I'm sitting in an airport just a few hours away from my reunion with my family, and just a few hours removed from finishing a weekend retreat with about 100 students from
It was a great weekend for me personally for at least a half dozen reasons:
- They wanted me to share about following Jesus - pretty much the only thing I feel passionate enough to talk about
- This is my first "speaking engagement" in a long time, and I re-engaged my old ego-based demons associated with that - quite the humbling experience
- I got to engage in toil side-by-side with a sister-in-arms that I really respect, who has honored and encouraged me by being attentive to my life-long journey - and I got to see and participate in a work she is dying for daily.
- I got to meet another capable, gifted, and loving couple who has joined her in the work there - and I instantly loved them both deeply.
- I experienced a very loving, global-minded, receptive, transforming group of college-age students who are eager to "figure it out" in their own hearts while also looking for ways to "change the world" for it’s good.
- I got to bond personally with a few of these folks, and experienced the powder-keg of energy and desire that resides deep in this generation - and it made me want to connect with, learn from, guide, and make room for them to "do their thing"...because when they do, watch out! It will be very, very different, and very, very good...more like Christ.
I'm still trying to explain to myself what I witnessed in these "kids" this weekend. In one respect, it was just a typical college-age, Christian weekend retreat...complete with beautiful hills and trees, mess hall, swimming pool, football field, and boys and girls cabins (and Fabio (yes, I said Fabio), the cook, and his crew provided very acceptable food).
But as I talked about Jesus, about his heart and desire for them, about his sacred calling for their lives, his sacred motive of love, his sacred strategy for changing the world through relationships...I saw a common desire lighting up behind their eyes.
A desire for a better life. A better way of life. A better way of "doing Christianity".
And while I was very encouraged, and excited...I think more than anything, I was affirmed. I was validated. Does that make sense? As I said, I'm still figuring it out, but I confess that sometimes I think that I'm crazy. Seriously. I walk around wondering if I am the only one feeling the way I am feeling.
But this weekend, I was clearly presented with evidence that I am not.
I was very blessed this weekend by this group, and they were very gracious to let me share about my life and passion, about Jesus Christ and his life, and how he wants to use us to change the world globally by loving very deeply, personally, and "transformingly" locally. Just like Christ (who changed the world globally having never travelled more than, what, a hundred or so miles locally).
I shared about a God that I am very excited about, but I do that all the time, and I'm just insecure enough to think that maybe no one wants to hear, or no one needs this God like I do, or no one understands just how incredible great the life He offers is.
One of the students had set up an "e-card" station -- full of paper, paint, colors, markers -- for everyone to sit down and create an "encouragement card" for each other. A beautiful heart named Abby told me she would make me one (after I complained out loud that I was feeling left out), and she made a "crayon card"...and on the inside she wrote:
I sure would never have thought to put it that way, but that is exactly how I feel...I know that God is the same yesterday, today, and forever, but He's also new every morning, and so whenever I find something new about God (or rediscover something old), through Christ, I feel like the kid with a new box of perfect crayons and I want to share him, and my excitement about him, with EVERYONE so they can see how awesome He is!
As it turns out, Jesus let me feel him again, through these young and energetic and "open to life" students, many of whom are hungry for guides and mentors who will be open to them and their vision for a new world, and will join them in forging it.
I would be honored to be one, and I hope I have something to offer them, but I sure know that they have a whole lot to offer me.
Across the generations, across the nation, let us all join Christ on his sacred mission of changing the world...starting with ourselves.