It’s 1:10 PM and I’m skipping a general session to sit and write. Richard described this conference as “trying to get a drink of water from a firehose”, and he’s not much wrong. So far today we’ve had general sessions with D.A. Carson and Gene Getz, and I went to a workshop also with Dr. Getz. And that was all before lunch! This afternoon there’s another general session and then a workshop before dinner. As I already said, I’m skipping the general session to do some writing, mostly because if I don’t take the time to write things down, I’ll start forgetting… and I don’t want to forget. It’ll be much more valuable for me to cement some things in my mind rather than just go soak up some more things that I won’t have time to remember.
Last night was Ravi Zacharias. He is brilliant. In the areas of metaphysics and logic, few are his equal. His topic was “Questionable Questions: Four questions skeptics ask that point to Christ”. I’ll write a separate post just on his message. Very impressive. Had a snack, decided to skip out on the late movie (National Treasure) since I’d just seen it last weekend, and went to bed.
One other thing I don’t want to forget from last night: we had a pianist providing special music. His name is Anthony Burger, and he usually plays with the Gaithers. His style is very showy, which means I don’t like it much. He plays with an instrumental track, it makes me think that Liberace got saved and started playing Christian music. But the last song of his set was Handel’s glorious Hallelujah Chorus. The power of that music drove away my discontent with the style of the presentation. Within the first few measures of the song, all 2000+ men in the auditorium stood to honor God in that great tradition of the Chorus. All the guys that knew parts were singing along. Words to not do it justice. Being in a room with 2000 men who want to worship God and having such a majestic chorus to do it with? Amazing. Fantastic. Superb. I’ll shut up now. 🙂
This morning we had our first general session with Dr. D. A. Carson. He is probably the most “intellectual” speaker of the week. He apologized at one point early in the presentation for ending a sentence with a preposition! Just that kind of guy. He is a research professor at Trinity Evangelical School of Divinity, which means they basically retain him just to do research and write books. That being said, he’s a very good speaker as well. His ten-dollar words and presentation had John’s eyes permanently glazed over, but Richard and I loved it. I’m really looking forward to hearing Dr. Carson again tomorrow.
As Dr. Carson’s session dismissed, I headed off at a trot to get to the workshop with Dr. Gene Getz on Elders and Leadership in the church. It was a very good session… he reminded us that we need to stop assuming that the “form” that we’ve practiced with in our culture for all these years can substitute for the “supracultural” principles of leadership. There are the principles, which are universal. They transcend culture. Then there are the practices. They have to be customized depending on the culture and circumstance the church is in. I will have to take some time to digest it some more, but I think we can gain some things that we can implement at Noelridge. Dr. Getz then had the second morning session, where he taught on the importance of godly leadership in the church. Nothing super profound, but still encouraging and challenging.
The music times here have been pretty decent so far. Don’t get me wrong, the band is quite good. I always have a little trouble not being critical with bands, I guess they stick out to me more because I’m the musician. They’ve had a good balance of both old and new music; at the second morning session we sang Matt Redmond’s Blessed Be Your Name and followed it up with It Is Well With My Soul. Nice. I wish the worship leader were a little less showy and a little more of a musician, but I get the feeling that it’s just style, not heart attitude, so I can look past it.
Richard and I are going to be slackers tonight; we’re going to a Cubs game. The Astros are in town and Roger Clemens is pitching. Now, that probably means that the Cubbies will lose, but then, what else is new? It will be a little chilly tonight, but should be a great time. I love Wrigley Field. It will be a good break from the fire hose.