Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Francis Chan Session 1

Simon Says…Jesus Says

I was deeply moved as God spoke through Francis Chan, pastor of Cornerstone Church in Semi Valley, California and author of Crazy Love. Chan began by asking the Verge participants to forget they were in a conference and instead to simply be people gathered in the presence of God. He encouraged our passion for God, more than for mission, reminding of Moses’ words, “If your Presence does not go with us, do not send us…” (Exodus 33:15).

Chan echoed something many of us have said, that God is moving and speaking the same messages into lives around North America that do not know each other. Chan asked, “How in the world can all these people be saying the same things…hearing the same things from God…responding in similar ways?” It must be clear that God is calling His bride to a fresh love with Himself and new abandon to His purpose.

At the outset we agreed with Chan that the Verge conference was born as a response to what God was already doing in developing missional communities. “It is not our place to initiate a movement. That is God’s doing.” Disciples did not get together and organize the day of Pentecost. It wasn’t a plan. It was the Holy Spirit of God doing something. The disciples were along for the ride.

Chan challenged those present to make sure that what we are doing is theologically right. He suggested that “If we just read the scripture and follow what it says, we would make disciples.” We would obey.

He said, “When I was young we played, Simon Says. All of us have played it…well maybe not the younger generations, because there are no app’s for it. Someone would say ‘Simon Says’ and we did it. But when ‘Jesus says,’ in church we act like ‘You don’t have to do it…you just have to study it and memorize it.’ If I tell my daughter to clean her room, she doesn’t come back in an hour and say, “Okay Dad, I memorized what you told me to do.”

Jesus told us to love one another. No one out there has ever seen God, but if we as the Body would really love each other, they would get a glimpse of His love. When we love each other in unity, the world will believe that Jesus was sent from God. It is not through our apologetics that the reality of Jesus will be known, rather through our love.

When the early disciples experienced Jesus alive again after His death, everything else took a back seat to obediently sharing the Good News of Jesus with others. “Stuff” didn’t matter anymore when death was conquered and Jesus’ Spirit came upon His church. Jesus changes everything. And we are invited to join His mission of loving the world to Himself.

*Photos provided by the VERGE 2010 Media Team

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