Tuesday night, Wednesday morning and early afternoon, and Thursday morning I spoke to the InterVarsity Christian Fellowship Graduate Staff Ministries. To my delight, no travel: one mile west of my home is St Mary of the Lake Seminary and IVCF GSM holds its annual retreat there. One of the most satisfying experiences I’ve ever had speaking. Some thoughts:
First, I saw a bundle of friends … Cam Anderson holding the lead. I first spoke for Cam way back in the early 90s at a retreat in Wisconsin. Some former students from TEDS and a colleague from North Park Theological Seminary who is now working for IVCF. Some I only saw in passing; others I got to spend time with. Bob and Debbie Clark were in from Canada (they were at Kansas when Luke played baseball there) and I had a great time with him learning about coffee bean roasting … I might have a new hobby.
Second, I learned that Embracing Grace (for me) is more suitable for an address than a Sunday morning sermon. More accurately, I need to adapt the subject of that book to sermons. I’ll figure it out one of these days. But, because my time with the IVCF folks was an address, the ideas were pitched at the right level and they seem to have really worked.
Third, Tuesday night I addressed these fine leaders on the Story of the Eikon. The energy was high and I was bombarded with fascinating and stimulating questions following the address. I couldn’t get to sleep Tuesday night until after midnight because my mind was racing with excitement. Thursday morning I addressed the leaders on the meaning of “gospel” from my A Community called Atonement (due out Aug 1, 2007 from Abingdon). Once again, very stimulating.
I’m a huge, huge fan of IVCF and its leaders and their commitment to God and to the Bible and to a balanced Christian living and to an intelligent Christian life … I could go on. And these are some of the finest folks they’ve got, and I was honored to be there.
Wednesday had mixed results: I led a workshop on Turning to Jesus, which is a sociological study of how conversion works. My guess: about 10% thought conversion ought not to be subjected to sociological categories; about 20% thought it was not all that interesting; the rest seemed to be with me the whole time and had very good questions. I think I could have done some things differently. But, I’m keen on conversion theory.
Fourth, Steph Seefeldt was our worship leader Tuesday night (I missed the Wed evening service) and all I can say is two things: she can sure sing and she almost had that piano dancing in the aisles. No kidding. She’s awesome. Great to meet you Steph; even better to be blessed by your gifts. Sorry I didn’t to see you before you left to say good-bye.