Day 5 - Westside: A Jesus Church

I think everyone on our trip could attest to the fact that visiting Ryan Post, Southeast's former youth worship pastor, was one of the things our team was most looking forward to about this trip. We all knew that we would be thrilled to see Ryan, but we could not have imagined the great joy that we would experience when we walked into Pip's Doughnut Shop and saw Ryan sitting at a table, drinking coffee, and waiting for us to arrive. The morning was filled with Nutella-drizzled doughnuts, coffee, lots of laughter, and friendship.

We then headed to meet up with Keithan, Kasey, and Matt from Westside for brunch at a place called Proud Mary's. It was so cool to listen to them share their stories and their hearts for ministry. It wasn't until we actually stepped inside the church that we began to understand the Jesus-centered culture of Westside: A Jesus Church. Ryan gave us a tour of the church and introduced us to even more of the staff who continued to share with to share with us Westside's core values of "Live, learn, lead."

At around 3:00, we unloaded our stuff from the van and set up for rehearsal for that night's youth worship night. We rehearsed for about three hours, and already in rehearsal I could feel the Spirit moving and beginning to unleash. The first time we rehearsed "How Beautiful," I felt my body go completely weak in the presence of the Lord. The best way I know to describe it is that I felt like complete jello. I've experienced the power of the Holy Spirit in worship many times before, but never like that. It was as if the Holy Spirit completely weakened my flesh to prepare me for the power He was about to strengthen me with. It was in that moment that I realized that any good thing I did that night would not be by my own power -- it would be by His spirit. I know the rest of our team had similar experiences, and it truly amazes me how God so gracefully prepared us for that night.

Worshipping with "A Jesus Youth" was unlike anything else. The energy was through the roof, and middle schoolers, high schoolers, college students, and adults were all authentically worshipping before the Lord and giving Him everything they had to offer.

It amazes me what can happen when we allow the Holy Spirit to lead us. True change occurs in people's hearts when we stop trying to hold God to our expectations and allow Him to do what He desires to do, free from the limits we try to put on Him. By His Spirit, our team was able to truly bring everything we had before the Lord without caring what anyone else would have to say about us or the way we worship. My prayer is that we wouldn't forget what it felt like to lead under the direction of the Holy Spirit. May He be the one who dictates our every feeling, thought, and action. May we live Spirit-led lives from now until forever.

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