Monday, March 26, 2007
Every year I look forward to the annual International Soul Winning Workshop (aka Tulsa Workshop). It is my proverbial "shot in the arm" that re-energizes me for at least a few months. There's nothing quite like a Pavilion full of Christians raising their voices in song and praising God. Many have described it as a foretaste of heaven. The preaching/teaching is always just what I need to hear and spurs me on to live a better life. For those of you who do not live in the Tulsa area, the Workshop is the same time every year, about the 3rd week in March, Thursday through Saturday. It usually coincides with Spring Break in the Tulsa Public Schools. You owe it to yourselves to plan to be here next year. For those of you who DO live in the Tulsa area, and choose not to attend...shame on you. This year, there were three lessons/speakers that truly impacted me in a way that I didn't expect. One was Bruce Marchiano, an actor who portrayed Christ in the video series of Matthew. I can't begin to describe like he did the effect it had on him as he struggled to get "in character"...something we are called to do each day. (Get the tape.) Next is a combination of two lessons that have caused me to do some intense soul searching. Jeff Walling's lesson on "Meeting Jesus in Baggage Claim" and Randy Harris' lesson on "Evil". If you didn't hear these two lessons, this probably won't make much sense to you. I saw a good friend at the workshop who told me, "you're wonderful." Obviously, I'm really good at hiding my baggage. I'm not wonderful. I don't "have it all together." I carry guilt for things in my past like it's carry-on luggage. But nobody sees it. I'm good at this. Randy Harris told about an experiment performed by Stanley Milgram in the early 70's to see how far a person would go (in harming another person) simply because he was told to do it. It was appalling. But I had to take a hard look at myself. See, I'm a "people-pleaser." That doesn't mean I'm selfless, it means I'm spineless. I have found myself in sinful situations because it made someone else happy. I have not stood up for what is right and moral. I yearned to please people instead of yearning to please God. In some ways, I came away from the Workshop this year uplifted and energized, but I also came away with a clearer picture of who I am, and my desperate need for a merciful God.