Sunday, April 27, 2008

40 Days & 40 Nights

Well, I've managed to pull off my 40 day fast from blogging. It was tough, but here I am: alive and well.

A quick catch-up on life so far:

The NCAA tournament came and went. I'll say no more.

Spring Break to Chicago was phenomenal. So many lessons learned. Such a great team of students. My first legitimate trip to the Windy City gets an A+.

Highlights included:
- Broccicles: the answer to a healthier generation of Americans
- Gaining a better understanding of God's heart for the poor
- Driving to O'Hare about seventy times (or 3) in Taylor vans
- Challenged thinking about our role in racial reconciliation
- An exploding L train
- Tours of some of the most incredible ministries (especially Pacific Garden Mission)
- Slashed tires (I hate Wheaton)
- Great teaching from the staff at Sunshine Gospel Ministries
- Fantastic food (Chinatown, Little India, Chicago-style pizza)
- Conversations with strangers on public transit and McDonald's/Dunkin Donuts
- 18 wonderful students
- 2 world-class co-leaders
- More fun than a flaming barrel of juggling monkeys riding on unicycles
- Changed hearts with regard to how we should live in light of this incredible 10 days

The post-Chicago return to Upland found me in the midst of one of the toughest academic stretches of my life. Having only been back in Indiana for 4 days, I found myself leaving my wonderful Box at 4 in the morning to catch a flight for the great and wild Pacific northwest. It was a great chance to lead worship at Resonate Church, and to catch up with old friends Hatfield and Kinder. Seattle is a great city; too bad I was doing homework a majority of the weekend. The flight was quite possibly the most productive one I've ever experienced. All that is to say: I made it through.

The next weekend was National Student Leadership Conference here at Taylor. Speakers like J.P. Moreland and Kelly Monroe Kuhlberg made things quite memorable and quite challenging. It inspired my goal of reading one book per week this summer...ambitious?

Last weekend found me deep in the throws of Youth Conference 2008. The Bedinghaus Band (photo courtesy: Karen Taylor) assembled from all the corners of this great nation, including places like Pittsburgh and San Diego, not to mention Grant County Indiana, and rocked six straight worship sets, 2 marathon rehearsals, and 1 outdoor the course of less than 60 hours. In addition, we partnered with some friends from the Gospel Choir here at TU and had an absolute blast. The weekend was a great success, the most energetic, most fun YC I've ever been a part of (this was my fourth straight). It was also a pleasure to have fellow Jessamine Countian Travis Whalen in the house as the featured speaker for the conference, and the incomparable Rachel Sawyer at the helm (one of YC's co-directors). All in all, central Kentucky made its presence KNOWn...

This past weekend was Heritage Weekend at Taylor, as well as Grandparent's Day, the two-year anniversary of the accident, and the opening and dedication of our brand new prayer chapel here on campus. It was an emotionally intense time, but a good time for our community here.

On a final note, Barack Obama came to Marion, IN! I couldn't believe it when I heard he would be in Grant Co. Naturally, I had to go see this for myself. So we left early on Saturday morning to wait in line for 2 hours in the fairly cold April morning air outside Marion high school. It was well worth it. Barack is even more impressive in person (photo courtesy: Luke Owsley). Something tells me we will be seeing a lot more of this guy...I won't go more into this, b/c I could, and it could literally be 6 or 7 more blog entries on each of the major issues touched on during the 60+ minutes he graced the stage.

In conclusion, it's been a whirlwind 40 days. I've maybe had the equivalent of 25 actual full nights of sleep, but in the end, it's been worth it. All the hard work, the investment of time and energy, the emotional, physical, and intellectual struggle that has taken place, the spiritual challenges, valleys, and victories, and all the laughs, tears, travels, conversations, songs, and lest I forget, probably multiple gallons of coffee...these are the substance of my life as a 22-year old man trying to get through grad school, and of a sinner constantly being made aware of his need for the grace that comes only from a God who has made Himself known and has vested in me His own Spirit to equip me in fulfilling all He has called me to be and to do.

Life is, in the end, a beautiful thing, if for no other reason than our God-given ability to look back on it and say, "Lord, thanks for it all: the good and the bad. This is who I am. This is who You've made me to be. Keep making more of Yourself in me."


Kyle said...

Good to have you back. Link to my blog dawg.

annie.marie.dimond. said...

i was about to say "good to have you back.." but kyle had to steal my thunder. dang....

MAGNIFICENT to have you back...dawg.

annie.marie.dimond. said...

oh and he's already linked to my blog. hah.