Thousands flock to Awakening 2010

By NEAL WAGNER / City Editor

Thousands of children, teens and adults flooded the Verizon Wireless Music Center in Pelham Oct. 6 as radio personality Rick Burgess delivered a religious message and Alabaster Christian musician Kevin Derryberry performed during the Awakening 2010.

During the event, which packed much of the center’s main concert arena, Burgess spoke about harnessing the power of God to combat sinful lifestyles.

“I spend a lot of time trying to be funny so that I have the opportunity to talk about what really matters,” Burgess, who plays Rick in the Rick and Bubba radio show, told the crowd. “Cultural Christianity has no power. Too many people in this world have a passion for things of this world, but still claim the word of God.”

The event marked the second night of the Awakening 2010, which was organized in less than a week by Pelham football coach Brett Burnett and several local church and city leaders.

Because night two of the Awakening fell on a Wednesday, many churches canceled their regular midweek services to attend the event, drawing what event organizers predicted would be the biggest night of the three-day event.

While delivering his message, Burgess said current high school students could be one of the “spiritual greatest” generations the nation has ever seen.

“I believe this generation just wants to hear the truth,” Burgess said. “You don’t want a puppet show, you just want to hear it straight.

“Very few of you who are saved are sold-out believers in Christ. But many of you also do not know God,” Burgess added.

Burgess warned the crowd against claiming to be Christian while living a “lifestyle of sin.”

“Too many people at this amphitheater have tried to make Jesus their savior, but not their lord,” Burgess said. “When that happens, he has no power over you, and you are powerless against the attacks of Satan.

“What is most confusing to the lost today is when they look at those of us who claim Christ, and they see us drunk like they are, they see our marriages destroyed just like theirs, they see us sexually immoral and addicted to porn,” Burgess added. “The confusion comes when you claim the name of Jesus, and yet you have no power over sin.”

The radio show host said the 2008 drowning death of his son was a turning point in his spiritual life.

“When my son died, I looked at my four remaining children and said ‘from this point forward, you will be judged on one thing alone, and that is your impact on the kingdom of heaven,’” Burgess said, drawing applause from the crowd. “The things of this world don’t mean nothing.

“My biggest problem is not that my child has died. I will be reunited with him one day through God’s promise,” he added. “My biggest problem was my sin.”