“What if we are the generation that we are waiting for, and what if the time is now?”
As the sun sank behind the mountains, the sky turned a beautiful orange and gold as around 1,500 people took those words to heart in L. Hope Dossett Stadium during Fields of Faith last Wednesday night.
Emotions ran high as the Spirit flowed from person to person as Roger Woods, chaplin for the University of Tennessee, brought his message to the group. His message was simple, saying “Arise,” and as Madea would say, “Don’t be scerred.”
“That’s what God is calling for with this generation right now,” Woods said during his message. “He’s calling for this generation to arise. He’s calling for this generation to arise and step up into your rightful place.”
Taking his sermon from Joshua 1: 6-9, Woods made the point that Joshua had to arise after the death of Moses.
When Joshua took the multitude to the Promised Land, there was no one over 20 years old that entered.
“That represents that God is calling this generation,” Woods said. “Not only is He calling the generation, but He’s calling a generation to not be afraid. That’s what God is telling the generation today. ‘Don’t be scerred.’ Don’t be afraid, for I am with you wherever you go.”
To Woods, the hardest part about being a teenager now is peer pressure.
During his sermon, he related to the younger generation by saying he’d just gotten a tweet from God. It said, “Stop falling to peer pressure, and you put pressure on your peers to do the Godly thing.”
Ethan Jeffers, Brooke Bane, Tucker Cain and head football coach Justin Price spoke about what God had done for them. During the service, all gave moving testimonies as the Spirit began to move from chest to chest.
Hands raised high as the Birdsongs sang “How Great is Our God”.
“Do you know that you know that you know that if you die tonight, you’re going to heaven?” Bane said as she talked about getting saved.
Tucker Cain had to find that right group of friends. Through moving many times, Cain finally found the Lord through his new group of friends in the FCA at Campbell County High School.
“Now that I’m deeper into the Word, as Brooke said, I know that I know that I dang well know that I’m going to go to Heaven if the Lord Jesus came down right now,” Cain said as he looked over his shoulder. “I just want to tell you that it’s an awesome feeling to get that great core group of friends and worship God without being embarrassed.”
“Peer pressure is a big deal here,” basketball player Gunner St. John said. “You’ve got to look cool and fit in. You’ve got to rise above that peer pressure and all the things you think you have to do, and not be scared to tell people that you love Jesus. I’m not ashamed.”
On Wednesday night, many other students found they weren’t ashamed either. As Woods gave an invitation, students flooded from the stands as tears ran down their faces.
With over 50 counselors standing on the track of the football field, students rushed down. Within minutes, counselors were over run as many had three or more standing around them.
As music softly played in the background, people, old and young alike, fell to their knees around the football field.
For Woods, the experience just meant God is awesome.
“We were singing the song “How Great is our God,” and there was no hesitation,” he said. “Usually, there’s a little hesitation of young people coming forward, but when I said come forward, bam. I was thinking maybe 20 or 30 (students would come), but they just kept coming. We had more students than we had counselors, and that’s God moving.”
For Brian Miracle, Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) leader at Campbell County High School, it just proved that this age group isn’t afraid.
“That means that they are not ‘scerred’,” Miracle said. “They are ready to take it up and be those people. They are ready to be that generation. They are not scared, and they are willing to put everything on the line and say, ‘I love Jesus, and I love God.’”
However, it’s not an easy road for kids.
With youth today facing such a tough road, Woods had a meaning behind his arise sermon. Arise simply means, ‘Always Recover Instantly when Storms Evolve,’ according to Woods.
“This generation really goes through a lot,” Woods said. “I wouldn’t want to be a teenager today, because they go through so much more than what we went through when we were younger. Now, God is calling them to arise, and it’s better now if they are sticking together.”
Students from Anderson County, Cumberland Gap, LaFollette and Jacksboro Middle schools, and others joined Campbell County students in the event.
“It makes us grow so much more together,” Lauren Roberts said. “We can bond with our classmates even more now, because we’ve had this experience with them.”
For Woods, it was a experience many of them didn’t know they would get before coming. He told them getting saved was simple as ABC.
“Acknowledge that you are a sinner and you need a savior,” he said. “Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and you’ll be saved. Last, confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus Christ and believe in your heart that He was raised from the dead, and you will be saved.”
Bane also pointed out people have to know Jesus during her testimony. She quoted John 14:6.
“It says, ‘I am the way, the truth and the life,” Bane read. “No man enters the kingdom of Heaven except through me.’ I had heard it a million times, but when I heard it that day, it made sense. I’m not going to Heaven by just doing good things. I have to go through God.”
Jeffers, Campbell County High School’s quarterback, said that’s what the night was all about.
“It’s awesome people getting to know God more,” Jeffers said. “There were tons of people here trying to get to know God more. It’s not about the people here or the people in the stands, but it’s about God and trying to get to know Him better.”
That was accomplished for the FCA.
Expecting 1,000 people for Fields of Faith, FCA got more than it had hoped. As souls flooded out of the stadium and hands raised high, prayers were being answered.
“We had prayed and prayed that the Holy Spirit would show up, and you could feel it,” cheerleader Victoria McCullah said. “You could see it in everybody crying, fellowshipping and worshiping. You could tell that God really came.”