Day 3 - Session V
This is the last installment in my debriefing of the Willow Arts Conference from last week. I've posted a lot of content here! God really captured my heart during this conference, so there has been no shortage of things to say and that certainly remains true for my review of the final session of the conference.
Francis Chan visited us from California, a man whom I was not familiar with before, but a man of God whom I quickly came to admire and respect. Francis is pastor at Cornerstone Church in Simi Valley, CA. After one session with him, I would sum up his mission as one of trying to help the next generation develop a higher and bigger view of God and his intense love. You can visit his video blog site here or another interesting site of his juststopandthink.com.
Francis, a bald, expressive, middle-aged Chinese man, got us laughing right away, when he compared himself to the previous speaker, Richard Allen Farmer. He said "I couldn't be more different." Farmer was incredibly eloquent, well-prepared, dressed in a three-piece suit, a talented pianist, but Francis walked up with flip flops, a small notecard of speaking notes and he said that he is "probably one of four Chinese people who can't play the piano."
So, because Francis' gift is not necessarily one of an artistic-bend, he stuck to his strength. As important as it is to be excellent and to work very hard in our creative expression that God has gifted us with - it's stewardship - we must never forget that the Holy Spirit has to show up, otherwise it is all for naught. True change will only happen with the Spirit. We can manipulate people left and right with crazy-cool stuff in the Church, but if the Spirit is not a part of it, no true change will happen.
"Give me talented people and I can grow any church - even a mormon church...But I want something more - which is everything!"
Stop and think: Have people ever seen your good works and then turned and praised God? Or has it been, "Hey Francis, that was a great message. Hey Francis, that was an awesome video you made."
"I'm so bored with what I know I can do. I don't want it to be about me."
Think about this more a moment: it was to our advantage that Jesus left the earth and gave us his Spirit. To our advantage. Don't you think that we should have a higher view of the Holy Spirit? Did people leave Pentecost saying, "Wow, that guy John is awesome - he learned Portuguese in like 5 seconds. No! They praised God and were saved. Shouldn't there be a massive difference between me standing here and the person next to me who doesn't have the Spirit?! Then why do some of our neighbors have more peace and joy than you! You are a temple of the Holy Spirit!"
Do people leave your church services with a bigger sense of awe toward God?
People can go to the movie theater for a good show, but they should be experiencing the almighty God when they come to worship. Are they?
God reduced Gideon's army from 32K to 300 men because he wanted to show them that it was him that would show up and give victory.
Francis said that the greatest compliment he ever gets is when people come up to him after a service or he sees and old friend from pre-ministry days and they say, "You??"
After this session, I made a word collage to express what God has inspired in my heart. God definitely showed up and elevated my view of him and his Spirit, through his interpreter, Francis.