Torrey Conference takes off with exploration of “Incarnate”

On the first day of Torrey Conference, students and speakers examined the meaning of "Incarnation," applying this theology to daily life.

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Torrey Conference takes off with exploration of “Incarnate”

Students worship and praise the Lord during the final worship set at the opening session of Torrey Conference 2019.

Students worship and praise the Lord during the final worship set at the opening session of Torrey Conference 2019.

Marlena Lang // THE CHIMES

Students worship and praise the Lord during the final worship set at the opening session of Torrey Conference 2019.

Marlena Lang // THE CHIMES

Marlena Lang // THE CHIMES

Students worship and praise the Lord during the final worship set at the opening session of Torrey Conference 2019.

Kaylee Galvez, Maria Weyne, and Brittany Ung

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To kick off this year’s Torrey Conference, students gathered in the Chase Gymnasium to explore the theme “Incarnate” as a noun, adjective and verb. Filling the bleachers and gym floor, the Biola community beamed with anticipation for what the first session had in store. 

DANCE AND WORSHIP

The stage was the center of attention as neon lights illuminated the conference theme “Incarnate.” While worship music played to enhance the energy in the room, the Biola Dance Team rushed on stage to perform the four movements of the gospel: creation, fall, redemption and re-creation. 

Following the performance, gospel choir director Aja Grant and her team led the congregation into worship. Grant made room for the Holy Spirit to move, which brought students and staff to raise their hands in worship.

THE EMBODIED CHRIST 

Emcees of this year’s conference, junior sociology major Sydney Perry and senior biblical and theological studies major Logan McDonald, introduced the first speaker of the session, pastor of Reality LA Jeremy Treat, who emphasized how the incarnation of Jesus is intertwined with human existence. 

“Being saved by an incarnate Christ did not make you less human, it makes you more human,” Treat said. “It makes you fully human.” 

Treat expressed his desire for students to apply this aspect of incarnation in their daily lives. He says that believers need to embrace both theology and the presence of God.

“I hope that there is a culmination of deep theology and heartfelt connection and then practice in daily life,” he said. “We need to understand the incarnation. We need to live out the reality of being united to Christ, and then there’s really practical and communal things that play into that.”

As a freshman and first time attendee of Torrey Conference, intercultural studies major Brennan Lawrence took much delight in the first session’s worship and messages. The first session prepared him for the upcoming events of the conference. 

“I really liked the music and thought the speakers were great,” Lawrence said. “I think it is good since it is setting the pace for the entire event and I don’t really know what to expect from the Torrey Conference but I’m pretty jazzed now.”

THE RELEVANCE OF INCARNATION

The second speaker of the first session, Karrie Garcia, gave the community a glimpse into her testimony in her message on “The Relevance of Incarnation.” Garcia began by explaining that her goal is to make the incarnate tangible. 

Garcia shared her message of being outplaced, widowed and estranged to reveal how the incarnate Christ was playing a role in the seasons of her life. 

“I died and when I died, as I walked through the shadow of the valley of death, as Jesus went to Sheol on my behalf, there was hope,” Garcia said. “This is incarnate power. You want to know what incarnation power means to you today, it means when death is knocking at its door, hope is rising.”

Garcia concluded with a direct message that conveyed the power and impact of Jesus’ incarnation in believers’ lives.

“God doesn’t give you the ashes, ashes come,” Garcia said. “It is what Jesus in his incarnation does with those ashes that will change the world.”

Sophomore communication sciences and disorders major Katie Krippner said she realized how the first session helped her understand what this year’s conference will offer her in the upcoming days. Considering that there were two speakers at this session, Krippner was interested in the difference between this year’s Torrey Conference and last year’s. 

“I really liked how it seemed different than last year and how they had a few different speakers. And I liked learning more about what ‘Incarnate’ is all about,” she said.

THE NEED FOR GOD’S COMPANY 

The second session opened with worship led by Matt Redman, the singer-songwriter acclaimed of Grammy-winning single “10,000 Reasons.” Redman wanted to come to Biola to share the importance of building a spiritual foundation through worship. 

“University is such a key time where you are forming your worldview,” he said. “To me, that’s what’s awesome about this place. You are not shut off from reality, but you are very much building this amazing foundation that you are going to stand on for the rest of your life where the kingdom of God and the King are right at the center.” 

Treat returned to the stage for the second session and expanded on the idea of a society that craves acceptance through their phones. 

He called students to be less dependent on the idea of being able to do everything while being alone together. Treat explained that Christians should seek each other’s presence and company as part of the Church. 

“When Jesus discussed the importance of his death, he did not give a lecture,” Treat said. “He served a meal.”

In the second half of the session, senior pastor at Tenth Church Ken Shigematsu shared an anecdote of his son’s appreciation for the time they spent together as a metaphor for Christians’ willingness to spend time with God. He explained that God wants Christians to find healing and rest during the Sabbath. 

“If God were to ask me what is my hobby, I hope my heart would say, ‘my hobby is spending time with you,’” he said. 

Shigematsu continued to spread the joy of what the Sabbath is meant to be by feeding his colleagues literal spoonfuls of honey as a physical metaphor for the delight the Sabbath brings.

For more information on Torrey Conference 2019, click here