Thursday, May 26, 2011

Am I Simon the Sorcerer?

I recently went to Catalyst, a conference for Christian leaders. I enjoy these types of conferences because they can energize you and give you some new ideas. This one was no different. The theme was "Take Courage" and I am at a place in my life and ministry where I need to hear that message. I was in need of some energy and fresh life in my soul. It provided that.

Today, in reading in Acts 8, I came across the story of Simon the Sorcerer. He practiced sorcery and boasted that he was someone great. When Philip came to town, Simon was amazed at the miracles he was performing. Then when Peter and John came to town and prayed and laid hands on the people so the Spirit would come on the people of Samaria, Simon tried to buy the gift. Peter answered: "May your money perish with you, because you thought you could buy the gift of God with money! You have no part or share in this ministry, because your heart is not right before God."

There was the "Ouch!" in my soul.

I just spent $500 out of pocket to go to a conference hoping that in some way it would help bring about the work of the Spirit to the Body here at WestWay. I hoped that in some way the miraculous work of leadership displayed by Andy Stanley, Mark Batterson, David Platt, etc., could be passed on to me and I would be able to do these amazing things.

I feel like I spent $500 and 5 days seeking the wrong things. Mind you, this is just me talking. I'm sure many leaders attended and do attend with right hearts that are fully set on Christ and relying on His power. I could have stayed home, completely immersed myself with the Word and prayer and then maybe come away with what God wants for this ministry here and how He plans to accomplish it.

There is a lot of talk here on the leadership team about working according to the Spirit. What is of God and what is of me? To tell you the truth, it's really hard for me to differentiate. It's a hard area for me to figure out. I have a good handle of what is of God from a Scriptural point of view, but to be led by His Spirit, it's hard for me to grasp, or feel, or know the specifics of that. On the other side of that, obviously there has to be some sort of effort on our part as far as ministry and Kingdom work go.

All this to say...make sure your heart is right before God. One of the encouragements we received from the conference was from Mark Batterson. He said this, "Don't worry about working for the miracles. All you can control is whether you are living a life consecrated to Jesus Christ."

That'll be $500 please. :D

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Catalyst Labs- May 11

I'm in Dallas, TX this week for a leadership conference called Catalyst. This is my second time in Texas that I can remember. I am here with three friends; Mike Andrews, Jon Arnold, and Ted Grant.

We had the pre-conference labs today and already there are lots of ideas flowing and swirling around in my mind. One of the issues I always have with these conferences is how do I take what I'm hearing and apply it to real life, life in western Nebraska with the Church Body at WestWay? I don't have all the right answers for that at this point, but at least I'm thinking right?

Our friend Rodd Hall has informed me that I'm not tweeting my conference finds enough today, so I write this blog to make up for that. Here are some of the things I heard today.
  1. Let scripture, not culture, dictate your relationships.
  2. Don't build a city in your city. Engage it!
  3. Push back the darkness where your life exists. (in connection with rehabilitating your city)
  4. Transformational leadership always requires significantly more than you have because God wants to restore His wonder in you.
  5. Every opportunity that you face has an expiration date...and often missing out will cost you more than messing up.
  6. What if the church set an expiration date for itself? Self-preservation would not be an issue. We would be free to set out and do what we set out to do.
  7. Transformational leadership requires God-sized obedience, not me-sized solutions.
  8. A leader's job is to reveal possibility. Other people are always defining reality.
  9. Transformational leadership does not rely on answers, but on God's promises.
  10. Does your vision add up? If it does, it is too small.
  11. Don't let budget determine your vision.
  12. If you want God to come out of nowhere and do the miraculous, consecrate yourself and continually submit yourself to seeking and being obedient.
  13. Don't worry about working for the miracles. All you can control is whether you are living a life consecrated to Jesus.
There are some of the thought morsels and nuggets I took away from the pre-conference labs. I'm excited to see how God will work through some of these things.