Friday, April 23, 2010

My Mild Obsession with Hillsong United

They say that acceptance is the first step. Okay, I will admit that I have a mild obsession with Hillsong United. There...I said it.

Earlier this week, we were blessed to celebrate Caleb and Logan's 8th birthday in style: at a United Hillsong worship event at Wells Fargo Arena here in Des Moines, Iowa.

When I first found out about the concert, I was torn because I realized that it fell on their birthday. What to do?

A) Throw them a really fantastic birthday celebration over the weekend and go on a date with my lovely wife by ourselves on Monday.


B) Take the kiddos with us and celebrate with them.

As you can deduce from the start of this blog, we took the boys. But we were also blessed to be able to get backstage passes for the show and 15 minutes before they hit the stage, the band humbly came out of their dressing room to wish my boys a happy birthday.

The week prior, Logan had asked if I could design him a shirt that read "Hillsong United States" as a play on words since the band resides in Sydney, Australia. I obliged and made two very handsome shirts for both Logan and Caleb, which they proudly displayed the night of the show. As a mildly obsessed fan, I brought along my favorite Sharpie and had the members each sign their shirts. We took a great family photo with the band (sans Jonah unfortunately who stayed with grandma and grandpa that night). And I even handed Joel Houston a couple of packs of Thomas Lift art cards, hoping it would bless him as William's art has blessed me.

The concert met all expectations. Of course, I knew what to expect worshiping with them a year prior at the Willow Creek Worship and Arts Conference (The Wonder Conference) the year before. So then that little voice in my head started speaking.

"Drive to Kansas City and see them again. It's only 3 hours away and it's not like Hillsong United gets to the states that often. Plus tickets are fairly reasonable."

A quick check of the weather report and I was rather discouraged. Rain. Thunderstorms. Wind. Ugh. What to do? So I tweet, "How much do I love Hillsong United? Enough to get wet."

They write back, "If we can do it, so can you!" Affirmation.

So I planned to drive by myself. Be alone in my thoughts and listen to their music full blare as I drive off to Kansas City. But then my buddy Josh, media director at Lutheran Church of Hope, offers to tag along and it's a man-date.

Last night was awesome. It was an outdoor show at the Starlight Theatre adjacent to the Kansas City Zoo. However, the rain was downpouring when we finally hit the Kansas City area. Not discouraged, we brought rain gear and agreed to live to tell this story again and again.

But God's favor was on us. As we pulled into the parking lot, the clouds parted and the skies turned blue. We were reminded of one of their songs in which they sing, "Open up the heavens, let your glory fall." To which God's glory fell upon this audience of worshipers last night.

We scalped tickets. Maybe it's not a fair assessment since we paid full price but I helped a church group out as several people canceled due to the weather. So we made new friends and worshiped our hearts out last night under the Kansas City night.

And I thought to myself, "Joel Houston and the rest of the gang from Hillsong United are freaking awesome. But they are merely a speck of sand in the beach of awesomeness that God claims as His."

I can't fathom what worship music in heaven must be like. What's crazy is that this music down here on earth probably doesn't compare. Although, these past two worship events I would argue that heaven has met earth.

I pray that Hillsong United can continue reaching a generation of unlost. To change the world as we know it. And inspire millions to turn their hearts to God.