Okoboji Conference 2009

This week I am attending the Okoboji Lakes Bible and Missionary Conference .  Traditionally I take the week off for continuing education so I can attend morning Bible studies, classes and evening worship.  I have someone coming in on Aug. 9 to lead worship and preach for me so I can focus this week on being fed.  The conference began on Friday, July 31 but last night (Sunday) was my first night there.  The speaker was Mark Ashton; a pastor in Omaha, NE (formerly a pastor at Willow Creek Church near Chicago).  He gave a sermon about God’s amazing grace.  He speaks tonight again (Monday), but this time on God’s amazing forgiveness.

This morning I attended a Bible study led by Skye Jethani who spoke about the story of Jacob wrestling with God from Genesis.  One phrase that sticks out for me is: “Don’t spend your life wrestling with God because you can’t and won’t win.  Surrender to God.”  I am still pondering this.

Following Bible study, Skye lead a class about how our culture uses fear to control our behaviors.  This is a week long class and I am looking forward to where we will be going.  I will share more insights from this class throughout the week.

I am also using this week to begin preparing for the fall season (i.e. Confirmation, Release Time).  It’s hard to believe we are closing in on the start of school and fall church activities.  Where has the summer gone?

With that…I’ll be back later with more insights from the Bible conference.

God bless!


4 thoughts on “Okoboji Conference 2009

  1. I think it’s odd that the study leader would get that message out of the story of wrestling with God, that it is a waste. That experience was pivotal for Jacob and changed him forever. How odd that he sees it in terms of winning or loosing. I see wrestling with God as a spiritual practice that has nothing to do with winning or loosing, but sometimes it is the way God changes us.

    1. heartofapastor

      I should have said more about the Bible study. The whole point was how God changed Jacob. How he lead up to the wrestling scene was to talk about how Jacob was a cheater and schemer in his life. Actually…Jacob means “one who grabs the heel” or in other words “Cheater”. Jacob stole Esua’s birthright, Jacob stole livestock from Labon (after Labon cheated Jacob). In the wrestling scene, Jacob would not stop until God blessed him. Skye said that Jacob was trying to “steal” a blessing since Jacob was stuck between a rock and a hard place. In the end Jacob did not win…God touched Jacob’s hip and knocked it out. But after all was said and done, God blessed Jacob through changing his name; changing his character.

      This experience was pivotal for Jacob. The point is to surrender to God.

  2. Following Bible study, Skye lead a class about how our culture uses fear to control our behaviors.

    Very true, and I think this is a deeply insightful look at our culture. In 2 Timothy 1:7, Paul writes “For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power and love and self-discipline.” I have been taught — and from my own research, I believe it is true — that when we find we are being driven by fear, stress, anxiety, etc., that is a dead give-away that it is the devil who is trying to manipulate us. However, when we feel a gentle urge leading us to something, it is almost always God who is encouraging us to grow. Fear holds us back; God brings us alive.

    I hope the conference brings you many, many more insights…and not only because I can’t wait to read what you share here on the blog 🙂

  3. Hm….I guess you could look at Jacob and say ‘this is the wrong way to do it’ or see a story of a man who had a rocky relationship with God and still was blessed by God. Sometimes it takes a lot of wrestling before you can surrender. Still not even sure that Jacob surrendered. I think it was more like a draw.

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