We are most of the way through Day 1 of the conference. It’s free time and it’s very pleasant outside. Not too hot. I like that. I’m a NW wimp. I like it cool, gray, and a little rainy.

First up today was a young dude (meaning someone who is under 30, I think) named Zach Vestnys. I had never heard of him, but so what. He did a great job. He didn’t try (at least overtly) to preach to a bunch of pastors. He honestly shared some experiences in the context of the passage he was given about the grace and power that is in the gospel. Very great stuff.

After him was Dave Rolph. I have not listened to Dave a lot. But I will say that this is the most powerful message I ever heard him give to a group of pastors. Pastors, and everyone in ministry need to hear this one. It was like being blasted with a shotgun, but full of love and grace. I don’t get encouraged easily, but this was totally encouraging.

After Dave I had the chance to talk with Zach a bit. I found out that he and I are from the same planet. What I mean by that is that he is also an introvert. That isn’t very common in pastoral ministry. Guys are usually type-A, outgoing, loud, some are genuine, some are not. I bring this up because Zach had mentioned that the power is in the message of the gospel, not in the personality of the preacher. I was curious what kind of person that he was. When he said what he was, which was like me, I began asking some questions. And then some more questions. I could ask things I can’t ask “normal” people because normal people don’t get it. And he got it. I was so stoked. Someone who understood me and who I understood in return. I hope he and I have the opportunity to correspond in the future.

Dinner is next, then Jeff Johnson. I will update this entry later tonight.

By the way, there are two things missing this year that have been here in the past. I didn’t go looking for either. They weren’t on a checklist. I just kinda noticed. One of them is missing from the resource room. Basically, it’s anything from Lighthouse Trails. I actually chuckled out loud when I noticed, and then double checked. The other thing is workshops. There aren’t any this year. Chuck said they wanted to work in more time to fellowship which is cool. Anyway, I thought that was interesting. More later.

Later that day…

So, yeah. I was in the cafe working on the audio from Sunday and David Guzik, whom I had bumped into earlier, came over and pulled up a chair. We had a great talk for essentially the next two hours. I won’t go into any details, but it was just a really good time of going back and forth. He really is a great mench.

As is customary at dinner, we were gifted with a free copy of Pastor Chuck’s new book, which is an autobiography from him. Should be a good read. After dinner was Jeff Johnson. Jeff had some great stuff to say but what really stood our was, “Keep Jesus the focus.” Not CC, not anything else, just Jesus.

It’s only been one day, and a partial day at that, but there is a whole different vibe here. I don’t know how much of the vibe has to do with the speakers and how much has to do with the guys, but it’s very different. One difference this year is that the schedule of speakers wasn’t really done until sometime last week I heard. So there was really no build up or contention like last year over a certain speaker. So far as I know there is no one of controversy on the line. But really, that’s the only way I can describe it. It’s good. It’s a Jesus thing I guess. Or, maybe it’s just my perception. We’ll see what tomorrow has in store.