October 28, 2011
I've mentioned a few times now that I work with the alumni relations office here on campus. More specifically, I am a part of a student service organization, made up of seventeen juniors and seniors that help the alumni office with chapter and regional events, homecoming preparation, and other various events. Jeff Beste, the director of alumni, offered to send the five returning seniors in the group to the Catalyst conference in Atlanta Oct. 6 and 7. So, 4 of the 5 and Mark McDaniel, one of Jeff's staff, headed to Atlanta for an amazing weekend. What a blessing this conference was! Let me share some of my favorite highlights with you.
The theme of the conference was "Be Present." Through speakers such as Francis Chan, Mark Driscoll, Andy Stanley, Priscilla Shirer, and many others, we were challenged to live in the present, not fretting over the past, not dwelling on the future, but experiencing what God is doing right now. One of the biggest challenges for me came from Francis Chan.
Hebrews 5:7 says "During the days of Jesus' life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with fervent cries and tears to the one who could save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission." I had never really considered this verse very deeply. How many times do we sit down to pray and let our mind wonder? Accidentally fall asleep? Only pray because the speaker tells us? Say a quick prayer to check it off our list? How reverent are we when we pray? If Jesus was heard because of his reverence, we should use His example and fully be PRESENT in our personal time with God.
The second thing that hit me hard was from Mark Driscoll's segment entitled "Fear Not." Being the most stated commandment in the Bible, we often misinterpret what exactly we are afraid of. Failure? Success? Singleness? Commitment? We often create false hells, false heavens, and false saviors for ourselves and our situation. For example: "the job I have right now is putting me in a false hell. Leaving and then being in a new, better job, is my false heaven and the people that make that possible become my false savior."
As stated many times throughout the conference, we need to live in the opportunity God has placed us in in this exact moment. Don’t sleep through your life, or wish it away, waiting on the next chapter in life. Enjoy the little things in life, and don’t waste any opportunities.