Friday in Elburn IL: A Special Anniversary & Testimony
Wed., Feb. 23. 2005 10:20pm EST
This Friday we'll be in Elburn IL, an hour from Chicago, 70 minutes from Rockford IL, and 85 minutes from Janesville WI. Longtime ApologetiX fan Shaleigh Sugden plans to be there, celebrating the third anniversary of her first ApologetiX concert. Shaleigh didn't come as a fan to her first concert, but a couple big changes occurred that night, as she recounted to us in an email earlier this week:
"Three years ago at about this exact time I was 13 and ready to see my very first rock concert. My friend's dad was going to take us to Janesville to see a band called 'ApologetiX.' I knew DelRay (my brother) had seen the band before and he liked them, but I thought they seemed a bit boring and not very cool, but I went for the heck of it ... So I sit there watching this band that I don't really listen to, and they're up there, and I think to myself 'hmm... these guys aren't half bad.' Turns out I had a really great time! I didn't realize Christian bands could be that fun ...
"So, after the music, J. came up onstage and talked for a while ... something inside me told me I should be listening to this guy, he may have something important to say! He was talking about how much trouble he got into as a college guy, but in 1988 ('same year as my birthday!' I thought. 'How cool!') he went into an empty church and broke down and cried out to God, and he was changed ever since that day. I was wondering how a person could change just like that just by asking God to do something. I went to a 'plastic' church, and they'd never told us that we could be saved or anything just by asking Jesus into our heart. But J. told me.
"J. put it in ways that my church NEVER did. I mean, I'd always been the good kid who knew just about every verse and story in the Bible, but didn't really try to understand them. He went through some verses that I now know was the Romans Road. I realized that even I, the good kid who still sins at times, could be saved, and I could make it into Heaven, and I could actually be a friend with Jesus! I could actually have a relationship with God! Instead of Him being a God up in the sky who I never see, never talk to, never think about, I learned that He's with me at all times, and I can go to Him and He can guide me.
"J. told us that Jesus was knocking at that door, and we can let Him in and He will come into us. He said the sinner's prayer, and I went right along with it. It was so true for me, and at that very moment I had finally truly accepted Jesus into my heart. J. told us that if that spoke to us, to go see him during autographs, but I was too afraid to at the time. But those words really stuck with me. I didn't really tell my friends about it, and just kind of kept it to myself. So after that experience, this band played a few songs and then went down for autographs. I thought to myself 'Wait... we actually get to... talk to them?!' I thought it was so cool. I remember riding back home and thinking about the whole concert, and what I had done while J. was speaking. I didn't realize it then, but my life had been changed forever.
"And now, three years later, you guys are still one of the biggest influences in my life. Ever since the first concert, not only did I want to learn more about the band, but more importantly I wanted to learn more about God as well. You guys have helped me with so much, from giving me advice about important parts of life, down to just making my day a bit brighter by emailing. You all mean so much to not only me, but to so many of your fans all around America ... Thanks for everything, guys."
Thank YOU, Shaleigh!