Thursday, June 24, 2010

Home from Chicago

After many delays and ground stoppages, I finally arrived home a little before midnight last night from a trip to Chicago. David and I were there to attend the Alpha Americas Conference held in Naperville, in preparation for kicking off our first Alpha course at St. Peter's, McKinney in September.

Alpha - a course to bring people to faith, started in London at Holy Trinity Brompton. The keynote and recurring speaker was Nicky Gumbel, pastor at HTB and current leader of Alpha International. What an amazing and engaging man! I learned a few things...let's think about these:
1. How many churches are there in McKinney? Texas? The United States? The World? That's right - just one church. Oh, there are many different denominations (packaging if you will), but all with the same head of the church. I saw it with my own eyes. We were sitting behind a church group from Wisconsin who are part of the Pentacostal movement, as they listened to an Anglican priest from stuffy old England talk about how to successfully share the Alpha course. That is just one church in the flesh!
2. I love liturgy and traditional hymns. Apparently, I am also internally moved by ANY praise and worship music where a group of people sing, even if it is in the more hip and modern vein. Uncontrollable tears throughout all the songs...for no apparent reason. Inexplicable really, yet I experience this time and again in a variety of settings. Music sings from and to my soul I guess, which is kind of weird considering my favorite radio station is Public Radio.
3. There was a part of the first day where, quite unexpectedly, an announcement for prayer was made. Nicky Gumbel was speaking about Alpha and the weekend away one minute, then with little transition provided, called anyone interested in receiving prayer to come forward. We were all talking about the Holy Spirit coming into our lives and I know that was happening in that room. Those aformentioned tears were flowing like mad....don't even know why since the songs weren't even playing! I was really filled with anxiety as a lady pretty far away from us in the auditorium began speaking loudly in tongues. I heard this for the first time on Tuesday, but the anxiety gradually ebbed as I just stood there and took it all in. I was rooted and time passed without my understanding. My mind went to a vision of myself in a new way. I am not ready to talk about that vision yet...but hope to keep getting a clearer understanding as time and experiences come.

I know that in my job at school, I am charged to lead a group of teachers to help students become equipped for new challenges and a promising future. I think the same charge exists in my call to lead Alpha. Our church will grow new leaders, create new followers of Christ and see ourselves as the church itself. It is time to really get to the business of Kingdom Work.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

So, our precious daughter is heading off to church camp tomorrow. Church camp for me is a tremendous part of who I am today. I learned all kinds of lessons that serve me well.

1. Making friends from other places makes you think that where they live MUST be more glamorous than wherever I lived. My house was boring, my school was dull, our church was lame...but everyone else had such a cool life. Then, I grew up and lived in some of those places and guess magic at all there! Just a regular place like all the other regular places.
2. Being with a group of people who are all focused on the same things is very helpful to keep me centered. I still need this today and am grateful that I had that experience from 5th grade through college.
3. The memories full of details may fade, but the emotions are just dormant inside me, rising to the surface as soon as I turn on the camp road. I feel just like I used to feel on the first day of camp every year; every session! I cannot wait to see my friends again!

Our family is heading back to Camp Weed in Live Oak, FL over Labor Day weekend for a camp reunion. We'll rent a cabin for all of us, and most of us will fly a long distance to sweat and play Izzy Dizzy til we run sideways. I literally cannot wait!

I can only hope my dearest daughter has half of the wonderful experiences I had....but if not, I know that sending her to camp is one of the best mom and dad decisions to help prepare her for a life ahead.

New Adventure

Never blogged, but like reading other blogs. But I was thinking...I have things to say too! So, words from work, from parenting a teenager and working on my Walk...stay tuned!