Okay... I really enjoy the NYWC General Sessions. It takes a lot of creativity to get people to sit in the same space for 2.5 hours and make it feel like 30 minutes. Somehow the team from YS pulls it off, introducing this year's theme: REVEAL. It's always fun to hear the usual stuff and see who is here for the first time, especially when they have no idea for what they're in for.
There is something about the arrogant faith of youth workers. I mean that as a compliment, by the way. They actually believe that God can use them to change the world. In contrast, I think the older you get the more you form a cautious spirituality where everything gets filtered first. Perhaps this is why I need to be around this optimistic energy at least once a year... people who may not be as theologically versed as a lot of published authors or professors and yet they "get it."
Personally, the conference always seems to start feeling "fresh" when David Crowder and his band hit the stage.
How does one describe David Crowder? Imagine sitting down over dinner to talk with someone about a very serious topic, but the whole time you're trying to get around to your topic your friend can't seem to get over how there is a ketchup stain on his menu. It's not that it bothers him, but he's just so genuinely fascinated about the story behind the stain and takes you on a journey into his imagination about what may have happened. By the time you're done talking about the hypothetical person behind the ketchup stain, you've realized this what you wanted to talk with your friend about in the first place... but just didn't realize it. Yet once you start to talk about it he starts telling you a story about his Uncle Ned's shoe factory.
And how it all somehow has to do with an amazing side of Jesus you haven't seen yet.
So as David Crowder got ready to lead 4000 people in worship of God, he can't help but note a laughing woman by the stage who seems to be hooting like an injured steer. Then there was this guy with a chain wallet whom we only know as “Big Country” (the guy... not the wallet). Because, after all, that’s what guys with chain wallets are known for… snazzy nicknames.
An aside by you, the reader: "Hey, I have a chain wallet, fella."
A response by me, the blogger: "Sorry… 'Ace.'"
After some time with an illusionist, Crowder's Band, and some other fun stuff, Phil Vischer (founder of Veggie Tales) took the stage. You may know the story of his success, but you may not know about his big "failure" that God turned into a pretty amazing learning curve in his life. Without repeating what is already on the internet, I'll give you some of my favorite quotes and takeway ideas:
- "What’s Veggie Tales? It’s something that doesn’t make a whole lot of sense on paper. It is a series of videos where limbless talking vegetables tell Bible stories... trying selling that one."
- What does it mean when God gives you a dream, shows up in it, you find all kinds of success doing his work, and then it dies? Why put us through that exercise? It may be that God wants you to ask what is more important… "the dream he gave you" or "him?"
- "Anything you are unwilling to let go of is an idol... and if that's the case, then you are in sin."
- When people in the Bible don’t know what to do they don’t do anything… they wait on him. We are not called to be a people of vision… we are called to people of revelation. We need to focus the people of God on the word of God.
- The world doesn’t learn about God by watching Christian media… the world learns about God by watching Christians.
- When God wanted to advance his will he knew who to call because he knew who was listening.
- If I’m a Christian, where I am in five years is’t any of my business but completely up to God.
My takeaway questions:
- What if God isn’t whispering... but speaking quite clearly? If so and I am having trouble hearing him, what am I using to muffle his voice, consciously or unconsciously?
- How can I be a blank page to God each and every day without letting the pressure to provide for my family or prove something to those watching me start to fill up the page prematurely?