When I arrived back at our B&B on Saturday I put 5 live on for a bit just before we went to sleep, and was rather pleased to hear an interview with David Hamilton, a former loyalist paramilitary member from northern ireland who became a Christian.
The interview is fascinating and heartwarming, and you can listen to it here:
This morning was the first of the mobilise sessions, followed by the first set of mobilise seminars. For me there was a really clear theme running through those morning sessions of relying totally on God.
In the main session Tom Shaw spoke on John 5:16-18, sharing how we should do nothing without the father. Our attitude should be one of total humility, total acceptance of our inability to act on our own initiative. And from that position of humility and surrender we are then able to do what we see the father doing.We are able to follow and imitate him totally, not on our own initiative but following his.
Key to this is to take time to pause in our lives and observe. Lay aside time to rest in Gods presence and just listen and watch him to see what hes doing. I was massively challenged that my life is full of activity and busyness, and that I leave little room for just hanging out with God, seeking his will.
This theme was massively carried through to the seminar I went to on Biblical leadership. The essence of the seminar from Mike Betts was that true Biblical leadership is the act of responding and reacting to the promptings of God. Leadership should be reactive based on what God promises us and what he initiates in us, not proactive and from our own strength and desires.
Mike really helpfully encouraged each of us that one of the greatest challenges to aspiring leaders is that of being unknown and obscure. This is a challenge that we must wrestle with and overcome, because some who feel called to leadership will in fact remain obscure for most or perhaps all of their lives. Its up to God to decide if and when to initiate positions of leadership for us, and until that happens we simply need to trust in him.
One big theme from today was reaching out to and caring for the poor. In the first session Scott Marques worked through Matthew 16:13-20, talking about the three dynamics of Gods kingdom you find in the passage. Gods passion for the poor and lost, Gods passion for the Church, and Gods passion for the nations.
I was particularly touched by Scotts challenge to bless those around us, especially those who are against us. God purposes to bless us, but also to bless the nations through us, so its our job as Christians to actively seek to bless people around us in any way possible!
The theme of caring for the poor was David Strouds focus in the third session, and he took us on a wonderful journey through Isaiah 58, provoking us to rethink the importance of the poor in our lives. Isaiah makes it clear that although Israel are fervently praying, fasting and desiring after God, they were not close to God because they didnt care for the poor among them.
Caring for the poor around us is a clear and essential evidence of true faith and obedience to God. It isnt something we tack on once everything else has been finished, caring for those around us is an essential part of being Church. Its also an essential part of our individual lives, and I was particularly challenged by Davids call to first ask what can I do to help? instead of the perhaps more natural cry of what can the Church do to help?
It was also great to hear David unpack the wonderful positive results of caring for the poor. Not just the obvious benefits to those around us, but also the fact that God promises to particularly bless his people when they do care for the poor.
So we’ve arrived in Brighton and are just going to chill out for the rest of the day. Later on all of us (which is 14 of us mobilise lot, plus Richard) will be eating together and generally having a relaxing and fun evening.
Tomorrow morning the conference kicks off, and I will be blogging about the week as it happens. I’m not really sure how many other people are blogging about mobilise itself, I know of quite a few ToaM live bloggers, but not so many of the young ‘uns.
I’m really looking forward to an exciting week, and I’m especially pleased that there are so many of us together from King’s Church to share the experience and then bring it all back up to Leicester together.