I had been ambivalent about attending the conference despite ohmygoshit'skutless and lookpeopleit'stheexactsameverse!Serendipity! moments.
So I did what any normal person in 2014 does. Divert ambivalence into a complaint about lack of money on facebook. And then this woman full of awesomesauce GIVES ME EXACTLY WHAT I NEEDED FOR TICKETS AND MEALS at the conference. (Though it turns out I didn't actually really need to get meals, it was so near my hotel). (No linky on this woman because she might hate me for it... she shall stay anonymous until she decides to say something.) (Really, don't listen to me when I complain about money because I really, really, really do have enough. I'm just stingy and trying to convince myself to spend on something I want, other than books.)
I just opened my book of notes, and I love it how the (kind of) first phrase I wrote down from Mario Murillo says, "Some of you look at how impossible your dream is. You're looking at the wrong thing." Somewhere down the page, it continues, "Even when you don't know what to do next, God is going to do amazing things!" It's as if God is just affirming again and again and again that I don't have it all, but it doesn't matter. He knows what's going to happen.
Your latter will be greater
"A culture of victory and excellence can be handed down to create a generation that exceeds the prior generation." - Mario MurilloEven as we start to build 215District, I believe this is a word in season, this is the word that we need at this time. It seems as if things are falling apart, and we are trying to build a new culture, a new identity from scratch. It's difficult. But we have the people and the tools in place - setting that culture of victory and excellence NOW is what is going to ensure the future of the generations to come.
We are called to be counter-culture, and in a world where standards don't matter, where excellence isn't a big thing (even in the church), we should (and need to) build a culture of youth that care about doing the right thing, and doing it well. Let's not buy in to the lie that it's okay to be mediocre, it's okay to kind of just follow along with what everyone else is doing. The verse says that we shine like stars. Another verse says that we do it all with excellence as if doing it for the Lord. Other verses promise that we will be the head and not the tail.
I covered the book of Daniel in cell group before I left, but this was an interesting thing Mario brought up that I don't think we considered during our discussion. Daniel served through the reign of 4 kings. We know that. But the thing we didn't think about was that in those days, each new king that came into power purged (i.e. killed) all the servants of the old king and put his own people into power - but Daniel was so valuable, that they couldn't kill him. Each time, he was reinstated to power.
If you stay right with God, He will promote you to be the leading edge of your culture.And we need that. We need to stop playing catch-up with where the world is going. We need to stand up for our convictions. We need to be so good at what we do, and so strong in what we believe in that people will stop and listen. Even if they don't agree.
There's more to be said, but I'm sleepy.