Francis Chan – Catalyst 2012

Do you guys realize what just happened there?

You guys, we can't just do things like that. We can't say Gungor, awesome. Isn't Jesus great? Yeah!

Jesus is just in such a different category. I don't want my name in the same sentence as Jesus. I get caught up in this is awesome, that is awesome, oh yeah, Jesus is awesome.

I'm here, you're here, the musicians are up here all because of one being. We say that name Jesus all the time, but we can't let that name be common.

I want us to just stop right now and think about who He is who created us all and died for us all. I want to do something very sacred and just talk to him right now.

I just want to pray, to have still, quiet time.

I was looking at my notes from last year because that would be embarrassing if I gave the same talk again. Last year I told you the Trader Joe's story about how their refrigerators broke down right after we announced we had no meat for our outreach to serve thousands of meals.

So this year we're doing the same conference again, and the kitchen manager says to me we only have enough meat for one day. Half an hour after the staff meeting we get a call from Trader Joe's. They had a power outage.

We're like no way. It's just so nice to know he's with us, and he's leading us.

This last year there's just been miracle after miracle. I've never had a year where I've had so many miracles. I met with some guys just to type them out. We had the greatest time of celebration for hours. These crazy, crazy stories.

The thing is, even with all of the things that happened and all of these people we've been reaching out to. My ministry is in inner city San Francisco. On Sundays we sing for 10 minutes. I speak for 10 minutes, and then we go out for two hours to these apartment buildings and do outreach. And then we get back together after two hours and talk about what happened.

A couple of weeks ago my daughter called me. She's freaking out. She asked this guy to read his Bible when she visited him. She asked him to read Ephesians 1 and 2. And she goes back the next week and asks if he read it. He said this morning, I get this weird text message, and I pushed this button and the phone starts reading Ephesians 1 and 2.

These things just keep happening over and over and over.

But this thing is driving me crazy. The people still don't repent. It's just unbelievable. I wish I could say there's hundreds of people showing up who have turned from their addictions and we're going to baptize them right now. It's like two.

It's frustrating. It got me thinking about thinks. I'm seeing God work. God revealed to me at one point that I was worshipping revival more than I was worshipping Jesus.

The Bible doesn't promise revival. In 1 Timothy 4, he promises the opposite. He says people will be lovers of themselves and not teach sound doctrine.

He says go and make disciples. He doesn't say there will be revival. He says he will be with you.

There's this thrill of knowing we are walking with Jesus.

There's probably plenty of you in here that have had a discouraging year. As much as I've seen God do, it's been a discouraging year. I'm exhausted. But it's not about that.

Are you walking closely with Jesus? Are you living by faith?

I think at the end when you see Jesus, I think you're going to be surprised. I think who God looks at and says, "Well done," will surprise you. "Man, you made those 8 disciples." And you're like, man, that's all I did. We're a church of 9. And he's going to say, "Well done. You followed my model."

You see it happening out there. More and more people are saying, man, I need to make disciples.

I got so excited about making disciples and started writing down all of these reasons to make disciples. But then I started thinking and I thought, "We probably don't want everyone in this room making disciples." Because some of you don't really act like Jesus. People don't look at your life and say you're just like Jesus or you remind me of Jesus, so why would we want more of you? What we want is Jesus right? What the world needs is Jesus. What we need is more of Jesus.

What Paul says in 1 Corintihans 11:1 is "Follow my example as I follow the example of Christ." But we know there are people in this room right now who are cheating on their spouses, so why would I tell you, "Go, duplicate yourselves." There are people in here who are greedy, arrogant. Man, some of you don't really love and know Jesus, so why would we multiply that? You see what I'm getting at? So we're supposed to be about Jesus, but maybe we've forgotten that it's about exalting Jesus and making our lives look more and more like him, being selfless and giving ourselves to other people, but if we're not doing that, why would you make a convert that's twice the son of hell that you are?

So look at yourself and ask yourself, "Who am I?" We need to judge ourselves. Are you becoming more and more like Christ, I hope so.

There are times I get so busy and focused on other things that I'm not looking at my life, and I'm not asking if I'm becoming more and more like Jesus. Look at my life as I learn more and more about Jesus.

Part of being like Christ is making disciples. Jesus says, "Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men." He spends his whole life making disciples, gets nailed to a cross, rises, and says go and start making disciples. So as we follow his example, we live a life of disciple making.

The church has to get back to making this the primary thing, right. If I'm going to be a pastor, then I want to act like Jesus. That's the question. Does he remind you of Jesus. That's what I'm supposed to do. When's the last time you had someone look at you and say, "Follow me ,as I follow the example of Christ."

So why be disciple makers? Well, it's commanded. I should be able to close with that.

Imagine a person rising from the dead and saying every bit of authority on heaven and earth belongs to you. And he prefaces that by saying, "Go and make disciples."

I get concerned. Again, "Be hearers of the Word, right?" No, be doers of the word, and not just hearers who deceive themselves.

We're hearing tough messages, but what are we doing? Walking away sad isn't achieving something. That's what the rich young ruler did.

I'm not trying to make anyone feel guilty. That's the last thing I want. Repent. Change.

I do it because I love the lost.

Paul says, "Be imitators of me as I am of Christ." RIght before that he says, whatever you do, eat or drink do it all to the glory of God, not to Jews or Greeks or the church of God, but I try to be all things to all people. Be imitators of me as I imitate Christ.

That's a weird thing to say. He's saying he's a people pleaser. He's trying to make everyone like him so that he might win some.

Let's admit it. I just want us to be honest. Don't you hate sharing your faith? Don't you hate it? Wouldn't you rather do just about anything than go up to a stranger and share your faith.

It doesn't make sense because based on what I know in Scripture this guy is going to spend eternity in hell because I don't want to talk to him about Jesus. I used to feel this as a pastor. I'm just so scared to talk to them about JEsus because I don't want them to reject me.

This pastor is telling me about this christmas program where people are spending 20 hours a week rehearsing. And I said, wouldn't that time be better spent just getting to know their neighbors? And he said, yes, but people won't do that.

That made sense to me then. Now I realize we don't change the system because it's hard.

Scripture says "Go, make disciples."

Paul tells Timothy not to be so scared. Paul asks for prayer from the Ephesians for boldness.

We do this also so that our people will experience God. Don't you want your people to experience God? That's one thing I can guarantee. I don't know if we will get that many people, but we will experience God. That's what Jesus says, he'll be with us when we're making disciples. He sends his Spirit so that we can make disciples.

This is it. This is the huge conclusion.

We've all heard the stats, right, how many of the kids walk away from the Lord when they turn 18. No one knows what the real number is, but let's go on what seems to be the low end: 60%. 60% of kids who grow up in church will ditch it at 18. I've got 5 kids, so if I played the odds, three of them will not walk with the Lord by the time they hit college? Are we okay with at?

When my daughter wasn't following the Lord, I prayed and balled my eyes out. SO I'm looking at the church, and my five kids and I'm saying, so three of them? We've got to have the experience God. We're raising disciple makers.

My daughter is experiencing God. The excitement on her face when she comes home after going out and trying to make disciples. MY daughter sees a homeless lady and asks if she can get her a cheeseburger, goes in gets a a double double and asks if she can sit and have lunch with her. So she sits down and starts laying out the Gospel to this lady, and the lady goes, "This is so weird. Two months ago this guy came up to me and started talking to me about Jesus, and I was thinking about him as you were walking up and this guy told me about this pastor moved to San Francisco and started this ministry." And my daughter goes, "Is his name Francis Chan? That's my dad." Is there any chance onEarth?

We have got to make disciples so that our kids follower our examples. We experience the presence of God. And our kids, we don't just keep them from all of the "bad people" they experience God. My daughter is going off today. I'm not scared anymore. I see how my daughter lives. I go wow, God. You love her. She's starting to experience you.

I don't know how we're going to get back there, how we say I'm just going to worship Jesus and become like Jesus and then just start talking to these people that I'm afraid to talk to. We've gotta get the church back to this.

We've got these people still coming back week after week who should be teachers who are saying, "You didn't feed me enough." I trained my daughter so that she can get her own job, have a family, not coming back asking for allowance. We've got to be training people and equipping people and saying go, start making disciples now.

That's my prayer. SOmehow we've got to get back to that. It starts with leaders. We ourselves don't go out and share the Gospel. We've got to get back to that.

We've got to do what they did in the Bible. They prayed and the earth shook. I worship the same God. But the issue isn't the earthquake. THe issue is they were filled with the Holy Spirit. I would like us to have a prayer just for power, that we would walk out of this room more courageous.

Catalyst 2011 Highlights

In our staff meeting this week, the National Community Church team reviewed some of our personal highlights from Catalyst 2011: Be Present. There's some good stuff in here that I thought was worth sharing. Most of these are my paraphrase of someone else's paraphrase of a speaker.

  • Being present often means being broken before God with and for people.
  • Coupling “Jesus is sufficient” with fear.
  • Are you welcoming people into your church the way you would welcome them into your home?
  • Confidence in who God has created me to be and what He has created me to do.
  • It’s okay not to be typical. -Bob Goff
  • Are we really seeking God’s presence or are we seeking his hand? -Francis Chan
  • The best I’m going to be is a redeemed sinner. -Cornel West
  • Jesus’ prayers were heard because of his reverence for God. -Francis Chan
  • Katie Davis is a child herself but is a mother of fourteen. Her faith is simple yet so profound. She loves her Jesus and follows as she goes.
  • Being present means dwelling with Him. -Francis Chan
  • Opportunity is attracted to excellence. -Dave Ramsey
  • Nothing is moved unless it’s shoved. -Dave Ramsey
  • Pay attention to the people who are willing to pour out what they have. -Andy Stanley
  • The never-ending line of people in need is not a problem to solve but a tension to manage. -Andy Stanley
  • You can’t be there for everyone, but go long with the people the Lord puts on your heart.  -Andy Stanley
  • It’s almost like there’s a thin place every year at Catalyst where the Holy Spirit is present and at work.
  • Inconsistency yields mediocrity. -Jim Collins
  • Define your 20 miles. -Jim Collins
  • Don’t be alone when you’re doing anything. -Andy Stanley
  • When is the last time you’ve wept for the people in your life who are hurting?
  • Know when to stop and when to push forward. -Jim Collins
  • Even though some mercy ministries aren’t completely merciful, sometimes it’s more convenient to do them anyway. Be truly merciful even when it’s inconvenient. -Robert Lupton
  • Interruptions are divine interventions. -Priscilla Shirer
  • Call out of people what you want to see in them. Call out of your ministry what you want to see in it. -Priscilla Shirer
  • Innovation and creativity are nothing without discipline. God created the world in all of its facets over a period of time. -Jim Collins
  • We have the fullness of God’s glory revealed to us through Christ, and we still don’t think it’s enough.  Moses did so much, and he only got to see the backside of God. -Judah Smith
  • If brokenness and humility don’t have a place in our worship, God won’t have a place in our worship. -David Platt

Thanks to Mike, Steph, Chris, Juliet, Jennifer, Sarah, Matt, Andy, Heather, Christina, Jeremy, Joel, Dave, Maegan, Amanda, Amanda, Emily, Jason, and Kurtis for sharing their hearts and to Pastor Mark for opening up the dialogue.

Hope you found these helpful.  If you want to take a look at what the speakers said, I've got notes from the main sessions and labs.

Francis Chan at Catalyst

This is my favorite theme ever of Catalyst, thi idea of being present. It was something I was getting really bad at.

There’s nothing worse than having a conversation with someone who’s not really there. You with me?

I remember several times staff people came into my office, and I wasn’t paying attention to them.

Staff people would come into my office and come for a minute or two and say, “I’ll come back later.”

You guys know what I’m talking about.

So then, I hate to imagine what our prayer lives are like. If someone human is looking in my face and pouring their lives out to me, and I still can’t focus, then what am I doing in my prayer life.

I think I got the best topic of the conference, “Being Present Means Dwelling in Him.” The title is, “His Presence Matters.” I think that’s the understandment of the year.

The question I kept asking myself, does anything else matter? In Scripture, did anything else matter? In the OT, who won the war? Whoever God wanted. In the lions den or the firey furnace, did his presence matter?

Right now if God in Heaven decided to make his presence known, isn’t that all that would matter? He could come down. I wouldn’t have to say another thing, and I wouldn’t have to say another thing, and there would be so much fruit in your ministry. To me that’s all that matters.

Jesus says in Jon 15:5: I am the vine, you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.

If I’m connected to him and abiding in Him, there will be fruit, and if not, then this is just another message.

I gotta be honst with you, I was still wrestling with this this afternoon, because it gets tiring to ask for the presence of God and really to be present with him. It’s easier for me to just go, “I know I’ve got some notes that will work.”

Why am I afraid of just surrending to him right now. You may want me to say something that everyone will hate. It’s amazing grace that I’m just standing on this stage. I shouldn’t be in ministry with all of the failures of my life. I should be in hell right now… if you believe in that.

If it isn’t for his amazing grace, who am I to surrender myself to you. You’re God, you’re amazing.

“It is the spirit who gives life, the flesh is no help at all.” At all? Don’t we have to deliver it pretty well? Don’t we at least have to sing on pitch?

That’s why the Psalmist writes in Psalm 27: One thing that I will seek after, that I may dwell in the house of the Lord…

When I’m in God’s presence, it’s like nothing else matters. Nothing can hurt me. That’s the one thing I ask for.

If I could get a transcript of your prayers over the last month, every prayer you’ve prayed, even the ones where you’re mind wanders, what would I say is the one thing you kept praying for? Was it to dwell in the house of the Lord?

The other day I was reading 1 Samuel 30. David and his men came to Ziklag, and it had been ransacked by the Philistines. David and his men wept. Their families had been taken captive. David was distressed, for the people had spoken of stoning him. But David strengthened himself in the Lord his God. Many people say that’s when he wrote Psalm 40 and waited patiently for the Lord.

That’s it? David waited for the Lord? He strengthened himself in the Lord? Men, think about that, someone took your wife and kids? You’re ready to kill someone. They’re crying because it’s overwhelming. David’s balling, and all of the sudden all of the soldiers blame David and want to stone him.

And that’s when David strengthened himself in the Lord. Wait, just God? When I read that story I realized I’ve lost it over dumber things.

When’s the last time you went through a crisis with just God? When’s the last time I even heard someone talk like that? Yes, there are times we need the body. But when’s the last time you were so close to God. It’s almost like we don’t treat him like a real person. There’s a real intimacy you can have with him.

Everything depends on my connection with God. Satan knows this. He wants to distract me to focus on other stuff. I feel like the NBA player taking a free throw and everyone’s trying to distract me. Everyone’s screaming for your attention, so you’re constantly looking around rather than focusing on God.

If you abide in God, there’s going to be much fruit. If you don’t abide and get distracted, everything falls apart. If Satan can get us to not be present when we pray, then everything falls apart. If he can get us to model half-hearted prayer rather than being completely connected to him.

Hebrews 5:7 – In the days of his flesh, Jesus offered up prayers with loud cries and supplication… and he was heard because of his reverence.

I was shocked when I read that. Jesus was heard because of his reverence? It’s about this awe, this holy fear.

If I hadn’t read that verse to you, and I told you to fill in the blank, what would you have come up with? Because he was his son. And yet the writer of Hebrews says Jesus was heard because of his reverence.

God does not listen to all of our prayers. There are times when God says, I can’t even stand the noise of your songs, stop singing, that’s making me sick right now. In Isaiah He says, “You’re going to fast and pray, I’m not listening to that. Take care of the poor first.” He tells men to treat their wives as co-heirs so their prayers are not hindered. God doesn’t listen to Joshua until they stone Achan. What does James say? Some of you ask and don’t receive because you ask with selfish motives.. In James 1, he says God won’t hear you if you doubt.

It’s very clear there’s a posture we take of reverence. There’s a posture we take with other believers. We pray in faith. We take care of the needy.

I moved to San Francisco a few months ago, and we threw together this conference. I preached in the morning, and we had some worship, and then we went out to serve for 6-8 hours during the day, and then I preached again in the evening, and then we went out again in the evening to share our faith. It was just an amazing time. No one wanted to leave. It was a rush. It was so good.

So the Wednesday before the conference, the guy who was leading the rescue mission says, “We have no meat. We’re about to cook 10k meals with no meet.” These people have been fasting and praying all week for this conference. So he goes to his son and says, can I borrow your credit card. About an hour later, Trader Joes calls us and says, “All of our freezers just broke down. Will you take all of our meet.” So there’s this uhaul full of meat that comes pulling up.

Don’t you just love those moments when you’re like, “God, you were there.” It’s when we abide in Him that His presence is there.

Are you present enough in your prayer life that God is there?

I’m doing some stuff in my yard the other day, and some Jehovah’s Witnesses come by, and I ask if I can share some of the things that God has done in my life. The lady says, “God doesn’t hear all of our prayer.” I agree with her and start telling her stories. They start to walk away, and I follow them for a block and a half. I kept talking, telling them, I don’t think you understand my God. It’s like what John says in 1 John 1. I ‘m just sharing these things so that you can enjoy the fellowship I have with God.

Some of you, your eyes light up when I talk about answered prayers. And some of you are going, “What are you talking about?”

I’m sharing with you what I’ve seen and heard and experienced because I’m walking with God. This would make my joy complete if we could come together and share what God is doing.

I’m starting this new ministry. I don’t know if it’s going to work. It just started on Monday. In the inner city of San Francisco, there’s 586 apartment buildings in one square mile in a low income area. What if we had people adopt one of these buildings, get at least 10 of their friends and pray at least 2-3 hours a week. And then we have a grace team that just goes to peoples door and gives people stuff. Anything they want. And then to ask, how can I pray for you. You’re an atheist, then give me something crazy. Alright, you don’t want anything in particular? Alright, I’m just going to pray for you. So the grace team goes back to the prayer team and tells them what they can pray for. So the grace team can go back and ask the next week if anything happened and talk to people about it and give them a Bible and disciple those people. And the prayer is that one day we disciple people so well that they become the elder of their apartment building. And it’s all God. It’s like if God doesn’t answer these prayers, it’s the stupidest ministry in history. I like the things where if God doesn’t show up it can still be awesome. Ah, God wasn’t here, but the band was awesome anyway.

When’s the last time you were completely present with God? When’s the last time you had that moment? Because Satan is trying to distract you, because without that, you will bear no fruit.

Francis Chan – Catalyst 2010

I’ll be liveblogging Francis Chan‘s Catalyst talk here.  Chan was the founding pastor of Cornerstone Church in Simi Valley, California and author of the wildly popular book, Crazy Love.

Jeremiah 9:23 – Let not the wise man boast in his wisdom, the mighty man in his might, the rich man in his riches, but let him who boasts boast that he knows the Lord.

God wants me to brag about the fact that I know Him.

It’s amazing, but I speak to God in Heaven, and he listens to me. Nothing makes sense. God takes someone and He decides to bless him like crazy.

I hope you’re experiencing God’s blessing and are bragging about that.  My life is absolutely ridiculous, and it’s all about Him.  Are you blown away by the fact that God listens to you, that you pray and he answers.

This doesn’t have anything to do with my sermon, but I just wanted to share that with you.  I’m amazed by the fact that God listens to me and answers my requests.  God says to us, don’t boast about your might or wisdom but the fact that you know me and understand me.

I was thinking about this guy who was driving my cab a while back, and he’s muslim.  I just told him that I wanted to understand his faith, and then I started to talk to him about my faith and how God answers me and speaks to me.  And I asked him about his faith and if God answers him, and he says yes.  And here I thought I had this special relationship with God.  So we’re talking, and I go to another strategy, so we change topics.  I love this man’s honesty, this blew my mind.  You know earlier, I said that God listens to me.  He said, God hasn’t answered prayer like that in my life.  And I said, “Thank you” with a sigh of relief.

The Bible is clear that God doesn’t listen to everyone’s prayers.  1 Peter 3 says that if I don’t treat my wife with respect, my prayers are hindered. There are times I’ve realized God isn’t listening to me because of the way I’ve treated my wife, because of my doubt (James), because I’m not caring for the poor (Isaiah 58).  There are times when God says that he’s basically going to throw up at our singing, that He wishes we would shut the doors to the church because He doesn’t want our offering.

I think we often just assume things are good.  But I think there are times God’s not listening.

This is one of the craziest, maybe the craziest period of my life right now.

I started a church just over 16 years ago, just after I got married to my wonderful, amazing wife.  About 4 months ago I stepped down because I believed the Lord was leading me to something else, so next Saturday our family is leaving for Asia.  So my wife says, since we know we’re not called here, why don’t we just sell the house.  So we’re packing it up right now, and we’re leaving and don’t really know where we’re going.

It’s been awesome, you know, you pray “God send me anywhere” but you have obligations.  It’s amazing, now we don’t have any of those obligations.  It’s very, very weird, very amazing to be able to go anywhere and do anything.  I think God is having me go out there because I really want to learn about the stories of the Church going nuts in other places, of the thousands and millions coming to Christ.  And I believe what the Lord is saying, I want you to come back and think through how some if this can happen here in the States.

Sometimes I just want some simplicity.  Don’t you?  I just want to get together with some friends in my living room and just pray.  I’ve been longing for that recently, just to have friends come over and encourage me.  A time for us to just love on each other, to share what we have.  Let’s start making disciples.  We spend so much of our time as church leaders doing other things.  And I’m wondering if that’s possible.  I’m not knocking anything, because I really don’t know.  I might come back and just go do it all over again.

I feel like God is showing me something new, something like the early church in Acts.

My wife said to me that she was reading the Bible and everything we’re doing just seems perfectly normal.  This is what’s in there.  It fits perfectly.  I don’t understand when people don’t understand what we’re doing.

People label me and they say I’m radical.  If you put my story in chapter 12, James killed, Peter jailed, Francis went to Asia.  Whoa, he’s radical, he’s insane!  No, you’d just skip right over me.  Let’s get back to Peter.  If you put your life in this book, what is weird, the person who just goes and follows his calling and whatever else, or is it the rest of it that’s weird.

I was at Oxford and getting a church history lesson from this guy there.  And we learn that the church was a proponent of slavery and the crusades where people killed in the name of Jesus.  I was reading a book about Nazi Germany and this church where the people just sang louder to drown out the sound of the trains going by.  The guy regrets it to this day.

All of these things are so strange and we’re embarrassed at the church, but when people look at us, what is going to be the weirdness of our generation, because if I was in the middle of that, I probably wouldn’t see it either.  It was like the first time I said let’s look back at America, back at the last few decades, and what is the weirdness Biblically, and I realized, you know what?  A lot of what we do is very weird.  It does not seem congruent with what we do now.  Because if you read in the book of Acts that someone switched churches because someone was a better. communicator or music style or getting in a fight with one person, we say that person’s an idiot.

Based on Scripture, it was a brilliant thing that my wife said.  I want my life to fit in my book this day.

That’s the whole thing about James 5:17 isn’t it? Elijah was a man just like us.

I want to hit poverty theology real quickly, because I don’t want people to make excuses for not caring for the poor.  I have to admit, I’m pretty simple minded.  When people talk to me, that’s what they think.  I remember being in junior high and you start reading those short stories with symbolic meaning, and I just never got it.  Johnny was riding his bike and got hit by a car.  He died, I don’t get that it represents the death of his soul.

1 John 3:16-18 – When I read this, it looks like to me that the natural result of a person having the Holy Spirit in them is that we lay down our lives for other people.  If anyone has the world’s goods, they share with others.  It seems very natural to me that

Ezekial 3:49 – The guilt of your sister Sodom was pride and their failure to aid the poor and needy.  There are places where there’s no such thing as leftovers.  They’ve never thrown food away.  They’d think we’re a bunch of freaks, people concerned about weight loss.

Jeremiah 2:16 – He judged the cause of the poor and needy; then it was well.

Matthew 25: 44 – Lord, when did we see you hungry, etc. and didn’t minister to you.  As you did not do it to the least of these, you did not do it to me.

Again we’re judged on this.  This is natural to those who belief.  Could Jesus have said it any more clearly?

Luke 12:33 – Sell your possessions and give to the needy.

Luke 14:13 – When you give a feast, invite the poor, crippled, lame, blind…  Don’t just invite your friends, “no it’s my turn to pay.” No, when you have a feast, invite those who can’t pay you back.

PSalm 37:25 – I’m old and have never seen the children of the generous begging for bread. God just takes care of them.

Proverbs 19:17 – Whoever is generous to the poor lends to the Lord, and he will repay him.

Proverbs 28:27 – Whoever gives to the poor will not want, but he who hides his eyes will get many a curse.

Proverbs 21:13 – Whoever closes his ear to the cry of the poor will not be heard.

James 1:27 – Religion that is pure and undefiled before the Lord is this, to visit orphans and widows in their affliction.

[Ed. Note – Most of these are heavily paraphrased.]

That’s the one thought I want to leave you with today.  I never wanted to be this author, speaker, example, whatever.  I’m no scholar.  Some of you guys are so far beyond me.  You ever been in one of those places where whoever you’re listening to is right, you’re just far over my head.  You’re smarter than I am, you’re more intelligent, whatever.  I don’t know how to defend everything.  All I know is that when I try to listen to what God is telling me in Scripture, when I made that turn in my life and said, I want to be like you Jesus, you’re my role model, I don’t want to care about stuff.  1 John 2:6 says I want to walk like Jesus walked.  All I know is the more I pursued that, the way God listens to my prayers changes.  My life is outrageous.  I don’t know of a happier guy on Earth.  It does just make me want to get up here and brag about him, boast about him.

I don’t claim to be an example because we’re all called to different things, but I’m just trying to walk by the Spirit, and pursue this thing.  My biggest fear was my 14 year old girl, the whole thought of how do I break this to her.  All you’ve ever known is this one little area of this city, she’s been my biggest supporter.  I get texts from her all the time.  You know that thing were you try to save your life you’ll lose it, but if you lose it you’ll find it.  I’m not talking about neglecting your family. I’m just talking about following the call.

I don’t know if you’re at peace right now. I’m so at peace I want to scream.  My life isn’t always like this.  I’m blessed.  It’s unbelievable.  But right now I just have so much peace.  But I’m guessing some of you are in the funk I was in a couple of years ago because I felt like there’s so much more.  I don’t have any tips for you.  But there are some people here to pray with you.

I believe so much in prayer that I don’t know I believe in anything else.