I had lunch last week with a friend, and we were catching up on all things good: sports, Jesus, discipleship, and Wired.
As we starting talking about Wired, my friend shared with me that he didn’t want to attend. He candidly told me his thoughts on the conference (with a smile): I don’t want to go. You just want me to deal with my junk.
I was so glad he shared that with me! His feedback was so significant! It helped me see that the heart of what we are trying to accomplish as a church at Wired isn’t being communicated well. We need to add clarity to WHY we want our people to go. It is very true that I want us all to “deal with our junk.” However, for the elders and staff at Normandy, that is not the primary goal of Wired.
THE NEXT GENERATION
When Paul is writing to his spiritual son, Timothy, he said this in 2 Timothy 2:2:
Paul is appealing to Timothy that the things he taught him were not just for him but also for generations that would come after him.
Similarly, the “things” we will be learning at Wired are not simply for us. They are for all the generations of spiritual sons and daughters who will come through our doors!
As I sat there with my friend, I started to tell him what I saw behind him – generations! There are more people who are going through situations similar to what he is experiencing – and they need Jesus! They need the heart of God! God might call my friend to deal with more of “his junk,” but beyond that, I think God is setting my friend up to care about and for the next generation well.
In 2 Corinthians 1:3, Paul writes that God is comforting and caring for us so that we might be able to comfort and care for others! The Wired Conference, at the core, is about stirring the heart of our Normandy family to be moved with compassion for others and also about training us in how to actually care for people.
A CULTURE OF COMPASSION
So, not only are we learning and preparing to care for the next generation, but embedded in all of this is the hope and desire that we are creating a culture and a way of life at Normandy - one where we are moved with compassion just like Jesus. The King James Version of Matthew 14:14 says that when Jesus saw the crowd He was “moved with compassion toward them.”
Jesus is God incarnate. Jesus is God made flesh. When you see Jesus moved with compassion, you are seeing the compassion of Almighty God! Brennan Manning once said about this verse that when Jesus was moved to compassion, “the heart of all love burst open and the unfathomable depths of the relentless tenderness (was) laid bare.”
(To listen to more of Brennan Manning’s thoughts on this, check out this short video!)
I would LOVE to see our church community moved like Jesus - with compassion, with ‘relentless tenderness laid bare!” When I preached on unity, one thing became clear to me. Part of Jesus’ plan for others to know Him, was the way in which we loved each other. When we are compassionate like Jesus, others will come to know Him! (John 17:20-23)
Final thought here, God is committed to making us like Jesus (Romans 8:29) – so becoming a people moved to compassion like Jesus is our destiny! In essence, I am calling us to become who we were saved to be!
BACK TO “THE JUNK”
Now I have to be honest. My friend was right. I do want him to deal with his junk. We’re all sinful. We’ve all got junk. It even come out from time to time, spilling onto other people. Some “junk” issues are easy to see while other “junk” issues are buried deep and will take more time to uproot. But saying it like that is rather weighty … so let me try and say it in a positive light.
I want our culture to be one of freedom. Jesus came that we might have life. Abundant life. Pressed down. Running over (Luke 6:38). Christ called us from death into life so that we might be free! Paul tells us in Galatians 5:1, “It is for FREEDOM that Christ has set you free.” He is in the business of liberating, delivering, healing and restoring.
And if you are a Normandeer, then I would guess there is something about a small church that is appealing. You can have an impact. You can help build. There are a few large churches where you could just sit in the pews and listen to someone tell you what to do and then go about your life as if nothing happened. But you are not at a large church with an established well-established culture, you are here. Not only that, I believe God sovereignly placed you here. He brought you to our church with a purpose and a plan. You are a builder. You are a change agent. It comes naturally when the one who built heaven and earth with a word dwells in you.
So will you roll up your sleeves and help build this culture? We want Normandy to have a culture that lives for the next generation, is moved with compassion and is truly free.
Sign up. You and your friend.