Over 20,000 Rock the Range
Hundreds of Lives Changed as Bands Connect, Relate, Rock
August 27, 2011 - On a day where dark storm clouds surrounded Dick's Sporting Goods Park, over 20,000 people came to Rock the Range Saturday, where they heard Flyleaf singer Lacey Sturm share her dark story about how Jesus saved her life, both figuratively and literally.
By Trevor Freeze
Lacey Sturm knew her life was over.
Her story, as real as it is shocking, had everyone’s attention on Saturday afternoon at the Rock the Range Festival, just outside Denver, Co.
Lacey is soft-spoken, but her testimony, voice cracking, was heard loud and clear by nearly all who flooded to Dick’s Sporting Goods Park.
She was going to take her own life that day. It was a done deal. Until someone dragged her to church and she found Jesus.
“If it wasn’t for Jesus Christ saving my life, I would be dead,” said the singer as to why she feels compelled to share such a personal story. “That’s why I’m still alive.”
Blunt and to the point, Lacey set the stage for what would be an unforgettable night in the Mile High City with over 18,000 coming to the five-hour event (over 20,000 for the two Saturday events combined) and hundreds making commitments to follow Christ.
For Lacey, sharing the depths of her soul in order to help others find Christ is the best way she knows “to say thank you to Jesus.”
Lacey’s story was the perfect lead-in for Franklin Graham, who delivered a passionate Gospel message that brought hundreds down the aisle to give their lives to Christ.
A second message and invitation, following the scripture-laden hip-hop band Lecrae, yielded another packed altar. During the third and final invitation, those making decisions lifted their cell phones in the dark night so counselors could seek them out.
“I want you to know Heaven is rejoicing right now,” Franklin said, after leading the throng of mostly youth in a salvation prayer.
The afternoon started with The Almost and lead singer Aaron Gillespie climbing down the stage to the crowd and giving an up-close-and-personal concert, even taking a self photo mid-song with a group of fans.
Josh Havens and The Afters followed as the entire crowd connected with the hand-waving, chart-topper “Light Up the Sky.”
Lecrae brought his unique blend of Christian rap, keeping it real between songs: “If you think ‘I don’t really need to live my whole life for Jesus,’ think again,” he said.
And when the ominous storm clouds that surrounded the park most of the day finally dispersed, Skillet wrapped up the night with an incredibly deep message for a band with so many decibels and pyrotechnics.
“Every single day when you wake up, there’s a war going on for your soul,” Skillet lead man John Cooper said. He later added, “If there’s anybody here that says 'I can’t come to Jesus because I’m too messed up' … If that was the case, there wouldn’t be a single Christian alive. Jesus loves you just the way you are.”
Which was the message 16-year-old Nicholle gave to Kayle, also 16, who came forward during the second invitation. Or at least, that’s what Nicholle was trying to say.
“It was like God gave me the words to say, but then I thought, 'Was I really supposed to say that?'" said Nicholle, a first-time counselor. “It was a little awkward at first. Then she warmed up and I warmed up. And she accepted Christ in her life.”
Earlier that day, Will Graham gave a brief but powerful message after God Rocks! kept the KidzFest crowd engaged and entertained, using biblically-based children’s songs and seemingly unlimited morning energy.
Over 2,000 were in attendance Saturday morning with hundreds coming forward after Will’s invitation, shortly before noon, with the mercury level topping the 90-degree mark.
“It doesn’t matter how old or how young you are, each and every one of you needs a Savior,” Will Graham said. “This isn’t just for children. It’s for the parents too. Grandparents, this is for you as well.”
Highlights from Kidzfest included:
- First-time counselor Jan leading 7-year-old Kaitlin to Christ. “She said she loved the Lord and wanted to give her life to the Lord,” Jan said. “Isn’t that awesome? It was wonderful.”
- Another first-time counselor Robin noticed a family with a teenager in a wheelchair, and struck up a conversation at invitation time. A few years ago, the teen had been diagnosed with ALD (Adrenoleukodystrophy), a severe neurologic disorder, which left the teen paralyzed. Robin didn’t waste an opportunity to share Jesus. “I know he’s in there,” she said. “I can communicate by looking into his eyes. He needs to know that he is loved by God.”
- A nerve-riddled Amanda, 17, shared with 5-year-old Emily, who accepted Christ as her Savior. “I got to lead an amazing young girl to the Lord,” Amanda said. “I was beyond nervous. I was totally freaking out. But I got here and I just felt the Lord had His hand on it and I was able to be used by God.”
Watch all of the excitement LIVE from Rock the Range! Log on to billygraham.org/rocktherange on Sunday, Aug. 28, 6 to 9:30 p.m. (ET), 4 to 7:30 p.m. in Denver for a web streaming of The Afters, Michael W. Smith and a message from Franklin Graham.
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