General Session #4:
You can tell YS has been doing this for awhile... they know just when to throw a round of back-to-back comedy into the mix.
- Dave The Horn Guy: This guy was like a radioactive love child of Dick Van Dyke's character in Mary Poppins and the girl at Starbucks who's been sniffing the coffee beans for too long. While Dave was entertaining on many elementary levels, I actually wrote down a legitimate note during the close of his act. What happened is he did this bang up routine that he should have ended on, but then got real trivial with a few honks here and there to use up the rest of his time. I noted, "When you end well, don't start something up again that takes away from it." Don't we do this all the time in church services? A great message that brings things to a life-changing decision or a worship song that brings us right into God's presence is followed by something distracting. Like when someone comes up and says, "Wasn't that nice? Now I'd like to talk to you about the menu for the upcoming men's breakfast on Saturday..." Argh.
- Joby "The Village Idiot" Saad: I love it when comedians are so simple yet so practically profound. This guy came on and started with some light-hearted comments about Dave The Horn Guy. Already he had me... then he went on to do some simplistic stories in a "dumb guy" voice. Maybe I'm easily entertained... okay, I am - but it was hilarious. One favorite line: "I'm the Village idiot... one of tomorrow's brightest stars... unfortunately, you folks are a day early..."
- Ted & Lee: Another duo that keeps my attention even though I've seen most of their stuff. In their words, they aspire to "find the humor" in Scripture so that we might uncover "the humanity." I attended their workshop a couple years ago called "The Holy Whack" and gained some great insights into how to help the Scriptures breathe life into sermons... very sharp guys with a keen way of balancing wit with inspiration.
- Big Daddy Weave: A whole lot of energy in this band came out through some fun music that directed us towards God. Even though they were the featured "band" (versus the main worship leader like David Crowder), they used their set to take us straight to praise. I've heard a couple of their tunes before, but I didn't get into them until hearing them "live" (isn't it weird how some bands are like that?). I know this sounds trite, but in their closing song "You Alone Are Worthy Of My Praise" (which everybody and their brother has done), I found myself focusing on the last two lines of the song:
- You alone I long to worship...
You alone are worthy of my praise...
Sure, it's a standard tune in many churches. Yet as I interview with different churches and get my hopes up for the different ones that I might become a part of... well, I don't know... this just got my attention back to the fact that God is the One whom I want to join with over any particular local church body. Anyway...
- Steve Fitzhugh: I heard Steve last year in Atlanta and he became one of my favorite speakers for that convention. This year he had some more great things to say but during some of his talk it seemed like he was tapping into a few "professional speaker" tricks or sayings... I don't know if you know what I mean, but that's all I'm going to say about that. That aside, though, check out some of these outstanding thoughts on the topic of Living With Passion:
- "I'm not ashamed to say that Jesus is my hero.. I am a Christian first and last."
- The Competitor's Creed: (Steve passionately quoted from memory this FCA creed - a lot of spit flew)
- I am a Christian first and last. I am created in the likeness of God Almighty to bring Him glory. I am a member of Team Jesus Christ. I wear the colors of the cross.
- I am a Competitor now and forever. I am made to strive, to strain, to stretch and to succeed in the arena of competition. I am a Christian Competitor and as such, I face my challenger with the face of Christ.
- I do not trust in myself. I do not boast in my abilities or believe in my own strength. I rely solely on the power of God. I compete for the pleasure of my Heavenly Father, the honor of Christ and the reputation of the Holy Spirit.
- My attitude on and off the field is above reproach - my conduct beyond criticism. Whether I am preparing, practicing or playing; I submit to God's authority and those He has put over me. I respect my coaches, officials, teammates and competitors out of respect for the Lord.
- My body is the temple of Jesus Christ. I protect it from within and without. Nothing enters my body that does not honor the Living God. My sweat is an offering to my Master. My soreness is a sacrifice to my Savior.
- I give my all - all of the time. I do not give up. I do not give in. I do not give out. I am the Lord’s warrior - a competitor by conviction and a disciple of determination. I am confident beyond reason because my confidence lies in Christ. The results of my efforts must result in His glory.
- LET THE COMPETITION BEGIN. LET THE GLORY BE GOD'S.
- Enthusiasm is different than passion. Enthusiasm comes from someone or something that excites you; passion comes from a consuming place of conviction within.
- Is your program filled with process or passion?
- Two mission statements collide in Scripture - Satan's and God's (John 10:10). Are you expecting to win? I want to wake up in the morning and have the demons say, "OH NO! STEVE FITZHUGH IS AWAKE! DANG IT!"
- We lose passion when we lose expectancy. When our prayers become repetitive or our relationships become mundane, we begin to transfer that to God. We end up feeling like we "don't have the energy to expect a miracle."
- I'm not willing to forfeit a life because a naysayer tried to put out my fire instead of fan my flame.
- Recapturing the passion:
- Praising His grace.
- Pleading His promises.
- Practicing His presence
- David Crowder and Richard Hight: As the Crowder band's last set rocked out we were again treated to an incredible work of praise through art via Richard Hight. I love the colors he used to illustrate the power of the cross - I've always thought heaven might have a few color schemes we haven't seen yet.
One of the cool moments was when David Crowder stopped playing at an awkward moment in his rock opera "You Are My Joy" song. No one (including his band) seemed to know what he was doing, and so when Richard Hight (who was on the other side of the stage) stopped to look, Crowder flashed him a "thumbs up" (as if to say, "Nice painting, buddy."). Then he kicked back into the tunes and ended it all with a dive off the stage into the crowd.
Now, I don't normally "approve" of worship leaders crowd surfing (because I am the worship police, you know)... but honestly, this was a moment of pure "GOD-IS-AWESOME-AND-ISN'T-IT-COOL-TO-BE-PRAISING-HIM-LIKE-THIS-TOGETHER!" joy. So if you have a problem with that I think you miss the whole point of heaven.
Oh yeah... and if my memory serves I think I head-butted Brian during a peak moment of worship (like two football players bopping helmets) so it must have been contagious.