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Our Journey to E91: July 12

We're in our third day at the North American Christian Convention in Orlando, and I just have to tell you that if you've never been to the NACC, you are missing out on an incredible experience. Many people think the NACC is only for preachers, but there are programs, workshops, and seminars that can impact anyone and everyone. Plus, the main speakers and teachers are some of the best and brightest in the world.

I just finished a breakfast sponsored by Taking Christ to the Millions International (TCMI), a ministry of which many E91 folks are familiar. At the breakfast, Dr. Gary Weedman, president of Johnson University, lectured on "Reading Ephesians from the New Perspective on Paul." Sounds exhilarating for a 7:00 a.m. lecture, right? Well, here's how helpful his lecture was for me personally, and this is just one example of many on the benefits of attending the NACC.

Will, our sixteen-year old, has been in discussion with other teens his age concerning Calvinism. When I was his age Calvinism was not at the top of my list of things to discuss with friends, but that's an issue for another time. Will and I have been talking about the five points of Calvinism, and I was having a hard time explaining my perspective and disagreement with this systematic theology. Will even texted me two nights ago asking me to explain the "TULIP" to him once again while he's attending a youth conference this week at Daytona Beach. (Can you imagine male teenagers talking about Calvinism at the beach? Come to think of it, maybe that's a good thing?) So here I am sitting at breakfast at 7:00 a.m. listening to a lecture on Paul's letter to the Ephesian church, and I'm actually intrigued and can't wait to tell Will about the things I learned!

My point? Biblical study and theology have their place in our day-to-day lives. If theology isn't being lived out practically, then it's not very good theology.

Oh, and by the way, the NACC isn't all about theology. As I said, there's something for everyone, and I hope you'll join me next year at the NACC in Louisville!

Our Journey to E91: July 9

Ahhhhhhh…the beach. After three days fighting traffic, enduring long lines for short rides, and walking, walking, walking through three gargantuan theme parks, we're now at Daytona Beach for two days before the North American Christian Convention begins. For those who think heaven is somehow going to be like Disney World, for me heaven is somehow going to be like the beach. I can understand the analogy of heaven being like Disney World--a "magical" kingdom, a place of great beauty, people gathering from every nation, tribe, people and language. But I can better understand the analogy of heaven being like a beach (minus the hurricanes)--a place of peace, rest, beauty, families playing together, etc.

Now, just to provide some balance here, we did have a good time at Mickey's kingdom, and there are a number of things they do well that can help us in the church. For example, hospitality at Disney World is extraordinary. I would expect this from the "welcoming committee" at the main entrance with their big smiles and friendly handshakes. But as we walked through the parks, every employee (or cast member, as they call themselves), and I mean EVERY employee, was friendly. If we looked a little lost or confused, which was most of the time, an employee, sorry, cast member, even if he or she was simply walking around with a broom and dust pan, would stop what they were doing and ask if they could be of service. I don't know what their training program consists of, but, whatever it is, I want it.

Can you imagine what it would be like if every cast member, sorry, church member, saw his or her role as to reach out and serve others? Not just on Sunday mornings, although that's a pretty good time to put this into practice as well. But every day of the week, at work, at home, as a family, what would it be like if you looked around to see if someone looks a little confused or lost, and you say, "How may I be of service?" We don't just need this attitude displayed by our "welcoming committee" on Sundays--a.k.a., "Greeters." All of us can take that Disney spirit, which is actually taught in the Bible, and apply it to our lives. Simply put, the Bible says, "Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others" (Phil. 2:4).

So, Disney World may not have a whole lot in common with heaven, one could argue, but it can show us how to be a little more focused on others. Try it sometime this week. If you see someone around you who looks like he or she could use a little encouragement, support, help, etc., just go up to the person and ask, "How can I be of service?" And then be ready to put a little action to your words.