It was something to see 400+ local church leaders, staffers and assorted other gapers (like me) gathered today at the annual Catalyst Forum. The keynote dude, one Bishop Kevin Ulmer, preached some of the wallpaper off of the walls at the Trinity International University chapel.
What he had to say was familiar (go and make disciples, not programs or members) but he said it creatively and in order to motivate. It is always interesting watching people come out from their various church encampments and mingle/schmooze and even truly fellowship.
The highlight moment for me was in the breakout session on prayer. As the workshop leader, Debbie Stackhouse, shared about what a church that’s centered on prayer – a house of prayer! – might look like, a man on staff at one of the Big Box mega churches in the area got visibly emotional. “We’re the exact opposite of this model,” he said. “We run programs and ask God to bless them. And it’s wrong.” I was watching him throughout the session. He was fighting back tears almost the entire hour.
He is in a dangerous place, this guy. It would be a lot easier for him to run his program. But something tells me that God is moving deeply in his life and he won’t be satisfied with anything less than Him. May God give him the strength to stay in this place of brokenness, no matter what.
We lived in WI for 9 years, where Thanksgiving week is better known as Gun Deer Season. The entire state comes to a screeching halt so people can head to the woods in shocking orange outfits. The boy deer are in heat, as crazed as frat boys on spring break. The people (mostly guys) dressed in horrible garish clothes shoot at the frantic deer. Sometimes they kill the deer. Mostly they drink, eat beef jerky and tell each other stories.
Gun Deer Season flushes Girl and Boy Bambis out of the woods and sends them running helter-skelter through the state. As in EVERYWHERE. As in over the river and through the woods, right into Grandmother’s Pontiac. I suspect that cars kill as many deer as guns do, only the drivers of the cars aren’t usually wearing orange and aren’t intentionally hunting.
We never bagged a deer with our car in WI, though we had a few close calls. But this morning, just as the sun was thinking about coming over the horizon, Bill my husband got a 4 point buck with his Corolla. Sadly, he was thinking about heading to work, not Car Deer Hunting. He’s fine, by the grace of God. I’m beginning to wonder if I need to put our auto insurance agent’s number in our phone on auto dial.
This is the car we bought about a year and a half ago to replace to Corolla totalled with our boys driving it. This is the car that was in a 4800 dollar accident 6 months ago. (Today’s deer damage is far, far worse.) In between these accidents, my car blew a head gasket. 1200+ bucks for that. A gigantic bubble in the tire of my mom’s car that I drove back from FL. I drove it all the way back with that horrible shimmy going on, thinking the car just needed an alignment. The next week, our son Jake got a flat and needed tires on his car.
May I just say that a friend noted that not a hair on our heads has been harmed during any of this drama. We’ve walked away from each of these disasters. Thank you, Jesus.
But we are really in a weird car zone. Spiritual attack? Test? Curse?