Leadership Summit 2009

It has been quite a two day conference. Wasn't sure I was going to like it, as it seemed like the grown up version of Catalyst, and maybe it was, but we made the fun and they stuffed our brains.

The speakers were amazing. The host Bill Hybels, Tim Keller, Harvey Carey, Dave Gibbons, and David Gergen were my favorites tho I also learned from others. I do not believe I can do the scope of what I learned justice in this post today, but I wanted to write a little something. Start to process.

I suppose I go to these conferences not just looking for ideas but for answers. I am not even in a leadership position. A conference attendee asked about my position, and I snickered quietly and offered, "Resident heretic?" But even I wonder where I belong. As any reader knows, I wonder what God has in store for me, what He is calling me to, but no real answers appear.

In fact, mostly I heard a lot of double messages:

Lead out of passion, no lead out of obedience
Organization versus organism
Lead the team, no, decentralize
Public leading and private fallings
Aid versus trade
But there were a few clear directions:

The Power of the Holy Spirit to affect change is beyond our power to do anything. Question is, do we as the church really believe in His Power? Really? Then why do we behave so impotently? Why do we search out our own resources before acting rather than believing that "if God brings us to it, He will bring us through it?"

Another direction-doing nothing is no longer an option, Do Something. Can I end extreme poverty? No. But I can start a food drive to stock a pantry. Can I end AIDs? Nope. But I can raise awareness of the plight of 3rd world victims of AIDs and even help people find ways to give. I can volunteer in a more local setting. These are huge issues, but only a few of the multitude of ways my neighbors suffer.
What about something more local? Poverty in the inner city? Teen pregnancy? Those in jail?

I am not suggesting we give a handout, but what if we meet our neighbors? What if we learn about them? Learn to value them? Allow them to learn to value me by being willing to be vulnerable and transparent with them, not come across like I have all the answers? I have as many questions, if not more, than most. I have my own wounds. But I have a hope. He is who fuels it all.

And this is where it all came back to for me...what the directions pointed to...the Gospel. Tim Keller so wonderfully spoke about the Prodigal God. Lest you think God wandered, the true meaning of "prodigal" is recklessly extravagant. Isn't that beautiful? God has been recklessly extravagant in my life.

We repent more easily of our "younger brother" sinfulness than we do our "elder brother" righteousness. Both wanted only their Father's, our Father's, gifts and stuff, but neither wanted Father. The younger brother returned after his folly, but the elder brother could not return from his anger that he was owed for his good works.

It's a heart condition.

None of us are righteous. We are all, the best among us and the most vile, saved thru the recklessly extravagant grace of the Father. When we remember that, we are all the same. Only God is right and good and holy. We forget that at times when we begin to lose the stink of our sins. We feel good and look better and sit up a little straighter. But we can sit up so straight that our nose is pointed to the sky. We choose not to get dirty, but our Elder Brother paid a high price.

We need to get dirty. We need to smell our stink. We need to wrap our arms around the grieving and kiss the festering wounds of those despairing. We weren't saved to sit in church and look pretty. We were saved to participate with our Father and Brother in the plans to save others.

So, did I find answers? I don't know. I itch for a clear cut, "GO THERE" neon finger pointing out of the sky. But as I absorbed the challenges thrown down at this conference, and contemplated what I could do, what I should do, I glanced at the cover of the program...


Ok, so maybe not neon, and not in the sky, but it still seems pretty clear to me.


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