We had breakfast with our mentor and friend, Daniel Brown. What more could I say but that he’s the real deal. He lives what he believes, and he moves others to live like Jesus too. Tim and Susan May joined us–I’m proud to call them my brother and sister. They’ve been in the trenches with me, done battle for me, refreshed and encouraged us, and gave us significant financial and moral support as an early church plant. This was much needed time together to simply enjoy life.

Dr. Henry Cloud spoke this morning. I love the way he practically applies biblical truth. There’s only a couple books I hand out prescriptively to help people, and his book Boundaries is one of them. It makes the Bible helpful in the area of interpersonal relationships. The part of his talk this morning that resonated with me was about monkeys–they found that monkeys in high stress environments experience a 50% drop in stress when a monkey buddy is put in the cage with them. The stress factors don’t change, but the simple fact of not being alone changes everything.

“So who’s your monkey?”

I love that. And the fact that I have a lot of monkeys in my cage with me, thanks to Field Ministry Academy. And one of my favorite things about convention is getting to connect with lots of FMA-ers. It’s like a big monkey party.

Kimberly Dirmann spoke and reminded me of the beauty of Psalm 27 and how I’m walking now in the fulfillment of promises from that passage given to me in 2010. If all of this ends–all this ministry, busyness, the gifts, everything–is Jesus enough for me? Am I fulfilled by just Him? If not, then what am I really doing all this for anyway? Profound questions to consider.

Then there was a lengthy business meeting. Some of the things considered were expanding the board of the denomination and allowing pastors to vote for Foursquare’s president by absentee ballot. Suffice it to say that my vote on these topics is informed by my belief that people should be as empowered as possible–Empowered to have their voice heard, regardless of location, financial resource, or sociological dynamics that inherently squash voices rather than make room for them.

Later that day we had dinner with Phil and Emily, who are planting a like-minded church in Atlanta. Chris and Jen also joined us. Even though they juggled taking 4 kids on a bus that arrived 40 minutes late and had to walk through pouring rain, Chris and Jen were in great moods. I thought for sure our dinner would be ruined by all this craziness. But thanks to our friends’ deep patience, the evening was simply lovely. It really challenged me, again, to be slow to anger and rich in love, and it gave me an example of what that looks like.