Saturday, October 22, 2011

Change the World - who me??

Mike Slaughter and Alan Hirsch - Change the World 2011

Just back from Ginghamsburg UMC's Change the World Conference.  It was a great event with inspiring speakers and breakout sessions.  There is SO much running through my head right now but there is one thought that struck me...Mike Slaughter said it a couple of times "I'm 60 years old, I'm almost dead!"  and while the comment always brought a laugh, there is power in those words.

I am, ummmm, 50.  I most likely have 25-35 more years ahead of me.  What am I going to do with the time that I have left?  

Am I going to look back at the past 25-35 years and lament my mis-steps, and yearn for my former adventures - so many of us live in the past and yet, that doesn't sound like what God wants for my life.

me - 25 years ago
Am I going to look ahead wondering what will be next - perhaps some day I will fall in love again, or maybe I will move to the mountains of North Carolina to a little cabin and read all night...will I ever learn to fly fish?

Or perhaps, just perhaps, I need to look at the time that I have left as a gift - and live with gratitude and in anticipation of being used by God in powerful and exciting ways.  I think it boils down to whether I am courageous enough to live life fully, with gusto...anticipating that there will be hills and valleys along the way (I already know this from experience) but also great blessings too!

If I start the day confident in God's abundant love for me then why not just dive in and be... just be who God created me to be.  Of course, I am still trying to figure that one out - one of the benefits of being so young is that I don't have to have all of the answers. I do need to be faithful and trust that love, the source of which is God's amazing abundant love, will win in the long run.

Bottom line - it's my only's what gets me out of bed in the's what fuels the fire and passion I have to proclaim the Good News of Jesus Christ.  
What is this Good News? Well, I think the Gospel of Luke Chapter 4 has a lot to say on this:

Jesus came to Nazareth where he had been reared. As he always did on the Sabbath, he went to the meeting place. When he stood up to read, he was handed the scroll of the prophet Isaiah. Unrolling the scroll, he found the place where it was written,

God's Spirit is on me;
he's chosen me to preach the Message of good news to the poor,
Sent me to announce pardon to prisoners and
recovery of sight to the blind,
To set the burdened and battered free,
to announce, "This is God's year to act!"
He rolled up the scroll, handed it back to the assistant, and sat down. Every eye in the place was on him, intent. Then he started in, "You've just heard Scripture make history. It came true just now in this place."
       (The words of Jesus Luke 4:16-19 The Message translation)

Alan Hirsch was one of the keynote speakers at the Change the World conference.  I've been reading Hirsch for years and it was a thrill to hear him in person.  
He said that the one virtue that he sees lacking in church leaders is courage.  He reminded us that the fundamental job (and opportunity) of a leader is to exercise the power of the imaginative leap. To help people see the world like Jesus sees it - to open up new and exciting ways to approach each and every day and to set parameters by which people can dream dreams.  

That's what Jesus was saying in the gospel of Luke as he quoted the prophet Isaiah:

*The world does not have to be this way any longer!  
*There is no need for anyone to be without food, clean water, health care or safe shelter! 
*The blind can have their vision restored! (open your eyes to the possibilities, friends)
*People who are burdened and battered can be set free from the fears and addictions that imprison them!

As a person of faith and a leader in the United Methodist Church I believe we are called to make this come true each and every day of our lives...but I can't do it alone. That is why I am part of the Body of Christ - the Church - and together, using our God given gifts, we can do this.

The world is full of beautiful, beloved, broken people and as servants of our risen savior, we need to share the Good News - and release others for ministry and mission. We can make a difference!

How is God calling me, you, US to bring the Good News to our community? How can we lift each other up and partner together? How can we live out of our giftedness and be a blessing to others?

These are the questions I'm wrestling with this beautiful October day.

Peace, love, in Christ,


1 comment:

  1. Great questions, Deborah.

    Please keep asking them, and let us all know what answers you discover.