On Your Mark, Get Set, God…
There were musicians heard, speakers quoted, thousands of people present, topics discussed, and leaders born. Though the event distilled down to darkened rooms, removable equipment, tired volunteers, abandoned notebooks, and full trashcans, an encounter of the heart still rages on. For me, it is not the event of Catalyst as much as it is the encounter with Christ that such a catalyst ushers in, leaving me changed and compelled in a new way about something “old”. As Francis Chan and Louie Giglio noted, there is no new edge or trend that can be spun on the reality of Jesus as the Mark. Even Solomon agreed that nothing new is under the sun, that no idea has been escaped. It is still to Him, through Him, for Him, and about Him. He is the Commencement, Catalyst, and Conclusion to all. He is the Mark. Rom 11:36
Atlanta Catalyst 2009 came and went, but the race ahead continues. “On Your Mark” was not only the theme for Catalyst but is the charge of God to the leaders and listeners in this generation. Are we listening to the Architect of our course? Are we leading to the Ascension of the Mark or mere men?
The Question: What and Where is your mark? The Answer: His power alive in your reality, accomplishing all that is now and to come. It still can’t get any simpler or more profound than Jesus. Encounter Jesus. Leader, follower, Husband, Wife, Mother, Father, Nobody, Celebrity; it boils down to who He is not who we are. It is not so much in leaving a mark as it is in knowing the Mark. It is not a new edgy idea or trendy style of communicating as much as it is meditating on the face and personhood of Jesus. It is His voice that sounded the “go gun” to begin. It is His character that is our baton. It is His pattern of history that is our course for the future. It is His face that is our Mark. Thank you to Louie, and others, that refreshed me with this reminder of Truth. It is Him, the express image of God’s person, Jesus. In His face, everything else grows dim and the Goal illuminates brighter giving stout meaning to all the duties, roles, ministries, tasks, investments, and dreams in between. The Word has spoken, the gun has sounded, the race has begun…So are you on course and if so where are you headed?
Growing up, as children, in PE classes all over the country, we heard the famous words, “On your mark, get so, GO!” Now as adults, not only has the coaches’ scream become a faint echo but so has the charge of our Creator. You see, He too is encouraging us, compelling us, and enabling us with the famous words-“On My Mark, Sarah, get ready, GO into all that is ahead of you.” However, the demands of ministry, the disasters of life, the disarray of activities begin to silence His voice and stunt our pace. Oh that we would be called back into intimacy as leaders. Oh that we would remain on course, but on the right course with the right Coach behind us and Collision ahead of us. A collision course with the face and heart of Jesus Christ, in the midst of all we do, is the acclaimed aim.
He has orchestrated a race to run with endurance, a goal (an upward calling) to reach with accomplished joy, and a navigation system through His Word, lighting the steps of our journey. What a refreshing reminder! As adults in life, may we assume the position of children in PE. Are you “on our Mark”? Are you prepped, ready, in position, and available to RUN the race, reaching the destination that is gleaming in your eye? Even better yet, as leaders, what is the destination that is glistening in our eye? What is beckoning us to Run, to Go, to Race onward? Well, I along with others, venture to say that before you can be on your Mark, you must know to that which you run. Where you are running to must first be answered before your runner’s stance can be assumed. I was yet again challenged, called, and confirmed forward through Catalyst this year. Compelled forward through this race called life into the collision of His face with mine. In my suite, worship rung loud from my heart, words typed quickly through my fingers, and the tears streamed as I sensed Him placing me “on mark” again. Humorously, as the recesses in my soul are moved, civic center patrons are also moved to loudly refill the ice buckets and distractingly crumple bags of chips into the trash. Hilarious. Spiritual moments always happen in the normalcy of life, don’t they?
Back to my flow, He is a good Leader, Coach, and Running Partner. So as Song of Solomon put it in chapter 1, He called me into His chambers last week that we might run together. Thank you to Catalyst for being a catalyst to His chambers that I might run the course with endurance not sprint speed.
Maybe the many nuggets I learned and randomly jotted below will help all of us “Get ready, Get set, Go, not only on our mark but to our Mark!
Stay your Mark and keep running…
- Focused intensity over time multiplies by God’s effort causes unstoppable momentum that changes everything! (Dave Ramsey)
- Immaturity is revealed in our heart when God beckons us to obedience and we delay, question, analyze, or move with haste in the opposite direction. Therefore, I am fixing my eyes on the Author of, the Finisher in, and the Intercessor for my faith!
- Confess, repent, fight, believe, mature... Listen to God and tune into our hearts.... DO what He says not what YOU want. With this done we can RUN the race set before us!!!! The unique race has begun.... can you run it? Is sin entangling? Throw it off by faith and RUN... confess, repent, receive, believe, mature, Run. Heb 12
-GOD IS DOING EXACTLY WHAT HE SAID HE WAS GOING TO DO AS HE ALWAYS DOES.... and we are invited to the unfolding. (Matt Chandler)
- Lay aside the entanglements that easily hinder for in confession and repentance there is LIFE and Freedom! In quietness and rest is confident strength. Is 30:15
-Lay Aside, cease striving, and run YOUR race.
- Are we ready and willing to live and DIE by faith? There is crucifixion and resurrection in the Christian life. Heb 11:29- BY Faith... they conquered... BY Faith!!! By faith...though they were sawn in two, they were persecuted, they were tortured.... BY Faith we now live not sight or guarantee.
- Nehemiah 4:13-14 It is not about what you are building but who you are becoming. Amen!
-Lean into the mission of fortifying those around you. As leaders, encourage parents to parent, marriages to stay together, and families to be connected. (Tony Dungy)
-As leaders, don’t build empires, become enablers.
- Have we been so easily seduced by the more, the better, the bigger that we have lost the very experience of what we proclaim??!!! CLEANSE me lord from busyness with stillness. Free me from activity by an increase of intimacy with you. Is the current pace of life sustainable? If it is not... than silence, still, and stagnate longer! BE STILL AND KNOW THAT HE IS GOD.
- The fall fractured it all, but Christ's death and life revived.
- John 6. Sometimes the crowd thins yet deepens at the same time...For then The Few rise High. So the crowd thins and deepens but also the crowd thickens and runs the risk of “shallowing”. Luke 21
- We are the living crucifixion Friday that breathes and embodies the resurrection Sunday to all watching! Don’t just take the Eucharist, Be it. (Rob Bell)
- WHEN WE OBEY GOD TRULY, WE WILL NOT COVET ANYONE ELSE'S LIFE.....the first 9 “laws”, when kept in heart, make the 10th commandment a reward! “YOU WILL NOT COVET” when you are in the center of His vision... Amen
- We acknowledge that the bush is always burning and the sandals are always off for the ground is always and presently holy.... For He is in us! Col 1:27
-"The gospel is to be more promoted and cultivated as a garden by a Gardner than it is a relic glassed in painting protected by a guard".... (Shane Hipps) Have we protected it so much that we have stop promoting it in the context we live?
-"God of glory, voice of thunder, split the cedars, bring us under on the shadows of your wings you give us strength, you give us peace..." (Zach Williams)
- If I "win", I win and if I loose I "win".... what a freedom to have in Christ... that His story always wins!
-“God is fully responsible for a life wholly devoted to Him.” (Charles Stanley)
- Living to make my mark is too small a thing to give my life too.
-It is not being in authority but under authority! His AUTHORity.
- It is not so much about the mark I leave but the fact I AM Marked. You have marked me, Lord leverage me now for Your mark. Josh 5:13
- So do you trust Him to leave His mark with the only mark you leave as believing Him?
-"Great men make and leave the world better...leadership is the forward motion to ensure that happening." (Andy Stanley)
-Narrow my focus, hone my energy, captivate my mind, guard my emotions, margin my time, feed my soul that I might lead them…
-Let me experience the same encounter I present.
-Yield to His interruptions and you will be surprisingly victorious. Disappointments are HIS appointments
-Josh 3 advises five things in leadership: After getting direction, act intentionally, act immediately, act fearlessly, acknowledge His presence, and anticipate His movement. Eph 3:20
-Fear rises but faith always flies higher.
-Shop in your own storehouses of treasure, for surely in this earthen vessels there is already a Treasure to treasure not obtain.
-Leading is actually following. Everyone is a leader because everyone is following something. What are you following and where are you leading?
-“Your life is shaped by the end you live for; You are made in the image of what you desire.” (Thomas Merton)
-Heaven is the face of God.
-How often do we look at His hand and miss His face?
-My soul was not made for lesser beauty than the face of Jesus. Drawing life from His smile.
-Forgive me that the frowns of others mean more to me than the smile of You.
-You cannot become unless you behold. Col 3 When Christ is revealed to you then you will be revealed in Him.
-Do we consider Christ a loss worthy of gaining everything else or do we consider everything less loss at the gain of having Christ?
-Leadership is not about getting a head, but looking at the Head we have. (Louie Giglio) Colossians 1
-It is more about internalizing Him than memorizing about Him.