Great Week at MOVE #kingdomworker

IMG_0001Last week we took some of our high school students to the MOVE Conference held on Cedarville University’s campus. Christ In Youth has been producing weeks of conference for nearly 50 years and it seems like they just keep growing in number and getting better in quality.

This year’s theme was “You Are Here” and was based on the first six chapters of the Old Testament book of Daniel. Kind of a funny thing about the theme – anytime I saw the theme “You Are Here” I assumed it was about those of us who were going to be at MOVE. Once we got rolling in the week, it was obvious that the “You” was not a reference to “me” or to “us,” but to God. God was present with Daniel and Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego and He is present with us. That thread ran throughout the week of conference – You (God) Are Here!

Over the past few years, there has been an intentional move on the part of the coordinators of the week to challenge students to take what they experience at conference and live it out at home. They use the phrase #kingdomworker. All of us, no matter our age or location, can be kingdom workers. Several of our students accepted specific challenges to be kingdom workers at home. I’m excited to see how they work out those specific tasks in the coming weeks and months.

One of the benefits of MOVE (or any summer camp or conference) is time spent with students. We had two times each day that was focused on talking about and applying what was happening during the week. We also had free times and meals together, which provided times for conversation and getting to know each other.

On one particular day, the students had a chance to write encouraging words to each other. It was cool to sit back and watch them think through what they could write to encourage others in the group.
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There were several fun elements included throughout the week. In the book of Daniel, there is a unique event that involves King Nebuchadnezzar. The king has become quite arrogant, so God warms him that if he doesn’t change, God would humble him. Nebuchadnezzar ignores the warning so God caused him to live as an animal, complete with long nails that look like claws and long hair that grows to resemble feathers. You can read the entire story in Daniel 4. To highlight that event, students were encouraged to come to morning session in animal outfits. Here’s some of our group:
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It was a good week to see God move in the lives of students and adults and send us out to be kingdom workers. I’m looking forward to see the commitments made this week become a reality.

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You’ll Get Through This – Max Lucado

You'll Get Through ThisSeveral years ago I remained pretty diligent at reading any book Max Lucado wrote. I remember titles like Six Hours One Friday and He Still Move Stones among others. When I added his latest, You’ll Get Through This, to my Kindle, I was somewhat in awe of the number of books Lucado has written. Yet with all those pages and pages of written words, Lucado brings a fresh, challenging perspective to the life of Joseph. He draws out practical applications from the follower of God who faced multiple challenges through his life, yet remained faithful.

Two things really stand out in my mind about Lucado’s latest offering. One is how he crafts words to communicate his message. His use of descriptive words and phrases not only keeps the reader engaged in the chapter, but also brings the subject matter to life. The second strength of this book is how Lucado applies the principles he draw out of the life of Joseph to just about any individual who might be reading the book. He speaks to the married and the single, the young and the old, the one who is content and the one who might be struggling, the convinced and the one who is seeking. Lucado is able to hit just about any person reading his book.

As always, Lucado is quotable. He is able to take a compelling principle and make it memorable. A couple of phrases I highlighted: “This planet is God’s waiting room. While you wait, God works.” “God recycles into righteousness.” Far from just trying to be clever, Lucado uses multiple passages of scripture to point the reader back to the God that Joseph served and in Whom he placed his trust.

Check out Lucado’s book and learn valuable lessons from the life of Joseph.

Lion of War Series – a great read!

I was first introduced to the story of Benaiah in Mark Batterson’s book In a Pit With a Lion on a Snowy Day.  In the Lion of War series, author Cliff Graham takes the lives of Benaiah and the other men who make up David’s Mighty Men and brings them to life in a compelling way.

A friend of mine told me about the first book in the series (Day of War) and encouraged me to read it.  I actually got it free from a twitter promotion from Christianbook.com.  Before I finished reading Day of War, I knew I wanted to get book two, Covenant of War.  Once I purchased it, it only took me a few days to finish.

Graham takes the Biblical accounts of David, The Three and the Thirty (His Mighty Men) and turns them in to a riveting piece of fiction. While the characters and story lines are based on Old Testament scripture, Graham does encourage the reader to read the book as fiction, as he “fills in the blanks” of how he envisions the battles going and the characters reacting.

If you like movies like Gladiator, Braveheart and the like, this is your type of book.  My only problem is this – I am waiting on book 3 to find out what happens next!