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Clayton King and rock bands get loud for Jesus at Winterfest

December 31, 2008 : Sarah Funderburke

Liberty University’s Winterfest is under way at the Vines Center. At this year’s annual event thousands will ring in the New Year listening to Stellar Kart, Sanctus Real, Jeremy Camp and other Christian artists.

On day one of Winterfest, high school juniors and seniors were able to attend a meet-and-greet event in Liberty’s DeMoss Learning Center. Christian punk band Hawk Nelson answered questions from the crowd and posed for a few pictures before heading off to warm up for the concert. John Cooper, lead vocalist for the band Skillet, also answered questions from fans at this event, and signed autographs.

"My parents would not let me listen to rock music for a long time, not even Christian rock music," Cooper told fans.

He hid his first rock CD, by Petra, from his parents. Eventually Cooper began playing rock music, and after another band he was in broke up, he formed the band Skillet at the encouragement of his pastor. He encouraged parents and youth pastors to work with teens because it can help teens to make positive life decisions.

"[People] Spending time with a younger person…and being willing to ask the hard questions- it’s what changed my life the most," Copper said.

Later on, puppeteer and comedian Taylor Mason opened the concert at the Vines Center. Mason introduced a cast of five puppets to the Winterfest attendees — a pig named Paco, Sumo the wrestler, Romeo, Juliette, and Paquitto, the tiny pig. Mason revved up the crowd with this unusual cast and brought several volunteers on stage to try out the puppets for themselves.

After Mason’s performance, Hawk Nelson and Skillet rocked the crowd, and speaker Clayton King made a loud and clear case for Jesus.

"[Jesus] came to give you something to be passionate about beyond the things that entertain you momentarily," King told the audience. "Jesus didn’t come to take your life; he came to give you life."

Telling the crowd how important their own personal struggles are to Jesus, King cited John 10, where Jesus compares humanity to sheep and himself to a shepherd.

"You are not a neutral person in a neutral world," King said. "Satan is like a wolf; he’s a thief who has come to kill…in a fight between a wolf and a sheep the wolf always wins."

"Jesus is protection from that wolf," he said. "Someone died so that you could live. You’re that important."