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


  1. Good post. I also find it tough sometimes to distinguish the voice of God from the voice of Michele. If I can hold it up to scripture and the truth is plain, then I consider it the voice of God or God-through-Michele. When there is the inkling of self-gain, I dismiss the though as 'all-me'. I don't see you as trying to 'buy leadership skills' by going to Catalyst. On the flip side, if you are unable to apply anything you learned, or did not grow closer to Him from it, then, yes, it is no better than burying your talent in the ground. (I suspect you are doing more with it than burying it in the ground.)

  2. Your honesty is refreshing... Who doesn't have trouble distinguishing the leading of the Spirit vs. our own desire sometimes? I read a very short book called Just Do Something that was very freeing. It's the idea that if we know our Scriptures, Love God, & Love Others, we can feel free to pretty much do whatever we want (because "whatever we want" will be inline with Scripture & will glorify God)... Sometimes I think we over-think it and agonize over everything, when in reality, we're not gonna mess up God's master plan!