Here’s a thought. What happens if we really embrace a “book of James” style faith… one that goes beyond just doctrine as a measuring stick or list of distinctives and statements… and journeys towards the Word of God dwelling richly within us, so that we might show Christ to the world, and so that the world will know us by the way we love one another… I’m excited just thinking about that!
We had a MARVELOUS last day at Willow, hearing a couple of speakers who really inspired us to go out there and create for God. I especially was moved by Francis Chan’s talk, which reminded us not to rely on ourselves, but on the Holy Spirit to change lives. Also, this morning I was introduced to the music of a REMARKABLE young lady named Kendall Payne. I haven’t been so impressed with a songwriter since Rich Mullins. She is an amazing talent, and you ought to check out her music.
So there’s this great booth here from a great company called Sermon Spice. Our church uses their videos pretty often. Well, they had this deal where if you eat just ONE really really hot pepper, they give you a red t-shirt and a coupon for a bunch of their videos. Dave, my senior pastor, went for it yesterday. It hurt a little, but he’s got the T-shirt to prove “he’s a man”… Will I pony up and eat one today? Stand by to find out what kind of stuff I’m made of!
We all went our separate ways for our breakouts today at the Arts Conference… And we all learned so much that it is just about making our heads explode! My session on working with a Creative Team was just revolutionary. My other colleagues learned so much about their areas, too. Just wonderful. Learning is what it’s all about, folks. Learning is one of the great joys in life. So today was pretty joyful. It was neat to sit in a session with Nancy Beach, one of the teaching pastors at Willow, and learn that the challenges and failures and successes that they have and the ones we have are way more similar than I would have guessed. THANK YOU Nancy!
First off, what a great time we’re having here at the Arts Conference. Brian McLaren reminded us today how powerful we artists can be in changing the world. We can tell stories that remind people that all those numbers of people starving in places like Africa are not just numbers but are people. It reminded me of those pictures World Vision and Compassion give you to remember that your 30-some dollars a month is going to help a real person, not just give you an extra tax write-off. Anyway, we’re looking for good ideas for how to tell those stories better, good ideas for how to get our communities and our churches to really work to change this world God gave us for the better, by helping people, conserving resources, and just basically being good stewards of what we have. Any ideas? Not ideas about what to do, but ideas about how to encourage us all to do it!
So they asked me to be part of a lunch to talk about leadership challenges here at the Arts Conference. It was cool, because I’ve been to (now) three arts conferences, and this year will be my eighth Leadership Summit (Read about all this stuff at the Willow Creek Association website here.) They bribed me with Cheesecake, and the piece they gave the few of us that went to this lunch was so much bigger than the one they gave the rest of the attenders that I just had to take a picture. Here it is.
Nancy Beach’s first session was a great reminder that we need to retreat to be able to create art that redeems. We need that time spent with our Father to be able to use our time to encourage believers and encourage people who want to become believers. The time away in solitude seems like a waste of time to so many in this world, but it’s a great use of our time from our Heavenly Father’s perspective. Take some time today and just be quiet with God. More later…
Well, we made it safely. Had a great time in the car riding and watching a great video together.
That’s a photo of us watching TV in the Suburban. We had a smooth ride and with less construction in Chicago than last year it was a lot faster than we thought it would be. Once we got into Chicago, the weather was really great! Here’s the Sears Tower from the car. More tomorrow…
A handful of people from my church will be going out to Chicago for the Willow Creek Arts Conference and boy are we psyched. I just wanted to let you know that this year, I plan to keep a log of some of the take-aways that we experience, as they happen! So, if you’re inclined to check in from time to time, come on back here and see what we are learning and experiencing. This event is always a great time, and a real encouragement for us who use our creative gifts to serve God, and hopefully we can share some of that great stuff with you all. Feel free to be part of the discussion if you want. I’ll be keeping up with all of this as we go!
So, the Goodyear blimp flew over today. Right over our building. I ran outside and snapped this photo. What’s the deal with the odd way we behave when we something famous, or somebody famous. What is the fascination? Is it because things and people that are bigger than life seem more lasting, more “important”, less fleeting than we are? Is this why Americans buy gossip magazines (and semi-gossip magazines) in the ridiculous numbers we do? There is only ONE who is eternal, though! Hang onto Him today!