Two more sessions this morning.
First of all a pre-recorded interview with ex US President Jimmy Carter which was excellent. The central theme was that peace is something that all Christians should aspire to, and that war should only ever be seen as a last resort. He seems quite an amazing guy in that since finishing being president (and being perceived as having failed in the role of president, particularly after the Iran hostage crisis) he chose not to spend the rest of his life playing golf but trying to make a real difference in the world. He's done that through both the Carter Centre, which attempts to resolve conflict wherever it is happening in the world, and Habitat for Humanity which builds homes for people that can't afford them and so break down barriers between rich and poor. He also continues to teach a Bible study in his church every Sunday.
Finally a session from Bill Hybels on the power of inspiration. Really a call for leaders to take responsibility for inspiring and motivating themselves, with some very practical ideas on how to do that, and then to motivate and inspire the people around them. Hopefully I can do a good job of putting this into practice over the next few months and do as good a job as Ben has done at inspiring and motivating the rest of the church. Look forward to seeing this session if you can make it in September.
One other thing today. Before Bill's talk they showed a video of a boy called Patrick who was born blind and paralysed in his arms and legs. Despite this he was able to play the piano from the age of one, and then later learnt to play the trumpet. Patrick's dad took a job working nights for UPS so that he could look after his son during the day and get fully involved in his life. We saw film of them in a marching band where Patrick was playing the trumpet and his dad was pushing him along in his wheelchair in time with the rest of the band. Well while the lights were off and the video was playing they wheeled a grand piano onto the stage. As the lights came up Patrick was sat behind the piano and he began to sing and play. It was one of those moments when you can do nothing but cry, and at the end of the song (which he performed brilliantly) he got a standing ovation. Bill Hybels then spoke to both Patrick and his dad, who in many ways is just as amazing as his son. I couldn't think of a better inspiration for me to be the best dad I can possibly be to my children, or a better demonstration of the unconditional love God as a father has for us.
So that was it. It's been such a privilege to be here. If you've been inspired by anything I've written then I really want to encourage you to come to the conference at the end of September, either in Bracknell or one of the other worldwide locations - you won't be disappointed.
For those of you in BFC I'm praying for the two meetings tomorrow. Ben and I get back into the UK at 6am on Monday morning (Craig flies back in 4 hours later), then on Thursday I travel up to Newcastle with Zak to walk Hadrian's Wall (and watch Newcastle play Aston Villa - we're top of the league, at least until tomorrow!) and then a week in the Lake District with Catrina and the rest of the children - can't wait. Hope you've enjoyed the blog so far and it will hopefully return in September when I get back.