Thursday, August 14, 2008

Christ Alone -- The First Night of Global Briefing

Tonight was a great way to kick off our week together.

I particularly loved the energy that our many flag bearers brought into the room as they raced around with a variety of countries represented.

And, of course, it was incredible to have our friends the Autumn Film leading us into worship.

I know what most of you want, and that is the footage of the incredible documentary footage of Keith Bubalo that MCs Eric and Emily brought to our attention. As Eric pointed out, there was a time when Keith had to make a choice between targeting a chance at becoming the national director of WSN or following his Olympic Dreams. Here's the video of what might have been.

Keith walked us through the story of Moses and the burning bush in Exodus 3. He showed us how this story illuminates God's desire to reveal Himself to us in a way that is unmistakably Him. And he reminded us that we all have "burning bush" moments or we wouldn't be sitting there in the room tonight, about to embark on stint.

I was particularly moved as people in the audience stood and shared the many places where God has revealed Himself to them: in a park, in the Oxford cemetery, in a corner of a bedroom, at 4 a.m. or on the plane to Rome, talking with friends and strangers, during traffic accidents, at coffee shops, at conferences and in lonely places.

It made me think of those times in my life, where God unmistakeably made His presence known to me. Once on a walk on an Oregon beach, once in a stand of bamboo in East Asia, another time in the still darkness of Joshua Tree National Park, where I thought to myself, if a bush caught on fire right now and was not consumed, I wouldn't be surprised.

And Keith reminded us that as followers of Christ, we will be people empowered by the burning presence of the Holy Spirit. He reminded us that "It's not normal to see a person on fire... they're different."

And then the worship set the band took us through was so powerful, and so clearly attuned to what Keith had shared. The band and Keith, by the way, didn't talk to each other about Keith's talk or the content of the worship songs. It was amazing the way they fit together so seamlessly. Which, to me, is evidence of God speaking to the band and to Keith, and of them being His conduit to speak to us.

Thank God for that!

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