The last couple of days, Louis and I have been in Houston, Texas enjoying a lovely visit with my sister and her family. Tomorrow, we leave for Austin, where we will remain until Saturday. Austin, you say? Yes…Austin. We are attending the Verge 2012 Conference.
2 years ago, Louis and I stumbled upon the Verge Conference on their first year. Although I was soon to be unemployed, we found the resources to attend….and I am so glad that we did! Last year The Verge Network joined with Exponential – the largest church planting conference ever – and this year we are back in Austin. I am thankful for some generous people who have given to us – providing us the opportunity to attend, allowing us to be better prepared (and encouraged) for the work we do each and every day in Southern Barton Heights, in Richmond, VA. I love the ‘church’ – flaws and all. Admittedly, I love the people more than I do the actual building and institution. But, I sometimes feel like a fish out of water in a typical Sunday morning worship church. I often leave thinking…is this it?
2 years ago, while attending Verge 2010, I got it. I had found my people group, my tribe. People who strive to live out God’s mission EVERY day…at work, at home, at the PTA, gym, soccer field, and coffee shop, and every where else their everyday, walk-around, work-going, weekend-loving lives take them….not just on Sunday mornings, Wednesday nights, and on missions trips. Every day is viewed as a missions trip.
I wish you…every one of you…could attend. Although it is sold out and located in Austin, you do have an opp to attend the Main Sessions on Wednesday and Thursday, at least, through a simulcast. Check it out and sign up here. You will hear from folks like Dr. John Perkins, Bob Lupton, Alan Hirsch, Neil Cole, Dave Ferguson, Mike Breen, Jen Hatmaker, David Platt and Matt Carter. Let me know if you do! Would love to hear your thoughts and comments.
Swirl. That describes what is going on inside my head right now. Louis and I have been in a bit of a Swirl lately, but I think it’s going just a little faster after the last week. So much information, so many dreams and thoughts just swirling after 3 days at Exponential 10. It is good to just relax, play and laugh after such an intense time. Louis and I had an AMAZING afternoon at Aquatica yesterday. Then, after a light dinner we took a dip in the hot tub and sat by the pool talking about what was going on in our heads and hearts…unpacking a little of what is swirling. (We are having to do that a little at a time.) Now, today we are off to SeaWorld in a few minutes today. Shamu! Shamu!
So, you are probably wondering what is swirling around. Let me give you a little peek.
We stayed with a large group of friends from the Titus Institute of Church Planting, who Louis met a few years ago at the conference. So, most evenings we were able to hang out with other like-minded folks and talk about what we experienced. In addition, we also got to spend time with Wayne Krause, Louis’ friend and church planter from Australia. What a blessing it was to hang out with and chat with all of Louis’ old friends and getting to know some new ones as well. I enjoyed this as much as I did hearing people like Shane Claiborne, Francis Chan, Mark Batterson, Matt Chandler (We are praying for you, Matt!!!), Neil Cole, Alan Hirsch, Louie Giglio, Ken Blanchard, Efrem Smith, Brenda Salter McNeil and sooo many others!!!
Francis Chan’s story was one of the most moving and convicting for Louis and me. The video from the conference isn’t available just yet, but here is his sermon from Sunday when he discussed how the Lord has been moving in his life and the lives of his family recently. It is very similar to what he talked about at Exponential. I think many of us would agree that God is moving in a lot of us in a very similar way. Sermon: Surrender Listen to it and….welcome to the SWIRL! Let me know if we aren’t alone in this….what you are thinking…
Swirling with the Lord, Mart
This was written about noon today, Although we arrived here about 6:30p, I just got online to post it! We just got back to the villa from a wonderful mexican meal with our friends Bill and Miriam…
On the road to Orlando, by way of Charlotte! It’s Sunday morning, and Louis and I left Richmond Saturday for Charlotte to celebrate Mama’s (Louis’ mom) birthday. IPod Genius Mix rocked Hillsong United, David Crowder Band, Mercy Me and Chris Tomlin. This morning, we are chillin’ to a little John Mayer and Steve Tyrell. This afternoon, it will have to be a little more energetic, as we continue this 8-9 hour drive!!!
It’s interesting how music plays an important role in our lives and makes a significant impact on how we feel. ..whether we feel like rockin’, chillin’, worshiping or enjoying the silence. There was a time in my life that I couldn’t STAND silence. Music or TV or something had to be making some noise all the time…even when I slept…the TV was on.
At some point early in my time living in SBH that I learned to really enjoy the quiet…silence. Now I come to expect some time of nothingness. It is during this time that I hear the gentle hushed whisper of my Lord. Before, He really had to YELL at me to get my attention. Now, I look forward to those quiet still times where we can commune together.
Even on the road trip…there are times when the car is full of silliness and laughter. There are others where we are chatting and planning. And still other times where it is just quiet. No music. No voices. Just us and the road.
We are heading to Orlando for a conference….Exponential 2010. Monday – Thursday we will be among 2-3 thousand other people at the largest gathering of church planters and leaders in the world. Louis has been a few times before, but this is my first time. We are looking forward to:
- Praising God for how He is moving throughout the world.
- Gleaning from the words of people like Francis Chan, Neil Cole, Dave Ferguson, Matt Chandler, Alan Hirsch and so many others as the Lord uses and speaks through them.
- Hearing what is new and exciting around the world in church planting?
- Catching up with some of Louis’ contacts and friends he has made over the years.
- Hearing from the Lord. What does He have for us? What divine appointments? What words of wisdom? What’s next, God?
- Talking to each other about our future in church planting.
We also hope to run into the Wagler’s and the Snook’s while we are there, too! I am so glad that they will be able to experience this conference as well and look forward to exchanging notes and thoughts with them when we return to Richmond and Commonwealth Chapel.
Then, we will take a few days off to just play around Orlando…chillaxin’ and sunnin’ pool side, heading to SeaWorld, Aquatica, etc. Bill and Miriam, our friends from Clifton Forge will also be in Orlando playing this week, and we can’t wait to have time to relax with them.