The name sounds terrible, really bad...like something to be avoided at any cost. However, in Churches of Christ, this is what several days of classes/sessions are called. In some churches, the lectureship speakers are hard line old fashioned preaching. It would not be possible for me to attend one of those. However, the lectureship at Lipscomb University every year is one my family and I plan to always attend. Last year was our first time and it was terrific. This year was just as good if not a smidge better. My teens have classes, Lilly has classes and I have classes. We all come home with much to consider and many leaves to attempt to turn over.
My leaves to turn over this year came from many different speakers. I am always most excited to hear Patrick Mead speak. Firstly, because he is Scottish and retains the accent. Secondly, because he is very funny...like he could do stand-up...well he sort of does whilst he preaches. But the most impressive reason I like to hear him speak has nothing to do with either of these, it is because he radiates love, kindness and compassion. He shares stories of activities his church does that involve going out and loving people. It inspires me to care more about people...to love people. People who are sometimes so unlovable. This year he focused on the ways Jesus showed compassion to people through His miracles in the book of Mark. The next night he focused on kindness as a fruit of the spirit. He explained how it differed from goodness, which can be done at a distance. Kindness is how you are to treat those close in proximity to you, like a cashier or fellow shopper. Like your children or spouse who might be driving you crazy on any given day at any given moment. AND, that you don't get a choice in the matter...kindness is required of Christians. He is an amazing speaker that God uses mightily to spread the Good News as well as remind me that it is good news, this Christianity thing, and we ought to treat it as such.
Another speaker that drew an AMEN out of my mouth before I could clamp it shut was Chris Smith. He spoke on the story of The Prodigal Son...but focused on the older brother-the good one. He said that some Christians have been good for so long they have forgotten how to be nice. They are so mad at the sinners and 'bad' kids that they forget about their own sins of pride and self righteousness. AMEN and AMEN again!! Lord help me not to ever forget that I get into Heaven because of who you are not because of anything I do to earn it!!
The other speaker that demands a life change from me was Don McLaughlin. He spoke on confession. Confession that needs to be spoken aloud specifically because it exposes the lie of shame that Satan tells us...the lie of, "If anyone knew I struggled with___, they would not think much of me." He said the Bible teaches us confession because it brings the sin into the light of Christ and we begin to be freed of our sin. Maybe not immediately, but the light begins to heal us. It also deepens and strengthens our relationships with other believers in our community. This one will be harder for me, now. Ten years ago this was easier for me...I had been hard wired to confess struggles through altar calls all of my life. At one church I attended, people thought you must be suffering with pride if you didn't go up front to pray and be prayed over fairly often. Confession at the altar was part of attending church. This has slowly been programmed out of me. Not sure what to think/do any more. I will be praying that God clears the cobwebs and confusion for me.
I have managed to still maintain my 'less guilt' mantra. I no longer feel like I am inadequate in every way. I am starting to truly believe that not only am I the daughter of a king, but also that he allows me to share pardons like the one I have received with the hurting people of this world that need a do-over. I have determined the subtle difference between GUILT and conviction. I also am being encouraged in this many times a day. If you focus on the things of the kingdom-loving people and feeling lovable, offering hope to the hurting, help to the broken, etc-life does become more joyful. I like joy.
Thbere were so many other lessons...but these are the ones that are front and center. I plan to chew on these a while before I peruse my notes for more to study on. I am so thankful for refreshment for the soul.