Scores of teens and young adults turned out for the True Love Waits crusade on Saturday night at Tornstrom Auditorium in Brainerd.
Sponsored by Brainerd Area Youth Ministries, the crusade featured the bands All Weather Human, an area band, and Shaded Red, a nationally known Christian rock band. The speaker, Bill Scott, is the founder of ZJAM radio and Internet youth ministries.
Crow Wing County Sheriff Dick Ross got up on stage and spoke in support of the night's message to postpone sex until marriage.
"If you get in a position, guys and gals, of intimacy, put on the brakes real quick and ask yourself, 'What would Jesus do?'" Speaking of area law enforcers and himself, he said, "We support and appreciate what this organization (B.A.Y. Ministries) is doing ... and this program tonight, we're behind 200 percent."
Also supporting the crusade were many area businesses and individuals, such as Lakes Area Pregnancy Support Center, Crow Wing Child Protection, Bethany Bookstore and others.
"I didn't realize that all of the businesses from around town had sponsored this so we could come here free," said Beth Cairns of Brainerd. "I think that it's really inspiring that they care enough about (the message of abstinence) to do that."
All Weather Human warmed the crowd up in preparation for an hourlong rock concert by Shaded Red. With two brothers, Jamie and Jon Roberts, on guitar and Luke Ayers on drums, Shaded Red hammered out hard-driving music and thought-provoking lyrics.
"First and foremost, we want to win kids to the Lord; that they would come to a full knowledge of who Jesus is," Jamie Roberts' said of the band's goal.
Jon Roberts said the reason the band is touring with the True Love Waits crusade is "we agree with what True Love Waits stands for and I believe it's important that we talk about sex and abstinence ... because a lot of times we try to pretend it's an elephant that nobody can see, but it's in the room taking up a lot of space."
When Scott took the stage, he gave a powerful message to teens, challenging them to get to know God personally and to abstain from sexual relationships before marriage. He emphasized the necessity of God in their decision to remain pure until marriage.
"God doesn't have a dim view of sex," said Scott, "He created it. ... Be proud you can take a stand (to abstain)."
Scott said his favorite part about doing the crusade is "the altar call at the end ... when you see teens actually make a commitment to God to remain pure and keep their relationship with Him fresh and red hot ... I like the opportunity to see a teen-ager's life changed. I like to reinforce the fact that God really loves them."
After the crusade, Jenny Fey from Pine River said, "I thought it was really good how (Scott) kept the focus, not on just saying, 'I want to stay pure until marriage,' but to (actually) stay pure, you need God in your life ... to fully, fully know why you're waiting until marriage."
"We need to preach a message of abstinence with our lives," said Ken Carlson of Emily. "The lead singer for Shaded Red said it best: 'Instead of culture influencing Christianity, Christianity needs to influence culture; and I think that happened tonight.'"
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