We had much milder weather today on the second day of YLC 2011 – thanks be to God! I read on the weather forecast last night that it got up to 32 degrees yesterday – no wonder we were sweating all day! Today it was a much more manageable 21 degrees.
OK – recap of Day 2.
Psalm Talk Two – Bryson took us through Psalm 8. I appreciated this talk because it’s a particular psalm that I’ve wrestled with a number of times over the years (and chatted with different people about). In particular, I’ve been often vexed on whether this passage refers more about humans, or about Christ, particularly from verses 6-8. Answer? Both. I learned a lot through the way Bryson explained it, covering: the context (ordered strategically in the midst of a range of psalms related to suffering and hardship), the content (taking both of the glory of God and the glory of man when rightly understood as part of God’s incomparable majesty), and explaining how our understand of the psalm is broadened when we analyse the way it’s quoted in Matthew 21:14-17 (used to still the enemy and the avenger, the Pharisees contending with Jesus) and Hebrews 2:5-10 (directly using it to prove Jesus as the fulfillment of what Psalm 8 describes).
Strand 1 Workshop – This built upon yesterday’s work in reading and analysing the content of the passage we’re working together as a group. Today we learnt about the importance of taking the bible passage being studied in its literary (think: English teacher), situational (think: investigative journalist), and theological (think: priest/minister/pastor) contexts. And we all gave it a go putting on these various hats to understand the context of the text. It was a very helpful exercise that helped to unpack the same passage we were looking at yesterday.
Afternoon Workshop – Jay Behan, Minister at St. Stephens Anglican Church, led a very interactive, thought-provoking, and convicting workshop on evangelism. What exactly was great about it? Well, there was no magic formula for how to share the gospel, or special 3-step technique for evangelism, or any of that sort of thing. It was just a well-thought-out workshop where all of us were encouraged to ask ourselves some important questions: what is evangelism, who is to evangelise, how are we to evangelise, what are the essential components of the gospel we are to evangelise, and the use and misuse of personal testimonies when we evangelise.
If giving my own biased assessment, I’d say this has been the most practically useful evangelism workshop I’ve ever taken. It gave me a fantastic framework in order to share my faith better. All of us were challenged to search the scriptures to back up why we believed what we believe about evangelism. And talked through a host of tougher questions (do we use tracts? what’s your opening line? what’s the place of street evangelism?), and there was a really collegial atmosphere in the workshop as different people contributed to the discussion and helped each other out. This was my first time hearing Jay lead a workshop, but after such an encouraging and challenging workshop, I’m definitely looking forward to hearing from him Jay again when he comes up to Auckland for STAND Conference 2011!
Matthew Talk Two – Peter Collier took us through Matthew 26:57-27:26 on the trials that Jesus was subjected to in the lead-up to His death on the cross. Peter showed a number of things that provide a decent counter to the claims of New Atheists that deny the reliability of Jesus’s claims to be God. By pulling this passage apart, he showed that in these words there’s a lot of strong evidence that Jesus is the ultimate fulfillment of the Old Testament, of God’s redemptive plan, and of everything He prophesied that would come to pass. And the challenge was this: eventually, one day, what we think of Jesus doesn’t nearly matter as much as what Jesus thinks of us. And there’s hope for Christians daunted by the rise of the evangelists of New Atheism: at least they’re in the discussion about Jesus and Christianity, and not indifferent or apathetic about it!
Peter Collier is one teacher I’d love to hear preach at HBC again: Joe and I have extended the invitation, so I hope that gets followed up and we’re blessed with some sound Bible teaching!
Some more random thoughts about YLC:
– The food is fantastic. We’re being fed physically by a faithful team of servants who put on really generous dishes for us (breakfast, lunch and dinner). Some of these helpers are former YLC attendees that come in just for the joy of serving the delegates here – a real treat to see!
– And to work off that food, we’re getting really fun times of playing sport as well. Great to get together with guys and girls during the afternoon break time to just fellowship in good competitive sport! (p.s. Chua scored a goal, what a star!)
– We’ve had the joy of getting to know more and more people here. Most are from Christchurch and similar regions, and they’re still very encouraged that so many of us came all the way from Auckland to attend!
– During the evening session, Joe was invited up on stage to bring greetings from HBC (pictured). He was also invited to read the passage that was being studied. And here’s an example of dedication to service that all bible readers would do well to take note: he practised reading it in his room a number of times beforehand. The drama, depth and emotion of the passage really shone through as he read it.
OK – sleep time!