My church’s band, Vested Worship, played at Miracles Happen Fest at Ironwood Springs Christian Ranch in Stewartville, MN. They opened for Tenth Avenue North on Saturday.The Camp Director, Bob Badwell, was incredibly generous and provided church members with tickets to come to the Festival. This was exciting news for a friend and I because we weren’t going to be going due to finances. We carpooled with some friends and had a fun road trip to Stewartville.
The drive was hilarious and went by quickly. The sky was clear until we reached Rochester. Then a deluge hit and we all got a shower with lunch. But we dried off before we reached Ironwood Springs; so did the skies.Painted rocks inscribed with verses graced various places throughout the camp, which was a favorite features at Ironwood Springs. There was so much to see so Val, Katelyn, Michelle, and I set off to explore. We walked through the art and craft fair, checked out the food and had some treats. There were many activities including tree climbing, petting zoo, laser tag, mini golf, a Ferris wheel, zip lines, paint ball and more. Val was excited about the pony rides, which had sadly ended before we arrived.We saw Clyde the Camel, who seemed to love Michelle. He walked over to her, ignoring everyone else. Another fun stop was at the Ole Red Barn for Western photos complete with costumes and all sorts of props! This isn’t normally something I do, but it was pretty fun! After seeing the festival events, the four of us walked through the grounds taking in the beauty. Even with all the activity, the grounds felt peaceful. There were sweet little touches of love throughout the ranch including little gnomes and a bridge over the river that runs through the property. The volunteers were all helpful and friendly, adding to the peaceful atmosphere. Finally it was time for the evening’s music to start! Vested Worship started the evening of music with some worship to draw people in. After Vested Worship completed their set, Jeff Deyo, formerly of Sonicflood, took the stage. He was very energetic and more people trickled to the stage. After Jeff Deyo came Sarah Reeves. She kept her set low key with a keyboard and guitarist; her songs were calming. Something about her seems to familiar, but I haven’t figured out why yet. She reminds me of Ellie Holcomb.As Sarah ended, the promise of chicken and ice cream and ice cold water lured Michelle and I away from the stage and we were caught in a downpour of rain. It rained long and hard, completing our second shower for the day. Thankfully, many tents were set up and we were able to stay under one for the worst of the rain. We made it back to the stage in time for Tenth Avenue North at 9pm. While the whole day at Ironwood Springs was fun, Tenth Avenue North was the highlight. The message they bring to the audience is so needed. The lead singer, Mike, is funny (hello, prom queen disciples!). Their message rings true and was refreshing. Really, it was more like hanging out with friends and singing loud than attending a concert. “We’re not here to sing TO you, but to sing WITH you.”
Here are some of the songs they sang with links to the music videos. I hope they encourage you as much as they have encouraged me.
You Are More – The labels we create for ourselves and others should not define us, unless we use Child of God – the one true label. Mike said as Tenth Avenue North, they are not Musicians (with the labels of famous, special, etc.) but Children of God who happen to play music.
Struggle – As children raising our hands meant we wanted our parent to come pick us up. Mike compared this to us raising our hands in worship to the King of kings. Think to how quickly a parent runs to pick up their child when those precious little hands are raised. How much more does our Heavenly Father run to us when we lift our hands to him?
Worn – Life is messy. Often we do not receive resolution of events in the world or in personal life. Life doesn’t turn out perfectly all the time, many things are not resolved, but God redeems those times. He uses them for His glory. They are not a waste, but a time to lean even closer on God and trust him and his plan for my life. God is not a God of resolution, but a God of Redemption.
I Have This Hope – When life slams me against the wall, how am I going to respond? “So I have this hope in the depth of my soul. In the flood or the fire. You’re with me. You won’t let go.” Yes and amen!
Driving home was a hoot (exploding salad, extra burger, and frostys thankyouverymuch). It was so late and I was so tired. But it was worth it.
The journey to a Promise of God seems to always take longer than we expect it to. And it probably almost always looks different than we expect. I wonder what was going through the heads of the Wise Men when they found out the Baby King wasn’t born in the palace in Jerusalem, and what they thought when they found out where he was living.
“The journey that had begun so many centuries before had led three Wise Men here. To a little town. To a little house. To a little child. To the King God had promised David all those years before. But this child was a new kind of king. Though he was the Prince of Heaven, he had become poor. Though he was the Mighty God, he had become a helpless baby. This King hadn’t come to be the boss. He had come to be a servant.”
The prophet Micah wrote it plainly:
It’s you, Bethlehem, in Judah’s land,
no longer bringing up the rear.
From you will come the leader
who will shepherd-rule my people, my Israel.
“God loved them with all of his heart. And they were lovely because God loved them.”
– Humans have a different way of looking at beauty and loveliness than God does. To God, we are ALL lovely, just because He created us. I hope that I can remember that more and more as I work to change my perceptions of people and see them through God’s loving eyes.
– The world started out as nothing. No sound, no light, no anything. Even if a person is blind, mute and can not speak, they cannot come close to feeling what the nothingness before Creation was like.
– Anyone who knows me knows I read A LOT of Madeleine L’Engle. She writes about how the stars sing and dance and how the earth sings an ancient song from the beginning of time that we have slowly forgotten the language of. I love knowing that even if we humans forget to praise God for His wonderful and mighty deeds that He is still being praised by all Creation!
“And Adam and Eve joined in the song of the stars and the streams and the wind in the trees, the wonderful song of love to the one who made them. … God looked at everything he had made. “Perfect!” he said. And it was. But all the stars and the mountains and galaxies and everything were noting compared to how much God loved his children. He would move heaven and earth to be near them. Always. Whatever happened, whatever it cost him. he would always love them. And so it was that the wonderful love story began…”
God spoke: “Let us make human beings in our image, make them
reflecting our nature
So they can be responsible for the fish in the sea,
the birds in the air, the cattle,
And, yes, Earth itself,
and every animal that moves on the face of Earth.”
God created human beings;
he created them godlike,
Reflecting God’s nature.
He created them male and female.
God blessed them…
God looked over everything he had made;
it was so good, so very good!