My 2011 Conference Notebook

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This year I’ve attended nearly 20 conferences. Yes, 20. I’ve presented at some and blogged my notes from nearly all of them. If conference-going were a profession, I’m pretty sure I’d have that one nailed. I love conferences and the connections and conversation that happen at them. I believe they can be important moments for ideas to be shared that will hopefully lead to action and change.

I recently started doing “Conference Notebooks” as a simple way to compile notes from each conference I attended in PDF format. And as a Christmas gift to you, I have compiled some of the notes from key conferences I attended this year and am pleased to share my 2011 Conference Notebook with you. Read More

ed Dobson

Ed Dobson :: Story 11

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Ed Dobson moved to the United States in 1964 from Northern Ireland and earned a doctorate from the University of Virginia. He is an advisory editor for Christianity Today and a consulting editor for Leadership magazine. He was named “Pastor of the Year” by Moody Bible Institute for leading Calvary Church in Grand Rapids, MI, and is the author of the bestselling book The Year of Living Like Jesus.
  • For 7-8 months he had twitches in his muscles.
  • One day he was writing out his sermon notes and had a strange sensation that his brain and his hand were not connected.
  • He asked a neurologist that attended his church what was going on.
  • In 15 minutes he was diagnosed with Lou Gehrigs Disease, ALS.
  •  He was given 2-5 years to live.
  • There is no known cause and there is no known cure.
  • In Israel, over the Mt of Olives is the ancient town of Bethlehem.
  • If you walk down a back alley way you’ll see a sign that says, “The Tomb of Lazarus.”
  • You leave the sunshine and enter into a spiral stone staircase.
  • You crawl under a large stone.
  • Once you’re there, you are in the burial chamber.
  • It’s cold, claustrophobic, damp, and dark.
  • That’s what it feels like when you are diagnosed and told you are dying.
  • In a moment you leave the warmth and sunshine and you descend into a tomb.
  • He could hardly read his Bible or pray.
  • He couldn’t get very serious about heaven.
  • I found I was really attached to the people down here.
  • The question facing him: “How do I climb back up the staircase to the warmth and the sunshine?”
  • One day he opened his Bible and read: “I have set before you life and death…if you keep the Torah you will live. If you disregard the Torah you will die. Choose life that you may live.”
  •  He realized he had the choice to make.
  • He could choose to live or choose to die.
  • He could choose to take one step toward the light or he could give up, lay down in the tomb and die.
  • He said to himself, “God, help me to live.”
  • There are no guarantees of tomorrow.
  • The only day I have is now and I want to live it to its fullest for the glory of God.
  • He decided to make a list of all of the people he had offended. He called them or went to go see them to apologize.
  • Relationship is more important than who is right or who is wrong.
  • Be quick to listen and very, very, very slow to judge.
  • The hardest part was quitting his job.
  • It’s hard to leave what you love doing and what you know God has called you to do.
  • A man was diagnosed with ALS who went to his church.
  • In the worst moment of my life God showed up.
  • He decided to spend a year living like Jesus.
  • He had a rabbi, Catholic and Orthodox priest guide him through that year.
  • He wrote a book about his experience.
  • Now, he’s producing short films.
  • Check out Consider the Birds.

Monday Mind Dump… Thanksgiving/Birthday Week Edition

Posted by | Just For Fun | 2 Comments
  • God is faithful.
  • These last two weeks have been a roller coaster of emotions as I’ve announced that I’m leaving Park. Thanks to everyone who has emailed, commented, sent a DM [direct message on Twitter for those who haven’t seen the light] or texted. It’s been overwhelming to see the amount of love, support, encouragement, and affirmation I’ve received as I’ve taken this step of faith into the unknown.
  • A really good friend took me out for an amazing lunch at NoMI on Friday to celebrate this new chapter and to celebrate [in advance] whatever God has in store. And on Friday evening I was able to grab dinner with Ben Arment, Sarah Cunningham, and Nathan & Becky Ykema. While there was talk and planning for STORY 2011, it was just great to connect, catch up, and share life. Having people in your life, especially in seasons of change and transition, is absolutely vital and I’m so thankful for the people God has put in my life.
  • I’m excited to report that in the next couple of weeks I’ll be able to share exactly where I’m headed next. The best part… I’m staying in Chicago!
  • Some of you have asked, so I’ll answer… for the first time in my adult life I will be looking for a church home when I leave Park staff. I’ve been working in churches since I was 18 and have always gone to the church I worked for by default. In this next season as I won’t be working for a church, I will be looking for a church community to call home. Park is one of many incredible churches in the city and I look forward to wherever God will plant me! “Blessed are those who are planted in the house of the Lord for they shall flourish!”
  • In other news… Oprah’s Favorite Things episode [part 1] was incredible. My favorite part of the entire episode isn’t all of the gifts she gives away but the audience’s reactions. These people are going absolutely bonkers. Thanks to my friend Josh for finding this mashup… classic.
  • Confession: I had a beer at 11 AM on Sunday morning. But it wasn’t at a bar, it was at a movie theater. One of my friends and I went to see an afternoon matinee at the Gold Class Cinemas. Oh my word. I felt like I was walking into the lobby of an upscale hotel. Our seats were reserved in advance online. We were escorted by the staff to our oversized reclining chairs by the staff and offered pillows and blankets… they had a full menu and bar and we had a buzzer to get refills whenever you wanted them during the movie. I’m officially ruined.
  • Sooooo excited to see Brooke Fraser in Chicago on Wednesday night.
  • On Thursday, which is also Thanksgiving, I’ll be turning 28. I’m becoming an old man.
  • I think it’s interesting how Thanksgiving is becoming less and less of a family event [at least in urban centers] and more and more of a holiday being spent with friends. I will be headed home for Thanksgiving but turning right around to make it back for a Thanksgiving leftovers party with some friends here in the city. When you’re living in the city your friends really do become your family.
  • Speaking of, this weekend I was reminded of the fact that we were all created for relationships and community. We were created from  relationship for relationship… life is hard but we don’t have to do it alone.
  • God is faithful. [I’ll say it again!]
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