Origins Labs

Today was the Origins Labs day – kind of pre-conference workshops ahead of Catalyst tomorrow and Friday. It was a good and challenging day, begun by a great time with Erwin McManus in the opening session. It was awesome.

Starting with Acts 17 (when Paul was in Athens), he talked about how there is a first space, which we create for ourselves – a place where we’re comfortable. The second space, as I understand it, is sort of a common space, where we work together and live together with others. The third space is a space into which we will only be invited into by others based on our authenticity and ability to engage in meaningful conversation. People really are willing to enter in to spiritual conversation – but if Jesus isn’t the overwhelming reality of our lives, why would they want to talk to us about him?

Some questions I jotted down as he spoke:
-Are we pretending to touch Athens, while merely living in the synagogue? Are we creating 1st Spaces that are exclusive to those who are like us?
-Are we teaching people to engage in conversation, or are we just talking to each other about nothing?
-Is Jesus the overwhelming reality of my life?
-Are we afraid of the second place so much that we’ve created first spaces to protect ourselves?

McManus had a great comment when talking about the question of how to get the church to engage culture? “What did you do to disengage it?”

In the closing session, he made the statement that “All the material you need to help someone else find God is already within them.” I really love that thought. God wants us to find Him, so He causes us to seek. My job isn’t to teach the right set of facts, or even inspire (or coerce) the right actions – it is to reach into young lives and help people discover where God already is in their story (& where they fit into His).

Some other meaningful phrases and thoughts from the labs with Dave Gibbons and Mark Batterson (I’ll try to unpack later)
-Honor the past; fuel the fringe. (I really feel the tension in this one from Dave Gibbons, whose book I will be buying before we leave.)
-The greatest miracles of life often happen in transitional times. What are the ‘hybrids’ God is calling us to create?
-Leaders are fathers. It’s critical to really see people (with insight of the Holy Spirit) and affirm their unique destiny. There’s no plug-and-play option for discipleship.
-I need to foster an “everything is experimental” mentality in my ministry. (Do we really need things to be ‘established’?)
-Pray for the “unexplainable and uncontrollable”.
-Create a culture of positivity.
-Sometimes the most spiritual thing we can do is to keep going even though it’s tough, so “try” longer than the opposition tries or circumstances last.
-God brings us ideas/dreams/vision even when the math doesn’t add up. Is the God we serve big enough to bring them about anyway?
-“You’ll never be more than 80% sure.”
-What is one next step I need to take and who will push me to follow through?
-Live with a holy expectation that God can invade my reality at any time. This was from Mark Batterson, but it really echoes back to Erwin’s thoughts about Jesus being the overwhelming reality of our lives.

It was great (and just the beginning). Too much more to write about now.
(+ the awesomeness of Chick-Fil-A with bacon, pepperjack, and Polynesian sauce).

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