Expectation was set six weeks earlier, when the church released a devotional titled "No Other Name". This devotional, available on the Hillsong blog (hillsong.com), highlights six of the most powerful names of God: Elohim & Immanuel, Yahweh, Jehovah El Roi, Jehovah Rapha, JehovahJireh, and Alpha & Omega.
Clear skies and a crisp breeze marked the afternoon of Monday 30 June. There was a buzz in the air as the concourse across Sydney Olympic Park filled with volunteers being briefed, food stalls being set up, and the faint sound of the worship team rehearsing. Attendees were lined at the doors and then... just after 6pm, it started with a bang!
The opening performance was spectacular and the message remained clear: despite what man can do, it is God who is and was before the foundations of the earth. The saving power of Jesus' name was central to the conference theme of "No Other Name".
"People find it a lot easier to speak about God, but when Jesus is spoken – it is often confronting. There is power in that name," said Pastor Brian Houston as the conference began.
Guest speaker, Pastor Steven Furtick of Elevation Church spoke candidly on the "Problem with Pinterest", a swift reminder of the dangers of comparison and pretension in a media-saturated world. The message closed with an invitation to accept Jesus as Lord and Saviour. From the floor to the rafters, hands were raised to accept Bibles donated by Bible League International (bl.org.au) as people began the journey of faith.
This incredible night and the week to follow would not be possible without the army of volunteers – many of whom have taken a week off to do so. Some had been setting up equipment since Saturday morning and others, preparing for months, yet every guest was greeted with a smile as they entered into what is sure to be an exceptional week at Hillsong Conference 2014.
QUICK FACT SHEET
What: Hillsong Conference 2014, Including Young & Free conference and Kidsong
When: Monday 30 June – Friday 4 July 2014
Where: Sydney Allphones Arena, Olympic Park
Cost: Nights sessions are free and begin at 6pm except Wednesday, July 2, which begins at 4pm.
For more information visit: hillsongconference.com
Meenal Chandra is a Sydney based writer who understands a love worth giving.
Meenal Chandra's previous articles may be viewed at www.pressserviceinternational.org/meenal-chandra.html