[notice]Gateway News writer, Lisa Moore, who is spending a season in France, sent us this special report about a Jesus Culture concert she attended in Paris on Wednesday evening. Hope is alive and well in Europe, despite the fact that the France of today is one of the least evangelised countries in the world, concludes Lisa.[/notice]
On Wednesday 5 October, 1500 people gathered together in the Bataclan, in the eleventh district of Paris, France, for one night of ministry and worship with Jesus Culture. This was the last of a two-week long Jesus Culture European Tour which started in London, and then went on to Amsterdam, Denmark, Berlin, Budapest, and Zurich.
Banning Liebscher, the director of the Jesus Culture ministry, at Bethel Church in Redding, California, toured with the Jesus Culture band throughout Europe. The Jesus Culture movement originated out of Bethel Church’s youth group where Liebscher was the youth pastor for ten years, and is greatly impacting a generation – influencing and inspiring a culture of Jesus, and a life of worship – through its events and music. The ministry of Jesus Culture has dedicated itself to mobilizing a generation to shape cultures and transform nations.
“We are in Paris and we have saved the best for last”, Banning shared at the packed venue on Wednesday. God’s presence was tangible, thick and warm, just like the weather, and I could sense peoples’ expectant hearts, even while waiting in the queue outside. Banning referred to Jeremiah 29 verse 13 and 14 – “If you seek the Lord with all of your heart, you will find Him. God intends to be found by us”, said Banning. He spoke about a change in the atmosphere, not just in peoples’ hearts – that something would be released into the nation of France.
He also shared about the story in Acts chapter 16, when Paul and Silas were in prison. “When God showed up, everyone’s chains were loosed, not just theirs. Together, we need to seek God, worship Him, and God will respond, releasing breakthrough”, he said. This breakthrough would be in an entire generation that was just merely listening to us worship here in Paris on Wednesday night. “God will set people free simply because we decided to come tonight and to worship Him”, said Banning.
And how encouraging it was to see 1500 people so hungry and thirsty for God, burning and desperate with a strong, deep desire to connect with and worship Him. It was an incredible experience. Hands lifted high, voices loudly declaring in English and French to Jesus our King that He is Lord above all in this nation, as the Jesus Culture led us in a beautiful time of intimate worship.
Paul Goulet, a lead pastor from the International Church of Las Vegas in the United States, flew in especially for this night, and had an encouraging, prophetic message to share, based on 2 Timothy chapter 1 verse 7 (“For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love and self-discipline”). “God wants us to receive a double portion of everything”, he said. “In the name of Jesus, we can be changed. God is busy raising up a generation of revivalists that will lead this nation into freedom and to Jesus”.
We ended with a time of breaking up into small twos and threes and praying for each other, and it was evident that, despite language barriers or cultural differences, God was there and was touching hearts and lives. I was very blessed to witness it. “I could not be more encouraged by what God’s doing in Europe. Hope is alive and well in France”, Liebscher enthused as he closed the meeting. And I have to agree. I have not lived here for very long, but I do know that France is one of the least evangelised countries in the world. Often, where you look you see much darkness, loneliness, heartache, sadness and pain (and where ‘religion’ or Jesus is not shared or discussed in most social contexts), but it is very encouraging to see how God is moving and working amongst His people. But I imagine that the fact that 1500 of us gathered together in His name – queuing in a busy street with curious or interested passersby stopping to ask questions about what was happening – has already made an impact and a difference!
A few days ago I climbed up the steps to the top of the Sacre Coeur in the north of Paris, and admired the city lights below. A few days later, I came across the scripture verses in Matthew chapter 5 verses 14-16, and I thought it quite appropriate, being in the “City of Lights”. “You are the light of the world – like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden…” In a very dark, lost and heart-sore place like Paris, Christians need to be taking a stand and be the shining light! I believe that we are the hope in this world and particularly this generation, because of Who we hope in, and I am excited for what is to come. I pray that Paris would be blessed, and that God would continue the work He has started here in people’s hearts and lives – I look forward to witnessing more of His power and hand during my stay in this city!