Last week nine members of our staff attended the New Room Conference in Nashville, TN. New Room is a three-day time of spiritual renewal and revival, taking its name from the New Room in Bristol, England which was the first building built by John Wesley for his Methodist Movement. The conference was full of inspirational talks and powerful worship, all bathed in the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. We didn’t come back with, “Six ways to improve your church’s offering” or “How to grow your worship attendance” or anything like that – instead, we came back with renewed hearts and a renewed passion to live for Jesus every moment of the day, pointing others to him. One speaker lifted this verse in Acts 4:13:
“The members of the council were amazed when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, for they could see that they were ordinary men with no special training in the Scriptures.
They also recognized them as men who had been with Jesus.”
Then the speaker asked these questions: Would the world say that about us? Would the world recognize us as having been with Jesus? Just by looking at us, watching how we live and hearing how we talk, would people think, “Wow, that must be a Jesus-follower!” I had to admit in that moment, as maybe you do as you are reading this, that far too often Jesus is unrecognizable in me. For people to see Jesus in us, we need to love as he loved, live as he lived, serve as he served, pour out grace even as we speak truth just as he did, and have broken hearts for the things that break God’s heart. Would you be willing to pray for me as I seek that closeness with Jesus? I will certainly be praying this for all of you. Just imagine what kind of church we’ll be, what kind of witness we’ll have, when that happens!
Hope you’ll join us Sunday as we continue our journey through The Story. We’ll be in Ch. 5, New Commands and a New Covenant. Our focus Sunday will be on the 10 Commandments, but I’m going to cheat a bit and move us forward to Jesus as we consider them. If you want a hint of where we’re headed Sunday, read Mark 12:28-34. See you then!