Maybe it’s just me, but today at The Gathering was the best weekend we’ve ever had. People were coming with such joy and freedom, with great anticipation. It makes it so much easier as a speaker, to get the point across when people are leaning forward. It seems as though people are coming, already hungry, engaged, and ready to listen and to respond.
This weekend I talked about probably my favorite chapter in the book, A Renegade’s Guide to God. I did a talk called “Growing Up Into Greatness”. Listen to it below;
One of the premises of this talk is this: You cannot over time behave in a way that is different than how you truly see yourself. We really do allow our inner programming to dictate how we behave.
If our behavior is to change over time, our thinking has to change over time. And if our thinking is to change over time, we have to change the way we think about ourselves. We change the way we think about ourselves when we change the way we think about God. As a matter of fact, I’ve come to believe, tell me what you think about God and I’ll tell you what you think about yourself. If you think God is distant and removed, it’s exactly how you’ll feel about your own identity.
The thing that really strikes me about The Gathering is the organic nature of what goes on. You see people going up to people, embracing and hugging. I talked to people this morning who had just gotten a speeding ticket on the way to The Gathering, but were filled with joy. I talked to one guy who had just gotten out of jail and came to The Gathering still filled with joy in the midst of the great pain. I talked with some who had just lost their parents this week to cancer, a person who had just lost their job. And yet there is this hopefulness, there is this sense of God is at work.
Maybe for the first time in my life I have fully embraced the privilege of being called a pastor. I think I have been way too afraid of all the stereotypes and the negative things that are said about pastors, and have failed to embrace all the fullness and joy.
What a privilege it is to be a pastor! What joy it is to stand before people to give the word of life, to set them free, to lift them up to Christ, to tell them with great confidence and certainty they were created in the image of God, by God with great design. That design extends not only to their particular talents and gifts, but it extends to where they are, to this moment in time that they have been inserted on the stage of life’s great redemptive drama; that each one of us is important, that everything is worship, and everywhere is sacred. What a great privilege to be able to gather to worship God, to learn how to go worship God everywhere else.
This week, there will be hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of people from The Gathering out being the church of Jesus Christ in their work-a-day world; loving, living, displaying their confidence, letting the fuel of God’s love be their greatness, letting the foundation of who they are in Christ be their greatness, letting the face of their greatness be the face of a servant, and the attitude of their greatness be the attitude of humility that’s fueled by the attitude of gladness.
The Gathering is growing. Why? Because we believe in the J-life. We believe in loving people. We believe that God wants the best for us and we are committed to encourage people every single week when they come.
I can’t wait until next week as we gather on Mother’s Day. Every mother is going to receive a special gift and God has given me, I think, a really special message. It’s going to be really powerful.
What was today at The Gathering like? Sunshine inside and out, great joy, hallways filled with happy people – people hugging each other and loving each other, people coming up to me and saying, “That’s exactly what I needed to hear, that’s exactly the time I needed to hear it.” That’s just like God. That’s one of the reasons why we gather.