Tonight I was standing in a church on the south side of Glasgow, singing a song that is so familiar to me, and in an instant I was back in a wee room in Ballintoy with a group of about 20 folks…
The room was in a hostel in Ballintoy, on the north coast of Northern Ireland.
The group of people where my Exodus team from 2005 – our Holland/Scotland team, and Ricks England/Scotland team.
It was our first chance to really get to know the other team.
We worshipped together.
We ate together.
We exercised together(!).
We went for long drives/walks on beaches.
And we met with the living God.
One night during our residential, we watched a talk by John Piper from the One Day event in 2003 (part of the Passion movement). We listened and we grew restless as Piper spoke on boasting in the cross…
“But may it never be that I would boast,
except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ,
through which the world has been crucified to me,
and I to the world.” Gal 6:14
“You don’t have to know a lot of things for your life to make a lasting difference in the world. But you do have to know the few great things that matter, and then be willing to live for them and die for them. The people that make a durable difference in the world are not the people who have mastered many things, but who have been mastered by a few great things. If you want your life to count, if you want the ripple effect of the pebbles you drop to become waves that reach the ends of the earth and roll on for centuries and into eternity, you don’t have to have a high IQ or EQ; you don’t have to have to have good looks or riches; you don’t have to come from a fine family or a fine school. You have to know a few great, majestic, unchanging, obvious, simple, glorious things, and be set on fire by them.”
And we worshipped. We encountered God in ways I’ll never forget.
We we’re singing “How Great Is Our God”.
What a beautiful song, and what an even more beautiful truth.
That song became a vital part of our cry during those few days in Ballintoy.
It became our cry for the nations…
“Let all the earth rejoice…”
I stood in that room with about 20 other young people my age, with my heart burning for Jesus, and a passion for the nations… and a thankfulness for like-minded friends. [ A generation is rising up… ] Several months later, we headed out to different countries. We shared our lives and our hearts with each other, and many of us are still close friends.
I have sung that song so many times since that night in April 2005. But never have I been so vividly reminded of the beginnings of this journey, of the birth of Generation 24.
In the run-up to World AIDS Day next Saturday, we’re (CU social action group) putting on a free screening of a film called Dear Francis tonight. I’m really excited about this – the film is a really personal look at the impact of the HIV/AIDS virus on Swaziland – the country with the highest prevelance rate in the world. Nearly 40% of its adult population carry the disease.
HIV/AIDS seems to me to be one of those issues that isnt addressed very well by us in the West. There is lots of talk of the devastation it causes, but there doesn’t seem to be much action. To me, it seems to be an issue people don’t know what to do about in response… we feel bad, but what can we do? That’s the purpose of tonight…