If you've been following my blog for long, you likely know that I've been wrestling with a LOT lately. One of the biggest has been this tension that I am feeling between the way I am living as opposed to the way I know 80% of the world is living. I have found it impossible to justify the fact that I live in comfort, wealth, and ease while the majority of the world lives in poverty, disease, and danger. I'll just be honest - I have come to despise my possessions. I can hardly look at my iPod or my Macbook without thinking about the children who could be alive today with the money I spent on them. That may sound extreme...but it's where I am. I have been seeking the Lord a lot on what He would have me do with this tension. I still don't have the answers...but I have come to learn that my soul is not going to be at rest until I have heard from Him.
I got an e-mail a couple of months ago about Catalyst, which is basically a big leadership conference that's held in Atlanta every year. I started looking into it and saw that there was a "lab track" that the conference was offering on "Justice". The basic premise of this track is going to be about the church's role in this new age of awareness of what is happening in the world around us - how the mission of the Church intersects with these needs. When I saw who was going to be speaking and what they were going to be speaking on, I got pumped. And I eventually got to the place where I just couldn't NOT go. So here I am...at a Cracker Barrell right outside Chattanooga on my way to the ATL!
I'm really excited about the next couple of days for the following reasons:
1. I am going to hear these people speak tomorrow:
- Joel Hunter (Author of "A New Kind of Conservative") - Topic: "Compassionate Conservative"
- Peter Greer (President of Hope International) and Phil Smith (Co-Author of "A Billion Bootstraps") - Topic: "Microfinance: Ending Poverty"
- Jena Lee Nardella (Director of Blood:Water Mission), Jeff Shinabarger (Founder of Rwanda Clean Water), Bethany Hoang (Director of International Justice Mission) - Topic: "Doing Good"
- Dino Rizzo (Lead Pastor of Healing Place Church) - Topic: "Servolution: Ignite a revolution through serving"
2. I get to hear MATT CHANDLER speak tomorrow night! This was another huge draw to the conference. Matt led a Bible Study that I was a part of in college and he was a major influence on my spiritual growth during those years. I cannot WAIT to hear him speak again.
3. I get to see Doyle Corder tomorrow! Doyle has been a friend of my family's since...birth? (as long as I can remember!). I guess we're kinda related through marriage, but anyway...I JUST found out last night that he's going to be at the conference, so we're going to grab some grub at some point.
4. I get to enjoy 8 hours in the car! This may sound strange, but I miss the college days of the drives home by myself when I get to just crank up the music and either A. dance to some hip-hop B. rock out to some boy bands or C. raise my hands (or HAND...I'm driving) to some worship. Yes, I've gotten weird looks from drivers around me but OH WELL
5. I am by myself. Now while some of you may not find this something to be excited about, I do. "Me-time" is super hard to come by these days. But I love it...and I need it. I'm looking forward to learning, listening, seeking. I am praying for the Lord to speak to me in the next couple of days.
6. Getting home...because the Ordinary Radicals movie is waiting for me when I get back!!!!! Right, JP????