Wednesday, May 28, 2008

New Attitude 2008 Recap

How do you describe 4 days of amazing teaching, discussion, and worship? This account won't cover everything, but I'll try to relate our experiences and the highlights of the messages. (See New Attitude's Website for in-depth notes and mp3 downloads) This was a conference well worth attending!

We arrived in Louisville, Kentucky at around 2 p.m. on Saturday. Checking in at the hotel, we saw many other groups of young adults, who, we guessed, were also "New Attituders". Anticipation was in the air! Pretty soon, John (Miriam's fiance) showed up, and after settling into our rooms, we went out for a late lunch and groceries for the days ahead. By keeping a cooler full of ice in our room, we were able to keep cereal and milk and sandwich fixings for the breakfasts and suppers ahead. It gave us time to relax in the comfortable rooms, and definitely saved money by only eating out once a day!

After walking along the river, eating supper by it, and feeding two friendly ducks, we headed for the conference center, following the streams of people walking towards it.

The worship was amazing! To join your voice with 3500 others singing praises to God is a wondrous experience! The worship leaders displayed such passion and awe of God as they led; it wasn't a performance for them - they truly worshiped as they sang and played onstage. The core band was great, and the additions of a large string section or big choir at different times made things even more beautiful and special. You truly had to be there to really understand the passion of it all. How do you use words to describe the sound of the men singing "It is well" with the harmonious female voices echoing? The exuberant clapping, raising hands, even jumping, all displayed the joy of being able to praise God together. The words of the songs themselves were so deep and glorifying to God. Some were hymns, some new songs written by members of Sovereign Grace; far from the more "fluffy" songs prevalent these days, these songs had words focused on God, His grace and His glory. I really enjoyed the worship each morning in community groups and before and after each general session.

The speakers and teaching were very encouraging, insightful, and challenging. The focus of the entire conference was the Bible, helping us renew a passion and delight in God's Word. The depth and quality of so much packed into 8 sessions made absorbing all of it hard at times, but it was all so good! I took notes during them all, helping me pay attention and learn, and resulting in many pen marks on my hands! =)

Here's a few thoughts on each of the talks. (The links go to the in-depth notes my brother took on his laptop.)

- Josh Harris opened things up on Saturday evening, presenting a talk on the theme verse, Jeremiah 15:16, which says
"Your words were found, and I ate them, and Your Words became to me a joy and the delight of my heart."
With intensity and his characteristic humor, he told the stories of 3 Biblical men, King Josiah, King Jehoiakim, and Jeremiah, and how they responded to God's Word; by ripping (his robe in sorrow), burning (the Scriptures in anger), or eating (God's Words in delight). Something that really stood out to me was how King Josiah and all Judah reacted when God's Word was found in the temple ruins. After being without the Scripture for years, when it was found, they repented passionately, and allowed God's Word to reshape and reform them. We can get so used to having God's Word in every room of our house. Would we treasure and obey it more if we were without it for so long? Let's instead strive to passionately follow it as we have the blessing of it all around.

- Mark Dever spoke on the "Authority of Scripture" on Sunday morning. He talked about ways skeptics can know that the Bible is true, giving his on experience as an agnostic saved after reading the Bible to try to disprove it. He gave many verses to show that the Bible is to be our authority. One quote I especially liked was one he made us repeat: "Just because I don't know everything doesn't mean I don't know anything." People would try to disprove the Bible because we can't explain every little thing, yet we must remember that "all human knowledge is in knowing things absolutely, yet only partially."

- For the Sunday afternoon session, Albert Mohler held a "Bible Q & A", taking questions live from the audience. It was very interesting to hear this very learned man help those from the audience answer hard questions about the Bible.

- For the session on Sunday night, C.J. Mahaney talked about "God's Word and our Feelings". He really examined Psalm 42, a great passage that shows the Psalmist, though despairing, speaking to his soul and telling it to hope in the Lord. C.J. Mahaney told us something you don't really think about: that the voice that you most listen to is yourself. He challenged us to think about how faith-driven and Christ-centered the conversation we have with ourselves really is. Speaking truth to yourself is a skill requiring hard work and perseverance, yet it is essential for a hopeful soul. One encouraging thing he brought out is that God desires that we remind Him of His promises, and that we ask Him to "Do as You promised".

- On Monday morning, Eric Simmons presented a message called "What's the Point?" He spoke on 2 Timothy 3:14-17 and how reading the Scripture should be a delight instead of a duty. He gave 3 reasons to continue studying the Bible, even in the midst of loosing vision for it, as we all do at some point. He reminded us that we read about what we love, and that we need to love God's Word and find life in it and through it, "be equipped for every good work".

- John Piper shared about "William Tyndale" on Monday afternoon. The life and legacy of Tyndale is amazing. Because of him, we have the Bible in English. Because he was willing to give everything, including his life, for the translation of the Bible into the common language, so many have the encouragement and guidance of God's Word. We should never take it for granted.

- On Monday evening, John Piper shared once again, this time on "Fighting for Faith with God's Word". He gave us clarifications of what the fight for faith should be, and ways of doing it. He gave helping Scriptures to memorize and utilize for fighting everything from anxiety to bitterness. He challenged us to major in the Bible our entire life, and to develop a time, place, and plan to study God's Word every day.

To end the conference, C.J. Mahaney passionately shared on Tuesday morning about "Knowing God as Father". Using Galatians 4:1-7, he preached on the Doctrine of Adoption, something that is not emphasized enough in today's world. He shared about the preparation, basis, and experience of adoption, and how we can be assured of God's love for us. He emphasized that we should not only know God as Judge, but also as Father, and that God's purpose did not conclude with Redemption, but culminated with Adoption. God's love is truly amazing!

In addition to the great general sessions, we were each a part of a smaller community group, divided into even smaller family groups. We met the first evening ad at the very beginning of each of the following days for about 1 and 1/2 hours. It was encouraging to discuss the talks and pray with a smaller group, connecting with people you'd never known before. The leader of the community group led us in worship and explained Biblical meditation; the family group leader led us in discussions and was very honest and encouraging. The time they gave us to apply what we learned helped things sink in deeper.

There's not room to tell of everything that happened, and all that we learned. I really enjoyed spending time with Elijah, Miriam, and John, getting to know my siblings and soon-to-be-brother better. We had fun talking and discussing things, walking, and sitting together. We took pictures, walked in a park and fed ducks, or just relaxed in the hotel between sessions.

We were on the 24th floor of the hotel, and because of the slowness of the elevators, got quite acquainted with the long flights of stairs! Because it was Memorial Day weekend, there was a quite loud Beatles Festival lasting until past Midnight every day. However, as the sessions also lasted pretty late, we were often going to be around 12 a.m. anyways!

Another fun thing was seeing my counselor from the Ballet Magnficiat Summer Intensive 2006 at NA, along with a few of the other dancers. It was encouraging to see Betsy and catch up with her. It certainly is a small world - you never know who you may see just around the corner!

All-in-all, it was a great experience! I greatly enjoyed my first New Attitude and hope to attend again, if God wills. If you ever get the opportunity, I would encourage you to go. It has its light-hearted moments, but the entire focus is not on having fun, but on glorifying God. Praise God for all those who spend so much time making it available for so many!


Elijah Lofgren said...

New Attitude 2008 was AMAZING! I hope that I can go to NA 2009 in Baltimore. Hopefully Miriam Hart, Ben Simon, Samantha Brooks, other friends of mine, and my parents can go next year! :)

I've posted the rest of my notes (pretty rough, sorry about that! ;) here:

I hope they help. :)

Thanks for posting this writeup, Anna! :)

Your loving brother,


Maria Pauline said...

Wow! That's really fun to read about. I might just have to keep an eye out for NA 2010. :) I will definitely peruse those notes and listen to those recordings too....

Thanks Anna.

Sheila said...

Oh, that's fabulous Anna! So glad you had an amazing time. :D

Ella said...

I so appreciate the write-up you did!! U would lvoe to go one year, but everything has to be East of the Mississippi for some reason! You and yours were in my prayers for safety...and I can see everything was great!

Feminine Grace said...

I am attending a conference called the Student Prayer Advance in late-July and early August that I wrote a "review" thing on. Stop by and read about it... I'm sure that you and Elijah, and Miriam and Jubliee would love it... as well as your other readers. The focus this year will be Being an Example, based on I Timothy 4:12

Elizabeth Ellen Moore said...

I am glad you had a great time! It sounds like a rewarding experience!