Our team had a great experience in Seattle Monday and Tuesday doing scouting on our upcoming Multi Site conference. A couple observations from the trip...
- Oddball night flights that are mostly empty can be a great time for a "meeting of the minds". (I use that phrase very loosely--maybe meeting of the "mindless" is more accurate.) John, Paco and I had some really valuable conversation on the return flight.
- A merry heart works good like a medicine. Just enjoyed laughing together with teammates. It is therapy and it bonds my heart to people to laugh with them (or at them;-).
- For me, a change of scenery and a highly-focused, energized environment like a conference fuels a greater God-sensitivity in my heart. Its just a rhythm/wiring issue. Some people feel a deeper God-connection through the sensory deprivation of silence and solitude (and I still value these disciplines in my own life.) But for me, the most valuable environment for hearing from God is an environment of sensory overload--lots of energy, people, new things and change. I'm walking away from the last 2 days with 3 clear God deposits and they really didn't have anything to do with what was said by a particular speaker--they were just a result of a good environmental shift.
- GPS was invented by the Devil. We spent the first 45 minutes on the ground in Seattle doing U turns and calling the hotel for directions about 4 times. When we finally arrived at the hotel, we were standing at the desk holding the unit when it says, "turn right in .7 miles"! Seriously.
- No church has every answer. But I believe great churches are the ones who own the place they are at with humility, share their journey with others and then advance on mission forcefully and without apology to reach people with Jesus for Jesus "by any means". Mars Hill and Living Hope illustrated that well.
- It was great to do some reading catch-up on the plane. Read an oldie but a goodie: Unleashing the Church by Frank Tillapaugh. Also plowed some more out of Who's Your City--this book is must reading for any pastor in an urban center.
- Nothing like landing in Chicago, driving home down the late night streets, hearing the familiar sounds of the lock on my front door, kissing my sleeping kids and laying down in my own bed with the woman I love. Sweet home, Chicago.