I am in Speculator, NY, it almost sounds like the birth place of the Terminator, hah. I at a camp called Camp in the Woods and the place is friggin huge. There are over a 1000 people at this camp and it's crazy. I have experienced a lot and I had an awesome God moment last night. First a little about my experience:
1. This is my first trip speaking for Episcoplians. I am the youth speaker for the Episcopal Diocese of Albany, New York. The entire diocese gathers for a convention and the youth spend some time with the adults, but they also have their own rallies.
2. Men in robes. I haven't been a church where the pastors or (Priests/Bishops here) wear robes for a long time. I grew up Missouri, Syndod and our pastors wore robes, but not like these robes. These are hard core robes.
3. I haven't been in a Liturgical service for a long time. Again, growing up Lutheran I really got a bad taste for Liturgy in my mouth. I hated it, thought people where just spouting out words that they didn't care about it. But, it's weird, but I may have come full circle with Liturgy. What I use to hate, I now find inspiring and hear God the clearest in my life. Still flushing all this out, but I am just so tired of the happy, feely worship and I really connect with the reading of scripture, Liturgy and reverantial worship. So, still working on all this, but I very much enjoyed and connected with the service. It was also amazing to sing Stand up for Jesus with 1000 people, wow, that was awesome.
4. My God moment. I shouldn't have these right? I am the speaker, does it work in reverse? Well, it did for me. During the opening service of the convention, where everybody was gathered, I tell you what, I know God spoke to me. It wasn't audible, but I know the presence of God was surrounding me. It was almost like he said to me to just keep going. These last couple of months have been extremely tense, stressful, anxiety ridden and hard. We just feel tired as a family and we are longing for a fresh touch from the hand of God. So, I feel like God spoke to me and encouraged me and let me know He is here and I can rely on Him to help us get through all that is going on. Wow, what an awesome moment and it came it just the right time.
5. The election of an Bishop. I don't know much about the workings of the Episcopal church, but I sure have learned a lot this weekend. This weekend I met the almost new Bishop of Albany. That's not the right wording, but the title is entirely too long. His name is Father Bill Love and it will become Bishop Love. What a great name. "Hi, I am Bishop Love". As he was introduced, a group of nouns from Africa sang in their native tongue and danced in front of him as they walked him to the stage. It was absolutely amazing. To hear these 5 little ladies sing and to see the translation on the screen about, wow, another God moment.
I think so many times I have fallen into the trap that my church, my denomination, my worship style, my songs, my view of the gospel, my view of the church is the ONLY way, or the RIGHT way and the really exciting part in getting to partner with churches from all over is I get a much broader perspective. Now, I don't agree with or aline with all of the Episcopalian doctrine, but I sure know that I serve the same Lord and Savior and it's an honor to be here this weekend.
6. This is the first trip in a long time that I haven't memorized all the kids names. I am just mentally wasted and it takes a lot out of me. But, I have tried to stay available when kids have wanted to talk. I haven't had this many meaningful talks with students in a long time. So, I don't know if that's a good thing or a bad thing. I always try to point kids to their small group leader or youth leader when they want to share deep things, but is that the right thing? I don't know.
7. Patti Gibbons. What a great person! I was hooked up with Patti by Adam Mclane, thanks Adam! And I am blessed to partner with her. She is an amazing example of Christ and she is great. Patti runs the youth portion for the Diocese and she does a great job.
So, one more talk, good-byes, a 2 hour drive to the airport, a flight home and then I get to hold my babies and kiss my wife! Yeah.