Monday, August 11, 2008

Not Safe, but BRAVE

This past weekend, our church leadership team took part in a simulcast of Willowcreek's Leadership Summit '08. We spent all day Thursday and Friday at a local church here in town, watching a video-feed of a conference on leadership. I'll admit, I wasn't necessarily looking forward to it! Finding childcare for 2 full days and just getting somewhere is difficult and I had looked at the speakers and wasn't too excited. Let me be the first to admit, I was wrong! I had a blast. Not only were the speakers very good, but time spent with our team is always enjoyable! We have the best people!! Yep, I'm a little biased, but I sure do love them.

We learned a lot over those 2 days. . I'm still processing some of it. I think as a whole we learned that we want to be passionate!! I kind of have that one down. . ha ha. . . but sometimes I hate it. I want to hide my passion. I don't want others to be offended by it or think that I require them to have the same passion. After hearing 2 amazing women speak (Wendy Kopp from Teach for America and Catherine Rohr from Prison Entrepeneurship Program), we had a lot of discussion. All of us were touched by their passion. Now, do all of us feel impassioned to jump right into teaching in the innercity or working in prison ministry? Not necessarily. . but, their passion did something to call out ours. I think passion begets passion. So, after loving these women up one side and down the other for being unabashed in their passion. . I've decided not to be ashamed of mine. I want to be excited about what the Father is doing all over the world and share it!!

Wait. . I still have my favorite stuff to share! My ALL TIME FA VORITE speaker . . .and possibly my new favorite person in the world (haha) was Gary Haugen, president of International Justice Mission. He was a phenomenal speaker, and not just because he was totally speaking my language! He started IJM which is a human rights agency that secures justice for victims of slavery, sexual exploitation and other forms of violent oppression. Yeah, so you know his stories and pictures were heart wrenching and beautiful. He said a number of things that I needed to hear.

"If God is passionate ABOUT getting it done, then it's HIS responsibility to do it". sigh. It's like I can breathe again. So often, I feel God's heart and then I just take over. Ok, Lord. . I'll handle that then. But NO, that is not His call. Gary spoke of the feeding of the 5,000. Jesus didn't look at the disciples and say, "Hey, get it done". . no, he asked them what they had to offer and then HE miraculously worked through that meager offering to do amazing things. Oh Jesus spoke to my heart in that. HE is calling us to come out of the safety of what we can do. Gary talked about how, if we can handle everything in our lives. . we aren't really living. We need to be listening and following God into the unknown, the dangerous. God wants to stretch us. . "so Jesus beckons me to follow him to that place of weakness when I risk the vulnerability of a child so that I might know how strong my Father is and how much he loves me." (from Gary's book and speech). Oh yes! He talked about as leaders, calling people out. Not so that they move away from their gifting, but so they move beyond it. So that God takes their gift and mulitiplies it supernaturally beyond what they ever thought possible. He also spoke in line with my favorite quote from CS Lewis about Aslan (Jesus) where the beaver answers the child about how safe Aslan is. . ."He's not safe, but He's GOOD". Gary put it this way. . .God didn't call us to be safe, but to be BRAVE. May we live our lives not missing the adventure. . not staying safe and protected but out on a limb for Jesus. . following Him into the unknown!

God is speaking to me about so many things in this. Big things like possibly going to Africa in a few months, about raising big dollars for an organization and even about how we are possibly going to get 100 women at our women's retreat in a few weeks. It was such a necessary reminder. . .if God is passionate about getting it done, it's His responsibility to do it. All I've got to do is show up with my loaves and fishes, to be obediently following Him. . and the miracles are His job. But, without my obedience. . without the bravery. . .I would miss out on seeing amazing things first hand!


Anonymous said...

Amen and amen, Little Friend---such good stuff and such a great time of learning from the best and from each other!
love you way up to the sky-
lisa e

Jackie Sue said...

That is just great Bran. I'm with ya...I have had to come to that conclusion over and over again. The world needs so much...but It's All His and I have to remember that. i love SCC's song "It's All Yours" and I have to hold to His love for the world that belongs to Him and then find my part in what He wants to do. I bet that speaker was phenomenal!

Jman's momma said...

I can't wait to find out what is going to happen with your upcoming trip to Africa. I want to go on the one in March 09 - seriously!!!

Thanks for your thoughts. Today was an ok day. Funny that you brought up "intimacy" because I have been thinking and praying about that lately. Wanting that kind of relationship but not really feeling like I have it. Very interesting, a lot to think about.

~ anne

Melinda said...

Sounds awesome Brandi! I am going to have to go and check him out and his book. I love it when God speaks through other's what He has planned for your own life. It is also so encouraging to see God's heart through people that are aligning their own with His.

A More Simple Life said...

That's such a hard truth to hold...that WE can't do it, only HE can! I need to use that in more than one area of my life. I also need to practice what I preach, considering my child hears me say it so often!

Glad you had a good time!


Anonymous said...

Awesome Brandi. Passion is what drives us and I think we all need more of it. :)

I know some people that work at IJM and one who used to work there before he died. It is a fantastic organization!

Bethany H.

amber said...

I just love love love IJM!!! I have their brochere on my fridge to remind me to pray for their org every day. My parents heard Gary Haugen speak earlier this summer and I keep meaning to get the tape from their church. I love everything they stand for. You know that Sara Groves worked with them for a while and that's where a lot of her song lyrics come from...

Anyway, good stuff in this post. I always love hearing what God is speaking to ya.

Great talking the other night even though it was only a short time. I am swamped with stuff for the business and other misc catch up while Peter is away, but I'll try calling again soon.

Love ya tons.

Melissa said...

I got an email from them about a conference coming in December near me and I also got a piece of mail the other day. Now this......hmmmm!Wonder if someone's trying to tell me something? ;)

Enjoyed reading this post as usual. You always get me thinking or help peak my passions when I'm just not feeling it sometimes.