A few years ago I heard someone say that when she accepted Christ as her Lord and Savior, she promised Him that whatever He asked of her, the answer was already “yes.” The how, when, why, etc., could be revealed in His timing. It stuck with me, because as a child of God, I have already said “yes” to whatever He asks me to do. I went to Verge last weekend with that in mind, because I knew God would use the weekend to teach me a lot, and I wanted to be completely open to whatever He had for me.
I’ll be typing up [some of] my notes from the weekend mixed with my own commentary. I’m a journalism major, so I’ve even got some direct quotes. If you missed any of the sessions, hopefully this will help fill in any of the gaps and make a better connection with what you did get to hear.
Matt Carter focused on Revelation 2:1-6, which basically says that the church in Ephesus was doing all kinds of good things, but ”nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love.” The church, aka the bride of Christ, had forgotten its whole reason for existence!
I should not love my mission more than I love my Savior. “Who cares if we figure out missional community if we don’t love Jesus?” If I just have Jesus and nothing else, would that be enough?
Francis Chan started with Exodus 33:14-16. Basically, if God’s presence doesn’t go with us, there’s no point. But the more God entrusts us with, the harder it is to just desire the presence of God.
When you’re thinking about starting a church, a ministry, or whatever, don’t base it off what you know of other successful ones. Search in the Bible and form it on that. What should it look like, for this particular group, in this particular place, according to the Bible? What can you come up with just from Scripture? This is so interesting to me, because if we just look in the Bible, the example of “church” is radically different from how we see it in the Western Church. It’s almost like a support group coming together to encourage, exhort, build up, grow, pray, praise, equip, keep accountable, and send each other out to do serve people together who need it. When we’re just looking at Scripture and making disciples and chasing after Jesus in a harsh world when we don’t want to, then we’ll seek out other believers. We’ll find each other because we’ll stand out!
Later that night I was reading Mark 7, and verse nine popped out at me: “He said to them, ‘All too well you reject [set aside] the commandment of God, that you may keep your tradition.’ ” It fits exactly! Churches these days are often so caught up in tradition that they fail to obey what God set up the church to be used for in the first place.
“If Jesus says something, you don’t have to do it, just memorize it.” It’s so sad that this is what we often do. He gave an excellent example of telling his daughter to clean her room. What if she came back and told him she memorized what he told her to do? What if she came back and said she prayed about it? What if she came back and said she met with some her friends and discussed what it would look like if she cleaned her room? Her dad would not be happy!
Acts 2: 37 says: “Now when they heard this [the gospel], they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, ‘Men and brethren, what shall we do?’ ” They knew the gospel was big, and that it would affect their lives. They knew they had a new Lord over their lives. They knew they needed to be obedient. So Peter and the others told them what they needed to do…. and they did it! And because of it, “The Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.” More and more people came to know the saving power of Jesus Christ simply through the obedience of His followers (and because He works mightily in their hearts). The way we truly show that Jesus is God isn’t through our apologetics but through our unity.
For a simple and eye-opening example of what the church should look like, watch Francis Chan’s cartoon, The Big Red Tractor.