The Heart of Worship, No Brains Allowed!

I was nervous, but I didn’t know why. Two of my dear friends were leading worship for the IV Grad Winter Retreat. The one where PhD students from the bay area get together once a year around Valentine’s Day.  So, what does it feel like to worship God with people getting PhD’s? We’ll often it feels like worshipping with people who are passionate about music, sometimes it feels like worshipping with people who just want to sound good for the things that need to happen when Christians gather, and rarely has it ever felt like worshipping with people, passionately in love with God.

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Christmas Caroling Done Right: Unity in Santa Cruz

I’d like to propose the Ambassador Model for Unity. I first realized this from the Multi-University meeting at Stanford, where most of the attendees were connected through my ambassadorial efforts. Second attempt of unity was the Multi-Church Caroling on December 10th. Let’s be real, most Christian groups are not organized well enough or are too prideful to be able to establish the right channels for unity. I mean, I’ve yet to see the honor, humility, and grace it takes to build true and lasting unity. This new model, the Ambassador Model for Unity (AMU), functions through authentic and lasting relationships, foregoing the “leadership” of Christian organization.

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Tale of Two Concerts

First, I do want to say that so much happens in my life, that it seems impossible to write it all down. I’m trying the best I can, haha. This weekend, however, merits a quick recap.

Friday night, I met at the Johnson’s house to drive to San Jose for a Jake Hamilton concert. I first heard Jake in Atlanta, when I was there for an Artificial Intelligence conference, and also, where I received the gift of tongues (that’s a story for another blog post). After the concert on Friday, I go to the Santa Cruz diner with Jake and his band, and the next morning we all kick it over some breakfast casserole. After breakfast, I head back to San Jose for an Israel Houghton concert.

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Global Day of Prayer 2010, Santa Cruz

africa

I remember “See You at the Pole” and “National Day of Prayer,” but this was the first time I’d heard of “Global Day of Prayer.” Here’s the skinny (from their website):

In July 2000 God captured the heart of a South African Christian businessman, Graham Power, with a vision based on 2 Chron. 7:14. The vision had three clear instructions:

  1. To call Christians from all denominations in Cape Town for a Day of Repentance and Prayer at Newlands Rugby Stadium.
  2. To challenge Christians across the rest of South Africa to unite in a Day of Repentance and Prayer.
  3. To challenge Christians in Southern Africa to unite in a Day of Repentance and Prayer.

In March of 2001 more than 45 000 Christians united for a Day of Repentance and Prayer at Newlands Rugby Stadium in Cape Town. It was a day of intense intercession that transformed lives and was reflected in a changing city in the months to come. Testimonies of transformation caused the vision to be spread into the rest of South Africa and planning immediately started for similar prayer gatherings in 8 provinces of South Africa for 2002.

In February 2002 Graham Power had a second vision. This vision had an even bigger challenge: The whole of Africa was to gather in a Day of Repentance and Prayer, changing Africa to become a “light to the world”. Eventually, Africa was to invite all the nations of the globe to unite in this move of transformational prayer.


south america

The overall takeaway, I believe, is that “Graham Power” is an awesome name…. Just kidding, but it’s, perhaps, a close second to this deep longing for unity (as I wrote about here). More specifically, the significance of such an event is as follows:

  • The gathering of a unified celebration and reverence for God in a give region of 35 different churches (b/c we all know that denominations kind of seem counter productive)
  • The exposure and interactions with local political figures commissioning people to care (it’d be nice to see Christians undoing their stigma through collaborative efforts of generosity and kindness)
  • The cultural integration of many walks; in particular, Josh Fox’s contemporary Christian style in harmony with a Baptist gospel choir (seriously, why avoid each other, b/c one group does something somewhat differently?… Don’t we all want to see the same things happen?… And I don’t believe working against each other, nor working as if others don’t exist seem optimal.)

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My Weekend with Christian Graduate Students from Stanford, UC Berkeley, and UC Santa Cruz

Graduate Students listening to a lecture on having "Confidence in Complexity"
Small group discussion

At my age (26), Christian “retreats” seem far less frequent or, maybe, less memorable as they’d been when I was a teenager.  This last weekend, I had one of those “it’s so great to be alive” retreat experiences much like when I was younger.  Those who’ve gone to retreats know what I’m talking about, and if you are a Christian, who’s never gone on a retreat, you should.  For people who aren’t Christian, I really don’t know how I’d explain to you what it’s like.  Maybe I’d say something like this…

Conference Center

Last weekend, we went to a conference-center like location in the Santa Cruz mountains for 3 days with PhD and Masters students from Stanford, Berkeley, and UCSC.  It was a great networking opportunity where we were broken into small groups to discuss issues on faith, spirituality, and our vocation.  All of us, in addition to professing the same faith, are working towards becoming (leading) experts in our respective areas, such as: Computer Science, Chemical Engineering, Physics, Biology, International Relations… etc.  In addition to lectures and discussion, we had a lot of relaxing, reflection time, and casual conversations.  The main speaker, Josh McPaul, had the challenge of speaking to some of the most analytical students in the world and did it so well (There’s going to be at least one more post just on the important points he made that weekend.)  A more formal version of this would be InterVarsity’s Following Christ Conference.

Instead of telling you about the great discussions and lecture content I’ve left with, I wanted to describe the off-schedule and, perhaps, most valuable times I shared with these fellow researchers: the sharing of research, sharing of books, and sharing of music.

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