"Between the promise of God in your life and the payoff is a process."
I'm sorry that I haven't written in a while. I'm still smack in the middle of a season of sifting and pruning from God. I've found that often times it's better to get well into the process before you pause and try to assess or analyze why you're there in the first place, and what exactly it is that God is trying to teach you in the midst of it all. But we'll get to than in another entry.
I just experienced my first Catalyst Conference over the past three days, and it couldn't come at a better time. Three solid days to sit and soak in wisdom, insight and inspiration from some of the world's most anointed church leaders...without having to worry about getting all the volunteers in place to open doors, setting up and tearing down, or making sure that all of the lower thirds are spelled correctly. I was able to sit and observe - to be fully present and fully engage in what it was God wanted me to learn.
And boy did I learn. Reggie couldn't have phrased it better - it was like "taking a sip of water from a fire hydrant." So much wisdom, so many personal challenges and convictions. It's going to take me days to unpack it all - but it is too important for me not to. See, that's been my problem before - I'll go and learn and in the moment, think "wow, that's great insight that I need to take home, process and apply." Then what happens? Life. I get caught up in the busyness of life and often put process and application on the back burner until I've forgotten what was so important in the first place.
There's no way I could even begin to explain or describe to you all that I learned over the past three days, but I would love to share some of my biggest takeaways from the week:
Wisdom from Perry Noble about Passion and Calling:
"To be good leaders, we must be excellent followers."
"Are you more concerned about being discovered, or being developed?"
"We cannot expect the spirit to lead us professionally if we are not yielded to Him privately."
"In order to attain God-sized vision, it takes God-sized risk."
Insight from Jim Collins on Good to Great:
"Good is the reason so many things don't become great."
"The presence of a to-do list without a stop-doing list is a lack of discipline."
"Greatness is not a function of circumstance."
Inspiration from Craig Groeschel:
"There is more in you."
"It's about having your heart break for the things that break the heart of God."
"If not you, then who? If not now, then when?"
"To reach people no one else is reaching, we must do things no one else is doing."
"To stretch you, God has to heal you, and to heal you, God has to ruin you."
Points from Dave Ramsey on Unity:
"By definition, gossip is when a negative is discussed with anyone who can't help solve the problem."
"If we're going to be Christians, we'd better have an excellence that is stunning."
Wisdom from Andy Stanley on Leadership:
"Pay attention to the people who are breaking the rules."
"No pain, no change."
"Success breeds complacency, and complacency breeds failure."
"Become preoccupied with those you haven't reached as opposed to those you are trying to keep."
But perhaps the moment that grabbed my heart the most was when I witnessed the Daraja African children's choir come in and lead us in worship. I watched these children, who came from absolute poverty, come running in with the biggest smiles on their faces, singing and dancing their hearts out for Jesus...quoting His scripture in a language other than their native tongue.
And then I thought about my own life. I have never known what it is like to not have a roof over my head, clothes on my back and shoes on my feet, a comfortable bed to sleep in, or any kind of food I could ever want. I drive a nice car to my amazing job where I make more money than some of them will ever see in their lifetime. I get to serve God and His people for a living. I have more friends and family than I know what to do with.
And sometimes I feel so "weary" that I have to find the energy to worship the God who gave it all to me?
Father, stretch me.