Monthly Archives: January 2012

Preparing for Urbana 12

Urbana 12 – Be Part of History from InterVarsity twentyonehundred on Vimeo.

While December 2012 still seems like a long way off, those of us in InterVarsity are already looking forward to this historic month.  The reason?  Because December 2012 marks InterVarsity’s 23rd student missions conference:  Urbana 12.  Hosted every three years, this conference has called over 250,000 individuals to commit their lives to living out Christ’s Great Commission since its inception in 1946.

This will be my third Urbana conference since joining InterVarsity staff and I couldn’t be more excited.  Though originally created for college students, this conference is open to anyone over the age of 17 who is interested in God’s global mission.  With hundreds of exhibitors from a variety of missions fields, it is the place to connect with what God is doing around the world.

Here are a couple of reasons that I would personally recommend attending:

  1. Worship, Revelation 7:9 Style
    In the book of Revelation, John writes, “I looked, and there before me was a multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb.  They were holding palm branches in their hands…”This is a glimpse of what worship in Heaven will be like.  But we don’t have to wait until Heaven comes to experience it now.  At Urbana, we worship in the thousands, in different cultural styles and languages.  It is a beautiful and amazing experience, as we join with brothers and sisters from around the world in worshipping our God and King together.
  2. Preaching Like None Other
    Urbana has been blessed to have speakers and preachers from around the world come and open God’s Word to us.  Some of the most life-changing messages that I have ever heard were at this conference.  You can listen to some of these incredible messages here, as a way of getting a foretaste of this year’s speaking.
  3. Global Encounters, Divine Calling
    At Urbana you can meet with brothers and sisters in Christ from around the world and speak with missions agencies in every field imaginable.  Not only is a great chance to encourage one another and celebrate what God is doing, but it is a chance to see how God might be calling you into ministry either here in the States or abroad.

So stay tuned here and I will let you know when registration opens!!!  You can also follow the Urbana 12 buzz on Twitter and Facebook.

Ministry of the Present

 

One of the great blessings of being part of a small group Bible study is how God often uses those times together as a way of teaching one another.  I had a great reminder of this just a couple of weeks ago.  I was meeting with a couple of guys from my church.  One of them mentioned how a friend was talking with him about being in a time of transition in his life.  He said that he felt like God was up to something major and would be calling him to something bigger and better soon.  My friend shared about how his concern that this person was constantly worrying about the “next” step in his Christian life and encouraged him to be patient and learn to appreciate what God is doing in the present.

As I reflected further on this discussion, I think that these are wise words and they really spoke to me.  Right now I feel like I am standing on the axis of three different branches of the Christian world:  college ministry, seminary, and the local church.  In each of these spheres I’ve heard similar sentiments as the one expressed to my friend:  “God is up to something…He has bigger plans for me…”  Often when people encounter God and begin to experience His calling on their lives, they begin to realize that God is calling them into something far greater than what they had been settling for, and it is a freeing experience.

However, I also think that there are times when we take this attitude a little too far, viewing our faith journey through the lens of upward mobility.  This is a problem because it can infect our spiritual lives with a sense of unhealthy agitation that fails to appreciate the seasons to which God has called us.  The result is that we end up losing the ministry of the present in favor of our constant pursuit of the future.

I felt like this personally hit home because I am also in a time of discernment.  Having served with InterVarsity for almost six years now, I am starting to think about where I would like my ministry career to go next and determine whether or not I have been called to IV for the long haul or if pastoral ministry might be the next step.  I must admit that both of these possibilities are exciting and hold a lot of potential.  However, I need to be careful that I do not neglect the work that God has given me to do in the here-and-now.  While I am looking forward to seeing where this discernment process will lead, I am also  committed to my present calling at UIC, knowing that when the time comes for the next season of my life, God will make that calling just as clear as He made this one.

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