Monday, October 08, 2007


On October 2nd, we dropped the kids off with my parent's and headed back to get ready for our trip to the Catalyst Conference in Atlanta. I must say I had my share of concerns, after all the boys were just recovering from some stomach bug and Eden was still in the midst of it! However, they were in good hands and some time alone with my hubby sounded really great! Here is a brief account of our time in Georgia!

When we went to pick up the rental car and pulled into the lot, I said to Rahul, "Gee, it would be really funny if we ended up with a Jeep- Bill would be so jealous!" Five minutes later, the lady said they were giving us an upgrade and guess what we ended up with?

This is for you Bill!!

I had to take some pics from the car, excuse me Jeep, of Turner Field for the boys!
We took a wrong turn, only to discover we were on Shackleford Road! Too bad it was spelled "incorrectly"! I couldn't resist taking a picture though!


The first day of the conference was a collection of Labs, led by Christian experts, authors and speakers. It was a pick and choose set up, so we selected Reggie McNeal, Nancy Ortberg, Brad Powell and Tim Elmore. These sessions are intended to be much smaller and more intimate than the actual conference, so instead of 11,000 people in one Lab there are only about 200!! All of them were great and provided incredible information on leadership, but I especially enjoyed the first and the last. Reggie McNeal was hilarious and since Rahul uses Habitudes with the leadership team at the BCM it was great to hear directly from Tim Elmore! I especially loved his discussion about the One Percent Factor in leadership. He listed individual after individual who in history were able to change their corner of the world. In fact, he said that history reminds us that 1% of a group of people has been able to impact the other 99% over and over again- when that 1% has bought into an idea with reckless abandon. Specifically, he noted Joan of Arc, John Wesley, William Wilberforce, Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King and Gideon's Army. Elmore offered some practical suggestions for helping to be that kind of leader. I think both Rahul and I walked away quite touched by what he said. We are praying that God might use us in such a way as to be that one percent- willing to stand firm for what we believe in and motivate the other 99% to join us on the mission!

This quote speaks to what Elmore was emphasizing:

"Never doubt that a small group of committed people can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has." -Margaret Meade

Labs were held in the Exhibit Hall of the Gwinnett Center. Between sessions people fled outside for a taste of the crisp fall weather!

We enjoyed the weather too! It was so nice to feel a cool breeze rather than heat and humidity! On this particular break, Rahul took a stroll to the parking lot while I called for the hundredth time to check on the kids. I snapped this shot before he even realized I had the camera aiming at him!
Then it was back to these amazing nature shots! I had to get one of a RED leaf to show the boys that they really do change colors in the Fall!

Right beside the Gwinnett Center was a children's museum. We snapped a picture of the gigantic robot for the boys, knowing they would think it was the coolest thing ever!

During the labs we also ran into some old FSU BCM friends, John and Heather, and a seminary friend, Mitch too! What a surprise!
Day 2: The Conference

Here is the description of Catalyst:

Catalyst is known for innovative, out of the box leadership experiences, whether gathering with 10,000 next generation leaders or tackling challenges of team building with your staff or leadership team in a small interactive environment. Creativity, high octane, and pure leadership adrenaline are words that consistently describe Catalyst Events. Plan to be inspired, motivated, and moved towards practical application when you take part with Catalyst.

Well, it did NOT disappoint!

In fact, Catalyst set the foundation for some of the most amazing couple of days in my life! We learned so much that I simply could not post it all at one time- in fact, I am still trying to "unpack" and process much of it even as I type! For now, I'll give you some quick tidbits, with the hopes of coming back every now and then and sharing more from each of the various speakers!

One of the funniest things that happened while we were there was the introduction of this 12 year old boy who plans to run for President! He's written a book, is working on social security and a cure for Juvenile Diabetes. Most of all, he is a follower of Christ and desires to lead others in a way that glorifies the Father! What an incredible witness he is- living out his faith and trying to impact the world- even at such a young age! It reminds me of this verse:

Don't let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity. 1 Timothy 4:12

Random entertainment during one of the breaks.
One of the neatest things about Catalyst is that they are on the cutting edge of technology and they desire to use it to enhance ministry. Here is something really cool they did with the help of YouVersion. They posted a question on the screen (see above) and immediately the answers started popping up (see below). Pretty cool huh?

We were standing in line to get some coffee (another story I need to tell) when I looked down and saw the mad rush for free Study Bibles!! Anytime you wanted to go anywhere, these were the kinds of crowds you had to get through... oddly enough, even with all those people, we ran into a few more seminary friends! (Adam and Andrea, one was a guy who knew we were friends with you and he talked for quite some time about you both but, I can't remember his name. I'll see if Rahul does!)
This picture doesn't look too impressive until you understand what's happening. The two guys in the coats are from Guinness World Records. Every year at Catalyst a record is broken and this year was no exception, in fact there were three this time!
Most bubbles blown at one time
Most Frisbees thrown (check out the stage below- they were going so fast I couldn't capture it)
The following morning when we arrived there were records under our seats. So, we broke the record for breaking records- yep, they had 11,000 people break old classic records right down the middle. Imagine the noise!! It sounded like out of control corn popping!
Here are the sheets we had to sign in order to be included in the account for Guinness.

Many of the speakers focused on the concept of the servant heart, giving back and setting an example just as Christ did. The images on the screen as we sang were so touching I pulled out the camera to capture just a few-
I love the pictures and the words!
It is our prayer that we move into action- meeting physical and spiritual needs, that our hearts will be willing to step outside of the norm, to reach outside of the comfortable and to be the hands and feet of Jesus!
After a crazy busy day listening to amazing speakers Andy Stanley, Patrick Lencioni, Shane Claiborne, Francis Chan, Sunday Adelaja and Rick Warren, we met up with Larry and Anna Lawrence. We interned under them with the youth at Celebration Baptist in Tallahassee and forged a friendship that continues to this day.
What I love about this Godly couple is how genuine they are, how their passion for the Lord never wavers, how their love for one another inspires, and how we can pick up right where we left off, as if no time had ever passed. We spent several hours enjoying our dinner at Houston's!!!!! , sharing, catching up and laughing! Let me tell you, you can never be around this couple without laughing! What a refreshing and joyful evening we had! Praise the Lord for such amazing friends!
The last day!
John Maxwell opened up the day and was awarded a Catalyst achievement award and then came the camel! You see Lanny Donoho does not do anything normal! A plaque or trophy would never have been sufficient- but a camel, well that's a gift!!

Apparently Jon Maxwell agreed!

Other speakers for the day included Craig Groeschel,Dave Ramsey, Erwin McManus and Andy Stanley. However, even though our flight was not until 7:15 in the evening, we had to leave at 3:00 in order to beat the Friday traffic that occurs in downtown Atlanta! Ugh! So, we missed the last two speakers- not to worry, I am sure there will be a podcast soon enough!
I believe God had it all worked out though because the messages we did hear seemed to be carved out just for us! Don't you just love it when God reminds you ever so subtlety that He's in COMPLETE control?!
This is perhaps the most random picture I have ever taken! We just got a kick out of the backdrop for the computer station!

Meet Blake Mycoskie the man behind Tom's Shoes:
He has created a business whereby every time you purchase a pair of his shoes, a pair will be given to a child on your behalf. What an awesome story of a man inspired out of his love for the Lord to go out and change the world! Kind of reminds me of that 1% factor Tim Elmore spoke of!
I love that you can even purchase "Tiny Toms" for little toddler sized feet! I think all my kiddos need a pair! (and perhaps so do you)!


During the conference we experienced some of the most amazing worship ever!

Being in a room with 11,000 other people can be powerful as you hear the collective voices ring out in adoration of the King. Yet, there is something even more moving- to know that as you stand there before the Almighty God and pour out your heart-He listens. Steve Fee (Check out Glorious One and Beautiful the Blood) and Kristian Stanfill (Jesus Paid It All) led the music, as well as a member of Hillsong. Fabulous! Amazing! Incredible! There just aren't enough adjectives to describe it!

On our way to the parking lot to face the Atlanta traffic, we stopped for a picture- 1) to document that we had no kids with us (just kidding) and 2) to remember the great things God did in our hearts during our time at Catalyst!
Just as a side note, I wanted to add that I am so grateful that I have a husband who loves the Lord with all his heart, who desires to serve Him and to lead our family. I admire him, adore him and am blessed by him daily. What an incredible man!


Blogger SouthAsiaRocks said...

FUN! Sounds like it was a great trip!! That ROCKS!!! That 1% factor thing was encouraging for me to hear today :) THanks for sharing :) THat's fun that you got to see people from Sem :) I can't believe that you were able to find people with all of those people there :) I bet everyone just found you guys :) You're so memorable :) Glad you guys had a good weekend away :) Looks like it was awesome!!! whoo hoo!!! You guys ROCK!

10:03 PM

Blogger Heather Henderson said...

What an awesome coference!! It's sounds amazing. I am so glad you guys got to go. I can't believe all the cool speakers you got to hear.

10:04 PM


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