So once again, the first week in May is one of my favorite’s of the year. I’ve only been to Malibu for the Pepperdine Lectureships twice now, but they seriously are amazing. This week is one of the best ways to recharge for the rest of the year, not just for me but for the entire family.
Leslie, Eden, Samuel, my parents and I, have all spent the last few days listening, hanging out with close preacher friends and enjoying the creation God says is good (for some reason that’s easier to believe in Malibu). I got to do my first ever Keynote lectureship here, and I have to tell you it was one of the most fun events of my life. Getting to speak to the leaders of our fellowship was such an honor. We’ve met with elders, ministers, college presidents and maybe the greatest of all, servants of the local churches from all over the country this week. And I was so glad to be able to speak to people who God is using to change the world.
Here are some of our highlights from the week:
1. The group of young preachers that I am a part of. Charlton Taylor, Josh Graves, Josh Ross, Colin Packer, Dusty Rush, Bryan Schackman, Josh Patrick (who gave me this picture) and more…One of the greatest things that this week has taught me is how much community is needed for sustainability in ministry. The night that I got to speak, these guys sat front row and center, they encouraged me before, during and after. There is a special kind of weight that comes with something like this, but I never felt alone. It takes a village to raise a sermon, and these men (all of who have done or will do these at times in their lives) walked with me. I love these fella’s and am honored to call them partners in the gospel. I look forward to sitting on the front row for you for years to come.
2. Rick Atchley. He’s one of the greatest men I know. I think of him as a father in ministry. An hour before I preached he called just to remind me it’s just preaching, and I know preaching. He’s right, I do, mainly because he taught it to me. Rick is my favorite preacher and minister. I will never stop being grateful for the way he’s invested in my life. He taught me that God’s story has power, and that getting to tell that story is one of the greatest privileges there is. There is no way to know how big Rick’s Kingdom impact has been, but I know that we will see ripples effects for decades to come.
3. Watching my parents. After almost 50 years of marriage, they’ve done a lot together. But they’ve never done this. Watching them attend the different classes, and hear the different voices that our tribe has to offer, hearing the conversations they are having with people from Oregon or Tennessee about how church is different in different contexts, watching them see the ocean for the first time since the 60’s, or hold their grandchildren…This week has been special for me just watching them. It’s like a dream come true for them (however, this weekend we will start the drive back to Texas…with 2 kids under 22 months…it might turn into a nightmare).
4. Hearing guys like Scot Mcknight, Mike Cope, Randy Harris and others. I always come away from these lectureships with a renewed sense of the bigness of God and a broader scope for what he’s up to in the world. Jerry Rushford always does a great job in picking the lineups, this year was no exception.
5. My wife. I have no idea how tough this lady is. Imagine giving birth (naturally…again) and then deciding to go on a cross country trip with both kids and your in-laws, so that your husband can do something he’s dreamed about for years. That’s her to a tee. She’s a servant and a partner, and without her I’d just be some scatter-brained idealist without feet on the ground.
This week has been one of the most fun of my life. Now we are off for a couple of days vacationing in LA and Flagstaff before making a trip home.
But I’m sure once we get there we’ll be ready to start planning coming back next year.