This week I have the privilege of traveling with our daughter, Erin, to the Gideon Media Arts Conference & Film Festival at the Lifeway Retreat Center in North Carolina. The folks here are dedicated to spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ through all types of media with an emphasis on radio, theater, church drama, music, graphic novels, television and film. Erin and I feel like a couple of naive little sponges in the midst of a flurry of talent, information and opportunities. It's quite overwhelming!
Sunday morning, the worship opened with the song I Am a Friend of God. The lyric has been ringing in my heart ever since: "Who am I that You are mindful of me? That You hear me when I call?" Truly, it's nothing short of amazing that we can consider relationships with Almighty God within our grasp!
For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Ephesians 3:14-19
God is very near, friends! As the end of this age approaches, we urgently need to engage the culture and the hearts of people who don't know how profoundly loved they are by the Living God. If you haven't thought much or lately about how you are exercising your gifts for the eternal purposes, I hope you will start today. It's like any daily fitness regamine; we need to practice and exercise the muscles of talent planted in us. Even in the training process, God is at work building up the Body of Christ.
While we are at Gideon, Erin and I are getting more and more excited about the need and opportunity to share the talents God has planted in us for the benefit of God's Kingdom, particularly to draw those who are seeking and edify those who already follow Jesus.
I am also struck by the collection of Christ-honoring talent and passion represented here by so many people who clearly love Jesus. In a time and culture when we Christians can be easily discouraged about the direction of media, this is a place that restores my confidence that God's people are very much at work in the industry though we sometimes have to dig through the mire to find them. For example, let me give a shout-out for Elevating Entertainment, a company making wonderful family-friendly, life-inspiring films.
Of course, Walk Right In Ministries is only loosely in the Christian media business (writing and publishing books) so you might wonder what I'm doing here. Erin, an aspiring singer-songwriter, is a finalist in both the Talent and Songwriting categories of the music competition. She performed last night (did an absolutely beautiful job). Winners will be announced at a banquet and awards ceremony tomorrow night. We're very excited and I can say as an unbiased mom that she gave people twice her age a good run for their money. But regardless of any competition result, we both just feel so privileged that we've had this opportunity and are greatly encouraged to meet so many people — especially young people engaging a whole new generation — exercising their gifts for the glory of God.
For the LORD is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations. Psalm 100:5