09 October 2008 ~ 2 Comments

Reflections From Catalyst – Day One

Day one of the official Catalyst conference is over.  Again it's late.  My notes are in the car, and it would take too long anyway.  I'll try to post session notes tomorrow morning if I have time.  But in the meantime, allow me to share some of my personal journey over the last 24 hours or so.  How Catalyst is effecting me, rather than the content of the information.

I'll preface by saying I usually pride myself on being fairly transparent on this blog.  But I realized that I'm not as transparent as I'd like to think sometimes.  I didn't want to share my thoughts and feelings.  I'd rather hide the vulnerable stuff and show you the put together, ready to lead Bobby. 
But I will anyway.

Last night at the Deadly Viper session, Mike and Jud talked about the things we all have going on under the surface.  That we all have our conference face on.  But there's a lot underneath.  I didn't get that.  Till this morning.

As we worshiped, I realized a joy that I wasn't experiencing that I used to have.  I recognized a dryness inside me.  But I'm at a conference with other ministers.  I wasn't about to let it show. 
Then Andy Stanley got up and talked about moral authority.  He talked about our creed matching our deed.  One of the areas he specifically addressed is forgiveness.  It drudged up some places I have struggled inwardly more than I'd like to admit with forgiveness.  I don't want to deal with it.  But I have to.  It's the virtue at the epicenter of my faith.

All the speakers were amazing today.  But 2 stood out for where I'm at.  Stephen Furtick talked about the painful process that happens between the promise of God and the payoff.  It's a long process.  I really want to start seeing the payoff.  Like now God.  But I'm in the process.

However, one of my personal favorites, Craig Groeschel, pushed me over the edge.  Pushed a lot of us over the edge.  He talked about "it."  I remember when I first had "it."  When Jesus first rocked my world and I was sold out. 
The time I sensed God calling me to go to New York to minister and dropped everything to get a plane ticket before I even had a place to stay.
When ministry was so much more than a job.  In fact, it wasn't a job at all, but it consumed every part of my soul.  I felt myself thinking about my desire to not be in occupational ministry at times in order to rediscover the purity of that passion again.  Craig talked about getting "it" back.  God's desire to use us.
Us asking God to stretch us
But first to heal us
And before that, to ruin us.

I came to Catalyst expecting to get some great leadership principles.  Expecting to enjoy rockin good music.  But for some reason I didn't expect a serious encounter with God.  But God was already wrecking me.  Not in the hugest ways, but big enough for the pressure to be welling up behind my corneas as Craig shared. 
He invited those who wanted "it" back in their lives, who needed "it" back, to stand for prayer.  I can count on one hand the times I've responded to that kind of invitation from pastors at conferences.  And honestly, I didn't want the people I came with to see me stand.  I wasn't sitting with them, but I figured they could see me.  I stood anyway.

All that to say, God is stirring something in me.
Perhaps this passage from Revelation 2 sums it up nicely.

I know your deeds, your hard work and your perseverance. I know that
you cannot tolerate wicked men, that you have tested those who claim to
be apostles but are not, and have found them false. You have persevered and have endured hardships for my name, and have not grown weary. Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken your first love. Remember the height from which you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first.

God, renew my passion for you.  Dive down deep into the recesses of my being and make me uncomfortable.  Stretch me and make me find my strength, my passion, my purpose in You.  Remind me of the faith I had at the beginning and take me back to that place of unabandoned love.  Help me to pursue You relentlessly, being willing to do anything necesarry to get just a glimpse of who you are and to see you work miraculously in my life and in the lives of others, recognizing that you are already pursuing me.  And use this to make me a more complete child of God, a more complete husband, a more complete father, and finally, a more complete vessel of your truth and grace to a world desperately in need of Jesus.

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