Great day I experienced with classes, super-sessions and keynote messages from some of the finest people in Christianity. I typed 10 pages of notes yesterday so I cannot include everything here but I want to give you some highlights that stood out to me.
Tuesday Morning, Mike Cope “Spiritual Intubation: How Community Keeps Us Alive” The Wizard of Oz: Revelation’s View of Community
- “No church ever existed in a pure state. The church is made up of sinners. The fleas come with the dogs.” (Eugene Peterson)
- Four characters who are known by their deficiencies. Much like Christians today.
- Showing of who Oz really is. “The great Oz has spoken, pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.”
- It’s a great distance from Colorado Springs to Pergamum.
- In Pergamum it was very, very different.
- Everywhere people went they told two stories: the power of Rome and Greek gods and goddesses. Everywhere they went they are told that they are caught up in and how could they not believe it. It “has to be true.” Every market, athletic event, silver item told them about temple worship.
- Where is the Pergamum church of Christ?
- A tiny…insignificant few.
- Imagine holding on to the story of Jesus while walking among the temples and other places where the minority is huge.
- Have you been the minority?
- Power, honor, identity was wrapped up into gods and Rome not Christ.
- Persecuted Christians get it
- “Though St. John the Evangelist saw many strange monsters in his vision, he saw he saw no creatures so wild as one of his own commentators.” G. K. Chesteron
- Deep Community is anchored in Jesus
- Deep community has to be eschatological in nature.
- Deep community is at its best when it is part of a mission…a larger story.
Tuesday Morning Keynote Kurt Johnston @kurtjohnston “Deep, Redefined”
- Have you ever stopped and thought about all the things in youth ministry that you don’t do very well? We are great at trying to control the perceptions of other people. Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are great at creating perception of us.
- Four truths I have learned that have 1) pointed out my shallowness and 2) led him into a deeper experience in faith.
- Life is a squiggle
- I need a travel partner
- Busyness will keep you in the shallow end.
- When you begin to have a long view of youth ministry
Tuesday Super Session Frank Viola @FrankViola “The Missing Ingredient”
Observations about ministry to young people:
- Catch30 Crisis – Human beings go through developmental stages as they get old. When they are 30 they reassess every decision they made in their 20s and they either abandon what hey believed or abandon them. You don’t know where someone is spiritually until they are thirty. You could not serve in the house of God until you were 30. Jesus did not begin his ministry until he was 30. Young people need to be prepared for this.
- There is a difference between youthful enthusiasm and spirituality. Most of the big Christian movements are built on youthful enthusiasm. The problem is that many operates on youthful enthusiasm and the well runs dry
- You can’t pass on to those whom you minister to what you have not experienced yourself.
- I have to prepare them for the forgotten beatitude. Blessed is he who is not offended by me.
Other Notes from class…
- If you cut the bible in any place it will bleed Jesus Christ.
- Moses and Christ
- Creation and Christ
- Isaac and Christ
- Jacob and Christ
- Conclusion – #1 – Find Christ in the bible. #2 – Do business with the Lord
Tuesday Afternoon Class 1 Josh Graves @JoshGraves “The Bible Jesus Read: Genesis 1-2”
2 Timothy 3:14-17; John 5
- We need a more mystical understanding of Scripture. But also how it calls us to new spaces.
- “All Scripture” does not exist yet and he has in mind Torah.
- Inspired…he does not infallible, inerrant. They never show up in the bible. Sometimes the most important work we do is not learning new things but relearning old things.
- 2 Timothy is not about proving Scripture over science but it is about inviting people into God’s world in order to see the world differently and “to do something about it.”
- These stories carry the freight in any given culture.
- God can’t help but to create. He is in control. The things God creates would not be believable if we have not seen them.
- Everything else that has creativity or imagination that somehow it is all linked back to the God who started.
- One of the ways Genesis invites us to go deeper and that we live in a good creation. Does not deny the dark side of life but he made everything and called it good.
- Most people who tell the story of God begin with Genesis 3 and not Genesis 1.
- We have to introduce paradox to our students. Life is full of joy and pain. Paradox is one of the greatest contribution to the Western world.
Tuesday Afternoon Class 2 Sally Gary @centerpeaceinc “Reaching out to Teens Who Identify as Gay and Lesbians”
Many who struggle with same sex attraction but still love the Lord. Struggles do not divide us.
Starved for Intimacy. Facebook and its struggles for intimacy. Question is: How can we meet this need? This desire for community. There is a great need for this connection.
What teens learn from the world: Glee, Modern Family.
What teens learn from the church: Nasty messages about homosexuals from the church
What they need is looking for a safe place.
How to be a safe place?
Deal with our own fears.
- Change our thinking
- Change our language
- Be consistent
- Model the Love and Acceptance of Christ
Tuesday Night Keynote Frank Viola @FrankViola “God so loved the world vs. Love not the world.”
The world in the New Testament is used in two ways…
- Speaks of the material universe. Jesus of Nazareth is this world’s true Lord.
- A system or network or order of things designed to draw us away from God.
Historically Christians have taken two postures: 1) Retreated from the world’s system (Isolationism) 2) Enmeshed by the world and married to it.
The most miserable person is a Christian who is living in a way where deep inside them they are told to give something up and they can’t. When we are in community with other Christians the Holy Spirit is clearest.
The Holy Spirit will reveal to you what is of the world.
2 Kind of legalists: 1) Salvation by works 2) I am going to take what the Holy Spirit has shown me personally and make it a law to you.
“The gospel spreads best not through force but through fascination” (Shane Claiborne)
Dinner in Colorado Springs: Uchenna Ethiopian Restaurant
This was ranked #2 in Colorado Springs by TripAdvisor and it was awesome. I had Yebeg Alecha which was tender pieces of lamb marinated with butter then sautèed with ginger, garlic, and 12 spices. There were no forks but you had this roll that you put the meat and the sauce in. It was excellent. The owner’s name is Maya and they cooked everything to order so it took a while but the food was worth it. They have mostly organic food and a substantial vegetarian menu. I have never tried authentic Ethiopian cuisine but this was a must! Went a left the owner looked at me and said, “Go in peace.” I love her already.