Thursday, July 26, 2007

Rebelution Wrapup

Honestly, the conference wasn't quite as I expected it to be--it was even better! Over 800 Rebelutionaries and parents gathered together to be taught, equipped, and inspired to "rebel" against our culture's low expectations for teenagers by doing hard things. The following are my notes from the first two of the four sessions:

Alex Harris: "The Myth of Adolescence"

  • The elephant is just tied by a piece of rope from which it could easily break free, but it has shackles on its mind.
  • Our culture expects teenagers to be rebellious, irresponsible, emotionally unstable, etc... but it's a myth that things must be that way!
  • George, Dave, and Drew all took on high levels of responsibility at young ages in times past.
  • Quote from Challenge of Youth by Friedrich Heer.
  • Prior to this century there were only two stages of life--childhood and adulthood
  • The word "teenager" did not exist until a popular magazine used it in 1941.
  • "...the goal of the child was to grow up as promptly as possible in order to enjoy the opportunities of an adult..." --from a book describing the 18th and 19th centuries.
  • "The current ceiling of expectation for young adults is where the floor ought to be".
  • 1 Cor. 13:11; 1 Tim 4:12; Lam. 12:3
  • Whose expectations are you using in how you spend these years? God's or the world's?
  • George, Dave, and Drew went on to be George Washington (1st President of the United States), David Farragut (admiral in the US Navy), and Andrew Carnegie (one of the most successful businessmen of his day).
  • You have to view the teen years as a launching pad whether you want to or not, because you are launching in some direction. The question is, "What direction are you going?"
  • The applicability of the old adage, "As the twig is bent, so grows the tree."
  • Break the shackles.

Brett Harris, "Do Hard Things"

  • God doesn't call us to do everything, but He definitely hasn't called us to be afraid of doing hard things.
  • Don't be like Moses who was afraid when God called him to do a hard thing.
  • How do we grow stronger? By doing hard things and building "muscle".

  • 1. "Do Hard Things" means fighting sin in your life
  • Example: Getting angry is wrong and easy; controlling your temper is right and hard.
  • Example: Being proud is wrong and easy; staying humble is right and hard.
  • 2. "Do Hard Things" means battling discouragement and complacency
  • If you're facing discouragement because something you find very hard is very easy for someone who is naturally gifted in that area (example: math), the "Do Hard Things" mindset will give you an edge over the person who is naturally talented because he will stop at the end of how far he's naturally talented, but you can go beyond that.
  • It's about building muscle--mental, physical, spiritual...
  • Do what's hard for YOU, not someone else.
  • 3. "Do Hard Things" means doing more than is required
  • A failure to perform in character or competence is due to a failure of past exertion.
  • 4. "Do Hard Things" means getting over your fear of failure
  • Even failure produces muscle.
  • 5. "Do Hard Things" looks different for every person
  • Our unique makeup allows for beautiful diversity.
  • 6. "Do Hard Things" is often small things
  • Small things aren't usually seen by others.
  • Don't think that you always have to do an extraordinary thing; but instead do normal things extraordinarily.
  • 7. "Do Hard Things" is your best life
  • It's a call to the sold out Christian life.

    • Conversing with fellow Rebelutionaries, the Beilmans and Rileys, during a break after the session "Character Counts".

      Me, Paul, Jeremy, and Ben. Paul and I had met Jeremy last year at Awana Camp, and Ben came with us to the conference.

      Mr. Nasser and Pat IV.

      Anti-Feminists Hannah (we stayed at her house for the weekend), me, and Sarah. Attention all young ladies! If you want to find a godly web site with posts filled with encouragement and insights for girls then check out Hannah's blog Beauty from the Heart which she co-authors with two other young ladies. The web site is also on the sidebar of this page under "Links".

      Joel Harris (the twins' older brother who was the worship leader), Brett Harris, Paul, and Alex Harris. I am amazed at the work the Harris family is accomplishing, and I was sorry when we had to leave. But the good news is that they're coming back to D/FW next year! Who knows, maybe I'll see you there!

      And if you live within range, there's still another conference on this year's Rebelution Tour, Indianapolis on September 15, 2007. Don't miss it.

      By the way, you can find professional photos of the conference here, and a photo of Paul and Ben on the Desiring God blog here.


      Update: A friend sent me this picture:

      Marshall (the head coordinator) , Brett Harris, me, and Alex Harris

    Tuesday, July 24, 2007

    O'er The Beautiful Balmy Lake

    It was supposed to be a three-guy canoe trip, but the 30-year-old canoe had some small holes which created a little problem. So the only solution was: borrowed kayaks + a dad + a sister= 4 1/2 hours kayaking on Lake Travis! Last Thursday, Paul, two of his buddies (Caleb and Jeremy), my dad, and I had loads of fun paddling 10 miles from basically our house to Caleb's house.

    Taking off at a park close to our home.

    A short detour to stop by our swimming platform.

    Cruisin' over the middle of the lake. Take a look at the clouds. That is what we call, "The perfect weather". No blazing sun beating down on us (but our legs were still toasted by the sun rays coming through the clouds), not much wind, wonderful temperature, and although it threatened there was No Rain!

    My dad was taking pictures from his seat behind me in the kayak.

    The boys pause to talk while waiting for the slow pokes (us) to catch up.

    The a-little-over-halfway point was marked by Starns Island, which is owned by the LCRA which means that anybody is allowed on it.

    Exploring the island.

    My kayaking partner preparing to embark from Starns Island.

    Bringing the kayaks back after a fantastic ride.


    Saturday, July 07, 2007

    The Rebelution Conference

    Let no one look down upon your youth, but be an example to all the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith, in purity. --1 Timothy 4:12

    In two weeks I’m headed off to attend the Rebelution Conference in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. So I thought that I’d write about why I personally am going.

    All of the kids I grew up with from birth to the beginning of middle school are teenagers now. Unlike when we were little kids playing together, much of what I see now is rebellion, rebellion, and more rebellion in their attitudes. Sadly, that’s all too often true even in the
    Christian ones. But, hey, that’s just normal…right?

    Looking at the situation closer reveals the fact that the culture expects teenagers to be rebellious. For example, two days before my 13th birthday I was at the dentist’s office. After looking at my files he shook his head and said,
    Uh, oh. It looks like you’re about to enter the ‘Terrible Teens’. What’s sobering is the fact that I could so easily live up (or is that live down?) to his expectations. But by the grace of God I don't want to follow that path.

    As I consider the alternative to the low expectations our world has for young people, I look at fellow Rebelutionaries who are doing hard things and refusing to be defined by the world...and are turning the culture’s view of teenagers upside down. That’s what I yearn to do so I’m going to the Rebelution Conference because I believe it will:

    • Teach how to adopt the mindset behind it all
    • Equip us to effectively Do Hard Things
    • Connect like-minded Rebelutionaries
    • Inspire teens to change our generation

    All of us who are attending would love to see you there! Check out the Rebelution website at and be sure to look at their award winning blog as well as their excellent resources.


    Monday, July 02, 2007


    The power of water continually amazes me. Yesterday after church my family drove to Mansfield Dam which holds in the flooding Lake Travis.

    Out of the four open flood gates came monstrous gushes of water. Forcefully and speedily, it shot through the gates and descended into the churning waters of Lake Austin below. Then for some reason, it seemed as if the speed of the spray bouncing upward slowed down. In reality I'm sure it wasn't, but with that appearance it seemed as if the spray was turned into slow motion as it gracefully floated through the air only to again be tumulted into the rushing torrent.

    The majesty and power of it all was breathtaking to see. Of course it wasn't nearly as spectacular as many waterfalls, but to think that it was on our very own Lake Travis was what made it so special.

    The lake is flooding over with water. My question is, are we flooding over with Jesus? Can our lives come to the point where we are no longer getting to know Jesus and his love, faithfulness, mercy, peace, etc--but we are actually filling up on them to the point of overflowing? Flooding over. Can you just imagine that? No wrong motives, but simply a natural response to experiencing Jesus. "The majesty and power of it all would be breathtaking to see."

    You can hoard everything you take in from your relationship with Jesus inside of you, but what if you had the courage to spill it out onto others? Opening the floodgates for others to then flood. How different could the world be if everyone was bubbling over with Jesus? Sure, you may not get results as spectacular as Billy Graham or Charles Spurgeon or Jonathon Edwards did, but to think that God can use you to make a difference is what makes it so special.