#forgecon10 - Part 3

The continuing adventures of ForgeCon...

The trip in was a little rough.  Tropical Storm Nicole was coming up the cost, so of course, everyone in Fairfield County was in a tizzy.  What should have been a two-hour trip took four. Still, I arrived barely an hour after the events started on Thursday.

The first thing I heard when I got there was Grant Norsworthy speaking.  Grant was a former member of the Paul Clark Trio and SONICFLOOd.  He now works with Compassion International, and speaks around the world.  Grant was talking about the words we use...  for example, the word "awesome."  This is a word we overuse all the time.  For the rest of the conference, anyone who used the word "awesome" would be subject to some mild ribbing, or the question "Did that really inspire awe?"  Oddly enough, one could find people changing the words they spoke as the conference progressed.  (another overused word was "worship," but we'll get to that later.

Dan Wilt was next.  Dan is an amazing speaker.  You could listen to him forever.  (Once, I was attempting to interrupt one of his sessions to make an announcement, and found myself just listening.)  Dan  also plays a mean hammer dulcimer. Dan led several of the sessions, and both of the lunchtime roundtables.

The evening speakers kicked off with Pastor Jack Osteen.  That's J.A.C.K., not J.O.E.L.  Pastor Jack is one of the founders of The Forge, and one of the men driving ForgeCon.  He left the comfort of pastoring an established church in Ohio to plant a church in Providence, Rhode Island.  When Jack speaks, it's authentic and from the heart.  It's my honor to consider him a friend.

Jack was followed by Grant again.  This time, Grant spoke about worship: what it meant in biblical times, and what we've made it.  He pointed out that "worship" is never used as an adjective in the Bible, although we apply that label to everything.  He spoke about the rock star, performance mentality that we can get as worship leaders.  Then he did something extraordinary.  He invited everyone in the room - about 70 people - up onto the stage.  As we looked out over the empty room, he said that this is the attitude we should have when leading worship - not worrying about the people in the room, but focused on God alone.  We stood up on that stage and sang "Nothing But the Blood" and it was powerful.

Grant also talked about how worship was viewed in the New Testament - not as singing song, but as acts of love toward one another, and especially  the poor.  Calling on James 1:27, he pointed out that true religion - true worship - is not about the songs we sing, but about how we care for one another.  Then he had us all take a Compassion child profile and pray for that child.

I could go on an on about the awesome speakers at the event; Joel Klampert, Debbie Barry, Paul Baloche...  but really, you just need to plan on getting there next year.  

More tomorrow...


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