30 Apr #OC16 – Main Session 2 – Monday is Coming – Save A Life
Session 2 of the Orange Conference opened Thursday morning with the continuing story of “Sunday” and “Monday’s” conflict. The sketch took place on the set of the “Dr. Larry” show. Sunday and Monday were invited to be on the show in an attempt to work through their conflict.
Dr. Larry was the host of the show and perfectly resembled the famous TV Talk Show Host – Dr. Phil (southern accent and crazy expressions included)! It was clever and funny and concluded with Dr. Phil, I mean Dr. Larry, forcing Sunday to walk in Monday’s shoes – literally! The whole sketch was great, but I loved the way once again, the creators circled back to Reggie Joiner’s beautiful illustration of walking in someone else’s shoes that he made during the Opening Session. Read more about that here.
The main stage speaker for Session 2 of OC16 was Andy Stanley. It is always special for me to sit under Andy’s teaching in person, as he led me to follow Jesus 17 years ago. We were living in Atlanta at the time and I had been attending North Point for about 4 months. Andy’s teaching had a huge impact on me every week, but there was one Sunday in August of 1999 where I sat in the auditorium of North Point Community Church and listened to him preach about Eternal Security. On that day, at the end of the service, I once and for all made a decision to follow Jesus with my life. I am forever grateful.
As always, Andy’s message was helpful, applicable, and inspiring. He opened by talking about how the church saved his life. He went on to say that “the church didn’t just save me from hell… it saved me from me.” As he took us through the various ways the church saved him, he outlined how we have the same opportunity with the kids and students we serve each and every week.
- The church informs your conscience. As we teach kids each week to confess, forgive, make restitution, value others, and love well, we have a part in shaping their conscience.
- The church instills a sense of purpose. We get to inform kids that God has a purpose for their lives. We can help them know and understand that God has a plan for their lives and they need to engage Him in their decisions. There is a destiny and purpose for each individual on this planet. We were all created on purpose for a purpose.
- The church provides the context for lifelong friendships. We are connecting kids who in many cases will become friends for the rest of their lives. When we put kids in small groups and they connect to a small group leader or a friend, they want to come to church. If they do not connect – they won’t want to come. It’s all about relationships. We are acceptance magnets. We all need to feel like we belong. When we create environments where kids can connect relationally, build friendships, etc. we give them a sense of belonging.
- The church serves as a window into God’s activity all over the world. When we teach kids to serve, to live outside of themselves, to go on foreign mission trips, it makes the world bigger and shows how unique, how diverse, and how big our God is!
- The church teaches us how to be generous. Generosity is a learned behavior. When we teach kids and students to give, we are not just collecting money, we are teaching them how to be generous.
After outlining what the church can do (and did for him) to save a life, Andy began to talk about how the church is positioned to do things that no other structures or organizations are doing. As the church, we can help people see that following Jesus will make your life better and make you better at life. Where else in our culture are people funneled into the teachings of Jesus? These teachings that make us better at life? It’s not happening in the government. It’s not happening in the media. It’s not happening in the public schools. It can and should happen in the local church!
- The church provides the strongest argument for the dignity of individuals for human rights. Where else are people teaching that you have intrinsic, not ascribed value? Only at the church. Everywhere else in the world, people are valuable based on how they perform. But in the church, everyone has value and rights. In culture, there is no reason for that but Christianity gives a reason. We are made in the image of God.
- The church inspires us to embrace the one mandate that could change everything. What is the one thing? What is the mandate? Love your neighbor as yourself. Who said that? Who’s message is that? It’s the message of Jesus. And who is the steward of the one message that could change everything? WE ARE – the local church.
It’s worth the work we are doing. We should keep going. Because over 2000 years ago, Jesus stood on a hill with his disciples and asked who the people said He was. Peter declared that Jesus was the Christ. And Jesus tells him (and us) that he will build his church upon this statement. He has and He will. He said that the power of hell would not stop it. That not His death, nor our death, would stop it. So we need to keep going because outside of our family – the greatest investment we will ever make is to the local church.
Oh, how grateful I am for this reminder that the work I get to do is such a privilege and so very worth it. We get to partner with the God of the universe as servants in His church to bring hope, love, and Jesus to the world around us. I pray I never let it become routine or “just a job.” I pray I will always approach my service at the local church as an opportunity to save a life!