The church has been consumed this week by EPIC. It's funny how something can start small, consuming only one or two people, and then fast consume everyone around them. We knew this event would be big. We wanted it to be big. We wanted people to come, just as we want all people to know the story of the EPIC. But this week, it's been crazy. There are commercials on the television, commercials on the radio, announcements in the bulletin, ticket sales through the internet. And somewhere, in the middle of so much, God is planning to do something huge in Bloomington. I know it doesn't matter how cool the lights are, how perfect the video is, or how on the music sounds, but all of those things lead to a combined experience that transcends the Worship Center at Sherwood Oaks and speaks to a higher Story.
The thing that has appealed to me about this program from the beginning was the simple premise that we are all part of a story. We all have a role to play, and we all have a reason to play it well. There IS evil at work in the world, and there is a dark side to the story, but there is still so much beauty, so much love, and so much hope. We don't like to think about the dark side of the story; we don't want to spend too much time thinking about the unseen. No matter how hard we try and not think about it, that doesn't really change anything. The battle is still real. The battle is still being fought on a very real level for every single person and every single heart on the planet. I remember when I read This Present Darkness. The book scared me, but it also drew me in.
There is one scene, where the angels and the demons are surrounding the inside and outside of a church that is so vivid in my mind. If I really stop to think about it, I can see the darkness around me. You see it in the broken relationships and the hurt souls of people you love. You see it in the girls trying to find their place in the world and struggling with so much self-image and fear. You see it in the boys that are doing their best to live up to the world and the unrealistic standards they try to meet. You see it in war, in death, and in the struggle for survival. I don't know why we trivialize the real fight; maybe we do it because to actually think about it is too scary. It's too real, and we don't want that reality to be manifest in our lives.
And then, through the darkness, there is a song calling; a Voice that speaks in whispers on the wind that we are loved, we are worth the fight. We are worth everything. This week, as I've been thinking about EPIC and praying for EPIC and living my part of the EPIC, I have found that to be so true. That I am loved. That I am cherished. That I am worth everything--I have known that for awhile, and believed it to be true, but there is something about putting yourself 'in' God's shoes for a moment and hear him saying You are worth everything. That is the true story of the EPIC--that you are worth everything, because you are worth everything, no price is too big to play. Can't you hear God just saying this to you:
When you cried I'd wipe away all of your tears
When you'd scream I'd fight away all of your fears
And I held your hand through all of these years
But you still have
All of me
This is just one of the pieces of one of the songs that will be sung tonight. God is right there, walking with you, crying with you, fighting for you, and loving on you. Because he is right there, and because He knows you so well, He trusts you with a role in His EPIC that can only be filled by you. You are the only person on the planet who can do what God has called you to do; you are the only person who can live the life God has called you to live. Without you, His Story is incomplete.
And yet, somehow, we still find ourselves listening to the world and believing that we are expendable and that our lives are not important. Fighting that one thought and that one belief is the goal of EPIC. To help people understand just how big the story is and how important they are.
I am excited to see what happens when the 2500 people who have tickets already come into this place. Some are from the church; some are not. Some know God; some do not. Hearts will be opened and lives will be changed.