August 15th, 2015 was a night for the ages!
Night of Hope OKC is officially in the books! And what an awesome night it was. God greatly blessed Night of Hope and that was evident as we watched over 800 people fill the auditorium at Quail Springs Baptist Church.
The event kicked-off with a powerful worship set from Cody Dunbar Band. During their third song, local poet David Bowden jumped on stage and tore the house down with an 8 minute - fully memorized spoken word - intricately detailing how great and powerful our God is! The band and Mr. Bowden set the tone perfectly for where the night would lead.
The theme of the evening was “Discover Your Second Chance Story”. I touched on that during my opening monologue and encouraged the audience to realize the overwhelming power that is found when our knees hit the ground, our gaze is set heavenly and our second chance story is discovered.
From there we were blessed to witness a story of restoration from a local OKC couple. The story detailed a husband’s sexual addiction, his infidelity and the recovery he found through Celebrate Recovery (Watch the video here). The story was highlighted in a moment when the wife offered her husband forgiveness and the husband wept in repentance. This video touched hundreds of couples in the audience and was a highlight of the night.
Next to the stage were my parents, Dr. Wendell and Pam Lang. They were interviewed by one of our board members Heady Coleman, regarding our new book, Finding Hope. They both offered incredible insights into what it was like trying to parent an addict. The audience was glued to the stage as my mom described her emotions throughout those agonizing years. (Click here to purchase the new book).
As my parents finished their interviews, I stepped out on to the stage and asked the audience how many mothers were in the room. Hands shot up from all across the sanctuary. I went on to describe how so often it’s the mothers of addicts and alcoholics that bear the brunt of the shame, guilt and pain from their loved-ones addiction. As heads nodded across the room, the lights began to dim and the “Mothers Video” began. (Click here to watch it).
Not a sound could be heard for the next eight minutes as one by one each mother told her story, expressed her anguish and offered her hope. The video consisted of six mothers, each of whom holding a different relationship with addiction. Some had children in recovery; some had children who had passed away. Some had children who were doing great, while others had children who were still actively using. As the film began to close, the mothers each gathered on stage. The moment the lights came back up, the mothers stood proudly, hand in hand, dressed all in white. The crowd instantly rose to their feet with a resounding ovation that went on for close to a minute. There wasn’t a dry eye in the room as mothers all across the audience could no doubt relate to the women who had told their stories so bravely. Personally this was one of the most extraordinary moments I’ve ever experienced on stage. The power of that moment is one I won’t soon forget.
As the mothers made their way back to their seats, carrying beautiful bouquets, I did my best to transition the evening to a place of celebration for those in the room living in sobriety. We counted down from thirty years to thirty days. With each milestone people stood up all across the auditorium to thunderous applause, hoots and hollers. It was very inspirational!
Next to the stage was our keynote speaker Mike Foster. He perfectly tied the entire night together by making us laugh, cry and leaving us with a fresh understanding of second chances and grace. Mike shared some of his personal story which really allowed the audience to see inside his heart, by hearing his pain. He challenged us all to use our stories as the “unfair advantage” we all possess to help point people towards HOPE! Mike was awesome and we hope to have him back again in the future.
The night culminated with an invitation to each attendee to literally “break a chain”. All throughout the worship center were tables holding chains and bolt cutters. We asked that anyone who needed to find their second chance, overcome a stronghold, symbolically let something go or just do whatever business they needed to do with God – to go to a table and break a chain. At each table were men from HIA waiting to help them cut through the pain, heartache, guilt or shame that had been holding them back from experiencing the full life of freedom God so strongly desires for all of us.
As the band played their final song, hundreds of people rushed the table, snapped the chains and proudly proclaimed FREEDOM!! In the end over 300 chains were broken!
What a night! We are so thankful for all of the volunteers, supporters and attendees that made this years’ Night of Hope one for the ages!
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