General Session #1:
So as the lights dimmed and the theme got introduced... "JUMP" - I found myself just wanting to high-five God for again showing me that He knows just what I need to hear due to where I'm at in life. I always feel bad for all of the other 3,000 guys and gals at the event who have to deal with a conference that was put together just for me. I hope they found a way to still get something out of it, too.
- The Skit Guys: Some good laughs… the first time I saw these two a couple of years ago I didn’t click with them. This year, though I found myself laughing quite a bit. Maybe it’s just me.
- Jars of Clay: Their set included some new stuff as well as some classic Jars. The thing that stood out to me, though, was the receptivity we all seemed to have to the hymns from their CD Redemption Songs. Is the reason hymns seem to be “making a comeback” (which is conceptually humorous in light of Louie Giglio’s thoughts on worship - see later notes) due to the fact that our culture is so lost in its questions that any sign of reverent fear of a Holy, Holy, Holy God or a Blessed Assurance seems to fit what we’re experiencing in our culture? Or maybe it’s just good to know that our grandparents had the same questions about God that we do but they made it through to the conclusions they did. Just read the history of how many hymns were born out of pain and you’ll get what I mean.
- Mark Yaconelli: Man… I never heard this guy share before but talk about some great thoughts on whether we’re seeking affirmation or unaffirmation in ministry. The former is perhaps our secret motive, but the latter needs to be our conscious desire. Mark had some insights on the absurdity of lock-ins and road trips as well as the reality that most of us will spend a great deal of ministry feeling unaffirmed. His contention is that according to Jesus that’s actually a great place to be. “The way to Jesus is down” and that’s who Jesus spent time with… those on the down side of life. In fact, Jesus probably wouldn’t get hired by the way He did ministry – He only was in the mix for three years and spent half of that time away from people off in prayer somewhere (and He never wrote one thing down). And yet this slowing down allowed Jesus the ability to see and hear people… maybe that was part of the appeal of who He was. “To love someone is to reveal the beauty of who they are to that person” and when we aren’t fully present with people we miss the beauty of the gift that God seeks to bring.
- David Crowder: Holy cow… can we just clone this guy? Or is this guy the result of a clone experiment gone bad? His deep-but-also-quite-quirky persona is what makes me believe this is a real guy who loves to shout out to God with songs that come from someplace very real in his soul. Ironically, he also is someone I didn’t quite “get” the first time I saw him a few years back… and even though I still don’t get him, I found myself actually liking that.
I've heard all his stuff, but seeing the visuals of tidal waves behind he and the band during Here Is Our King reminded me again of how he wrote the song orginally as a response to the Tsunami. In light of all the damage water has done to our (currently) broken world in the past year, the whole concept of devastation while singing a song of praise seemed contradictory at first. As I pondered it, though, I quickly drew the conclusion that this again was God speaking into my heart... that out of the devastation my family and I have been experincing over the past year we can still find God in it and allow Him to use the "storms" to point towards His whisper... the "shadows" to point to the Light.