We've had a very full day, and there's nothing like a greek chick to come on at 5 to keep your mind off of dinner.
When I was here last time 2 years ago, we gave out about 10k keys, and it was one of the first times I had spoken about the A21 Campaign. We had one office in Greece then, we have 7 in different countries now, dozens of traffickers in jail, hundreds of girls rescued.
In July this year, like most people, I was glued to the TV watching the Olympics. And now my husband and I are actual resident aliens of the US. And so now I was watching this and realized most of the events I was watching Americans were competing in and Americans were winning.
I had to the opportunity to be in Sydney in 2000, and I was watching the 4x100 women's swimming relay, and the US should have won. They had the best team, but there was very sloppy baton passage. ANd then in Athens in 2004, it was the same thing in the women's 4x100 running relay. In 2008 there was a dropped baton in the 4x100 running relay. In 2012, we won gold, and I wrote to the Olympic relay and asked if we could have permission to show this footage.
You see the frustration of a baton exchange that didn't happen like it should have. What should have been a seamless exchange, all of those years of training of diet of discipline, it all came down to 1.9 seconds in the exchange circle. It didn't matter how fast any individual runner was running. That 1.9 seconds in a 20 meter exchange zone determines everything. It doesn't matter how fast any individual runs.
We are all a part of the Church of Jesus Christ in the year 2012. I watched the debate last night. This is one of the most pivotal moments. We are a generation of leaders alive in an exchange zone in the church. We have to decide if we're going to hand the baton off too late and be disqualified, if we're going to drop the baton, or if we're going to have a seamless exchange.
When we're talking about making, who's going to make the biggest church, the biggest ministry, it's all about understanding that it's all about handing the baton. We are part of history receiving the baton and handing it off. THat's what God has called us to do. It doesn't matter who's the biggest.
Hebrews 12: Therefor since wer are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangled.
We're surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses. This chapter goes on to talk about the great witnesses of the faith. We are just a part of it. Ultimately the goal of everything we are being mad into is that we are being transformed into the image of Jesus Christ.
I'm going to show you another text from the OT where the baton exchange did not happen well.
I wonder whether Joshua ultimately succeeded. Is this about the baton of faith going forward or is this about me and my ministry, me and my faith going forward. To me, Judges 2 is the saddest passage of Scripture.
The people served the Lord throughout the lifetime of Joshua and of the elders who outlived him… After that whole generation died, another generation grew up who neither knew the lord nor what he had done for Israel.
He led a whole generation into the promised land, but what happened in the exchange zone. It doesn't matter how big what we build is if we don't hand it to the next generation. We don't have to stop it and start it all over again. We don't have to be lazy and sloppy in the exchange zone, we can actually do this in our generation. We can actually make the transition from one generation to the next without dropping the baton.
Remember that there is a great cloud of witnesses, that there are others who have come before us. If you don't know how to honor others who came before you, you will forget there are others to come after you. We need to make sure we are honoring the men and women of God.
To those of you in the little country town and not in the glossy pages of a Christian magazine or up on a platform, let me tell you you are on God's platform. You hold onto the baton every time you stick with that marriage a little bit longer, honor your senior leadership, work with those kids in that little country town, you hold onto the baton.
When you realize it's not about you, you submit yourself to the process so that God can make you the person you need to be.
You will reproduce what you are, not what you say. Far more is caught than taught.
My birth certificate says, "Unnamed." My social work report says, "Unwanted." I was sexually assaulted for four men several times a week for most weeks for twelve years of my life.
If I didn't deal with that, all I would have done is carry all of that into my leadership, and the last thing the Body of Christ needs is another wounded healer. When we carry our insecurities into our leadership, we are dropping the baton of faith. We transfer it from one generation of the leadership.
Let me tell you what the weight of this generation is:
I deserve something
I won't do anything unless I'm paid for it.
I'm not going to do anything unless there's a position and a title with it.
We pick and choose what batons we want.
When I was growing up, there was no popular Christian culture.
Nothing will kill you faster than a spotlight. God makes you who you need to be in places of anonymity and obscurity. THe greatest ministries on earth are made in anonymity and security, but we want to bypass that process.
Our tribalism will kill us. The most important thing is the baton of faith, the love that we have for one another. People don't care about our opinions. They want to know about the love, justice and mercy of God.
We only care about one thing, the name of Jesus Christ.
I'm going to carry the baton in my generation. It's time to lay aside the weights and the sins personally, denominationally, culturally.
Let us lay aside the weight and the sin that so easily ensnares us, and let us run with perseverance.
Your talent will open the door but only your character will keep you in the room.
I utilize technology, but it does not control me or govern my sense of significance or value.
Let me put you all out of your misery right now. THere is only one love language. It's called die. Die to self. That is the only love language.
What's missing in the church are the words of Jesus in the garden saying, "No, I don't want to do this but nevertheless." When was the last time you got on your knees and said but nevertheless.
Do you remember when it was an honor to hold the baton of faith. Do you remember when it was like, Jesus it is an honor to carry the baton, but when you run into an exchange zone, I'm running full speed. The person I'm passing the baton to, there is a moment in that 1.9 seconds they have to be running full speed without the baton.
If you put yourself somewhere you have to keep yourself there. If God puts you somewhere, it's his job.
I can't put the baton into the hand of someone who isn't running. Some of you young men, your pastors are ready to give you so much more, but you're not ready yet. You just want the glory of leg 4 without running legs 1, 2, and 3.
We're obsessed with talent. Talent isn't enough. The devil is too strong and the world too hard, not stronger than Jesus, but too strong for a talented, gifted, unanointed leader.
Samuel went to anoint the next king of Israel and said, surely, it must be the oldest. But God said, "no, it's not him. I don't care how talented he is." Have you got anyone else? "Yeah, there's this guy in the back water town looking after 20 kids with no one noticing." And God said, "I've been making him in the backside of the desert."
When God marks you, it's better than when men market you.
And he says finally, fixing our eyes on Jesus.
Here's the advice for this generation, for a generation obsessed with comparison and social media, it's not about you. It's about the baton of faith. Some of us seriously need to get off of the Facebook and get our faces in the book. We are more worried about how many people are following us on Twitter than are following Jesus.