Jeff Walling always gets me with his illustrations. They’re masterful. They’re real. Walling’s illustrations are powerful in that they always create in me life-altering pictures that I never forget. And I look forward to the Tulsa Workshop and WinterFest every year because I know I’ll get to sit at the feet of Jeff Walling and receive God’s truth in a way that will impact me and never leave me.
Randy Harris nails me every time with his dry wit and sarcasm. It’s subtle. And you have to pay attention. But he’ll be cruising along and then mutter something, almost under his breath, that absolutely pricks my heart and convicts me. It’s like he’s been living inside my house — hockey players say “in my kitchen”— and knows all my shortcomings and failures and sins. And his little throwaway line causes my soul to bleed and my entire being to turn completely to my God who saves me. And I look forward to Tulsa every year because I know I’ll be challenged by Randy.
Terry Rush breaks my heart every time with his passion for our Lord and our Lord’s people. Terry can’t preach a sermon without crying or almost crying. And it’s because he loves God’s church so much. And it’s real. Because Terry sees what God sees. That pathos of the prophets. He feels the same grief over sin and sickness and injustice that our God feels. And I look forward to Tulsa every year because I know Terry is going to awaken me to new realities.
Jason’s been talking about Billy Wilson for several weeks.
Billy’s been speaking at ACU now for several years. I’m sure he’s a regular at Pepperdine. And it’s possible he’s even made an appearance or two at Tulsa. If so, I don’t know where I’ve been. I’m sick I’ve never heard him or heard of him before this week.
He’s my new favorite speaker.
Maybe it’s just because he’s new and fresh to me. Maybe it has something to do with his Scottish accent that’s cool and forces me to pay more careful attention to his words. But I don’t think so.
Billy combines the passion of Rush and the dry wit of Harris and the perfectly painted illustrations of Walling to homiletically grab me and rip me open and pour the words of God directly into my soul.
He’s certainly passionate. He calls ’em like he sees ’em. He screams and he yells. And, while he hasn’t done it yet, I think he’s capeable of throwing something. He sort of scares me.
He takes everyday things, things that every single person in the room has experienced — a new bike at Christmas, trying to open a stubborn jar, breakfast — and twists them around to reveal a profound truth about the Church that will never leave your head or your heart.
And he’s funny. Very funny.
Billy Wilson’s my new favorite speaker.
Day Three is commencing. And I’m anxious for it, from Wilson’s opener this morning to Walling’s closer tonight. But, even more than that, I can’t wait to get home and see my girls. I miss them tremendously. They make me laugh and they fill my heart with joy. Carrie-Anne, I miss you, baby. I’ll see y’all soon.