It’s not uncommon for a pastor or minister to speak to his congregation on a day like today and implore them to make Jesus their Valentine for the day, especially those who may not have had the luck of receiving a rose and chocolate on this so called auspicious occasion. Personally, it often appears as if they do this in attempts to cushion the blow of singleness and unrequited love by offering Christ as a suitable alternative. In my esteem, this approach is, to be bluntly put, nonsense. Christ deserves far more than being marketed as an alternative to our romantic fancies. He’s the reason we live and breathe. He is our true love; He is love.
(Photocredit to http://brucegerencser.net/)
Of course, this mini series has absolutely nothing to do with Valentine’s day, but nevertheless… Happy Valentines! Just wanted to put that little plug in for no particular reason, other than to give glory to God. After all, He deserves it 😀
If you are now wondering what manner of click bait did you expose yourself to, I apologize, for it was not my intention to mislead you. I absolutely intend to speak on finding my true love, but from the perspective of a conference that I went to last December: Urbana 15.
It would be remiss of me to say that this experience began in December, but rather it began way back around March, when I first heard about the Conference. This was not before hearing the encouragement of a past president of IVCF, who devoted his life to global missions and spreading the Gospel of Christ across the world. It was on that day that I felt God’s call towards missions in my life as well, though I didn’t have any idea (and to extent I still don’t) what that meant for me. It was shortly after that I heard about Urbana, the student missions conference that InterVaristy USA usually conducts once every 3 years and my heart panged in my chest. I must go to this conference!
Over the year, I was able to see God stretch my faith and allow me to pay the down payment, which was a form of confirmation for me that this was in His plan, since without Him, it would’ve been impossible. He provided in more ways than thought possible, and through the provision of a well paying job, I was able to fund the rest of my way to USA, and the conference. To share that experience is a blog post in itself, but who knows, maybe one day I will 😀
Probably not, though.
The theme for the Conference was entitled “What Story will you tell?” and I know for sure that mine was an interesting one thus far. And you already know it; because you’re on my team, and I love you all, I’m going to share it with you!
Those who traveled with me would know that even our arrival to the hotel was a blessing, and we saw God’s grace in our journey, up to our very destination. My heart bubbled with excitement, and with the blissful nostalgia of visiting my home country once again. Though I’ve never been to St. Louis before, the atmosphere brought a familiarity that made it feel by no means foreign. It was here that I, alongside 16,000 others, would listen to what God was to say to us as individuals and the body of Christ as a whole.
Sounds great, doesn’t it?
Well it was, but perhaps not in the way that you’d expect. Firstly, I was gripped by fear. I felt an overwhelming urgency and need for me to essentially figure my life out within the space of 5 days, having been so heavily invested into this conference. I was afraid because I recently entered a relationship, and wouldn’t have been surprised if God called me to something that meant leaving her behind. I was afraid of missing completely whatever God brought me to this place to do, learn, hear or see. This pressure was so immense that half way through the experience, I broke down. It was too much for me.
This was all within His plan for me then. I came face to face with myself, and with a grand proposition: to let go of my fears, and place everything in His hands. Now I know that at times we tend to generalize this concept of “everything” to typically mean everything with regards to our situation, but I’d like to emphasize what I mean by everything. In that moment, I resolved to entrust my security in having a job, a potential future wife, a (somewhat put together) plan for my life…. in essence, every thing that I consider to be of value – that was what I placed in His hands. It was beautiful. I became opened up to His world of love for me, and able to subject myself to His divine authority. His authority isn’t a basic thing, mind you. He is able to control the seas, the skies… death itself… why wouldn’t I want to be under the authority and control of such an awesome Person?
I was exposed to a wealth of things. Among this was a real appreciation of the Global church: students from all around the world were gathered in this one place; different languages, races and backgrounds, all in worship to the one true God. You bet it was amazing! We were also exposed to the persecution that exists among some of the body. It encouraged us to always remember them, both to pray for them and to take advantage of every opportunity we have to advance His kingdom wherever we are.
There’s so much more I can say, but for now, I’d encourage you to truly seek Him with all of your heart, so that you will find Him. Let go of reservations you may have about giving Him your all; I guarantee that you won’t regret it. It was said in the conference that either Christ is Lord of all, or He isn’t Lord at all. Think about that as you go about reflecting your day. Hope you enjoyed! We aren’t done catching up yet… don’t worry 😉