Here are some more areas where I was pushed in my thinking at New Word Alive this year...
• Evangelism. Apologetics is about being a person who has hope, and showing that you have hope: 1 Peter 3:15. This does not just have to be argued for in rational arguments (although any believer ought to know the firm basis we have for hope, using their minds to dwell on the historical records about Jesus and the way God has worked in the world, as this can only strengthen faith). The point is this: We can make a case for Jesus by showing what a great hope we have in Him for the future, and how this affects us; what joy and happiness it brings us.
• Worship. Every part of my life is worship. I am designed for worshiping God yet (and this is what I saw more clearly) I often give myself to other things in worship. For instance, the right responses I have to things or people or groups of people around me are easily twisted to become idol-worship, while on the other hand, the devil wants me to discount parts of my life entirely, forgetting that I ought to glorify God in every activity and motivation of the heart. Therefore, our job, as speaker Dan Strange on the "Engagement with Culture" track taught, is to “smash idols” in our lives, and return to true worship, as God is Lord of all - the one whose name means salvation and eternal hope for many, many sinners: such a powerful and generous-hearted God deserves our all.
• Fellowship. Talking and praising with Christians can be a life-line – it really can work on my attitudes and encourage me towards love of God. I am more convinced than before that meeting up in 2s or 3s or 4s with those of similar age-groups to spur each other on has an important place within churches.
There were other more creative things that came out of having some time away from work too, such as the poem below I began to write one day when looking at the amazing blue sky over breakfast in the caravan. More to follow soon, including a review of the brilliantly experimental arts-fused "Pause" evening I went to one night.
Looking at me
In a benign way.
Affording to be above and arching over;
A friendship offering, or blessing
Rebounding out to others.
Cold morning surfaces, and seagulls,
Next to unbroken stretches of grassy curb –
Irregular. Like restless light.
Now gracious, now despising the impact she makes
Re-painting over and over
But light presents itself
Bright, full of colour, through her!
And people stop and admire.