Sorry to leave all you people hanging like the Star Wars Trilogy.
Ready for the Readers Digest version?
Beginning of the Rekindle the Flame conference. The first two sessions left a lot to be desired. I began to wonder why God brought us here. What I thought would be a conference that filled me up started off like a masters degree course that was emptying me of all hope.
Then the night session started...
We learned about "listening prayer", asking the Holy Spirit for direction in praying for people, and following his whispers. Totally new mindset for me. Then we got to practice it. Imagine that...putting movement to scripture.
Maybe this conference won't be a forgotten memory.
Started with hot Starbucks. This day had to be good.
We joined Nyack College for their morning chapel service. Totally brought back memories of leading worship at Simpson College for our chapels. Except...and don't take this the wrong way...but we had no culture back at Simpson. For that matter, we had no culture in all of Redding. There were 5 African Americans in my entire high school.
Sitting in the chapel service, I looked around at the melting pot. And I smiled as I heard voices other than the sound of Caucasian conversations. I miss that. I miss the energy and passion that African American people bring to a worship service. And their voices together in that jam-packed gymnasium filled me up.
Then the speaker got up and spoke on prejudices. Ha! Love it. Once again, we put feet to our faith and were asked to pray with someone of a different culture than us. I found a guy named Hakeem and we prayed together for unity, asked forgiveness for pre-judging, and declared God's heart for each other.
A couple of us took a trip to Hobokan, NJ to seek out a bakery that is featured on the TLC show "Cake Boss". After the GPS took us to the wrong place (operator error), we finally found the promised land. While we were there, we saw the guy who plays Cipher in the Matrix movies.
Day 4 was good.
Last day of the conference. Started off with a bang.
We heard from a professor at the seminary on prayer and spiritual warfare. The most eye-opening thing was that we have been given the authority to push back the darkness in our world. Jesus has the power...and we the authority. That better change the way I pray or nothing will.
Half of the team went home today. I would have been happy to go home with 'em. But I had chosen to go home on Saturday. So I was "stuck" in NY City, checking out Central Park, getting dizzy looking up at the Empire State Building, and eating at Thunder Jackson's Urban Roadhouse for the second time this week.
What? They've got the Dirty Burger. Don't judge me.
Heard from my wife that Sam was throwing up...for the fourth time...and I wanted to be home.
After we checked out the Staten Island Ferry and the huge bronze "Charging Bull" on Wall St., we headed off for the airport. I was pretty homesick at this point.
Got home at 10:00 that night and rejoined life with my wife and kids.
I want them to go with me next time.