Thanks to Tony and PCC, Ted and I are here in Dallas enjoying a fantastic conference... two conferences, really, put on by the same organization: The RightNow Campaign. All day yesterday and most of today was the LeadNow '08 Conference, a national conference for ministry leaders who are unleashing 20- and 30-somethings to action. We heard from Todd Wagner, Todd Phillips, Francis Chan and Erwin McManus, along with surprise guest Marcus Buckingham, and were led in music/worship by Patrick Ryan Clark. Then tonight at 7:oo, The Fusion Experience started. This is "an event for all 20- and 30-somethings who love Jesus and want their lives to reflect their faith." We've only had one session, but it was a marathon. Apparently Donald Miller ("Blue Like Jazz") was added to the schedule at the last minute, so we heard sermons from both him AND Erwin McManus tonight, in addition to being led in music/worship by the amazing Brick House Choir, spoken word artist Amena Brown, and Houston's own Robbie Seay Band.
Last night we were invited to a special screening of the new film The Boy in the Striped Pajamas. I ws excited to see it. Ebert gave it a 3-1/2-star review. And it was a great film, yes. It was also the most depressing movie I've seen in the last 5 years. When it was over, we all just sat there in this stunned silence. It's powerful, but it's harrowing. Not exactly the feel-good movie of the year.
You can read Tony's blog posts about the conference so far here and here. I'm still just soaking it in. I've definitely been challenged and encouraged. I really enjoyed talking to Donald Miller and thanking him for encouraging me in my journey as I began to look at politics in a new way this fall. He is a humble man who loves Jesus and helps me think in new ways. I was challenged by Francis Chan to get back to basics... to pray, to be in the Word and to follow the lead of the Spirit. I have been challenged and encouraged by Erwin McManus and Donald Miller to dream big and tell the great story of God with my life.
Here are some more pics...
Ted's feet in the elevator of our Aloft hotel... This is a brand-new, super-cool hotel from the W company... Fun, funky vibe; great "loft" room; great design; great magazines in the room (New Yorker, Wired, etc.) We got a heck of a deal.
Worship leader Patrick Ryan Clark.
Cool random art out in the Connection Cafe.
My worlds collide: my buds Ted and Tony.
It's been awesome to spend time with Tony. It's hard to believe I've been gone from PCC for over seven months. We just pick up where we left off... He's my true brother in Christ.
Robbie Seay Band rocking Dallas... I love this guy's music.
It's almost 2am, and I gotta get some sleep because I'm driving home tomorrow and it's an almost five hour drive. Peace out.
[EDIT: Here's Tony's blog post about the third day of the conference.]