Hillsong NYC pastor Carl Lentz encourages students to ‘turn the page’
Before best-selling author and Hillsong NYC lead pastor Carl Lentz took the stage at Liberty University’s Convocation, the student body came together for a powerful time of worship, led by the church's worship group Friday morning.
Hillsong NYC Worship, part of a worldwide music organization affiliated with Hillsong Church, a multi-site megachurch, has produced some of the most popular songs sung at churches today, including “Alive," “Who You Say I Am,” and “What A Beautiful Name,” which they played on Friday. The group spent time interacting with Liberty students over the past three days.
The set helped reinforce themes Lentz would go on to preach about — continuing to grow in faith and in one’s relationship with God in every chapter of life.
Senior Vice President for Spiritual Development David Nasser introduced Lentz, noting that he personally has been influenced by the New York-based pastor’s book, “In the Moment.”
“So many times, God would use (Lentz) to edify, rebuke, or challenge me,” Nasser said. “That was no less different from all the different times I’ve seen him unpack God’s word. … What they’re doing (at Hillsong NYC) is impacting the world, but at the end of the day, (their church) is impacting individuals.”
Nasser said that he has met Liberty students who gave their lives to Christ at Hillsong NYC.
Lentz, who has spoken at Convocation in the past, thanked Nasser for inviting him and said he loves coming to Liberty.
“I don’t take for granted these moments at all,” Lentz said. “It’s an absolute honor to be here. I think this university is special. I thank God for it. I think in a country where there’s a lot of confusion, it’s great to come to a university where you can talk about Jesus whenever you want.”
Bringing his charismatic style to the stage, Lentz focused on the phrase, “turn the page” and how that relates spiritually, as written in 1 Corinthians 13:8: “When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me.”
“God wants you to grow,” Lentz said. “You don’t have to go to bed the same way you woke up. God can do something in your heart; He can do something in your soul.”
“I do not want to look back on my life and recognize myself,” Lentz continued. “I believe that I have the right to keep turning the page on my faith, my experience, and testimony. Christianity used to be marked by people who were so radically different after they met Jesus that they were unrecognizable.”
Lentz offered three steps to help students understand their call to mature in faith as they progress through life.
The first step was to “realize that you can’t always get what you want, but you have to grow anyways.”
“You know what the goal is (of Christianity)?” he asked. “To get what you want to eventually match what God wants. ... When you look back on the things you used to want (you should say), ‘Wow, I can’t believe I ever even loved that.’”
The second step was to “realize that every fight isn’t your fight, but you better be found fighting the right fights.”
“The Devil can’t stop you from being a fighter,” Lentz said, growing more fervent in his delivery. “You are born into this faith as someone who will be passionate about things. There are so many ‘fights’ right now that Christians need to be involved with, but the Devil knows he can’t stop you from fighting. What he can do is misdirect you.”
According to Lentz, the Body of Christ can waste time getting involved in fights instead of listening to the Holy Spirit’s leading.
“We can't figure out why the world is winning when we are in church fighting across the aisle about things that God has already solved,” Lentz said.
In closing, Lentz told students to understand that God is doing more than what they think He is — the last step.
“Real Christianity does not have a spotlight or a microphone,” Lentz said. “But if you know God is moving, then you can keep turning the page. You might not know what it is or how He’s going to do it, but you know that God is faithful.”