Chapter 1 – The opening
The morning began with men on stilts, a cow throwing t-shirts, a rock wall, a rapper, pancake corn dogs, and cannons that shot streamers. Then we went inside. The theme this year is “reverb” and in the spirit of this theme the opening experience was incredible. It began with an orchestra on stage while a conductor (not a real one) led them through some classical music and then the fun really began. The conductor began to wave his wand out into the audience and a spotlight followed, when the light finally came to rest it lit up a man in a tux way up high and he began to sing opera. Next the light went to a guy playing the didgeridoo, followed by a guy playing bag pipes, followed by some Japanese drummers, followed by some dueling banjos…and then a guy on guitar began playing Back in Black, then the orchestra played Back in Black, then the guy on guitar played Walk this Way, followed by the Orchestra playing Walk this Way…finally combining and playing a little Sweet Home Alabama. And the transition into the worship set was the coolest thing ever! The orchestra began to play Bittersweet Symphony and melded it into How Great is our God!
Chapter 2 – Speakers
Andy Stanley – What can I say? There are very few communicators that when I listen to them I completely feel the presence of God challenging me to my core…Andy Stanley is one of those communicators.
Patrick Lencioni – This is the author of “The Five Dysfunctions of a Team”. I have never seen a more sporadic speaker in my life…that being said, he was great! He leveraged his apparent ADD and humor to great benefit for all who were listening.
Shane Claiborne – Interesting cat. Likes to push buttons, he embraces who he is, and above else has a desire to see peace throughout the world and the least of these taken care of.
Francis Chan – Although I love Andy Stanley I must say that Francis moved me. His heart, passion, vulnerability, humility and confidence challenged me to think in brand new ways. I will take much away from him…but above all things I will take away that God is doing something supernatural through me. It reminded me that I am the slave and He is the master…and even if I fail God will still be glorified and spread His Kingdom.
Rick Warren – I have to be honest, I’m not the biggest Rick Warren fan. I’m not a hater or anything I just don’t connect with his style. However, there is no denying the impact God has had through him. I respect the man immensely for his dreams, investment in leaders, and his willingness to allow God to use his influence throughout the world.
Chapter 3 – Angels and Demons
While I was in college I had many mentors. Today I ran in to two of them and let me just say one word…AWKWARD! One of them was and is like a father figure to me. He has always been my wise council and I hope he will continue to be. The other person…well, let’s just say that our relationship ended with me wanting to punch him hard in the neck. It was just an awkward encounter with him…but the other one was, as always, a huge blessing. I do wish the other guy well, and I am glad that God is using in him in some pretty incredible ways…but it was still awkward.
Chapter 4 – Cracker Barrel
We have eaten there twice in less than 24 hours. We don’t have them in California…which is a crying shame cause it is definitely good eats.
Chapter 5 – Reflections
In the ongoing journey that is my life I have found that the moment I allow myself to get away, God fills me with huge dreams and big ideas. This trip is no different. My heart longs to love people. My soul longs to make a global impact. There is this fire that burns so intensely within me that I can’t help but dream, and pursue the impossible. I am filled with a humble confidence knowing that God is leading me and doing amazing through me. I know that I am His, and that He will use me in ways that I can not even comprehend. I know that the dreams he is giving me are the dreams he has for my life…and I embrace them with anticipation. It is time to listen. Listen to his calling, direction, and rebuke. I am an unfinished wanderer who has given his life to change the world…and I have only just begun.
Until next time…