Life Scribbles: Reflections from North Carolina
I’m currently traveling back from a great weekend retreat with a wonderful church in North Carolina. I had the privilege of speaking to a church primarily comprised of college and young professionals in the Durham area. I was encouraged to see a beautiful community of passionate Christ-followers who longed to see their faith bring good to the world.
Although I usually don’t speak too often at church camps, I agreed to do so for a few reasons:
I saw it as an opportunity to inspire and challenge young leaders to use their education, experience, and gifting to become expressions of God’s love to the world. Out of the 130+ that were present, most of them were in prestigious schools or in fields of great cultural impact. In fact, Durham has the highest concentration of highly educated people in America. I knew that helping these individuals to look outside of themselves in order to find fulfillment would greatly benefit humanity in the long run.
Also, I was also honored by the invitation because this church has endured much pain this past year with the loss of their senior pastor. Unfortunate circumstances had removed him from leadership. I felt that it was important to go encourage them with the kind of hope that only God could bring. As a church searching for a new pastor, I wanted to affirm that they could still impact the world during this prayerful time of transition. Ultimately, it is Christ who leads the church.
I was deeply encouraged by their current leadership’s willingness to open up their hearts, share their pain, and work towards forming the kind of future that would honor God and serve people. It was so refreshing to see those in the church committing to continuing the ministry and exploring new ways of being a community of faith.
I’m walking away from this experience with a couple of life lessons:
- The message of Jesus’ practical love for the world and his invitation for us to partner with him continues to resonate in the hearts of this generation. People want their lives to matter in this world. Spirituality without care for the world ends up in narcissism and self-delusion.
- When people choose to live authentically with one another in love, hope will always rise above pain.
- Pain in not something to be ignored, but rather, it must be embraced for it informs and forms our deepest passions and purposes. Without pain, there can be no perseverance. Without perseverance, there can be no hope. Without hope, there can be no purpose.
Thank you friends in Durham for your gracious hospitality. It was a pleasure being with you and learning from you!