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#ThoughtsFromTerry Dispatch w.34.2018
Last week I shared about the opportunity to be a part of the Rock Conference and deliver a keynote. Thank you all for the emails of encouragement; those always mean a lot to me. The conference was great, and I loved reuniting with so many in the church technology field that I have not seen in years. It was also great to meet so many new people, and hear some great stories of what God is doing in your churches. The biggest thing I learned and want to share however is the importance of where we put our trust.
firm belief in the reliability, truth, ability, or strength of someone or something.
An interesting word and often a difficult action to take, at least for me. This week I fumbled in the area of trusting God, and I think it’s important to share this learning...because I need to remember it! So here is the background that leads to the fumble.
Many months ago I was asked to speak at the conference, and it was an easy yes for a lot of reasons, but primarily because the vision and mission of Rock are indeed in alignment with our vision of the capital C church. When it came time to prepare my talk, I prayed a lot about the audience, asked some who would be attending and formulated a talk based on really a Spirit-guided approach. I landed a solid outline and then tested that with many and got great feedback and confirmation it was the right direction and content. Then it was simple, I time-boxed my efforts to build the talk, and it came together somewhat quickly. We were good to go.
We rolled into the event on Monday, and I was feeling the normal pre-speaking nerves, but more confident than before with the content and message I was bringing due to more conversations with some attendees. So I get up out of my seat to have the AV crew wire me up with my headset microphone and pastor Don Wilson takes the stage for the session just before mine. (Don was the founding and retired pastor of Christ's Church of the Valley) Don kicks off with a great opening and starts unpacking his message. As I heard his topics and his talk outline my heart hit the ground because it was nearly identical to what I was bringing. My heart was racing, my right leg started in the typical bouncing motion as I am completely caught off guard and now I’m a total mental mess. Don’s message is excellent, he has 35 yrs of experience preaching and has near perfect stories and scriptures for all these points, and I am wrecked internally. So, I did the only thing I knew to do...stick to the game plan and deliver the best talk I could.
Backstage, praying and pacing I formulated a plan on how to open and start a little off script. I took the stage and honored pastor Don, as a legend in ministry, serving with integrity for 35 years and then shared about my content. I openly shared with the audience that Don and I had no communication before the conference, but I was excited for them because, apparently, the Holy Spirit has a plan. God synced up Don’s and my content - and today you are going to hear a significant theme, with near exact points. They come from different perspectives and different experiences, but God wants you to listen to this message. That was my plan and the only thing I could come up with on such short notice...and, it “felt” right.
The problem? My opening was only lip service. I believe God can do what I shared, but I didn’t at the moment fully embrace it and believe it. My talk was ok, but I was so rattled, and off my game, I didn’t deliver what I know I was capable of. My trust shifted from completely trusting and believing God had this planned out, that He indeed had a message He needed these 500+ people to hear. I turned my trust from God to myself, and my confidence was rattled. I internally and unintentionally made the talk about me, and how did something like this happen to me?!? It all occurred in a matter of seconds or even milliseconds. Trust, or lack of trust.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not depend on your own understanding.
- Proverbs 3:5
I share all of this because I feel it’s critically important to walk in step with the Holy Spirit, knowing He has a plan. I believed it all the way up until I didn’t. I got rattled, the wind and the waves were rising, the turbulence was on, I shifted my trust and I had NO reason to. I have asked for forgiveness and l desire to continue to get better at fully trusting Jesus in every situation.
Here is the good news. God still uses us! With all our flaws, missteps and failures, He still uses us for His purpose. Everything I described above was probably visible to only a tiny percentage of people. The talk landed and I had countless people in person, through social media and email share how impactful it was. Here’s the deal: God has a plan, He is at work, and desires to fulfill His plans and purpose through us. No matter our condition, His will will be done. I desire in every situation to fully trust Him, put my motives aside and allow Him to do what only He can do!
Through the wind, waves and all situations, we need to trust Jesus. In the big and the small things we need to lean on Him and he will bring the great calm.