This past weekend I had the privilege and the opportunity to attend the Midwest YoungLife Staff Conference. The theme for the weekend was discipleship. This theme was enriching in many ways. We listened to a number of speakers present on their thoughts about discipleship. For the next few blog posts, I will be summarizing these presentations and inserting some of my own thoughts. Enjoy!
There are two types of runners in our world. Those who run to eat, and those who eat to run. This is something that makes perfect sense to me. I used to be one of those runners who ate to run when I was in high school, running everyday with my cross country teammates. But now, I am not on a cross country team, running is not a priority in my life, and I run so that I can eat.
“I am the vine, you are the branches. Those who abide in me and I in them bear much fruit, because apart from me you can do nothing.” – John 15:5
Within this verse is the idea of connectedness with God. We are connected to Him, and He is connected to us. This is one of the most assuring truths I can imagine. The reality that God is with us at all times, and we are with God at all times is powerful.
– Sabbath –
Do you work to rest or do you rest to work? This is a balance we face on a daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly basis. How much do we work and how much do we rest. Both exist because of the other. We are created to have a rhythm of life, a schedule that keeps us disciplined. While reading through the gospels one can easily notice Jesus’ knowledge of the scriptures. This knowledge was God given, but came to fruition through a disciplined life. When Jesus was tempted he pulled out insights form the rhythm of his life. We need to create rhythms in our lives that remind us that we are His and He is ours. Sabbath is an opportunity to rest in the reality of who we are. We are Children of God. We are loved by God. And we live for God and for others.
– Story –
Everyone has a story. Everyone’s story is different, up until we meet Jesus. Then we share the same beautiful, amazing, saving story of Jesus on the cross. Reflecting on our own personal story and on the story in the gospel helps us get into a rhythm of getting away from the lies that bombard us every day.
Lies that tell us that, “I am what I have”, “I am what others say about me”, and “I am what I do”. Every day we are told these lies over and over and over again. Sooner or later, we will stumble and make decisions based on these lies. For me getting away from the normal busyness of life helps me remember who I really am. It helps me hear the truth. Articulating and telling your story helps us name the true and false narrative of who we are. It helps us know the truth so that we can reject the lies.
“Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. He fasted forty days and forty nights, and afterwards he was famished. The tempter came and said to him, ‘If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.’ But he answered, ‘It is written, One does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’
Then the devil took him to the holy city and placed him on the pinnacle of the temple saying to him, If you are the son of God, throw yourself down; for it is written, ‘He will command his angels concerning you,’ and ‘On their hands they will bear you up, so that you will not dash your foot against a stone’. Jesus said to him, ‘Again it is written, ‘ Do not put the Lord you God to the test.’
Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor; and he said to him, ‘All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Away with you, Satin! for it is written, ‘Worship the Lord you God, and serve only him.’ Then the devil left him, and suddenly angels came and waited on him.” – Matthew 4:1-11