Perhaps you have heard @Mark Batterson say it before, sick but he would rather have “One God idea than 1, purchase 000 good ideas.” Yesterday at the CatalystNext conference in Washington DC forward thinking leaders from the region gathered to hear challenging words that just may inspire a God idea.
@Mark Batterson later would go on to say that, “We live in a [Christian] subculture that is subpar” calling the Church to rise above mediocrity, but we cannot do it on our own strength. We need God. In order to make room for God we need to deny ourselves. @Jo Saxton reminded us that to “Deny ourselves means to say NO to self.” “We can be greatly skilled, but we rise and fall on our character.” We need to give our naked ambition and naked appetites an honest look and give parts of our lives at the naked execution [of the Cross].
I could go on and give quotes and sound bites from some of the other great communicators like @Gabe Lyons, @Trip Lee, Dr. Raj Shah, and @Jon Tyson (just to name a few), but so many of us have been “here” before. The hours after, day after, weeks after a conference or a retreat. We have been moved, stirred, and are once again ready to change the world for God, but then the flight home or the backed up inbox grabs out attention just as quickly as hashtags stop trending. I wrote about the phenomena in my book “A Marriage between Perception and Reality”:
“There is a good reason so many quality books, conferences, retreats, and, yes, even sermons fall short of transforming your marriage from what it is to what you desire it to be. They can fail to bring about the needed change because you have been stuck with the same incomplete perspectives and false perceptions that were problematic to begin with. If you believe the world is flat, then you will dismiss or fail to understand any teachings on GPS navigation, satellite TV, and the moon orbiting the earth as the earth orbits the sun because they all require a round earth. The fact that you may believe the earth is flat, and it may even appear flat for your point of view, prevents you from accepting or grasping truths that are built upon the premise that the earth is not flat. Your belief that the world is flat does not change the truth about satellites being able to orbit the earth—helping us navigate the city streets, tune in and watch a live sports broadcast, or predict the cycles of the moon or seasons—but your belief that the world is flat prevents you from believing that any of these scientific advancements were possible.”
Whether it be in marriage or in ministry, to truly take that next step forward towards doing something different (or being something different) requires us to not just be challenged, or convicted, but to truly be changed. If we keep looking at the world, our lives, our ministries, or our marriages with the same inaccurate or incomplete perspectives, then our false perceptions of the problems will remain part of the problem. One God idea, or Damascus Road encounter with Christ, has the power to do what 1,000 good idea or 1,000 great conferences cannot do: CHANGE. And while I do enjoy conferences, I realize that true meaningful change is only possible by the grace of God when I come to the Cross.