Sunday, November 23, 2008

Weekend Retreat

I just got back from another retreat... here's a picture of Ed Noble and me at the camp. Ed spoke Friday night and Saturday, while I led worship with some of the Anthem band. Here are some highlights:

- Along with being one of the wittiest (i.e. smart alec) guys I know, Ed always sharpens me theologically and spiritually. Topics of discussion: Atonement theories, church leadership, politics, perspective on gay marriage, sporadic prayer, some lessons in appreciating Hebrew and Greek, words of knowledge, demonology/spiritual warfare. I was bummed he had to take off on Saturday night to speak at Brookside Church in Omaha on Sunday morning.

- It was great to see Jeff Dart, an old roommate and friend from college who leads the Brookside youth ministry. He is more like Jesus than most of us. His love for people is sincere and God really seems to have his hand on him for ministry. His group was fun to lead in worship, as they were very open and responsive.

- This morning I spoke in Ed's place. I called it the "choose your own sermon adventure." I gave them four options and let them vote on the sermon they wanted to hear:

1. How to have good sex
2. How to be a Christian and still go to hell
3. Mystery talk (but I told them it involved angels and demons)
4. The best thing in the Bible you've never heard preached on.

Which do you think they chose?

I thought number one would be a slam dunk (we did a secret ballot system to ensure anonymity). Drum roll...

They chose #4, which made me a little nervous, because I only spent 15 minutes preparing that message- and that was 15 minutes before the session. But it was a fun message to preach, as I've done a lot of thinking on it over the last 10 years since I first stumbled upon 2 Peter 1 "so that you may participate in the divine nature" in the summer of 1998.

The message?

Basically a meditation on the doctrine of glorification. God is going to share his glory with us. Calvin's commentary on "divine nature" is that it's a sort of "deification." Wow. I won't re-preach the sermon but it's central to our hope, and yet we do so little thinking and preaching about it.

- The other highlight from the weekend was getting home. Although I was running on fumes coming home, I'm always re-energized by pulling in and seeing kids teeming out of the house to greet me.

I can't wait for a restful week, filled with thanks to God for his kindness to us Americans. Ever since reading the Mayflower (great book), my awe of what we have here has skyrocketed.


Leah said...

It was strange to see snow in that picture. I guess the weather will be a bit different down here in CB/Omaha! It was our weekend to go to Core (we've been alternating until we decide on one) so we missed Ed's teaching. But we did get the opportunity to meet with the Burmeisters after church for coffee to talk about life.

Thanks for getting us connected Mark, and for speaking highly of us. Please pray for the Seydels as we make the decision on Brookside or Core, how to start a family / pay off student debt, etc etc etc...

We'd appreciate God's wisdom & grace in these areas. Thanks Mark.

Ed Noble said...

Can I get a copy of talk #1


Barbie said...

I'm so envious Mark, you got to hang out with Ed, and on Donnie's birthday non the less!!! (is that one word?not sure.) Anyway, I hope to see you in the near future.

Metropuritan Mark said...

You guys will be a blessing wherever you land.

This is probably the only talk I haven't ripped off from you. You need to add this to your repertoire...

Barbie (and Ed)-
I have great memories when I think about my trip out there a few years ago. Remember laughing hysterically at the restaurant (by the ocean w/ donnie, Linda, and Ed)? Heaven must be a lot like that- friends, amazing weather in February, laughter, great food...

I wish I could've been out there for Donnie's bday. I hope the New Year's trip works out.