IMAGINE the Big Day Out, one of the largest music festivals held in Australia, and double it!
Big top tents stretching as far as the eye can see, music coming at you from all different angles and thousands of Christian people … all flooding into the Australian Gospel Music Festival (AGMF) at Queens Park, Toowoomba, over the Easter long weekend. AGMF started humbly in 1999 and continues to grow each year. This year’s theme was “The Cross Alone”.
The atmosphere of the event was awesome. Youth, families, teenagers, grandparents -everyone – all getting together and sharing the one similarity of all AGMF fanatics … Faith!
This amazing festival crossed all generational boundaries with political forums, Kidz Island, sideshow alley, thousands of Christian artists and music absolutely everywhere. During the festival, parents can immerse themselves in the experience, relaxed and secure in the children’s wellbeing and safety, due to the Christian ethos of the event and the focus on security – an environment so rarely experienced in today’s society.
AGMF is such a motivating experience. It is capable of uniting faith-filled people of all ages and denominations, throwing themselves into an unimaginable atmosphere of sheer celebration of our Lord.
Over the weekend’s entirety I was fortunate to attend many inspirational concerts, including performances by bands Barlow Girl, Superchic[k], Planet Shakers, Soulframe, Katy Ray, James Morrison and Sunnybank girl Jess Hutton and her band Easily Distracted.
The highlight of the weekend for me was attending the performances on Saturday night at the open-air USQ Main Stage by Barlow Girl and Superchic[k].
American band Superchic[K] is very inspirational. They have such faith and belief in themselves and their music, and with God as their guide and inspiration, they have the ability to affect change, inspire, empower and entertain with a message to all to rise above society’s unhealthy trappings.
“Don’t be conformed, be transformed” (taken from Romans 12:1-2) were the words spoken by three young women, Becca, Alyssa and Lauren Barlow, known as Barlow Girl.
Barlow Girl united with Superchic[k] in their message. They acknowledged that most teens accept conformity as a social survival technique, but brought the message of “Don’t conform” to AGMF 2007.
This popular “sister act”, Barlow Girl, has been able to touch the hearts of youth around the world telling all to take a stance, to stand up for what they believe in, and most importantly to stand up for what is right.
God made every single person different and to be an individual. He didn’t create us to follow one another like sheep in order to live a life that would be somewhat “easy” because we would fit in with everyone else.
I came out of the Barlow Girls concert and felt like sharing the messages that these wonderful girls shared with the audience.
To everyone out there, especially those people who struggle with sharing their faith with others and taking a stance – Be not afraid!
Be not afraid of being different from “the crowd” and to take a stance for what is morally right. Do not accept the lifestyles that lack purity and unfortunately are socially accepted by society today.
Barlow Girl are passionate about transforming youth and informing them of God’s desire for the youth of today to be pure, because he’s trying to protect us and save our hearts. Too many people accept what is really unacceptable in God’s eyes.
Personally, there have been times when I found it so difficult to be able to speak freely about my unconditional love of God around my peers because I lacked courage and didn’t want to be “outcast” or considered “different”.
I just wanted to fit in like everybody else.
However, after coming away from the Australian Gospel Music Festival, taking the words of the Barlow Girls in my heart, I no longer feel afraid to show the great faith I have.
I am open to God’s will and how I can be an instrument of His love to others. I will take a stance for God, with his help and I will promote only what is pure of heart – through my lifestyle, the people I meet and media exposition (electronic equipment and communication, music, videos, movies and magazines).
As teenagers, we do have choices and a conscience and God our Loving Father has given us all “free will”. Let’s not let Him down!
After AGMF, I reassessed where my life could be compromised and acted accordingly. I cancelled my Hotmail, MySpace and MSN computer accounts, as these are often accessed and compromised by people who are not “pure of heart”.
My journey of transformation has commenced.
Gabrielle Hall, aged 16, is a member of Sunnybank Parish in Brisbane.
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