Recap of Legacy Conference

  1. We hosted the annual Legacy Conference this weekend
  • 85 Young Adults from across North America: OH, MI, MN, NJ, TX, CO, AZ, IN, MD, WA, Costa Rica, Mexico including 10 from Jax
  • Talks (except 1), worship, everything led by young adults
  • Conference talks geared toward evangelizing young adults and building community among them in today’s fluid/chaotic culture.
  • Several of you helped a lot
    • Daniel was emcee, many helped with transportation and coordinating rec activities – some helped totally behind the scenes, worthy of special honor (1 Cor 12:23)
    • I got glowing reviews of how our community went out of our way to be hospitable
    • Lord smiled on us, weather was beautiful Saturday
  1. Young professionals on mission
  • One 2-hr session all about discussing a strategic process for reaching this age group for Christ
    • YPs are the largest demographic in US and have the lowest rate of church attendance
    • But they’re hungry for real community and what the Lord is doing among my generation is beautiful
    • YPOs run by young people in the communities are beginning to flourish
    • People are coming to know Jesus Christ and some are making commitments to community life
    • We’re leaving with some things to think about for our outreach to young professionals
      • Consistent events, goal of helping new people start 3 new friendships their first night, + a whole process that’s too much to go into now

III. A prophetic word

  • One of the speakers reminded all of us young people of a prophetic word given to the communities decades ago that I believe speaks to us here in Jacksonville
    • “I tell you, you are a part and you are not the whole… There are many other things that I am doing in this world today, there are many other ways that I am at work to raise up my people in strength and in glory… I want you to take your part seriously and to lay your lives down for it, but I want you to understand that only I see the entire plan, only I see every front of this battle.”
  • I’m leaving the conference encouraged that many in my generation have caught the vision of what God is doing
    • We’re not perfect, in some ways we’re immature – but I believe God is building the house
  • Lord personally spoke to me
    • During Sat night PM: “I want to take you deeper”
      • I want to go deeper in my prayer life and relationship with the Lord – my prayer this morning
    • It was very moving walking into a room in Jax (a mile from my house) with 85 young adults passionately worshipping the Lord and committed to one another
      • Last picture
      • I dared to dream a huge dream for me (very small for God): What if our young adult outreach looked like this? What if our community looked like this?
        • Not all about YPs: I learned that other communities are doing married couple outreaches, men’s retreats, groups for women and widows
        • Imagine this for a moment…
      • It’s a big dream only God can fulfill. It’s a costly
        • But do our lives really belong to Jesus?
        • Is he really raising up communities in the earth today?
        • Is he calling us to lay down our lives joyfully in obedience to him?
        • Does the world need what we have been given?
        • Yes

Last week we discussed staying connected with God in prayer. Looked at 3 passages in Luke. 1 was Luke 5:15–16

The news about him spread all the more, so that crowds of people came to hear him and to be healed of their sicknesses. 16 But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.

  • Q: What news was spreading all the more?
    • That Jesus was healing the sick and casting out demons – just healed leper
  • Q: Can you relate with the feeling of being crowded—maybe with responsibilities, bills, schedules if not people?
    • Just take a moment to imagine how crowded Jesus’ life could have felt in that moment. Especially after 30 years of being hidden.
      • Responsible for the lives of 12 young men and other close followers.
      • Encountering opposition from Pharisees
      • Preaching schedule + continuous stream of people clamoring for his touch
      • He knows where it’s all leading – to the cross
    • As God, Jesus could handle all this without breaking a sweat.
    • But as a man, that’s a different story.
      • He yearned to be alone with his Father. So he walked away from his responsibilities in order to find time to pray.
        • And we all know that was the real secret to his ministry, to fulfilling his responsibilities.
  • Can see this approach with Bernard of Clairvaux. Heard this quote a while back and found it insightful

“The [one] who is wise, therefore, will see his life as more like a reservoir than a canal. The canal simultaneously pours out what it receives; the reservoir retains the water till it is filled, then discharges the overflow without loss to itself … Today there are many in the Church who act like canals, the reservoirs are far too rare … You too must learn to await this fullness before pouring out your gifts, do not try to be more generous than God.”

A good question to ask is: Am I living like a reservoir or a canal?

  • A canal Christian is often empty, in danger of burnout, more susceptible to temptation, self-reliant when it comes to decisions
  • A reservoir Christian walks through their day wearing the armor of God – they put on that armor while they were alone with God.
    • To be clear, life is still challenging. Life was challenging even for Jesus. But he knew where to go to be filled.

2 practical things related with this idea

First, I was inspired last week when Joe asked us what’s the first thing we do when we wake up.

  • I know that 80% of the time, I check my phone to see emails & messages.
    • Comes out of a desire to stay connected with all the things happening around me.
  • But this week I tried to take a moment to connect with the Lord first thing. I’d say I was 60% successful – not easy to remember something 1st thing
    • But on those mornings, I was 100% more connected than if I hadn’t tried.
  • I want to encourage all of us to make every effort to stay connected

Second, I’ve noticed that when I am functioning like a reservoir, I naturally witness

  • When we’re filled up with something, we just want to talk about it.
  • More aware of the Lord’s grace in my life, more grateful, more prone to step out in obedience.
    • These are all content for witnesses.

This year, we want to make our PMs more attractive and easier to engage for new people.

  • Will make time every week to hear from you about how the Lord is moving in your life.
  • Doesn’t need to be profound or complicated. Simple is good and relatable.
  • Share about God’s love, joy, being filled with the Spirit
  • Share in order to help people come to know Jesus
  • Going to do that right now.

A Year Filled with Hope and Blessing

I. Our First Priority – Being With Jesus

A Cloud of Forgetting What is Beneath Us (Anonymous author)

So let’s ask the Holy Spirit for the gift to “Forget!” To forget problems, fun stuff, work, anxiety, health issues, everything. For the Apostles: Being with Jesus meant they left their home. For us: Being with Jesus means living in a “state of Grace.” Consciously free from any serious sin. Cultivating a relationship with the person – Jesus. Jesus said, “I am with you always.” So, do we know “he is with us?”

Prayer cultivates the Relationship

  1. Luke 5:15-16 – “Large crowds came to hear him and be healed.  But Jesus went away to the wilderness and prayed.”- Jesus would not give up his prayer time despite the pressing needs
  2. Luke 6:12-13 – “One day Jesus went to a mountainside to pray. He spent the night praying to God. When morning came, he called his disciples to him and chose twelve of them”- What Jesus did was based on what he heard in prayer
  3. Luke 11:1 – “Jesus finished praying. He was asked, “Lord, Teach us to pray.” – The Apostles realized that they did not know how to pray – Jesus taught them: “Honor the Father, then ask your Father for Bread, Forgiveness, and Protection. In effect, Honor God and pray for his help.

St Augustine said: “Look to interior prayer – that is desire. If our desire is continuous, our prayer will be continuous. If we desire God the rest will follow by God’s grace. Even if we are silent we will still sing and pray with our hearts. And, the opposite is also true. Without desire for God, we can cry out as much as we want, but as far as God is concerned, we might as well be silent.”

Desire is the Yearning, the longing for Jesus. It’s us reaching for God. When I wake up – I go to my computer – A feeling of “connected.” Desire for God moves us to get connected. The most difficult things to believe that our prayer: Will actually help/show me how to relate and love people. Will actually increase the peace in my life. Will actually help me make better decisions. Large issues/needs – we try to fix them w/o prayer. Large decisions – we try to make them w/o prayer.

II. Loving One Another (Romans 12:5-16)

Paul writes, “Love with mutual affection; Hate evil and Do good; Honor each other in love;  Be fervent in spirit and have zeal for God; Persevere in your prayer;  Give generously and Exercise hospitality; Bless those who hurt you;  Join with others when they are suffering; Rejoice with others when they rejoice.” This is a great way to live!!!

In a recent email last week I wrote: I have many friends – golfing friends, business friends, neighborhood friends, and parish friends. I get along well with all of them. They are really nice people but these are mainly superficial relationships.

That is why I treasure my relationships in the community. I really enjoy our core team meeting, my men’s meeting, and the prayer meeting – mainly because I am so inspired by your love for Jesus. I love the life we live – grounded in prayer and Scripture, caring relationships, and a desire to serve the Lord together as a community. I treasure the desire in your hearts to bring glory to Jesus. I know Jesus is pleased with the way we are living – as imperfect as we are. I know he is with us and blessing us. I also know the pull of the world is capturing people more than ever. I want to give, “all of my life for the rest of my life” to Jesus.

So, let’s join together in 2020; Let’s fix our eyes on Jesus; Let’s love one another; Let’s spur each other on to do great things for Jesus. Let’s promise:

  1. To pray each day
  2. To live in the light – Consciously free from any serious sin
  3. To be a light to our families, to all community members, and to everyone
  4. To build the Kingdom through service and evangelism