We just got home from a very, very special trip to Florida for a series of O2 Experience events. Each and every time we get to look into someone’s eyes and tell them that they are made in God’s image and that they have value and that Jesus loves them and no matter what they have done, today is a new day, and He wants to turn their brokenness into beauty and their sorrow into strength–which is what the O2 Experience is all about–it is special; but this trip was unique. For one thing, 2014 marks 10 years since we first felt the call to start this ministry. Jennie and I had just gotten married and the Lord stirred our hearts to call this generation out to sexual purity. We had no idea what we were in for, but we obeyed. To have reached the 10 year mark and to have done these events all over the country since then is absolutely amazing to me.
Another reason this trip was unique was because we have never done an O2 run outside of the summer. Wintertime presented some unique challenges for a team that is headquartered in Montana. Exposing our pale and pasty selves to the Florida weather we knew there was the inherent risk that some members of our crew might begin worshipping the sun, or never come back home. There was also the 108 hour round trip drive with a 30-foot trailer for the guys who bring the gear…yeah, that happened.
It was worth it. Never have we seen the floodgates opened like we did in these three events. We saw over capacity crowds at two of the events. In Ft. Lauderdale once the enormous worship center filled to standing room only, people cascaded into six different overflows! In Miami we broke fire code (In Jesus’ name) in the sanctuary, turned to an auxiliary gymnasium, then filled every nook and cranny of the building, and eventually projected what was happening on the platform on the outside of the building and hundreds STOOD in the parking lot, many coming forward to the projection to indicate their profession of faith in Jesus!
The Melbourne event was a wild-card. I had never set foot in the city, am not on the radio there, and have no ministry connections that would typically help an event gain momentum and exposure. It was also on a Tuesday night. A school night. Really, the event had everything going against it. Jesus did His thing. Thousands showed up, and there was such a sense of spiritual hunger and the presence of God was felt. In response to the invitation the front area filled up instantly, people literally ran forward, and soon they backed up the aisles indicating they were giving their lives to Christ. We actually saw such great response in Florida that we ran out of New Believer Bibles after the second event and had to have more shipped in for the final night!
It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. In the midst of all of this I was struggling with voice problems all week long, spending as much of each day as I could on vocal rest so that I could speak each night. Brutal. But in our weakness God’s strength is made perfect. Regardless of how much it scared me or how difficult it was, the Holy Spirit provided the power that was lacking. We were carried on eagles’ wings. I love all of this so much. Seeing young girls tear up as we tell them they are valuable and precious and worth waiting for, watching people put their signed commitment cards in their wallets, hearing the stories of what God has done, and through it all our dedicated team serving with excellence and passion. AMAZING.
Here is the Florida O2 run lookbook: