really surprised by the show tonight.
Newsboys hit the stage ready to rock. The drummer wailed on the drums all night - unbelievable. The keyboard player had 2 keyboards, a synthesizer, and two computers. The first several songs were high energy, hard rocking songs. Then they shifted into worship music. I absolutely loved their set. They did "Blessed by your name and ended with the bridge, "You give and take away." The bass player keep a strong driving bass while the drummer shifted his beat to a tribal feel and they leaped into "He Reigns." Now these happen to be two of my favorite worship songs of all time because of some intimate worship experiences that have occurred while singing these songs.
The first time I ever heard "Blessed Be Your Name" was my first week back in church after a miscarriage several years ago. When we got to that bridge, "You give and take away," I lost it. I could not even compose myself enough to walk out of church. Shawn held me and friends gathered around and laid hands on me and prayed over me as I wept. It was such an intimate moment of worship as God showed me that he was absolutely worthy of my worship, my praise, and my trust, even when he made no sense at all. So every time that I sing that song, I am immediately lifted back into God's presence where he reminds me of his great love for me.
Then to follow it with "He Reigns"! Oh My Gosh!!!! This is one of the other most intimate worship experiences I have taken part in. I was at Saddleback's worship conference and Newsboys was leading worship. We came to the end of He Reigns and continued singing for over 10 minutes after the Newsboys had left the stage. I was surrounded by thousands of musicians lifting up worship to their God. It was a moment that I will not ever forget.
So pairing the two songs together really did pull me right into worship. Time stood still, the people around me disappeared, and their was only an audience of One. The rest of the concert was also fabulous. Peter read the Isaiah passage about mounting up on the wings of eagles as a lead in to a song I had not heard, "Stay Strong." Beautiful! God's Word poured over his people was intimate and precious.
So then the Newsboys changed course and moved back into fun - some relief from the intensiveness of the moment. They did a walk down memory lane and sang pieces of all the old stuff. They did Shine, Breakfast, and Amazing Love. To close out the concert, Peter sat down at his own drum set and joined the drummer for a rockin' duet. I thought long and hard about waking up my drummer friends so they could listen in, but decided against it. The last song of the night was "I am free."
Wow - what a concert experience. Words simply cannot captivate the power and strength of God's presence tonight. I cannot express the depth and complexity of the concert and the finesse of the band in leading us into God's presence. I was blessed to be here tonight. The only thing to make it better would be all of you, my friends, standing beside me - voices and hands raised as one as we worship the King of all Kings.