Life Lines-TED

By Ian Robinson, Major


From my office window I’ve watched an array of tents, marquees and streaming flags appear in front of the Long Beach Performing Arts Center, resembling the setting for a medieval tournament. At any moment I expect King Arthur and his knights to ride along Ocean Boulevard, mount the steps and begin jousting and merrymaking in the California sunshine. But spoiling the illusion is a large red balloon floating overhead, emblazoned with the letters “T-E-D.”

What is TED? I’m glad you asked. Apparently it is a high-powered, influential conference focusing on Technology, Entertainment and Design (hence the acronym TED). Registration for the four-day event costs $6,000 but you can view the webcast for only $500. Speakers include Bill Gates, singer Bobby McFerrin, Ford Motors chairman Bill Ford, film critic Roger Ebert, and various neuroscientists, biomedical engineers, polar explorers, dinosaur diggers, street artists, magicians, poets and even a roboticist! The conference is sold out a year in advance and attracts followers from all over the world. The scope of the event is found in the titles of the three main sessions on the first day: Monumental, Majestic and Mindblowing. One aspect of this conference really fascinated me: each of the 50 speakers has only 18 minutes to dazzle the audience—what a concept!

I’m not trying to promote this event, but it struck me forcibly that the organizers have created something so exciting that 1,000 people are willing to pay $6,000 one year ahead of time to attend. How many Salvationists are looking forward to Sunday worship next March? Who can’t wait to hear next year’s enthralling sermon series? How many young people are just beside themselves as they look forward to Youth Councils 2012? How many of us are eagerly anticipating Commissioning 2012? Well, I guess we could count a few cadets on that last one! But sometimes it seems hard enough in our corps to drum up enthusiasm for next weekend, never mind next year!

It’s time to start our own TED movement. When we come together, whether for Sunday worship, divisional meetings or territorial events, we should eagerly anticipate:


Transformational preaching—No more canned devotionals or hastily prepared sermons. Our messages must be catalysts of change in our people. God’s Word changes lives—it changed mine!

Col. 1:6: This same Good News that came to you is going out all over the world. It is bearing fruit everywhere by changing lives, just as it changed your lives (NLT).

Excellence—In our music, words, image, buildings, child care, Sunday school, parking lot, bulletins, appearance, love. Everything should be done with excellence. Our Lord deserves nothing less.

Col. 3:23: Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as though you were working for the Lord and not for people (GNB).

Dependence on God—We have an X-factor that the secular TED doesn’t have. Our God lives, and is greater than anything this world has to offer. He permeates everything and has the power to make miracles happen. When we learn to trust him, and become wholly dependent on his Holy Spirit, he will do great things in us and through us.

Psalm 37:5-6: Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him and he will do this: he will make your righteousness shine like the dawn, the justice of your cause like the noonday sun (NIV).


If we put TED into action, I guarantee God will make our gatherings so amazing that we will experience abundant blessings and changed lives every time. Our corps will be filled with worshipers and seekers and we’ll look forward to coming together with eager anticipation all the days of our lives because our God is monumental, majestic and mindblowing! So what’s stopping us?



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