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Posts Tagged ‘Catalyst’

My head is still spinning from this past week at Catalyst. Such an amazing two days of fast, but rich wisdom. I was in need of a time to soak up the inspiration of others, who are way further down the line.

My faith is small. Sometimes my dreams feel even smaller.

Do you put God in a box?

I do. I look at my life, my future, my dreams, and I limit God. I stick Him in a box with the boundaries that speak of understanding and calculated risks. Feeling uncomfortable and out of control is not my forte, but it is the recipe needed for faith.

I spent two days listening to men and women speak of great steps in faith. All of them spent a season choosing to be out of control and uncomfortable. That is what faith is. Faith takes the willingness to fight through being afraid, jealous, and anxious.

How do you handle discomfort with where you are in life? Do you take control? Do you take the reins?

The words, “I believe” should be so powerful. I am sad for the ways I water down them down. Those words mean everything – believing changes everything.

I want to be a person who believes big. Not only believe, but wait on the weight of those words.

Faith is illogical. Faith is that place in a great movie where you say, “Oh my dang! Didn’t see that coming!”

I watched these great men and women and thought they don’t even see how much God has blessed them. That is a part of just believing – walking in obedience. Feeling the grace and peace of living out the gifts and race HE has designed.

Let’s do this friends! Let’s risk to believe – to spend some time in out of control discomfort!

Truth? Our plans never work out. Our visions go nowhere without the extra step of His planning.

Reality?A part from Him, we can do nothing.”

There is weight in believing. There is a responsibility that comes with waiting on what is bigger than we are.

Risk to believe. 

What holds you back? 

What makes you take back the reins?

 

 

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Awareness is a bittersweet thing.

Sometimes, I would love to just be blissfully unaware of the “good” things around me, as well as what other people have.

As kids, we learn so quickly what want feels like. This only happens when we experience someone else having, or doing something, we want to do. There is an unfairness that rises up in our hearts. With eyes wide open awareness sets in and the fruit of want takes root.

I am one who struggles with jealousy. It is the thorn in my side. I actually find this struggle to be real with leaders. I would consider myself a strong leader and one who leans into that role predominately.

Jealousy raises its ugly head in me when I start to compare myself to others. Jealousy is conceived in me when I start to compare myself to what others have. This could be monetary things or just influence.

Andy Stanley talks a lot about the losing battle of comparison in a great sermon series he does. In that series he talks about how the Pharisees are jealous of Jesus because He has the crowd. There jealousy eventually leads them to crucifying Jesus.

I get that. If jealousy is left unattended, pain and even death is inevitable.

Andy states that “there is no win, satisfaction, or finish line when it comes to comparison.”

We are not meant to compare ourselves with the successions, failures, gifts, talents, influences, and even life stories of others. When we place our eyes on the lives of others, we miss out on the life we are meant to live.

I suck at the comparison battle.

My eyes wander and my awareness of want grows. Jealousy is my weakness.

We live in a culture of comparison.

Honestly, there are times I just need to step back from platforms like Twitter that can be a breeding ground for comparison. Everyday I can see one who is five steps ahead of me in my dream life. It’s just plain hard.

This past week, I was blessed to attend Story Conference in Chicago. I loved it. However, I also learned that conferences are filled with temptations to compare. So many awesome people doing awesome things and it always makes me wonder if I’m good enough. This week as I head down to the ATL for Catalyst, my awareness for comparison is heightened.

Jealousy is a battle.

There is no freedom in comparison.

As far as I can remember our culture has lived by the mantra of “keep up with Jones.”

As long as we are running life’s race to keep up with our “Jones” there is no room for the life we are meant to live. It is impossible to celebrate anyone else in the state of comparison.

I feel like I have wasted too much time comparing myself to others. I want to be a person who celebrates the gifts and victories of others. I want to mourn with those who feel the pain of failure. More importantly, I just want to be ok with where I am and what I have.

Are you?

“What or who are you using as a reference point to determine whether or not you’re okay?”

“Are you exhausted from trying to keep up with ______?”

“Are you allowing what others have to keep you from enjoying what you have?”

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My mind and heart are full from this past week at Catalyst. I feel I will be marinating for quite some time about all of the nuggets of goodness my heart took in.

Catalyst is a leadership conference that is none like I have ever experienced. It seems like a diverse program of mashed up ministries. The Young Life background in me appreciated the humor, and program, of the conference. There was an amazing mix of life experienced at Catalyst.

I wish I could capture and bottle up the singing of every morning. There is just something about singing along side 13,000 other people that is honey to my soul. Let’s be honest, there is just something about being around 13,000 people that is honey to this extroverts soul. I wish I could start every day with that kind of worship to the Lord. I was fired up!

I also appreciated the diversity of speakers. Such a power house line up of truth and words. I appreciated the diversity of speaking. The speakers ranged anywhere from business minded genius to illogical and foolish living. I loved it. Every speakers relationship with God challenged me in speechless ways. I so appraciated the honor of that exposure.

I was inspired. I was definitely challenged.

It is hard to articulate just one thing. I sat on the edge of my seat for both Francis Chan and Perry Noble. They had such clear and simple ways of articulating God. I walked away from both of their talks knowing a real God.

Francis brought an aspect of living life illogically after Christ that felt so freeing and refreshing to my soul. He truly is embracing the reality of life lived out of scripture. As he was talking about what his life looks like right now, I couldn’t help but think that life really can look like scripture.

Francis voiced that people label his life, and choices, as radical, but he sees it as normal. The voice of truth peaked my heart, “the gospel message is foolishness to those who are perishing.

I desperately want to be labeled as foolish and radical because I am following after Christ. I forget that the lable comes from both believers and non-believers. When we say yes to Christ, “normal” life takes on a new foolish meaning.

I want to smile when people look at my larger than me dreams and radical decisions. I want to turn heads when I choose the hard of following truth rather than the voice of the crowd. I want to own Christ when everyone else is yelling, “crucify him.” I want to live out a life that looks forgiven while others are placing on their own shakles of shame.

Choosing to live a normal life looks foolish and radical to those who just don’t get it. My heart’s desire is to live a life that speaks, “I understand and know God.

Which normal are you?

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My heart is racing already this week. I am filled with wonder and excitement as I head down to the ATL fora conference called Catalyst. I can’t help but wonder what new things my heart will learn and know. I wonder what “aha” moments I will have as words of wisdom are met with understanding in me.

Last year at Catalyst, I was overwhelmed with awe at spending time singing, dreaming, and learning along side 13,000 other incredible people. I love learning with others. I love sitting next to people who have a passion to be better at leadership, as well as, who they are. I love joining 13,000 people in sitting at the feet of so many great speakers. God speaks, that’s for sure.

I feel like I am in a very different place in life going into this year’s conference. My heart is thinking and dreaming in different ways. I know this year Catalyst will mean so many great new things for my heart. This year I am looking for God in different ways and in different conversations. This year my heart is expectant for the unexpected.

The extrovert in me can’t get to Catalyst fast enough. My heart comes alive in a crowd. I love me some crowds. I feel most at home with crowds. I have been lacking that for some time. I feel an exhale coming on. I am giddy over the new people I will be around and meet. I am very excited for some huggin! I am hopeful for the confirmation and redirection of my heart as she is being spurred on.

This year, I have different risks to take, hopes to hope, dreams to dream, and questions to ask. I am in need of courage to do them all. God is all about the bigger than me. That is where I will fix my eyes and see what he has for me.

Would love to connect if you will be there!!

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Hope

Hope is a small word that packs a huge punch. Hope plays a larger role in my life than I have been aware of.

For the past couple of weeks I have found myself to be easily frustrated, quick to be unedited in my words, and easily discouraged. This is not a fun place to sit in or experience. As I have thought about it, hope, or a lack of hope, seems to be at the root of my issues.

I have found that hope is a catalyst to standing firm when all else fails and falls away. Hope can keep one from falling away.

Proverbs states, “hope deferred makes the heart sick.” It really does. When we put hope on hold discouragement is not far off. When I stop hoping in something I have placed pressure on myself to make something happen. I have definitely failed at most things when choosing this mentality.

Job states it so well as he wrestles with his own stubbornness, “Why do I put myself in jeoprady and take my life in my hands?”

So many things are rooted in hope: joy, strength, endurance, and perseverance. Hebrews describes “faith is being sure of what I hope for and certain of what I do not see.” My faith has everything to do with how I hope. And my lack of faith has everything to do with how I choose to rely on what is seen.

Paul talks about hope being attributed to the development of character in the time of experienced suffering.

Hope takes me out of myself and fixes my eyes on the one greater then myself; the one who promises plans for me. Hope gives breath and strength to your dreams and desires. Hope builds character, faith, and dependence on God. Hope is powerful.

Paul also states, “for in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what he already has? 25But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.”

I have not been waiting patiently in my hope. I have grown in discouragement and frustration. I desire to fix my hope on him.It is time to hope again.

Take one million….and action…

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Leadership is a gift that is recognized, in both the Christian and secular world, as the position that has influence. There are recognized requirements for people who are in positions of leadership. We want leaders to be better, more equipped, have greater knowledge, and hold more courage then people who are not leaders.

The Bible talks about greater requirements for those who desire to be in leadership roles. Deacons, overseers, and elders were held to what seemed to be a greater standard. Their lives were being looked at and studied more than others.

There is a verse in Luke that states, “From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.”

Two weeks ago I went to a leadership conference in Atlanta called Catalyst. An amazing conference with an amazing line up of leaders. Each speaker was known for something they’d said, written, or done. I sat with 13,000 people who desired to be different. For two days I absorbed an obscene amount of information about how to lead others. One question I found myself asking over and over was, “what about the small things?” In all reality 5% of the people in that room will go on to experience the kind of leadership success of those on stage. But what about everyone else?

Every speaker that stood on that stage carried the weight of influence. Hundreds of notes were scribbled down on paper. Forty-five minutes on stage, but 13,000 different directions those words were taken when the conference ended. There is a weight required.

There is a holy reverential fear that should be felt when entrusted with much or little. I asked a well known pastor once what advice would he give a person like me with big dreams. He said, “be good with the small things.” I have not forgotten those words. The weight of our influence starts with the small things. The small things are your four person Bible study, the person next to you in your cubical, the stranger who still has no name, your family, friends, and what or whomever is given to you. Our consideration and reverential fear of the weight of our influence should be the same with one person or with one million people.

Jesus was conscious of his weight of influence, and considered that influence equally important, with himself, his closest three, his twelve, and with his thousands. We are asked to do the same.

How are you with your small things?

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This week has been one to mark down as unforgettable. When you can end each day with a, “how the heck did all that just happen….” that’s a great day!

This past week I went down the ATL to visit my great friend Alece. We manage to always find ways to do memorable things. This trip took the cake on “what the frick!” statements.

I flew in a day early to experience the life of a rock star. I spent Tuesday night with great friends back stage at the U2 concert, (let me pause for the gasps and jaw dropping recovery….) Did I mention that we didn’t even have tickets?! That’s right!! I mean what can one even expect with what that actually means.

Here’s how we rolled. Alece, two other fun friends, and I spent time chillin, pre-show, on one of the pimped out tour buses. This bus was nicer than some houses I have been in! Dang! We proceeded to eat Bono’s poptarts and fritos. A well balanced concert meal. You know you gotta get your strength before going on stage!! Mmhhmm! We followed our ticket in to the floor where he said words I will never forget, “you all want to go on stage?” Umm… no I think I can see fine from here….WHAT!!! As we climbed the stairs to the stage floor. After a couple thousand people realized that we were not the opening band, we got the glare of jealousy. I wanted to crowd surf so bad! Such a great perspective to see what the band sees!

After a fun night of kickin it with Bono and band, Alece and I headed to the Catalyst conference. This was an amazing time of learning about life, dreaming, worshiping along side 13, 000 other people, and just being encouraged by a great cloud of witnesses.

Cataylst knows how to rock a good time. Live worship with Fee, top notch speakers, life giving words of wisdom, red carpet welcome, helicopers drops of goodness, funny program, and unbelievable presentations!

I do have to say that I feel like I have made up for not having attended church in a while. Ten speakers with 45 minute time slots a piece…umm.. yea I’m good on church! DANG! I have so much to process and so many things to try and articulate. Amazing encouragement.

I enjoyed times of dreaming for myself. It was inspiring for me to be in a room with 13,000 other leaders who were dreaming as well. We all want to know how to follow after Jesus to the full. I loved listening to the testimonies of those already doing that.

My highlights of speakers were: Matt Chandler, Andy Stanley, and Chuck Swindol. Chuck made me chuckle quite a bit…who knew he was funny!

Oh and of course there was the tiny space filler of a 200 pound man, in a unitard, who jumped from a platform 3 stories high, into a kiddie pool filled with only  one foot of water!! wait…what!! check out the video!

And if all that wasn’t enough, I was blessed with 7 days with my close friend. Days filled with pj’s and nothingness! Of course we had the necessary two outings of Starbucks and Mexican food. Yum!

Thank you Alece for an amazing week!! I am so grateful for life experienced with you!

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