Santa Barbara // O2 Experience

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Now that we are back home and the dust has settled I am going to post a series of blogs about the O2 Experience tour of Southern California we just returned from with some reflections from the journey as well as some amazing pictures from each city. Though we have been doing O2 Experience events for 11 years now it is more exhilarating to me than ever. Far from going out, the fire in my heart is burning brightly to bring this fresh perspective on life, death, sex and romance to this generation living on the earth today. Maybe it’s having my oldest daughter creeping closer to her junior high years, or maybe it’s the ever increasing joy I find in my marriage with Jennie as our love deepens like a fine wine over time — but I am absolutely energized by this ministry the Lord has called us to.

This tour kicked off in Santa Barbara, just a few hours north from Los Angeles, and what a beautiful drive! We took the scenic route going up the 1 through Malibu to get to the 101 and enjoyed every minute of it. I had come in to the tour from a preaching trip in England and was working on getting my body-clock off London-town time (with a little help from my friend Ambien) and so my mind was a little cloudy, but the beautiful drive along the coast with the windows down helped wake me up. I have heard people talk up Santa Barbara’s beauty forever but had never been there before and I instantly fell in love. It kind of felt to me like a happy cross between Orange County and Monterey. I also had some of the best salmon tacos I have ever had in my life at a killer mexican restaurant called Los Agaves. Then I saw Rob Lowe (dashing my dreams he didn’t walk up and say, “Hi, I’m Rob Lowe.”)

The church that hosted the event was Calvary Chapel Santa Barbara. Pastor David Guzik and his wife Ingalill, who lead there, have become good friends of Jennie and I and we thoroughly enjoyed spending time with them. Their church along with the others in the area did a fantastic job promoting the event. I was probably the most nervous about this spot on the tour because I have never preached in the city. Besides my Air 1 “60 Seconds of Hope” messages, I’m not on the radio and we don’t have a substantial podcast listener base there either. It could have been a bust. It’s always a step of faith coming to a new city for the first time and this was definitely uncertain going into it.

Getting back into the O2 Experience rhythm takes work, for our tour team the first is generally the most difficult and time consuming getting loaded in and out and for me getting my mind and heart back into the zone of this intense headspace. The event was awesome. By the time the night started the sanctuary was packed to capacity. There was a huge response to the gospel and you could sense God doing deep work in people’s hearts as we talked about sex, dating, romance and marriage. We have been intentional about bringing the demographic up so we can reach more people in their late 20’s without losing the opportunity to reach students and we saw that reflected in this event very well. Loved this time in Santa Barbara and can’t wait to return, and until then those salmon tacos will be in my dreams.

Here is the Santa Barbara O2 Experience lookbook:

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********We are working on our 2016 tour schedule now. If you would like to request an event in your area let us know here.********