With Everything – Giving Back What Isn’t Ours

Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind  and with all your strength – Mark 12:30

Another year, another Overflow has come and gone! If you don’t remember (or never knew) what Overflow is, you can check out their website here or my blog post from last year, here!

Now, forewarning here, I have this problem called being distracted. Which means I spent a lot more time this weekend laughing than I did thinking about my blog. Which means, there aren’t photos. Sorry about that my friends! You’ll just have to use your imagination…or Google I guess.

So the thing is, last year’s blog post was easy to write. I could just write about what Overflow is, the event of it. But I can’t write the same post twice. And if I learned anything this year, it’s that the event isn’t what’s important. Music, sports events, games, performances, and lights and people can only get you so far. At the end of the day, it’s not about any of that. It’s about Jesus. It really is.

This was my fourth Overflow and for the first time, I wasn’t excited about going. I’m a really social person but the idea of loud music and people jumping around isn’t really my cup of tea. But God surpassed my expectations, as per the usual. He proved to me once again that what we do can’t limit His power, nor can it distract from His glory. Now, don’t get me wrong. Overflow is an amazing event that brings people together and provides a fun environment for people to encounter God. I’m so grateful to the tech and creative teams, the organizers, the speakers, band and youth leaders for giving up their time and energy to make Oflo the best it can be. What I’m trying to get at is that having an experience with God isn’t contingent on how good of an event we put on. We can meet with Him in our bedrooms, our school hallways, or in Walmart just as powerfully as we can in an arena full of people worshipping.

The theme this weekend was “With Everything”, the idea being that God doesn’t want just part of your life, He wants it all. This isn’t because he wants to control you, it’s because when you fully surrender He can begin to reveal His incredible plan for your life.

It makes me think of when I went with my Mom to visit Ottawa in the fall. She wanted to use the new GPS she had bought but didn’t trust it fully. So sometimes she would do what it said and others she would say “No, I remember the way, I’m sure we’ll get there faster if we go straight.” The GPS would then have to recalculate and usually we ended up having to backtrack, or extend the trip in order to get back on track. I remember getting frustrated and telling her that she couldn’t have it both ways. Either turn the GPS off and go your own way or listen to what it’s telling you to do! You can’t pick and choose what directions to follow. You trust the guidance or you don’t, there’s no in between. 

It’s the same thing with God. Following Him halfway sucks. It’s not fun, it’s confusing and it ends up getting you even more lost. The thing is, we aren’t always going to understand why He’s taking us a certain way. And that’s where faith comes into play. Do you trust Him with everything or does your faith have boundaries? If so, is it really worth it all? I can tell you, God’s plans can seem terrifying but they are designed perfectly in line with who you were created to be. This means that when you walk in the Spirit and in full confidence of God’s plan you will be more fulfilled in your talents and gifts than any other time. He knows better than even ourselves what we are capable of and how to use us to our fullest potential.

But here’s the kicker, the biggest part of “With Everything”. Giving everything to God is really just returning what is rightfully His. Everything we have and everything we are is just a reflection of who He is. All of our talent, our opportunities and yes guys, even our cash, are blessings that God has given us in order to be used for His plan. By re-entrusting it to Him, we can ensure that it will be used effectively.

Overall, Overflow is a life-giving event but it isn’t life-changing. Only Jesus has the ability to change lives. But it was an incredible weekend and I was blessed enough to be given an opportunity to use the gift of writing God has given me and share it with people in the form of spoken word poetry at the Overflow after-party. I was so nervous and thankful I didn’t puke like in the first Pitch Perfect movie haha! But when I was up on that stage, I felt full of the Holy Spirit and knew it was where I was meant to be in that moment. I’m so excited (abet nervous) to see where God is going to take my poetry and this blog in the next few years…trusting Him with every word I write.

My God is bright colours and I'm just enjoying all the different shades
My God is bright colours and I’m just enjoying all the different shades

Until next time, I hope you all have a lovely day

– Sam

Here’s the Recap video from last weekend if you want to see how cool it really is!

We’ve Been To The Mountain Top (AKA Waterloo)

1-thessalonians-3_12 You know those “You had to be there” moments that are just about impossible to describe no matter how amazing they are? That’s what this entire weekend was like, but here it goes trying to explain it anyway because it was just too great to go not talked about.

 

This weekend I went to Overflow which is basically a conference for Christian youth. We come from all over Ontario, over 2500 of us to meet and praise God and learn from each other and hear amazing speakers and just have fun. This year was my 3rd at Oflo and somehow, it just keeps getting better every year. My difficulty comes when I try to describe it to friends and do it justice. I mean I kid you not, I just texted a friend describing it as ” Like we were just praising Jesus and there was a mosh pit and a guy had a chain saw and there were bouncy castles and God really spoke to me and I got to hang out with all my favourite people and see cool bands and it was basically a rave but about God with no drugs” Sorry what? I’m super eloquent about these things, I know. I’ll see if I can do a little better for ya’ll

A view of the stage during worship *not my photo*
A view of the stage during worship *not my photo*

Overflow is a really good representation of what I believe church should be about. Fun, fellowship and honest discussions about God and what a relationship with Him means. There’s no strict rules about how you should act or what you have to do to be Christian because we all realize a relationship with Jesus is a personal thing. The pastors talk about the Bible in ways you can seriously understand and make jokes we can relate to. It’s engaging, funny and real. It was a place you actually wanted to be.

Theme for the weekend
Theme for the weekend

Outside of the services, you get to hang out with your friends and encourage and build each other up which is refreshing after the gossip and backstabbing that characterises the hallways of a high school. And I was serious about the bouncy castles, not to mention hockey and basketball tournaments, a bunch of cool bands (including my new favourite, Juno award winning The City Harmonic. Seriously go check them out) and some serious dance-offs. It’s honestly nothing like what most people my age think “church” or “religion” looks like. One of my favourite quotes from this weekend was said by Mike Miller during Friday night’s session. In referring to the a-typical church services he said Seriousness is not a fruit of the Spirit! It’s okay for church to be FUN!”

And while Overflow is a ton of fun and you end the weekend filled with laughter, memories and inside jokes, you also leave having had a real encounter with God. I already knew and loved Jesus before this weekend. Tons of people at my school have heard me talk about God or my youth group so I’m known as a “Christian kid” (ironic since I go to a Catholic school haha) However I’m still learning and growing and trying to understand this crazy thing called grace, which in short is God’s love for us. As I grow closer to Him, He teaches me how to love the people around me, helps me to overcome everyday struggles and reveals His plans for my life. It’s crazy for me to think that there really is a God who love me unconditionally, knows the number of hairs on my head and my future. But I believe because He’s proven it to me time and time again. This weekend was no different. This weekend He showed up and did amazing things in the lives of all of us who were there. He taught me how to be still in the craziness of life (or the craziness of a conference room with 2500+ people) and just be in His presence. And it totally refreshed me to go back into my everyday life knowing I’m not in it alone.video So, if you’re still reading this and think I’m absolutely nuts, sorry! Well actually I’m not sorry ’cause this is my blog and I’m going to post what I want but I do know this is the first non travel related post and may not have been what you were expecting. So hopefully, you have somewhat of an idea of what my weekend was like. I can tell you it was absolutely amazing! Feel free to ask any questions about God or whatever as I’ve never really shared my faith to this extent on social media!

Some of the best moments happen on bus rides
Some of the best moments happen on bus rides

Finally thanks to our AMAZING team of leaders, TSL (my youth group) couldn’t be more blessed to have them, the Overflow team and worship band for putting on an INCREDIBLE weekend and to my lovely friends for loving me despite my constant chatter, confusion and loudness, they ROCK. This weekend will be one I will look back on with a smile for years to come as life-changing and laughter inducing!

“Take your problems to Facebook for attention, take them to Jesus for answers” 

Also, this is the song I’m referencing in the title of this post

‘Till next time everyone, I hope you have a wonderful day 🙂

P.S. I was a bad blogger this weekend and took a limited number of photos so the entire first gallery and a few other of these pictures were taken from the album on my youth groups Facebook page, credit goes to them if it’s captioned as not being mine 🙂