Preparing your heart for National Convention 2017
You will find in these words no unsuspected revelations or magic courses of action. All I offer is a call to reawaken ourselves to the infinite God who has called us together for the week of National Convention, and I pray that we will do far far more than read these words.
In seeking to prepare our hearts for NC, we must ultimately remember something profoundly humbling; that we cannot change our own hearts for holiness, only God can.
There are no shortcuts to sitting with the very Word of God open before us and speaking with our divine Maker when it comes to setting our hearts upon what will never lose an ounce of beauty. Ever. This is not a predictable time slot or an expected experience, but rather an incomprehensible friendship without which all other friendships will be found unsatisfying. This glorious exchange alone can flip our hearts to find fullness in what lies ahead.
If we crash full speed into NC with unchecked momentum from weeks of school and work and activity, I’m certainly not going to say we won’t find fun and frequent laughter, but I would venture to guess it may be Friday or Saturday before the beautiful reality of our unfathomable God begins to affect our hearts, and that would be a tragedy.
If I may, I would suggest a few ways in which the marvelous will meet with our mundane lives at National Convention, in order that we may begin to prepare for the unfolding of God’s profound glory. Oh how much we might miss if unprepared!
Life affords few opportunities like this to unite with students from all across America who have one hope; the glory of God. Each joyful reunion represents a reflection of the joy we will experience in heaven as we unite with fellow worshippers forevermore. Perhaps these eternal bonds will begin during this very National Convention. I once had a wise man say to me “If your five closest friends look just like you, you’re missing out on the essence of the body of Christ.” We must prepare for opportunities to share life with others we don’t understand, brothers and sisters we may have difficulty conversing with because there is little in common. At National Convention, these opportunities will come with certainty. They are easy to pass over. They take work to nurture. They are gloriously life giving.
As we lift up songs with our lips and with our feet, eager to spread love, we join, as one congregation with hosts of angels unimaginable, singing exultation to the One who always was, who always is, and who always will be. Oh to catch a glimpse of how magnificent our worship is! Rarely will we have opportunities like this, surrounded by hundreds of fellow worshippers, to proclaim the goodness of God in song to one another, continually making a melody to God in our hearts. Let us not hold back from rejoicing to one another as we glimpse the majesty of the God of all things. Let our joy and our amazement pour forth. May we be a people who shout the glory of God to strangers and dance with brothers and sisters we’ve just met.
This conference is not a seven day show, and will be a huge disappointment to the cynic who comes with crossed arms. Following the example of Christ, we ought to be participants, not observers. Rather than laughing at or critiquing those who take the stage, instead let us pray for them and actively encourage them. Let’s ask God to use our lives as a display of his glory. God does miracles through willing servants, but only those who are available. If God plans to feed 5,000 people at NC, we’d better be bringing our fish or we’ll find ourselves missing out. May we search until we’ve found a way to serve another, whether on a campaign, or in your dorm, or on cleanup duty. As the body of Christ, we have the honor of taking ownership with God in this event, and an opportunity to let our joy in the Lord pour forth in following the example of Christ, laying down our lives for others.
My call for us is to spend unbounded time with God, in order that our eyes may begin to open to the unseen majesty of life in the Spirit, the deepest vein of our unity made possible by the merciful sacrifice of Christ on our behalf.
Blessings to you all. I eagerly anticipate worshipping together with all that we are in just one short week.
Glory be to God!