Story - Legacy Encounter - as written by Holly Poole
We can say “God is a great Father and He loves us,” but until we’ve encountered the Cross, encountered the Father, and encountered His love those words mean nothing. To know God, we must experience Him, not just take someone’s word for it. This is a generation that values authenticity and is seeking something real. Last weekend, Legacy Youth came with expectations that God was going to do something amazing and life-changing. This expectancy created an atmosphere of the miraculous. God is moving heavily in the lives of these young people because they decided that they are not going to just take someone’s word for it—they came to God with the desire to know Him personally and to know Him more and more.
I had the honor of being at the Encounter and experiencing the powerful Spirit of God that filled this place. I was greatly impacted by the testimonies of these young people and I am highly blessed to be able to speak into their lives. It is so beautiful to see God quietly speaking to people. At the end of the day, when we were able to share what God was speaking into our lives, people who may have remained quiet came out in boldness to declare the peace, hope, and life that had been rising in them all day.
Madisyn Bankston, a high school junior and beautiful woman of God, is one of the girls that I had the privilege of meeting this past week. Even before the Encounter, God was doing a work in Madisyn and had prepared her heart for an incredible outpouring of His Spirit. God saved her life in more than one way and filled her with life abundant. This is her story:
“When I was 2 my father passed away. When I was 10 my brother died from an overdose. My whole life my mom was addicted to pain pills and every other drug. When I was 11 my mom began to physically and mentally abuse me. I began to feel completely worthless. I started to do many ungodly things. I committed many sins and started to resent God. I began to physically hurt myself and suicide was an everyday thought. I came close with my friend Katie who brought me to The Harbor. The first Sunday I spent there I began to change my whole thoughts about God. When I attended the Encounter, I really didn't know what to expect. When it was all over with, suicide wasn't an option. Loneliness wasn't an option and giving up wasn't either. I completely let go of all the sins I committed and all of the un-forgiveness I'd held on to. I began to realize that I should forgive myself because God has forgiven me. The encounter completely changed my life. It has furthered my walk with God and I wouldn't want it any other way. Because of God, my friend (Katie Wagner), and the church, I can now stand on my own feet and be thankful that I'm here today.”
I can say with confidence that each and every person could give you an amazing testimony from last weekend. Each experienced God in amazing and personal ways. Each heard words from God that will stay with them forever. Each have been empowered to expand the Kingdom of God. Each left with the fire of the Holy Spirit to fulfill their own individual calling. God was doing more than impacting the lives of the people there, but preparing them for the lives that they are going to go out and impact. This is a group of young people that refuse to be satisfied with just being saved—they want more than to barely escape from the flames (1 Corinthians 3:15). Instead, they burn with a Holy desire to do God’s work and see the lives of others be transformed as they have been transformed.