>> October 15, 2010
In case you've never heard of it, Catalyst is a multi-denominational Christian leadership conference held in Atlanta every October. This year, more than 13,000 leaders and pastors from all denominations gathered together to worship, learn, and fellowship.
This year was the first time I've gotten to go, and I think more of us should be there next year! I'll be honest, I only made it to the first day (this pregnancy has got me too tired and sick all the time to marathon through both days). But I believe that I heard what God brought me there to hear.
Andy Stanley, from North Point Church, gave the opening lecture. He wasted no time getting down to business and challenging our addictions to appetite. All kinds of appetite. Not just gluttony, or sex, or fame. He nailed the deeper ones, too. The insidious ones that disguise themselves as "spiritual desires". Stuff like, longing for more responsibility, wanting to be envied, lusting for more visibility.
You know the times when we say things like "God, I could serve you so much better if my church were just BIGGER!!!! And wealthier. And...."
He brought us back to the story of Isaac and Esau. When Esau was so overwhelmed by his hunger, so focused on his stomach, that he voluntarily traded his entire birthright for a bowl of stew. Because appetite makes you focus on one thing until everything else goes blurry, even when that thing isn't good for you. You HAVE to have it.
It got me really thinking. Made me want to pray Paul's prayer of contentment (Philippians 4:10-12) - no matter where I am, no matter what my circumstances. God, make me content!
If your leadership decisions are dictated by your appetites, sooner or later you WILL trade your future for a bowl of stew.
Of course, it doesn't mean that you don't want your church to grow, or that you don't want your family to be healthier, or that you wouldn't like to be able to pay all the bills - at the same time! But it does mean that we won't go lusting after what God hasn't given us right now.
I needed to hear it. And I'm glad I went.
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