Disciple: baffled, but willing to be led

Hello again bloggists. I have returned to the blogcave and am ready to release more random thoughts into the wild.

Waiting for journalists...
not actually chairs at the conference venue
– these look more comfortable!

I have been at the Eastern Baptist Association Ministers’ Conference. It was a real blessing. We were fed well physically (cooked breakfasts are always welcome) and spiritually. I was especially blessed by Glen Marshall’s sessions which had a title that was almost longer than the talks. Through exposing (expositing?) passages in Ezekiel, Deuteronomy and Acts we found ourselves refreshed, inspired, encouraged and challenged.

I loved Glen’s definition that he wanted to make into T-shirts: “Disciple… baffled, but willing to be led”. That describes how I often feel. Baffled that God would call me to do what he has called me to do. Baffled that he loves me unconditionally. Baffled at his grace. Baffled that other people find things I say (and occasionally that I blog) to be helpful. Baffled at… [insert many other options here]. Glen did say that he thought he ought to copyright that phrase, but since he hasn’t I will use it, but give him credit!

The Conference blessed in other ways, with talks by Bob Payne (Vicar in Bishops Stortford (what is a ‘stortford’, why would a bishop own one, and why would you name a place after the fact that a bishop owned a stortford?)), plenty of encouraging and enjoyable conversations with fellow ministers and their partners, and some time and space to reflect, relax and recreate (see Monday!).

Several things are still resonating with me. One is something that picked up from where I started on Monday morning. The idea that praying, reading my Bible and spending time with God are Urgent and Important was reinforced for me. Another was a reminder to be intentional about how we as a church engage with people with the good news of Jesus. Yes, we should be good news, but we should also be ready to share the good news. A third (linked to that) is the thought that perhaps there are occasions to use story-telling as a way of engaging people with the good news of Jesus. A fourth (linked to the second and third) is a reminder that a while ago I was planning to organise a Colchester Magic Club for anyone who was interested in it. I must get around to that… A fifth (linked to 2, 3 and 4) was a reminder that I was also planning to do some street magic outside our church to entertain and bless (and maybe baffle) passers-by.

These conferences are great, but I do come back buzzing with ideas that need time and space to reflect on and implement…

A preacher, who shall we say was “humor impaired,” attended a conference to help encourage and better equip pastors for their ministry. Among the speakers were many well known and dynamic speakers.

One such boldly approached the pulpit and, gathering the entire crowd’s attention, said, “The best years of my life were spent in the arms of a woman that wasn’t my wife!” The crowd was shocked! He followed up by saying, “And that woman was my mother!” – The crowd burst into laughter and delivered the rest of his talk, which went over quite well.

The next week, the pastor decided he’d give this humor thing a try, and use that joke in his sermon. As he surely approached the pulpit that sunny Sunday, he tried to rehearse the joke in his head. It suddenly seemed a bit foggy to him.

Getting to the microphone he said loudly, “The greatest years of my life were spent in the arms of another woman that was not my wife!” The congregation inhaled half the air in the room. After standing there for almost 10 seconds in the stunned silence, trying to recall the second half of the joke, the pastor finally blurted out, “…and I can’t remember who she was!”

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