Over the course of our lives, certain things hold more weight than others. We each live every day, 24 hours at a time. Beyond that we take each encounter and do our best to enjoy them. Every breath is sacred and is designed to bring glory to the Almighty Father.
Reflecting back on my 25 plus years of life, there are brief moments within seasons that are etched in my memory. Like lasting pieces of art, they are imprinted in my mind and are oftentimes revisited to capture the depth of an experience’s impact on who I am now.
The Hillside Intensive has already had a lasting impact on who I am. The times of worship, the conversations, discussions, seminars, Q&A’s, sharing of testimony, and overall experience was incredible. The group of individuals that gathered together could not have been a more God ordained community. Seriously, words cannot describe the teachers, staff, leaders and students. They are a burning inferno of God’s love! A fireball of delight direct from the Father’s hand. Each one was hand-delivered like a bouquet of delicate flowers meant to brighten my world!
Walking into the school, I was in need of a reboot and recharge. My heart had grown weary of the tasks at hand. My why and what were being overthrown by the how. My vision and life calling were being bogged down by the tasks. I needed Jesus to throw me a life-line, and He delivered!
The call of Burn 24/7 is to ignite fires of worship for Jesus. In Harrisburg, it was incredible to take in the rich heritage of the church body and the region itself. There was a lot of love to be poured out, and honestly I don’t have all of the words needed to best convey my experience. However, I am going to do my best to break down each of the fourteen days for you with encounter, testimony, feelings, thoughts and breakthroughs. Hopefully by sharing these stories, you will be able to understand the importance of the trip as a whole.
Sunday, June 19th, 2016.
After a wild week in OKC, (including buying a house, the Prosperous Soul Conference and a Saturday evening wedding in Tulsa) I jumped on an early morning flight to PA by way of Chicago. I arrived around lunch, exhausted but excited. The first crew of people I had the privilege of meeting all jumped into a van from the airport and headed to Life Center, our soon to be home away from home. We encountered the presence of God, and His sweet lasting peace that increased our excitement. “Jesus loves this place and honors its people,” was the thought that kept coming up. We left the church and enjoyed a meal at Moe’s. I got a burrito. While we were there one of the gentleman, who I had just met and was already feeling kin with, led another gentleman through some inner healing. It was beautiful. The Lord began to highlight one of the ladies sweeping the floor. I kindly opened up dialogue with her, and saw that Jesus was doing some work in her soul. She began to share some hardship she was going through. We eventually had the opportunity to pray for spiritual, emotional and physical healing for her (led by the dude who received inner healing earlier). The journey was sparked! Jesus gave me some encouragement to speak over the young man who just saw healing, first hand, for the very first time. I let him know how these two weeks were going to be life changing for him! We journeyed to the mansion, our literal home for the next two weeks, placed in the hood of Harrisburg and began to meet the 70 people we would be doing life with for the next two weeks. We learned names, talked goals, and life and encouraged one another. Then we got to worship together for the first time!
Monday, June 20th, 2016
Intimacy. Worship. Small groups. How to lead worship. The pace for the next two weeks was being set. Everyone seemed to be ready, but none of us were entirely sure what each day was going to look like! The firehose was blasting! That evening, we had an incredible time of freeing worship and community encouragement led by Ian Randall Thornton. It was a beautiful picture of heaven touching earth! Not to mention, a gift that I wasn’t expecting from the Father. We stayed in a community much like the one I serve in Oklahoma City. A neighborhood seeing reformation! It was as if Jesus took me out of the place of plowing and showed me the fruit of labor. He showed me a picture of why we are doing what we are doing in and around the neighborhoods of Crestwood Vineyard. Needless to say, I cried in thanksgiving for such a beautifull picture of what we get to look forward to in the coming year in OKC!
Tuesday, June 21st, 2016
Identity. Prophetic worship. It was incredible to learn the strengths of our group and begin to enjoy one another’s songs and sounds. We got to experience singing together in groups. Later that evening, we ventured out to City Island to have a cook-out and play some volleyball. The whole time waswild amounts of fun! The competitive nature of certain individuals began to shine forth. The best part of the evening for me happened near the end of the night. This group of 6 kids, ranging in age from around 8-14, began to observe our game. On our court, we were in the last game of an intense three part series, but Jesus began to show me his heart for these kids. I began to yell at them and invite them down (potentially super scary, I am well aware). One by one they began to join us and started to play. They were quickly integrated into this new expression of family. I invited them to grab some snacks and a soda. Jesus made himself known. I had the opportunity to tell these kids all about what we were doing and why we were there. They began to ask questions about Jesus and church. At this point, I was able to share the gospel with them, and the kids accepted Jesus in that moment. I asked if they knew about Holy Spirit. The kids wanted to feel the presence of God. We prayed and they all encountered the love of God in that moment. When they went to leave, they were saying “Man, I think my mom has a bible! We have to go read it!” It was cool to be a mouthpiece for Jesus once again.
Wednesday, June 22nd, 2016
Talk about wild worship! The fire of God threw off all of the morning’s plans. It was incredible. We went into a time of intercession for our nation and for the generations. When things finally settled down, we had a teaching on the Tabernacle of David, and David Fritch blew the roof off the place. We had a workshop that afternoon and learned more about leading worship as a team, and we had our first time playing together as a team. The whole intensive was broken into small groups and worship teams. We went into rehearsal and tried to figure things out. It was a rough practice. Our team wasn’t really on the same page. We decided to use our next allotment of time to debrief what was going on. We were able to be vulnerable and share our hearts about what we were feeling. It brought us closer together, more than any rehearsal could have. It is amazing how much better a group of people can be when they lead together with vulnerability, instead of separately relying on skill. That evening was topped off by a brilliant teacher, Jamie Dickson, who shared some of his history with God, and unpacked the importance of knowing who we are and how we are empowered by Jesus to be hope. It was incredible.
Thursday, June 23rd, 2016
We got more wisdom from Jamie Dickson, followed by Harp and Bowl Training led by Chris DuPre, the father of the method itself. Harp and Bowl is a method of worship and intercession created at IHOP, and is based on Revelation 5:8, where songs and intercession overlap with scripture. Needless to say, everyone was unleashed to carry a song, to sing directly from scripture, to sing scripture in their own words, to sing thematically from the text, and then to sing what we received from the Father to and over us! It was beautiful. It was awesome to have the wisdom of the man who incorporated this way of worship to speak of Harp and Bowl as one of many tools to lead people into the presence of God. That evening, back at the Mansion, Ian Thornton gave us a beautiful house show. It was fantastic! That man is incredible, and I love him a whole lot. It is an honor to call him my brother. After the concert, I had a unique touch from God. I began to have a conversation with a new friend of mine about the UK and how I have a heart for the nations. He, being from the UK, pressed into what Jesus was doing in me and the Lord dropped a big joy bomb on my heart. I began to laugh hysterically. It was a super refreshing encounter with the Lord.
Friday, June 24th, 2016
Sean Feucht. The dude came in like Oprah! He gave us a ton of gear and lit us up with the call to be musicianaries! Called to the nations! The dude is the energizer bunny of missionaries! Jesus has him rocking and rolling everywhere he goes. He just rigs and gears! After that, our team had a much better practice then the one earlier that week. Our vulnerability with each other allowed us to dig into our worship set and get more of what Jesus was doing through and in us all. Playing bass was radical fun for me! I loved it so much. It is my happy place for sure.
Saturday, June 25th, 2016
A full, fun day! We had the opportunity to lead sets at a local burn which was commingled with people doing outreach all throughout the city. We were the second set! It was super fun to break in and sit in the presence of God for a little while. After that, we hit the streets. Honestly, it was rough! My heart beats for seeing people transformed, but when I hit the streets for outreach, performance mode sets in. I oftentimes feel like I have to come back with a story! I am quick to try to become a savior, even though I know that I am to be used by a loving Father, and what comes of it is up to Him! Anyway, we went to the neighborhood surrounding the mansion after enjoying a stop at Starbucks and prophesying over a team member’s mom in the car. We hit the streets running. I began to get sympathy pain all over my body as I walked by people, so I would ask if they had pain in their bodies. For sixteen people the answer was no! And for a couple of guys, they thought I was trying to sell them some drugs. Needless to say, I was failing huge! But then, everything shifted. As we walked back to the van to head back to the church, a lady in the area stopped us due to one of my friend’s dancing. She happened to be galavanting down the street. We crossed the road and met these two ladies, one of which had back pain. We prayed for them, played some songs, prophesied over them, and they both encountered the presence of God! A few moments later, we crossed the street back towards the van and a man with a cane was walking down the street. My immediate thought was “Well God, it will be hard to miss this one!” I approached him and told him my name. I explained to him that I love Jesus and asked if I could pray for any pain in his body. He said his whole body was covered in pain! Just like that, I went from striking out to having every word of knowledge correct for one person. God has a great sense of humor.
Sunday, June 26th, 2016
Church. Free-time. After going a million miles an hour, the afternoon break was necessary. Not to mention what Jesus had planned for us that evening! Following our leisure time, we had “Holy Ghost Night.” Naturally, I thought it was hilarious to call an evening “Holy Ghost Night” following this week of radical encounters and watching Jesus do radical stuff. What Holy Spirit did through Jeff Struss added a whole new flavor to the Hillside Experience. Now, I understand why it was Holy Ghost Night. It was an encounter night for us. The presence of God came powerfully. People were received a radical new level of who God is and how Holy Spirit can shatter our boxes. I enjoyed some time face first before the throne of God above. Of all of the instances from the two weeks, this is one where all I can say isyou had to be there! I even had to carry one of my friends, out to the van. Girl was knocked out by Holy Spirit. She weighed about 200 lbs that night. She is not that big! She is a tiny little girl. The van took off back to the mansion and we stopped to get some snacks at the gas station, and Jesus broke out! A handful of people got healed. The squad started to prophesy over everyone they could get their hands on. It is a moment etched in my mind to remind me of how fun Jesus can be when we step into doing what He asks us to do.
Monday, June 27th, 2016
When I woke up on Monday my thought was “it is time to come down from this mountain.” It wasn’t from a place of doubt, but instead from a place of “how can this time set aside get better!” We stepped into the day of song writing, learning the Father’s heart for us in order to love others, and a time of worship with the Millers. Hillside was in no way over!
Tuesday, June 28th, 2016
This day was very special. The morning was filled with learning about identity and operating out of the anointing that Jesus has given to us. It was a life altering teaching by Aaron Miller. After, I had the opportunity to sit in on a Harp and Bowl training with Chris DuPre. Needless to say, it was a teaching that will forever be engraved in my heart. It was simple and beautiful (just the way I like it). Quick, clean and easy to catch onto. We watched a handful of our fellow students practice singing scripture, and then we went and did it in our small groups. It was such a fun time! That evening was the student showcase. MY GOODNESS! Our group of students is an incredible, multi-talented group of individuals. It was an honor to listen to everyone pour their hearts out in front of each other. Vulnerability creates space to understand individuals on a deeper level. It helped us to see each other more clearly. It was a blessing to my heart to see others open up at a level where I can see their hearts expressing what the Father has written on them.
Wednesday, June 29th, 2016
A wildfire day. It felt like the recovery day. Everything we wanted to give you but haven't had a chance to give you yet, we are going to give you today! We had a couple of teaching sessions that morning about community and the Church. What it means to be called forth. It was tied together with vision casting of what is next! Asking Jesus what was going on in our lives, and what we were supposed to do next. While we walked through those questions, we also got some feedback from the Hillside Intensive staff regarding musicality, and we all got prophesied over. It was tender. Looking forward while holding onto reality! A healthy balance of the present, and what is coming. After that, we enjoyed some worship with the Miller squad.
Thursday, June 30th, 2016
Hillside collides with Ascend. We talked legacy, longevity, character and integrity. Sean invited Steffany Gretzinger and her parents in to share testimonies and stories about growing up partnering with Jesus for your life. They were quick to point out that they weren't perfect, but they would do their best to turn to Jesus. It was an incredible example of how raising children can be Christ-like! It was a huge blessing to hear their first-hand accounts. Not to mention, Holy Spirit came powerfully and brought a lot of healing to the hearts of a lot of my fellow students. We went on a field trip to Nystrum Guitar Company to learn about building guitars, and enjoyed an evening of worship with Sean. We had a complete day for sure.
Friday, July 1st, 2016
The Ascend Conference was in full flow. That morning we had our faces melted by the Hermans in worship and Dave Fritch challenged us to dream mighty dreams with Jesus! It was an incredible reminder of how big the God of the universe actually is! During the afternoon, my heart was ignited. We had the privilege of hearing from Jacob Cook and John Paul Gentile regarding creativity. It was incredible! From beginning to end, a superbly life-giving teaching about being a people unlimited by craft and creativity by tapping into an abundant, endless Father. Those dudes have fire to ignite people to step into being creative. After that finished, Sean invited me to start the next session by singing over everyone. He invited everyone in and handed me a microphone. It was a moment I will never forget. It reminded me of my calling, the faithfulness of Jesus, and everything He is inviting me into. It was a super special moment for me, and I didn’t know how much it would impact my heart, but it did. That evening Steffany and Amanda Cook led us in worship. During worship, everything set in. The two weeks set in. My reality set in. My love for Jesus set in, and I began to sob. While Amanda began to sing Closer, my heart was awakened to how close Jesus had been through this experience. How He called me to be a part of this school. How my life is dedicated to His glory! Jesus swept in and brought everything together. It was hard to breathe. The blanket of the Father’s love covered me and I sat with Him and wept. There were tears of joy, longing, thanksgiving and peace all in one moment. It felt like I was there for hours, weeping. And then the weeping was overcome by this fire of victory! The empowering love of Jesus that is the reality of “IT IS FINISHED!” I roared like a lion. I let out the only sound I could relate to victory. It was a sweet moment reclaiming who I am in Jesus. When worship was finished and ministry time dispersed, we invited Jacob Cook to ride with us back to his hotel. We took the long way back. We stopped to grab some snacks at a gas station and while there…sure enough, Jesus broke out! Once again, Jesus had a bunch of plans. A girl’s back got healed! And we got to share the heart of God with a group of kids hanging out enjoying some sodas. It was super radical having Jacob there. He added an element of “why not now?” I am very thankful that I got to spend that extra time with the dude, and more importantly, seeing Jesus break into people’s hearts!
Saturday, July 2nd, 2016
The Aitkens led worship. Let me just say anyone who can lead from a drum pad is incredibly gifted! I witnessed that for the first time ever, and it was awesome. Chris DuPre lit our hearts on fire to love Jesus more clearly with open ears and to do what He is telling us to do. Workshops. Coffee. Random afternoon jam session. Chick-fil-a for dinner. Then came something I entirely wasn’t expecting to happen. At the beginning of the evening worship time, Sean called me onto stage. I planned on beginning my evening by taking some pictures and then stepping into worship! Sean told me to come get some shots on stage! It was a dream come true, that I didn’t know I had! It was ridiculously righteous! I got to take pictures of the squad in their element. I got to see them lead through the lens, taking in both pictures of moments and of the tools they lead with. A truly life giving experience. As worship began to draw to a close, the Hillside Staff began to go on stage. Sure enough, it was commissioning time! They commissioned us and sent us out to be musicianaries called out to the ends of the earth! To solidify it all, they had us stage dive into the crowd and crowd surf! What a great way to send students! Charles Stock, Life Center’s Papa, came and sent everyone out to love on people! Go forth in joy and love people! He, following his quick teaching, invited Jacob Cook to lead in a time of ministry. He shared about the adventures from the night before and invited all of the Hillside students to be the ministry team. Freely we received, and freely we gave away! Eventually the ministry time dwindled and we made our way back to the mansion. We finished the evening with communion and more ministry time for the radical leaders we had for the past two weeks. Then something truly sweet happened. Remember the kid from the first day? Who received inner healing and then saw a lady get healed when he prayed for her? This two weeks was lighting up his world. It was instance after instance of being equipped and “firsts.” First prophetic word. First time singing in front of people. First time truly hearing from Jesus. The time had come for some pre-bed worship. This young man was sleeping on the couch when I woke him up, put a guitar in his hands and gave him permission and space to lead us in a time of worship! He had never led worship before. This night changed everything! He led a song and was fully equipped to be the worship leader Jesus was calling him to be. It was a time stopping moment. Everything paused. And Jesus said “this is why I made you!” Discipleship is easy when we give Jesus all the permission and space to take over in any instance. I will be marked by that moment for the rest of my life as I encourage people of all ages to step into the fullness of their calling.
Sunday, July 3rd, 2016
We slept in. We went to church. We got to be a part of sending the Feuchts on to their next adventure to Bethel in Redding. And we feasted together for one last time.
To close this beautiful adventure, I would like to endorse Burn 24/7 and the Hillside Intensive. No matter your age, ability, denomination, role, race, ethnicity or background, there is something to be received from this school. If you come with an open heart and a desire to know Jesus more, you will be overwhelmed by everything that Jesus will do in your life. I am incredibly thankful for everyone who took this journey with me and look forward to watching them all grow with Jesus. I also look forward to spending time with them in the future, as we look back at Hillside 2016 and say “Yeah, those two weeks [fill in the blank)!” From igniting passions, to saving ministries and marriages, there is no telling the full depth of what Jesus planted in our hearts during the two weeks. However, I am sure I am changed because of it.