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Patrick Stippinger


lift your foot, move it forward a little, put it back down, repeat process with the other foot and so on...

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LOU week in Gutenstein / February 09

Feb 22, 2009

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What is LOU? It stands for Livets Ord University (if I spelled it correctly) which means "Word of Life University". Livets Ord is a church in sweden (Uppsala to be exact) that has their own school and university. Since 2008 they are doing university courses in Austria 3-4 times a year and last week was one of them. I was asked to do sound engineering there, since the current sound guy, Chuck, whom I worked with for this week, is not sure if he's going to do it in the future and someone else had to learn it. Anyways... I agreed, since I needed the money and I wanted to have the chance to listen to the lessons without paying :) - it was a real blessing to be there and even get paid for a course I just couldn't have afforded any other way. Ah, yes, I was also asked to do worship.

We arrived last sunday and got right to work... yea, right... no, we took some time to settle in, eat some food, then started to work and since we were three guys it all went pretty smoothly and quick until we ran into the problem of malfuncitoning equipment... Since we were in the mountains of lower austria, snow pouring down like there was no tomorrow, we could not just head over to the next store and replace what we had so we had to rig some stuff up and still got to bed at a reasonable time. Which was good. Since our next day started around 5:45.

The next day, around 5:45 someone opened the door to our room, in which Chuck and I were staying together with two other guys of the team and right in front two men started to converse in russian I guess... could've been ukrainian though - I'm not sure - and it doesn't make a difference... Well I got up and started to wake up to get prepared for leading worship for the first time of the week. I have to admit that I was a bit nervous. 150 pastors from around the world... spirit filled believers who can probably "smell" even the slightest hint of pride rising up in the heart of the worship leader? - okay, I might have been overreacting but still... it all turned out completely different. I learned more about worship during the first two minutes of this course than in any seminar I've ever visited. I leanred that the moving of God's presence relies even more on the heart of the congregation than I thought. Well, I hit the strings for the first chord of "Forever" (I was told I should go for a little older, well known songs, since people from different cultures and denominations would be attendings the course and I had to make sure most of them knew the songs) and before I could open my mouth a guy (I later found out he was czech - and he's awesome) right in front of me shouted a loud (and I mean LOUD) Hallelujah and it all broke out intp praise... there's nothing better than a room full of enthusiastic charismatics ;) - well I just have to say, these men and women were longing for the presence of the Holy Spirit, with a hunger and desperation - and God answers the cry of his people - I never felt as useless before, in leading worship, but never happier either. I started to sing and from that on it was just a matter of making sure NOT to get in the way of the spirit. Beautiful. Needless to say I enjoyed the worship times throughout the week at least as much as the attending pastors and leaders.

Then the lessons began. Church History. Very interesting and that's not a joke. I learned a lot this week - of course I could not grab everything since I was still hired to do sound, but what I heard was fascinating - we are today still dealing with some of the theological issues the church has even settled about 2.000 years ago. "Neo-Arians" anyone? ;) well, if aynone wants to know more about that come to me, I'm eager to discuss and talk about it :) - it can't be dealt with here... it was already much... a lot of information crammed into just one little week in february.

The speaker was fascinating. His name was Folke Olofsson (if I spelled it correctly ;) ) which should give you the hint that he was from Sweden (or at least scandinavian). He is a retired priest of the Church of Sweden and his insights on early christian theology were brought about with a sense of humor that made the dry materia more bearable... One of his quotes is: "You can read your books, they hold all the facts, but I am more funny than the books" :) (that is translated not a literal quote ;) since his german is very good)

We had two evening services, one with Dr. Anders Gerdmar speaking, the other lead by Pastor Rasim from Azerbaidjan. Both were completely unique and still in the same spirit. That holy one ;). - Again I took a lot myself from the worship times and sermons and I am still in awe how it all worked out - even the sound stuff - in the end (yesterday) we were happy that it all worked out and no major problems occured through the week.

I already mentioned the snow - let me mention it again... it deserves it. It snowed throughout all the week and the "Mariahilfberg" was covered in powdery white. In the evenings we had a lot of fun, sled races, snow fights... pushing other people into the snow - I came to know new friends, got to know others better, a time of blessings, being one and receiving some :) All in all a wonderful week and I'm to lazy to continue writing now so farewell :)

Be blessed in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit