Monday, January 23, 2012

Winter Jam 2012

Last year, we planned a trip to Winter Jam as part of Max's birthday present. He took off early from work, we drove over to Jacksonville, and took the boys to the concert. We enjoyed it...except maybe Andrew, who fell asleep during the Newsboys performance (crazy, right?).

This year, we didn't really talk about it. We had the trip to Orlando planned for Max's birthday and didn't give Winter Jam much thought....until two days before the concert. I was on the phone with Kristy (my sister, in case my two non-family readers don't know her) and we got to talking about concerts.

Long story short, I find out the concert is that coming Friday. So I say to Max (while Kristy is still on the phone), "Winter Jam is on Friday. We should go." After approximately 60 seconds of discussion, we decide to make the trip. I think Kristy was amazed at how quickly we made the decision...we're crazy like that in the Hopkins' house. :)

I would have loved to have flown Kristy down for the concert, but the airline prices were not agreeable to my budget. I have hopes for next year though.

So, come Friday afternoon, the boys and I fill the van with gas (well, I pumped while they entertained me from inside), swing by Dairy Queen for dinner and ice cream, and grab Max from work. Since we were running late, I drove while we ate and Max changed clothes in the van. Thankfully, no cops were out on radar duty and we made it safely to the arena in record time.

Unfortunately, once we got into the arena, we couldn't find seats. After huffing around for about half an hour, we find a space on the floor next to some folding chairs occupied by a line of teenagers. Max asked, and they were out of chairs, but we were welcome to sit on the floor. We had prayed about finding seats, and while these were not what we expected, they suited our needs perfectly. We didn't have to worry about anyone stepping over us, we were near a bathroom (which is always a plus) and the boys had room to spread out:

God does provide.

Max and I have always felt strongly about exposing the boys to as many Christian concerts as we can. As cheesy as this sounds, music really speaks to my soul, and I feel that there are certain truths that are conveyed a million times better by song than by the spoken word. That's not to say that our lives are completely focused on music, but I know and I see its impact on us. I love hearing the boys singing Jeremy Camp, or the Newsboys, or tobyMac. And the best part is that they know what they're singing. We have had some amazing conversations based on the lyrics to some of these songs. It's powerful.

I could go on, but I want to share some of the highlights of the concert. We were able to see Group 1 Crew, Kari Jobe, Newsong, Building 429, and Sanctus Real. I do think I was the only person in the arena who wasn't swaying to "Lead Me" - I used to like the song, and apparently, so did the local Christian stations, who felt the need to play it 27 times a day.

The most unexpected (and happy) surprise came when Peter Furler took the stage. He started off with "Shine"...and let me tell you, I was back in the '90's in a hurry. He also brought Phil Joel along - I love me some old Newsboys. ;)

He even let Phil sing (disclaimer - the videos are a bit shaky at times...Andrew was "helping" me):

This song holds a special place in Max's heart - he even remembers Josh Ricketts debuting it on their radio show in college. The song released before Max became a Christian (see how this ties in with the whole music speaking to our souls thing from earlier?), so it's kind of a big deal to us.

I really enjoyed when Peter spoke at the end of his set:

I struggle with anxiety/fear, and I really needed to hear what he was speaking (of course, it's God's can't really go wrong). It's powerful. Seriously, take 3 minutes and listen to God's truth. This is the only non-music clip I took that's that good.

The boys were most excited about the headliners...

In case you're unfamiliar with them (hi, Mom!), this is Skillet. Christian and Andrew were relaxing, watching the show (pyrotechnics = entertained boys):

Will took a more active role. Please excuse the dark video...if you squint at the lighter blob (his head), you can sort of follow his air guitar action. Or you can just wait for the lights to flash (fast forward to 20 seconds in):

I'll finish with Andrew's favorite song. Because sometimes he feels like a monster. And yes, we do have discussions about the sinful nature (see Romans 7). Because that's how we roll.

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