I always have a hard time leaving California. Leaving usually means saying goodbye to two very dear things – family and warm weather. I was in that sad situation a couple weeks ago after a week long trip to attend my mom’s retirement party and a family ministry conference in Orange County.
This time, however, I was even more tied to my beloved Golden State due to feelings I hadn’t really experienced since high school. I was on a camp high – that heady feeling you get from really encountering the Living God, having an intimate, life-altering experience. I was scared that a flight back to Idaho would deflate the camp high I had been soaring on since the first session of The Gathering (the conference with the fantastic worship I wrote about last week).
Surrounded by the Spirit and separated from the duties of real life for a couple of days, it was hard not to start soaring. We were fed, equipped, and encouraged in ministry and in life. I felt energized re-inspired. Maybe I was particularly in need of refreshment, but I climbed to the top of that spiritual mountain peak with the agility of a billy goat.
- The dangerous side of ministry is that you can learn how to do it. It’s possible to have great content but for the wrong assignment.
- Truth is the epicenter of freedom. When we live in view of God’s mercy, we are free to call out truth with no fear of condemnation.
- In our brokenness, we can see how God and the Gospel puts us back together.
- Stop running. Start receiving. Now live! Work out of a place of rest; don’t take rest from the work.
I didn’t want to go back to what seemed like my ordinary spiritual life.
I could feel myself begin to idolize what I was leaving and become judgmental about what I was coming back to. Instead of being thankful for a weekend of refreshment and inspiration, I was bitter that it was over so quickly.
Tim and I moved into our new house a couple days after returning to Idaho so I didn’t have much time to dwell in my bitterness (thank the Lord!). In between unpacking boxes and cleaning, I finished the book I started on that California trip and couldn’t help but smile at God’s not-so-subtle way of showing me just what to do with the exhilaration from my camp high – enjoy it while it lasts and keep moving!
God will restore us and refresh us along the way. He will provide moments of nourishment and rest, but he wants me, he wants you, to continue to run, to be available to do any good work. We need to keep going – even in the rain, no matter how dark it gets – and finish this race.
Gary Thomas | Every Body Matters | 207
As if that wasn’t enough, I ran into this video:
Though I still want to cling to the hope and freedom I experienced at The Gathering (and hopefully go again next year!), I need to realize that hope and freedom are found in Christ not a conference. God is the source of transformation, not a dynamic speaker or skilled worship leader. Those things are refreshing, and I can pause to be thankful when I encounter them, but if I want to finish the race, I can’t linger very long at the water stations along the way.