Urbana reflections, what I took away. (Peake Post)
Urbana consisted of three main components:
1. Morning Bible studies.
2. Large group sessions in the morning and night.
3. Seminars in the afternoon.
1. The Bible studies were great. A facilitator managed a room of between 1-200 people and directed the group through what is called an inclusive study. I believe this is common practice throughout intervarsity groups. The format looked like this:
- Begin with a song and prayer to direct the study to knowing more of God.
- Select a passage to study.
- Have someone read over the passage out loud to the group.
- Read over the text once more individually.
- With a notebook, read over the passage once more and take note of observations like numbers, names, repetition, anything that stands out. Limit observations to within the text.
- Discuss your observations within a group of 3.
- Read over the text and write down any questions that come to mind.
- Compile questions within your group. Which questions stick out to you?
- Decide which question gets most closely to the core of the passage.
- Read over once more and attempt to answer questions only referring to the text at hand.
I found this method beneficial as it forces a very close and critical look at the text itself and allows time to notice and make connections which may be easily overlooked Ina short time.
2. Large group sessions are meeting with all 16,000 in attendants. These were conflicting for me. Lots of very emotional and striking testimonies were shared and questions to the effect of, “if you will not go, who will? You are the most educated, most supplied, most blessed…”
Don’t quote me on that. What I found conflicting is the feeling of being motivated to go serve by emotional obligation or a general call rather than who God is and what He did. The truth of who God is does all the speaking we need.
He gave it all for us, and showed us who we really are, that we are made to be his perfect sons. That truth, the identity as sons living with all the fullness of God within us! That is what we go forward in, drawing from truth that is not exhaustible. Maybe it’s the same and I’m missing it, but here’s where my thoughts led to. ***More thoughts below
3. The seminars offered in the afternoons were good. There must have been over two hundred different seminars to nail down into 6-8 possible available time slots. “Lord, what session do you want me to go to..” : X
I went to a session by Mark Scandrette called practicing the way of Jesus. It was really good, he has a book. That one stood out to me the most.
For some thoughts on other aspects of the event, follow this link:
***So here’s where I live, what I’m thinking when I say this about who God is and what he did. Even if you don’t believe in God, suspend your disbelief with me for a second…
God made everything, He’s perfect, pure, good, love. We are the pinnacle of his good creation, we are made to be like God in both nature and personality, image and likeness. We hang out with God and it’s awesome, perfect, unity, every day, it’s what we we are created for. We mess up. We believe the devil and we mess up and we can’t live in awesome, perfect, unity with God anymore. We sin, sin = doing something we’re not made for, it produces no good things and will never fulfill us.
God doesn’t like that, he wants us, he does not settle for separation, he comes as man and he fixes it. He pays the price for all our disobedience, ever. He fixes it, to be with us, and He did it for free cause He loves us. He made it as if we never sinned, justified. He returned us to the value we were created with, as sons and daughters, redeemed.
Now, so me and God are back to awesome, perfect, unity. Thank you Jesus, really. We get to know him, we get to be with him. With knowing him comes everything. Purpose, fullness, new identity, new heart, new life.