If you're paying attention, you may've noticed that Catalyst Day 1 was published the night of Catalyst Day 1 - makes sense, doesn't it? Catalyst Day 2 didn't follow the same routine, and you're soon to find out why.
Leaving Catalyst, I had heard from a lot of guys that are definitely anointed for God's work. In fact, the guys (Daren, Josh, and Tom) and I came to the conclusion (If there's a conclusion, there must have been an initial question, and for your sake, I'll fill you in. We all asked the question, "Why is Andy Stanley, Erwin McManus, Craig Groeschel, etc. on the stage, and I'm in my seat?") that God is doing the work in all of His children, and that work is not rated on earthly scales or given different grades of eternal greatness. Rather, it is God using His children for His purpose and glory, in every setting across the planet, and that no purpose is greater than any other.
...but that was just the start.
In fact, it was a small piece of a few dozen lessons I learned over the past few days. So, for all of our sanity, I'll try to keep it brief and organized.
1. I'm way too consumed with myself.
When given an opportunity to be a part of giving a Nigerian child a pair of shoes, I was confronted with the choice of paying $38 to do so (If you're wondering why they cost so much, check out tomsshoes.com - you can buy a pair a shoes, and for every pair sold, they give a child one, and you're testifying to that as you wear them - pretty cool, eh?). So as I was looking at different sizes and styles, I asked one of the associates, "how much do they cost?" to which he replied, "$38 here, $40 on the site, BUT you give a kid a pair of shoes for free...can't beat that can ya?"
I laughed to myself, thinking, I just sat in the session where they described the business plan - you don't need to sell me...I'm obviously interested.
However, when I heard $38, I honestly thought to myself, "Do I really want to spend $38?"
It hit me (forgive my cliche, but it's necessary, and an understatement) like a ton of bricks. I was not quite willing to spend that money for a child, A CHILD to have a pair of shoes. What would that money be spent on? The new Steve Fee CD I've been eyeing? A dinner at Applebee's when I could really just eat at home for free? WHAT?
WHAT IS MORE WORTH IT THAN GIVING A DISEASED, HURTING, BROKEN CHILD A PAIR OF SHOES?!
I've been changed, and I'm thankful. I'm committing my life to helping the broken.
James 1:27 - Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.
2. I'm a copycat.
I love to listen to what the other guys (the aforementioned guys that have the privilege of teaching us from the Catalyst stage, as well as other platforms), and plug it in to what I'm doing. Apparently, God didn't create me to do that...in fact, I'm sort of the only one of me around, and I have an individual purpose for my life that's different than anyone else...in history.
I realized this in a real way when Francis Chan got up to speak (please check him out sometime and listen to what he has to say - I'd sit under his teaching any day). He told us that he was laying in bed one night when it hit him - "if Jesus had a church in Simi Valley, Francis's church would be bigger. In fact, people would leave Jesus's church to go to Cornerstone, because they don't call for as great a commitment." He turned to his wife, horrified, and realized that he'd cultivated a lukewarm community.
In an effort to change this, and make his life count, he decided that he wouldn't build a new building (something they'd been contemplating in months prior). Actually, he would just plot a bunch of grass where they could meet.
Stay with me...I know...it's crazy :).
He talked about those going to Lambeau Field to watch the Green Bay Packers through the Winter, where they brave the weather for 4 hours because they believe in this team. What would it hurt to brave the "dangerous" weather of Southern California? And if we follow through with this plan, think how much money we could use to reach this community!
wow - I love it. Why is it that we suddenly embrace "truths" such as necessity for a big, nice building?
(I have to take a moment to apologize. I told you I'd try to make this short and organized, and I'm not sure it's either, but hey...I'm on a roll :)).
3. God is the one changing your flock - not you!
Craig Groeschel, the pastor of Life Church, made a statement that sent a chill down my bones. "If you don't think God is blessing your ministry as you think He should, your immediate reaction may be to think that God has let you down, or that you suck. However, if you look at it this way, you'll just as easily take credit for the increase."
I guess I know (head-know) that God is the one doing the work, but most times, I feel like if I boost my strengths, things will get better (more increase), when in reality, my strengths don't have much to do with it. I'm not saying that my work doesn't matter. I'm saying that when I devote my life to student ministry, God will use my work for His purpose. In no way is my work making God's power greater.
That's not even close to all that God hit me with, but I can say this, I'll never be the same.
May you meet Jesus in such a way that He changes your direction forever.