This has been a great trip so far. We have heard from Neil Cole, Reggie McNeal, and Ali Eastburn in the Main Sessions. There have been three workshop segment so far, and Kacey and I have heard Deb Hirsch, Tony & Felicity Dale, and Eric & Kim Lee. (I will add links for all of these later.) We have had some great meals, enjoyed reaquainting with old friends, and engaged some new friends for the journey. It seems as though our experience out here every year becomes richer, deeper, and more meaningful.
Ah-h-h!! 🙂 That sounds so gushy and sentimental, but it is very true. I can also say that Jesus has been lifted up here this week. That is what I love the most about the people of CMA. It isn’t about them. It’s not about what they have done to build this or that, or what they have accomplished for Jesus. It is all about Jesus doing something among them that they can neither fully explain, or take any glory from. They just get to share their stories. Not only that everyone else is encouraged and made to feel free to share their Jesus stories. There is freedom. I haven’t noticed anyone trying to “one-up” the other guy or gal. There is personal humility yet powerful praise for the King. I love this!!
So, I want to take a quick moment to share some thoughts that Father is speaking to me through the stories shared.
- We must eradicate any vestige of separation between the secular and sacred. I will probably spend more time on the implications of this concept, but suffice it to say that this mentality safely secures the “Christian” environment away from interacting with the world at large. It has created what some refer to as the “Christian Bubble”. It isolates Jesus followers into “Holy Huddles” and effectively cuts off mission to a lost and dying world. This attitude shaped Christian community far and wide, whether house churches or institutional churches.
- We must live intentionally in all that we do. We must stop separating our work sphere, our play sphere, our religious sphere, our household sphere, and so on. All of life comes under the Kingdom of Christ and all that we do is for Him and through Him. Preaching a sermon to a congregation is no more holy than taking the trash out at your office. Serving as a teacher or volunteer in your church is no more righteous than inviting your neighbors over to eat dinner with your family because you want to be neighborly.
- We must constantly think of ways to engage our sphere of influence for the Kingdom of Jesus. We don’t need to manufacture false community, Christian activities, or church events. Normally those only serve Christians, even when they are meant and intended to serve the lost. People outside of the church don’t want sympathy and pithy attempts to reel them into our stuff. They want to know us. They want to see us in real life. They need to see that we are real people who care about our world, because whether they are Buddhist, Jewish, Hindu, or nominally “Christian” by name only, they want a better life their children.
- We must begin to see consumerism as a god. We must begin to take a serious look at our stuff, our money, our life-style, and our habits to access where our hearts truly are. This is no game. It can no longer be ignored by Christians. Our pursuits of status, wealth, accumulation of stuff, and wasteful spending are unsavory to a holy and jealous God. Father does not like being ignored as we are enamored with our stuff. He doesn’t like to see His creation dying as we live “higher”. This sticks me hard.
I’ll have more…