Hillsong United rejoiced on the Lord the last day of Hillsong Conference worshipping to a full Allphones Arena to the lyrics emboldened on the screen 'In God we trust, we won't be shaken'.
After five days of worship, teaching and preaching, the massive congregation celebrated as one when Bobby Lam commenting: "My favourite part of conference was having lunch with someone from rural Australia and how God is using this person to reach a four wheel drive community".
Joseph Prince of New Creation Church, spoke on the gospel of grace, exclaiming "when Jesus is in the midst, all things are held together". He continues that "the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ". He carefully articulated that the original gospel is grace and that we should not remove ourselves from this teaching.
Pastor Prince went on saying "Jesus is approachable, he goes to the blind, the leper, and the dead (in Christ)". "Under the law, the unclean makes the clean, unclean. Under grace, the clean makes the unclean, clean". The congregation acknowledged its application.
The following session on this final day of this Hillsong Conference, was "Let's talk church" and focused on 'Pre-emptive Leadership'. Senior pastor of Hillsong Church Brian Houston bought a short message followed by a Q&A panel with Hillsong's leadership team.
This focused on issues of the heart, "although no one is immune to heart issues, one must guard their heart" explained Pastor Brian. "You can't lead out of suspicion but out of trust" as he distiled a list of challenges that related to the heart.
Down the road, thousands of kids attending the Young & Free Conference, a movement of passionate young kids. 'If kids weren't here, they'll be doing what we see on television, we've seen many kids come to know Jesus', noted Troy, a youngster from Sydney's inner west.
At the same time, Martin Smith from band Delirious ministered at a creative masterclass, 'excellence is brilliant but give me passion any day' he says, 'I don't believe David looked cool when he danced through Jerusalem'. 'I don't want a church meeting, I want the fire in you' as he inspires the audience to be themselves, and whatever they do, 'believe that God speaks through that', 'believe that God can take your life and He can take you anywhere'.
The night culminated with Jentezen Franklin, preaching a message on 'pressing for a blessing' telling the crowd 'you're not going to leave here the way you came... for you shall have power with God and favour with men.' 'God has got a plan and a purpose for everyone who is listening right now' as he looked into the camera and to the viewers across Daystar, a live Christian broadcasting network.
'If you want change, you need to get desperate. God is not interested in destroying you, he wants to change you'... and from testimonials across the conference, people leave changed with an unnamed pastor from southern NSW commenting 'I come every year and leave refreshed' whilst Missy from Battle Creek, Michigan, a church of 1,200 says 'I want to grab everything lacking that I've learnt in the past and drop it'. When asked what the one thing that most impacted her; she replied 'the true definition of grace'.
As Hillsong Conference came to a close, it didn't finish with a bang or with a whisper but a remembrance. A remembrance through the act of communion, together, in a stadium of 21,000 people united to a single message - that it's not about the conference, it's not about Hillsong, it's not even about the church but it's about a person and His name is... Jesus.
Information and registration for Hillsong Conference 2016 can be found here: http://hillsong.com/conference/sydney16/
Nathaniel Truong is a writer living in Sydney's South Western Suburbs. He runs a finance brokerage and consulting business, The Loan Lounge.
Contemplations and poems by Nathaniel can be found here.
Photos: Our two Christian News Reporters for Hillsong 2015 â David Luschwitz (published Mon, Wed and Frid), Nathaniel Truong (published Tues, Thurs and Sat) and Daniel Mathew the music article published Friday.