Today I finished up my time at the 95 conference with another four plus hours of teaching. There has been a lot to learn, and I am mentally wearing down. It was another good day full of insightful lessons. Here are a few of the biggest ones.
1. The Church is a Force for Good. Where else in the world are 150 or so leaders coming together to discuss the best practices to grow individuals and serve their community? This conference attracted preachers, staff, elders, and volunteers of all types. One panel discussion included the superintendent of Peoria schools who offered advice on how Churches can help the schools in their community. Churches and the Christians that compose them are a force for God wherever they are found and no matter what the attendance.
2. “We Battle Not Against Flesh and Blood.” If we step out in faith for Jesus and begin to have an impact on people’s lives, then expect attacks of the evil one. Do not expect to do God’s work without opposition.
3. The Jeremiah Instruction. Jeremiah 29:7 “Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper” (NIV). The people of God were going into exile in Babylon, and they would remain there for 70 years. While there, God instructs them to seek the good of where God has placed them until they return home. If Christians believe we are living as foreigners in a strange land until God calls us home, should we not do the same?
4. Never Stop Learning. The man who delivered a wonderfully powerful message in our second session attended a workshop with me later in the day. Here I watched a man who was a Pastor in a thriving Church and clearly had an enormous amount of Bible knowledge take out a notebook and start writing. He asked questions and sought to learn from the speaker. It reminded me that no matter how much you think you know, there is always more to learn.
5. Transformation. God does not give us tools to transform us into the “me we want to be.” He gives us instructions on how to connect with him. God may have different plans for us than we have for ourselves. His plans might lead us through dark valleys and beside quiet waters. Be sure we are not trying to use Jesus to accomplish our goals for ourselves.
It was another good day full of learning, and I am thankful to God for the wisdom of his people. There is so much to learn if we will seek it and listen carefully. May God bless you as he has blessed me as you strive to grow in him.