In this ongoing series I am recapping the incredible speakers I experienced at re:create 11, a conference for “creatives” in Franklin, Tennessee. If this blog were on a piece of paper you would probably see tear stains on it. Ken Davis is certainly in the top five public speakers I have heard or witnessed in my life. For me it wasn’t so much what he said (although it, too, was fanstastic), as it was how he said it. And it brought literal tears to my eyes.
I noticed that the notes I took during his talk mostly failed me, because I was so enthralled in what Ken was saying and how he was saying it. Nonetheless, here are some of the things I jotted down:
- There is an exhilaration you feel when you’re doing what God had in mind when He spoke you into existence.
- Irenaeus: “The glory of God is man fully alive.”
- Ben Franklin: “Many men die at 25 and aren’t buried until they’re 75.”
- Switchfoot: “I wanna wake up kicking and screaming.”
- This life is not a waiting room for eternal life.
- A sign of life is discipline.
- Do what you do to live, not because it’s a living.
- The opposite of discipline is death.
- If you proclaim anything you will be criticized.
- Fail quickly; get it over with.
- Failure is the ticket to success.
- Confidence is using your giftedness according to God’s purpose.
- Take chances and risks.
- “Signs of life” are relationships.
At this point, Ken began to speak about his own relationships. He introduced us to his family and his grandchildren. He told us about what he called his “Fairy Granddaughters.” He spoke about them with humor, passion, compassion, and the kind of love only a grandfather can have for his grandchildren. He engaged us by allowing us to get to know them all. I was drawn in deeply because I saw my own family in his.
And he told a story. It was a story about his granddaughter getting lost on a mountain in Colorado. The story was captivating because it was filled with “real life” situations, humor, tension, humor, exhilaration, humor, relief, and humor. This is the part of the talk when I found myself wiping away tears. I was identifying completely with the speaker and feeling the arms of the story being wrapped around me. I saw my own love and passion for my children, the way Ken has love and passion for his grandchildren.
It was a bold and blatant reminder that one of the greatest reasons to be alive is to be in relationship with those closest to you: your own family. I wasn’t taking notes at this point, but while his granddaughter was lost Ken said he found himself out in the woods on his hands and knees praying something like this: “Take my property; take everything I own; take my health; …take my life…but please bring back my granddaughter alive.”
What parent or grandparent wouldn’t pray that same prayer in a similar situation? My family is more important to me than life itself. I guess that’s why I found myself in such an emotional state at that point of the talk. I saw others wiping tears, as well (fellow re:creators, you know who you are!).
I guess Ken’s point was: God gives life in this world purpose. That purpose is filled full in many ways. One of the greatest ways is by the very people with whom we laugh and cry, sing and shout, live and breathe…the people that we call our family.
When the room was, at the end, still with the silence of incredible appreciation, Ken finished his talk with words I will never forget: “Live. For God’s sake. Live”
- Ken had set us out to sea with self-deprecating humor.
- He floated the bait by using interesting quotes.
- And he set the hook by using his own story to get us to think about our own.
As Irenaeus said, “The glory of God is man fully alive.” What is it that makes you feel fully alive?