Thursday, August 07, 2008

Reaching the Summit

Today I attended day one of the Willow Creek Leadership Summit. I've attended quite a few Willow conferences before but this one was more than mildly amazing. The conference is about the obvious. Leadership. The auditorium at Willow seats around 7,000 and was full. But the truly stunning fact is that this conference is beamed live to cities all around the country. Many leaders, both church staff and corporate leaders, attend this once a year event. And the total registration reached ... 100,000 people. Watching. Live.

Can you believe that?

What an incredible opportunity. God has created this training event based upon the faithfulness of one church. Today's speakers included their Sr. Pastor, Bill Hybles, as well as the founder and CEO of "Teach for America, " the President and founder of " International Justice Mission," and the former CEO of "Medtronics" who is now a professor in the Harvard Business School. Folks, that's not a bad line-up for one day. All of these are believers in Jesus Christ who have made a major impact in our world.

Tomorrow's speakers include former Richard Nixon advisor, Charles Colson, the Vice Chairman and CEO of "Best Buy," and the founder of "Life" Again, not a bad group of leaders to sit at the feet of for a day.

But I think that the most striking moment of the day for me came as a young woman, a worship leader at Willow Creek, sat on a stool and sang "I Saw What I Saw." The leader of the International Justice Mission had just shared stories of rescuing children stolen from their neighborhoods and sold into prostitution in third world countries. It was a heart breaking moment punctuated by the joy of knowing that believers were making a difference by prevailing against the gates of hell. And then Helena sang. The lyrics to this soul searing song are ...

"I saw what I saw and I can't forget it
I heard what I heard and I can't go back
I know what I know and I can't deny it

Something on the road, cut me to the soul

Your pain has changed me
your dream inspires
your face a memory
your hope a fire
your courage asks me what I'm afraid of
(what I am made of)
and what I know of love

we've done what we've done and we can't erase it
we are what we are and it's more than enough
we have what we have but it's no substitution

Something on the road, touched my very soul

I say what I say with no hesitation
I have what I have and I'm giving it up
I do what I do with deep conviction

Something on the road, changed my world"

You can see Sara Groves sing a video of this song at,,4707180,00.html?

I suggest you watch it. I don't think my heart is that hard to "touch." I don't think I'm that calloused. And I know that you will not have had the benefit of having heard the amazing story that I heard today. But somehow ... it reached deeply.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Jim & Elle

Here's how my brother-in-law, Jim, and granddaughter, Elle, spent their summer vacation. Yeah ... it runs in the family.