Croatia, July 14th

Monday, July 14th
Last full day at Porec and conference. Tomorrow we’ll load up and I’ll drive the 8 hours to Budapest with my brother-in-law.

Morning excursion we did motor boats. I use that term loosely. It technically had a mechanical engine of the sorts on the back of it…all 8 horses of it. I wouldn’t recommend using an 8 horsepower motor on the open seas. It’s like strapping a trolling motor on a surfboard. It did make some the bigger waves i
quite interesting. We hit one of the islands and let the students explore it. They had a blast but the water was so rough, Brian and I could not anchor and swim in with them. It was a minor annoyance but we all had a blast.

Out to Sea

Brian on sea

In the afternoon, I tagged along with Trent, Reed, and Tom. They went dune-buggying at the same place we did the ATV tour. I don’t have pictures of this because we originally went to parasail but the wind and seas were so rough, they weren’t doing it. In the shuffle of changing plans…I left my camera in the room. I’m an idiot.

Evening Session
Looked at John 11, the raising of Lazarus from the dead. This of course was the straw that broke the camel’s back with the Pharisees. That’s not what stuck out to me this time. When Jesus asks Martha “do you believe?” it’s not a theological question. She answers him theological – “yes, I know in the last days…” I can see Jesus almost shaking his head…no, no, no…that’s not what I mean.

And he asks her again.

This time she gets it. Her answer is about identity – particularly Jesus’ identity. “I believe you are the son of God.” It’s not her theological beliefs that’s Jesus is after. It’s her identity beliefs.

Maybe that’s what good theology is in the first place – figuring out the identity of Jesus and God. I think so because Jesus seems to keep going back to it in John. Looking at the miracles, the crisis points all surrounded the identity of Jesus, not the theological positions of the day.

Not a whole lot has changed honestly. The challenge for teens everywhere is figure out where they fit. It’s part figuring out who they are, part figuring out what the world is around them. The rebellion and confusion comes in where there is a conflict of values and some third voice has to come in and determine a winner. Parents? Tradition? Friends? Politics?

We’ve been doing this dance for years – evaluate culture and take what is good, ignore what is bad and throw in enough Jesus to get saved. Or imagine three overlapping circles. The trick is figure out how much of Jesus’ circle you can stay in while maximizing your space in the culture circle. What gets lost in that equation is … you.

So we throw out this idea that we seemed to see as a pattern in the miracles. What if you lost yourself first in Jesus. Then let those two circles – you and Jesus – go meet culture. There’ll be some of the circle that fits. They’ll be parts that don’t fit and won’t ever fit but the sense of loss won’t be as acute if we’ve first figured out our circle in Jesus.

Great night. I’ll have more thoughts on the overall conference tomorrow.

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