Amber and I walked into our apartment last night at about midnight after an intense weekend at Ignite in Indy. Ignite is a national gathering of GCM campus churches, that packs a punch of dynamic, Word-based teaching and preaching, long segments of musical worship and a wide spectrum of workshops. I want to share with you some of what I gleaned from the weekend, so I'm just going to barrel through all of the different sessions and workshops I visited.
The general theme of the main sessions was centered on the local church and the fact that the bride of Christ is the hope of the world, whether we like it or not.
Main Session I
-Noel Heikkenen talked about our "Big Buts."
-Busyness and loneliness are two cancers killing Americans
-Our busyness is "born of a vague fear that we are wasting our time", which is a recipe for loneliness
-We were meant to be a part of a team - the local church body
-Noel walked through Hebrews 10 and all the delicious, nutritious lettuce or "let us" in that chapter
-10:24 - we don't gather together to wait for Christ to come back with the mothership, we gather to spur one another on to love and good deeds to the glory of the Father (the word "spur", sometimes translated "motivate," can also be translated as incite or provoke - yeah!)
-When are you more likely to enter into good deeds for Christ - while playing your Wii or while spurring one another on to go out into the world?
-"We live in a world where the only thing people commit to is having things their own way." Anon
-The thing we are to commit to is the local church...
-BUT "the church is screwed up!" people say
-Don't talk smack about Jesus bride!
-BUT "I got hurt!" people say
-Physical muscles grow by tearing and so we grow through spiritual tearing
-Noel closed with the following analogy: Some communities gather and they are like a bundle of marbles. You put 'em in a bag and smoosh 'em together, but they turn out the same when you release them. Christ-like communities are like grapes. When you smoosh them together, they affect and bruise one another. When you poor them out of the bag, they leave changed.
-There are good reasons to leave your local church, but most of peoples reason's are not good or Biblical
-Noel is a super-charismatic, hilarious, relevant and Bible-based teacher. I've yet to hear him give a poor message. This talk reminded me of how counter-intuitive Christian community often is, but that it is the best thing that anyone could find. So, don't let your But get in the way.
Main Session II
-John Drage, pastor of The Rock at Mizzou, spoke on the topic of "Satisfied Customer." Unfortunately, I was battling the usage of this metaphor during his entire talk, but I still was impacted in a really positive way. I initially felt the metaphor cheapened Jesus and the Gospel, but then I realized that John's intention was to find a simple metaphor that everyone could relate to.
-Everyone is looking for "It"
-e-bay claims to have "It" - seen the commerical?
-The band then covered the song "Where do you go for love?" - great question. Where doyou go for love?
-Drage then read John 9:1-41 - Jesus heals a blind man by spitting in some dirt and wiping that on the guy's eyes
-The Pharisees couldn't recognize the blind man's need and thus the power of Jesus' healing because they themselves were "blind"
-There are hurdles that trip us up when we encounter Jesus, like the characters in John 9 did:
-Chasing the show (spectators, people watching the healing)
-Slaves to fear/people pleasers
-Am I satisfied with Jesus? Or am I a dissatisfied customer?
Workshop I - Theater of the Human
-Wayne Wager and Brent Dickman, from my local church, led this seminar, which was intended to expand our appreciation of the beautiful art in "secular" film and help us see the truths of God that can be witnessed. We watched 10 clips from the following films:
-Saints & Soldiers
-Chariots of Fire
-To Kill a Mockingbird
-Good Will Hunting
-Wayne and Brent also gave us each their list of 40 films we should see before we die
-Along with many others, I left this workshops having had my emotions taken on a wild roller coaster ride. I walked into the workshop with a disconnectedness, feeling a bit emotionally dry, but these film clips reminded me of many of the beautiful truths in God's creation, but some reminded me of the cruelty of the world and our need for hope in God.
-The Blood Diamond clip was the most powerful for me. Never before had I sensed God speaking so directly to me through a secular film (or probably any film). Even though I had seen the movie, it grabbed me afresh this time. I won't ruin the movie for you, but for those who have seen it, it was the scene where the father speaks to his son, Dia, calming him down from doing something evil, reminding him that "You are Dia. You are my son. I love you. Your mother and sister are waiting by the fire..."
Workshop II - "Can someone tell me how to read this thing?"
-Jeff Eads is a pastor in PA and he talked with us about the difficulties of reading the Bible
-To begin with, he walked us through several reminders:
-Remember that when you read any Scripture, there is a long history and that context, the text itself and your own contemporary context that come into play. The Bible was not originally written "to me." It iswritten to us, but it is a historical document as well.
-Remember to put yourself in the shoes of those whom you read about
-Follow your curiosities. Don't be afraid to ask lots of questions, no matter how insignificant they may seem to be, because they may lead you to more relevant questions. Don't just ask questions, find answers!
-Have proper expectations. Everytime you meet with a close friend, you don't walk to the coffee shop thinking "Man, Bob better wow me today." Yes, we should come expectantly for God to speak with us, but don't think your going to have a mountaintop reading experience every day.
-Jeff then led us through the beginning of the book of Ruth. We asked lots of questions and learned how to set the stage for the reading of this beautiful story.
-Jeff also suggested that before you study any book, you first read the entire thing through in one or two sittings, to get a feel for the story, just like how you read a novel or watch a movie.
That's not even the end of day 2...I'll continue with remainder of Ignite next time.