Awaken: A Retrospective


“Best night of my life!”

That was the exclamation of one UCR student in the wake of this past Friday night’s Awaken outreach.

Earlier that day, I’m sure this guys was thinking that it was just an ordinary day on the campus of UC Riverside until one of the leaders from our ministry walked up to him and invited him to come to the University Theatre and join hundreds of other students in a worship experience. With a shrug of his shoulders he consented to coming along. No doubt he felt somewhat awkward and a little confused at first, not knowing exactly what to expect, but after a half an hour of hearing people his age raising their voices to God he began to realize something unique was happening among these believers. After the music stopped a video came on that detailed some of the sadly all too common struggles that university students go through, from drug addiction and alcohol abuse to prolonged depression and suicide. By the time Pastor Daniel got up to explain that the only hope anyone can ever have is in the eternal salvation offered in Jesus Christ, this man was ready to turn his heart towards life instead of death. When he went to receive a bible and talked with a follow-up councilor he admitted that he had unsuccessfully attempted suicide five times in the past and was desperately searching for meaning.

Even if this one man was the only person who turned his life around last Friday night the entire event was worth all the effort, hard work, long hours in prayer, and constant promotion. But we know that this soul was not the only one impacted. Hundreds of students and dozens of staff were on sight either worshiping or hearing others worship and being moved by the power of the Holy Spirit. Several weeks before the event the hurdles that the Well club leaders and us staff had to go through left the relationship between the theatre’s production manager and us somewhat strained. But after our service ended the production manager was very enthusiastic, appreciative, and even invited us to do more events like this. That can only be understood as the favor of God over this whole endeavor. The whole process from planning, to production, to follow up reminds me of a text in the scriptures.

“Neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth. He who plants and he who waters are one, and each will receive his wages according to his labor. For we are God’s fellow workers. You are God’s field, God’s building.” I Corinthians 3:7-9

There were many of us watering and planting, but we are nothing according to the Apostle Paul. Only God can change people’s hearts and exchange their eternal destination from hell to heaven. We are only his fellow workers and what an amazing and important privilege that is.

In just two short months we will be heading back out onto the mission field of our local university campuses yet again. This time it will be at Cal State San Bernardino, and we need many of you who are willing to plant and water the seeds of the gospel to rally together again. We need people dedicated to praying for God’s favor and power. We need bold individuals willing to promote by plastering the campus with fliers and engaging others in meaningful conversations about the gospel. We need you guys to be dedicated in bringing others along with you to this next event so that their lives can be changed in the same way that this UCR student’s has been changed. We must be a body of believers who always seek to awaken people to the beautiful truth of reconciliation with God that can only be found in Christ.

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