#TYI2013: Epic, the Adventure
Creation. Fall. Struggle. Redemption. Restoration.
Steve Carter, the Director of Evangelism at Willow Creek Community Church near Chicago, spent his third year with The Salvation Army as a special guest speaker for TYI finishing out the Epic series which began in 2011. During this year’s Epic the Adventure, Carter kept driving those five points of creation, fall, struggle, redemption and restoration home as he described the epic adventure God has planned for the entire world. Steve spoke to delegates about taking risks, and truly allowing God to be in control of our lives, even if that meant we weren’t. Looking into the call of Abram, Steve pointed out how God asked Abram to go. To leave. Leave the comfortable, the familiar, the known. To risk being out of control.
Some of us, Steve said, were paralyzed by fear—worrying that if we step out on faith, we’ll make some missteps. He reminded us that God has a dream for our lives, and will recalculate our path, much in the same way that a GPS will re-route directions when we get off track. Steve reminded us that God doesn’t expect us to be perfect, but rather to trust Him. He spoke to us about taking the risk to be our whole stories—not just settling for the breadcrumbs of life lived as a half-hearted Jesus stalker, but instead living as a soul’d out, totally devoted disciple of Christ.
Major Ann Penhale, Associate Territorial Youth Secretary, preached the Sermon on the Mount during Throwback Thursday’s morning manna. And on Friday, Commissioners Steve and Judy Hedgren finished off the incredible week of bible study with a personal look at their own adventure, and where God has led them. We could go on, as the spiritual lessons taught at TYI this year could take up an entire book. But simply put, God showed up in a big way, and delegates were ready and willing to receive Him.
Attendees had fun participating in recreation, TYI’s revamped Café where open mic was on the schedule daily, and running wild during the night programs—literally. Sunday night’s Tough Mudder took teams of 20 or more people through a muddy course where they had to learn how to work together as a team while hurdling over and through several obstacles.
During Wednesday’s night program, Into Darkness, delegates were led on a journey to think less of themselves while getting their hands dirty with service to the community as they packed food boxes and toiletry bags. That night, TYI attendees were taken to a makeshift shack representative of what many of the world’s impoverished live in today. There they were asked to contemplate what they could practically sacrifice in order to provide for others.
Through the Zombie Run Tuesday night, delegates learned to cast off their past so that the dead man they used to be would stop chasing them. And on Monday night, transMission had a CD release concert for their latest album, We Believe, featuring songs themed around The Salvation Army’s 11 doctrines. At the end of this powerful evening, each delegate received a download card to help further his or her understanding of our doctrines.
Pastor Jeff Wallace (right) from Decatur, GA stopped by Camp Walter Johnson to address the entire delegation on the 10 Demandments of Sex, Love and Dating (see graphic below). He reminded the delegates that good is the enemy of great, and drove home the importance of standards.
TYI’s electives gave delegates an outlet for their creative abilities, while the Choices classes, taught by Soldiers and Officers from across the Territory, helped center everyone’s minds on ways they could go deeper with God. From learning why we as Salvationists do what we do, to answering some of the delegates’ tough questions, classes were informative about living out this Christian walk in very practical ways.
#TYI2013, TYI’s hashtag on Twitter and Facebook, connected us during the week. Delegates and staff alike posted thoughts and quotes from the meetings, keeping folks at home aware of TYI’s teachings and experiences. Those who attended were connected spiritually, emotionally and virtually during this Epic week—truly ready to take hold of their own God given adventures back home.
Let the risking begin!
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