This past weekend, I had the opportunity to attend the IF:Gathering as part of an IF:Local. The conference was awesome. I was able to soak in the teaching of speakers like Jo Saxton, Angie Smith, Jennie Allen, Bianca Olthoff, & Lauren Chandler.
If you have ever been to a conference or even just an awesome church service, you know you leave with a fire burning deep inside. But what do we do with that fire? Often times, we let it fizzle out instead of digging in deep to what the Spirit is speaking to us. We may miss a prompting because we are unsure of what to listen for. I know I have felt like it would be this overwhelming urge or a booming voice, & sometimes it is, but most often God whispers in the quiet & it is our responsibility to listen for Him.
One thing that really stuck out to me through speakers this weekend & even from our IF:Local leader was a charge to not be stagnate. A charge to fuel the fire from the conference & go out of that place & do the work of God. Jesus also gives us this command in Matthew 28:20- “Go & make disciples of all nations.” That is our charge. It is a charge to not be taken lightly. One of the final speakers, David Platt, said “you don’t have to start a new organization, or write a book, or start a blog. Just make disciples” [sidebar: I laughed when he said this because I am currently doing all three] But he is right. To do something for the family of Christ doesn’t mean you have to move mountains & speak from stages. It could be as simple as sharing your experience with someone, serving at your church, or actively spreading the news of Christ. You don’t have to be on a platform to be an influencer. You are an influencer in your life…you can go & make disciples starting with the people who live in your home. So, I encourage you not to be afraid of that command or as it is called “The Great Commission”. Jesus didn’t make His disciples from a stage, he discipled those 12 who walked with him daily.
After this weekend, I didn’t have any out loud, booming moments that set me ablaze, but it did start me thinking about how fires are built to burn. The out-of-nowhere, biggest fires are fueled by something that only burns for a moment & once that fuel is gone the fire dies, but a fire that is build slowly & properly & stacked just right will create a bed of embers that will smolder hot for days & days. That is what we should be creating. We should be creating a faith & knowledge foundation that burns hot long after the flames of conferences or church disappears.
After I returned home & started to move about non-conferenece life, I took some time & turned to God & asked Him to speak to me for my next step; to not let the weekend come & go & just be a “neat event to attend”, but to let it to be a oppurtunity to go in the direction I needed & to see things in a way I may not have before. For me, that means continuing to write & blog & lead; but it also means to speak. To not be afraid to open my mouth & not be afraid of who & how God has made me. Specifically, I felt God nudging my heart to dig deep into the life of Christ & study him & his example & what we are commanded to do & to be on this side his birth & the cross. That means laying aside my Isaiah study for now & focusing more on the New Testament. I have spent a lot of time the last year in the Old Testament & I have gained a lot of knowledge about it & a love & understanding of it like I didn’t have a few years ago. But for where I am in my ministry & where I am going in my calling, I felt like God was whispering to my heart “Study Christ. You need to know who I sent. Get to know him & his character & his charge more intimately”.
Another area I have felt that still small & quiet voice was praying with righteous anger for injustice that is going on in our modern-day culture, specifically human trafficking & slavery. I have closed my eyes & shielded my heart to things like this, not because I didn’t want to believe it is going on, but because I didn’t know if my heart can handle it. But, how can I pray on my knees with all my soul & have honest, righteous anger if I don’t allow myself to know the horror that is going on? I know I need to allow God to work on my heart & show me what I can’t handle so I will turn to Him & pray gut-wrenching prayer on behalf of those actually living this horror & those with their own feet on the ground, rescuing woman, men & children from this awful reality.
So as to not let IF be a fun weekend with great speakers….Go!