Passion (3)

. . . continued from Passion (2)

We got up around 7am on Sunday, January 2 to get ready for our first full day. I had a blueberry bagel (which continued to be the norm) for breakfast, and then we headed to the conference a little after 8:30.

Our community group started at 9, and we got started in our weekend discussion of Philippians. We focused on Philippians 2:1-11 and talked about humility and selflessness. We live in a world of “staircases” . . . we are always judging others around us as to whether or not we are better or worse. We do this in so many different ways from the clothes we wear and the people we hang out with to the grades we get in school and the job we have (or want). We so easily focus on how we can “move up” in these different aspects of life. Yet, we are called to a drastically different attitude:
“Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.”
~ Philippians 2:3-4
Our example is Christ, who descended to this earth . . . from the highest of highs to the lowest of lows.
“. . . [Christ] made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.”
~ Philippians 2:7-8
I know I probably do this (staircase judging) in many ways, sometimes without realizing, but the one thing that came to mind was academics. I have always been “proud of” getting good grades, often to the point of being more concerned with them than whether or not I actually learn something. I have struggled with perfectionism in the past, but even now struggle with pride in this area. It is a “staircase” on which I view myself high up. Even in the bus ride to Atlanta, when school was briefly a point of conversation, I made a prideful comment about grades. It is embarrassing to admit, especially because it echoes so many previous similar comments and thoughts. Humility and selflessness are both areas that I need to intentionally work to improve.

Following our community groups, Allie, Alyssa, and I met up with some others in our group in the GWCC arena for the morning main session. Beth Moore spoke about God’s will.
“And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”
~ Romans 12:2
We discern God’s will through the renewing of our minds. There is a plan and purpose that we were created to be most fulfilled doing, and it is “prewired” in us. The ability to discern God’s will comes with thoughts that are renewed.
“For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ . . .”
~ 2 Corinthians 10:3-5
We must take every thought captive, and “war” against strongholds (anything that is “bigger” than God . . . that has a “strong hold” on us). We must also be warring against Satan:
“. . . and that they may come to their sense and escape the snare of the devil, having been taken captive by him to do his will.”
~ 2 Timothy 2:26
As God has a will for our lives, so also does the devil. This is a scary thought. But it is possible to live in mental victory! But this results from thinking new thoughts, instead of trying to not think about something else. Further, change comes from thinking through something, rather than stopping at “amazing” or feelings. We change what we feel by changing what we think (by thinking new thoughts).
“And all those who heard it marveled at those things which were told them by the shepherds. But Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart.”
~ Luke 2:18-19
I am not a huge fan of Beth Moore, but she does usually have great quotes, I'll give her that. My favorite from this year was:
“If you give God your mind, He will blow it for you.”
I love this. :) And it is so true.

We ate our box lunches in our seats, because there were lots of Falcons fans en route to the game in the Georgia Dome right up the street, and that would have been chaotic (or, more chaotic than usual). We talked while we were eating our (huge) lunches (Allie was in awe), and then about 1pm, we were able to disperse. Allie, Alyssa, and I browsed the “store” for a bit, and then got in line for the afternoon breakout session. After standing in line for probably forty-five minutes, the message came through the crowd that the breakout was full. We wove our way through the crowds toward a second-choice breakout, but it (and all the rest, come to find out) was full, also. We were disappointed to miss out and ended up just going back to the hotel at that point. Allie french-braided my hair (very nicely, I might add). At 5, our group went to the Mellow Mushroom for pizza (I had a slice of ham and pineapple . . . yum!), and then on to the evening main session in Philips.

Louie came on stage to give some updates about the Do Something Now causes. He talked a lot about Haiti . . . last year he had read a newspaper article that mentioned the names of a father and his little girl (who had lost her arm in the earthquake) living in a tent community. He ended up going to Haiti to talk with these two people specifically, who by that time were living in a condemned house. To make a long story short, Ernst and Therissa are now living in the states: he has a green card and just got a new job, and she is going to school. It was an inspiring story of how God calls us to make a difference . . . in the lives of individuals. And then Louie invited them on stage! We prayed together by reading Isaiah 61, and then Louie challenged everyone to give one dollar that night in our community groups toward a college trust fund for Therissa. Needless to say, that was awesome.

The main session speaker was one from whom we all were excited to hear: Francis Chan. He spoke about the importance of our lives reflecting the Bible and our beliefs.
“Only let your conduct be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of your affairs, that you stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel . . .”
      ~ Philippians 1:27
He had a scale on his stool that he used as an illustration. Our lives should be “in balance” with the gospel. They should reflect our salvation and our beliefs (in Hell, for instance: if we believe in an eternal death, then we should not be sauntering along in life, calloused to the people around us who are destined for it). Chan’s overarching question was:
Does my life make sense in light of the gospel?

After the main session were community groups, and Allie, Alyssa, and I left (quite) early to get in line for the Late Nite concert: Lecrae. We got decent seats on the floor and were able to save a couple for Micah and Amber. I absolutely loved the concert . . . I am an undercover fan of rap. :) And again I was blown away by yet another style of music and every word that was said that was all glorifying to God.
. . . I know I'm safest when I'm in Your will and trust Your word.
And I know I'm dangerous when I trust myself, my vision blurred.
And I ain't got no time to play life's foolish games.
Got plenty aims but do they really glorify Your name? . . .

I could play the background.
I could play the background.
Cuz I know sometimes I get in the way.
So won't You take the lead, lead, lead.
So won't You take the lead, lead, lead.
And I can play the background, background.
And You can take the lead.
~ "Background"

. . . keep reading: Passion (4)

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