I’ve been able to tune in to bits and pieces of the IF:Gathering 2017 this weekend. I remember attending it in Austin its very first year, and my life was forever changed by the power of God that is behind this movement. The challenges I received that first year in Austin, Texas have propelled my life and my ministry forward in ways that I simply could not have fathomed.
So, although I can’t attend in Austin each year, I gladly tune in via live stream as much as I can. I was thrilled to find a moment in the morning chaos of my Saturday today to grab my phone and tune in, while my toddler (What?! How is he not a baby anymore?!?!) is babbling and throwing Cheerios on the floor. I tuned in.
And I was welcomed by the powerful and anointed voice of Rebekah Lyons. I didn’t connect in time to hear her entire message, but God knew the part I needed to hear. As she preached from Acts 7 on the death of the first recorded martyr in Scripture (Stephen), the Holy Spirit was unleashed through her words into my heart. Stephen’s time was crucial; it was critical. The first church was beginning to blossom and grow, and it was met with tremendous persecution. But what did they do? They were commanded to stop preaching the name of Jesus. But what did they do?
Persecution did not have its intended effect on the early church. Instead of silencing its voice, it spread and multiplied its voice to the farthest reaches of the earth. You and I are here today in the faith because there were a few bold, brave followers of Jesus a few thousand years ago who refused to remain silent on what mattered most: JESUS.
Take a minute and breathe that in one more time. What matters most is JESUS…not our agendas, not our jobs, not our secondary passions, not our scars, not our families, not our positions. And our time is crucial; our time is critical. The world needs to hear, see, feel, touch, and meet Jesus, and He will be realized and known through us, Church.
JESUS. Just Jesus. Only Jesus. First, Jesus.
As Rebekah spoke, I couldn’t write fast enough, so I missed a large chunk of what will perhaps be the most quoted and tweeted segment of her message, but I caught a part of it.
“Sisters in Christ, we are marked by righteousness, not bitterness. We are marked by courage, not fear…Let’s march for that!”
I so wish I could have caught every word she said as she charged us to live in and be known by our identity in Christ, but I think you get the point.
I imagine each of us feel that our cause(s) are worthy. But let’s choose to be humbled today in remembering that Jesus is THE cause, the most worthy cause, and all else is secondary. And if I’m going to march, I’ll march for Him.
Sister, what are you known for? What are you “marching” for? What is being shouted and spoken from your social media pages? When your name or face comes to someone’s mind, what or who do they think of?
Is it your political bent? Is it your stance on women? Is it who you hate?
Is it Jesus?
Because, the first church did not survive because they fought and died for their preferences. It survived because it was about Jesus. Remember that. THAT will change the world.