I love big cities! There is something about the hustle and bustle of city life that energizes me. I attended a conference for Pastors in Chicago this past week, and if I am honest, I was more excited about being in Chicago than I was about attending the conference.
But God met me on His terms and not on mine. He proved to me that He is not limited by my willingness to learn in order to change my heart. The theme of the conference was ReFocus, and that sums up what God did for me. The key note speaker, Alistair Begg, brought three amazing messages reminding us as Pastors that we cannot do it! That isn’t a typo. He emphasized that everyone around us will think they are doing us a service by reminding us that we CAN do it, but all that this simple “encouragement” does is puff us up with an unwarranted pride.
If we are honest, much of our lives and minsitries are down by 3 touchdowns with 8 seconds left on the clock. And the cheerleaders, keep cheering, and the game is all but lost. The giant was so BIG and David was so SMALL! The Israelites were surrounded by a larger army that was better provisioned. The world surrounding the church has the appeal and allure of sin on its side! How does the long-term view of heaven compare with the instant gratification of sensuality and lust to the average American?
And so the reminder to me was that I CANNOT DO IT! And that is exactly what I needed to refocus and get my head back on straight. I will refuse to listen to the lies of well meaning cheerleaders who think they are encouraging with words of affirmation. Instead I will heed the Word of Truth that reveals to me the God who wins IN and THROUGH our weakness. I cannot do it . . . but I serve a God who can do all things! And He has done it through His Son, Jesus Christ, the Lord!