A29 BC Part 5

There were two more speakers on Wednesday, however, my brain was fried by the final speaker so Scott Thomas was the last one with whom I took notes.  Scott Thomas is the president and director of the Acts 29 Network.  He also presented his latest book Gospel Coach.  If you’re interested in learning about coaching people through the gospel this is a great resource to look into.  “‘Gospel Coach’ materials are designed to give Christian leaders a practical system to develop and equip other leaders in the local church and to shepherd them to glorify God. While it is for leaders, it can be used to shepherd believers of all stages of their life, maturity, age, and gender. This site is a tool to support the principle plans established in the ‘Gospel Coach’ book.”

My primary take away from this talk was that mission needs to have intention and movement.  If you have no intention you have no direction and no focus.  He spoke of the the need of movement.  If you are on a mission and there is no movement to you then you must ask yourself, what is the purpose?  You most likely have none.

The whole boot camp was a great resource.  I went into the training knowing that we needed direction for the next phase of our lives.  What we got was training on how to find purpose and direction and focus so that we could move forward with confidence.  We believe God has asked us to reach out to people and we now know some specifics of what that looks like.  It isn’t going to be easy.  Having purpose and focus helps us to head in a direction that will help us achieve those goals we feel God has set before us.  I think the primary issue at this point is, there are so many distractions.  It would be so easy to start to dedicate time to the distractions and forget what our purpose is.

I remember a verse that i read and reread as a young girl.  I believed it was a promise to me.  I now believe it is a part of the purpose we have as a family.

1The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me, because the LORD has anointed me
to bring good news to the poor; he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound;

2to proclaim the year of the LORD’s favor, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn;

3to grant to those who mourn in Zion—to give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit; that they may be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he may be glorified.

4They shall build up the ancient ruins;
they shall raise up the former devastations; they shall repair the ruined cities, the devastations of many generations.

A29 BC Pt. 4 & Selling Jesus

The next speaker was Justin Anderson.  He is the pastor of Praxis Church, who hosted the Boot Camp. While he was a great speaker his message was mostly towards the pastors in the group, regarding preaching.  So, I took the opportunity to listen without notes.  One thought I did take away from him was figure out what kind of preacher you are.  Are you a 15 minute preacher or a 45 minute preacher? Figure it out and preach within that time…your church will thank you.

The speaker following Justin was David Kinnaman who is the president of the Barna Group.  The Barna Group is “a visionary  research and resource company located out of Ventura, California.  Mr. Kinnaman was intriguing to listen to with all of his facts and statistics.  I really enjoy those types of details and so this really appealed to me. His message was titled The Future and The Surge.

My biggest take away from this talk was his statistic about “adultolescence” as he called it.  His statement was the there are less people making major life transition by the age of 30 than there were in the past 40 years.  What he qualified as an adultolescent is someone who has not made major life transitions nor cares to make those transitions. There were numbers and such but I don’t have them and wish not to misquote.

Also, the confidence in leaders has greatly decreased.  Leaders in the country and leaders in the church are not trusted people.  What people think about Christians isn’t good and we must respond to that in some way. He spoke of the next generations of Christians and asked the question of how we are planning to teach them how to live in this world and not be of this world.

And then he made this really cool analogy of us being like exiles.  His statement was “Gospel surges into the the world through exile – people able to navigate two worlds.”

I think it’s easy to forget that I am an ambassador in this world.  It is my chosen responsibility to represent God and the gospel. How I do that is important.   Why don’t we act out of the knowledge?

Okay I’m going to make a reference to a concept I learned in Mary Kay training.    And I may go on a tangent but stick with me for a second.  In Mary Kay it is my goal to sell people on the idea that Mary Kay is the best product for skin care, which it is, and I have to be clever about achieving that goal.  I first attempt to make a connection with the potential client, I then have place to introduce them to the product.  Once they have been convinced that Mary Kay is the best selling skin care line they want the product and I can offer it to them.  I have to make sure that my skin looks great in order to be an authority on the subject.  So I use the product every day and use every part of the line that I wish to sell.  I make sure I am qualified to speak on the subject before I approach her.  WHY, don’t we approach the gospel with the same meticulous thought?  Jesus is the best thing that has ever happened to me.  I can’t walk up to pople and hit them on the head with my Bible and hope they get “saved”.  That’s like me walking up to a woman and slapping her in the face with my Timewise line and then telling her she wants it.  It isn’t going to work!  I have to make a connection with her first before she’ll even listen to me.  I have to ask questions.  I have to take the time to get to know what her needs are before I can offer her anything.  If you try to offer Jesus to someone who thinks they have everything you’re going to use a different tactic.  It takes time.  It takes energy.  It take listening.  But if you put in the time the connection is more likely to be made.  I could go on and on about this idea, but I feel I should stop there for now.  My point is this…ARE YOU MAKING CONNECTIONS WITH PEOPLE BEFORE YOU TRY TO INTRODUCE THEM TO JESUS? If you’re not, it may not work.  I’m just saying.

A29 BC Pt. 3

Matt Carter…I have to be honest and say I haven’t heard much about him.  But this guy was a dynamic speaker.  He came at the end of day one.  I was up early that day, was tired, and ready to be done when this guy walked onto the stage and just unleashed enthusiasm and encouragement.  He is the pastor of Austin Stone Community Church in Austin, Texas so his accent was fun to listen to. And then to have the truth and encouragement on top of that…it was fun.

I had one major take away from this talk.  If you love your mission more than you love your Savior, your Savior will have no part of your mission. I have felt as though J and I have been searching for our mission in this world as individuals and as a family so this was a poignant idea for me personally.  My focus isn’t to find my mission, my focus is to find my Savior.  As I fall more in love with my Savior my mission will become clear.

Here are some points he made that stuck in my mind.

  • This next generation is not hardwired for sitting still and letting someone else do the work,  they’re asking “When do we get to fight?”.
  • How do we empower them to experience fulfillment of their purpose?
  • More people in the church doesn’t change a city, sending people out might.

My vision of my life has been small.  I realize that now.  I serve a big God and He is doing some cool stuff.  If I limit Him in my life I’ll miss out on what He’s doing.  I don’t want to miss out on that.

 

A29 BC Processing Pt. 2

Wayne Grudem was an interesting man to listen to.  He is a professor at Phoenix Seminary.  His study of the Bible is amazing and listening to him talk about the Bible is something I could probably do all day.  His attention to details and facts was astounding.  I loved listening to him.

I think what I liked most about Professor Grudem is that he was such a down to earth humble guy.  We had a time of Q & A after he spoke and his answers to questions were articulate.  His focus is Jesus and when he speaks, he points it all back to Jesus.  It was amazing.

His topic was Theology and the Surge.  I had two take aways from this talk.  My biggest take away from was theology changes lives. He referenced Hosea 4:6 My people are  destroyed for a lack of knowledge.   The priests were given the task of teaching the people about God and they stopped doing their job. They had ceased talking about God and so the people were losing focus and destroying their lives.

My next take away was when he referenced 1 Corinthians 16:13-14 Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong. Let all that you do be done in love. He warns the Corinthians to be watchful against questioning the validity of God’s Word. to stand strong in their faith in God, and to act like men who are willing to face things that came at them.  But to make sure they had love.  Love is crucial to the gospel.  I’m not doing it justice I know, but it hit me hard.

Here were some of the points that stuck with me

  • Good theology leads to good decisions.  Bad theology will lead to bad decisions.
  • God created all men in His image endowed by their Creator with the right to life, freedom, and the pursuit of happiness.  God gives us those rights, not man. Government secures those rights given by God.
  • Genuine religious faith cannot be compelled.
  • Paul didn’t back down from the uncomfortable conversations and topics and unpopular issues. There was not cowardice in his presentation of the gospel. I should be willing to take the criticism.
  • Sound doctrine alone will not guarantee a ministry that brings glory to God.
  • Sound doctrine will not keep a church straight and strong.  There must be love.

Often times I forget the love aspect of the gospel.  It’s easy to get caught up in the semantics and details and forget that those are not the things Christ died for.  He died for love.  His love for us led Him to the cross.  His love.  The theology that God loved us, sent His Son to earth of a virgin birth, who went to the cross to take our place in the punishment of sin, who died and three days later came back to life and ascended to Heaven all for the purpose of making us acceptable to Heaven is worth talking about.  That theology has changed my life.

Acts 29 Bootcamp Processing

We went to the Acts 29 Bootcamp last week and I am still reeling with information that I’ve yet to process.  This “Bootcamp” was a means of training pastors and church leaders.  If you’re curious about the Acts 29 network click the link above.

I process better when I write so my next posts will be a written processing of my written and mental notes.  If that made any sense at all, we should be friends.

Darrin Patrick was the first speaker of the event.  I had heard the name before, but have never really heard him speak or have read any of his writings. His recent books are Church Planter: The Man, the Message, the Mission and A Church for the City with Matt Carter, who also spoke at the conference.

The message was titled Leadership and the Surge.  I had two take aways from this message but my biggest take away from this conference was God’s story is one of redemption.   I am not the main character,  I am a scene in God’s great story. I’m a small part of the whole He is doing. It is His party and I’m invited.  I must keep my eyes focused on God. We were encouraged not to be more in love with the mission than we are with our Savior.

The second take away was that I should work FROM His acceptance of me and not FOR his acceptance of me.  I am already loved by God.  I didn’t have to do anything to get that love.  I didn’t have to earn it.  I didn’t have to jump through hoops.  I already have it.  So, my motivation should stem from that knowledge.

I did think the next couple of comments were interesting and important to remember when you’re in ANY position where you lead.

  • Leading alone will kill you, get HELP.
  • If you can do something besides leading…do that instead. Unless you feel you must absolutely lead.
  • As a good leader you should empower people to lead.
  • People will join your team if your vision is great, but people will stay if your character is in tact.

My thoughts, after that message, centered on how often I work to get God’s love.  I want to be a good woman, so He’ll love me.  I want to be a good wife, so He’ll be proud of me.  I want to be a good mother, so He’ll give me a reward.  My efforts out of that motivation are typically flat.  There is no substance to them.  I’ve felt that for a while now.  I’ve asked for clarity and boy I sure got it last week.  I’m loved by a great God so I ought to be motivated to behave as though I am loved.  Instead I behave as a puppy would behave trying to get the master to give food, attention, or affection.  Cowering, apprehensive, and timid.  It shows in my interactions with everyone I come into contact with.  I often feel as though I am pleading with them to give me their stamp of approval.  Please love me, please tell me I’m good enough, please affirm me with your time and attention.  Why would I need that if I’ve already received it from a God who I believe is bigger than the universe and able to control every single atom and molecule? It has hit me so intensely I find myself rethinking every aspect of my life.  It’s a little overwhelming, so I’m just tackling one aspect at a time.  Whew! I’m done.