Monday, March 21, 2016

One Voice '16 Reflections



Written: Saturday, March 19

So there I was…Monday morning, 8:30 am…snaking my way through the chaotic labyrinth that is BNA security…when I suddenly heard a still, small voice gently whisper…

‘Listen first, speak second.’

At first, I wasn’t sure what to think.

Are you talking about One Voice?’ I replied.
‘Yes.’
Ahhh, well then, okay, God...



Granted, I had no idea how hard this would be at the time, but considering…

a) I knew God was up to something and...
b) ...I wanted to be ready..

… I figured sparking my expectancy with an unhesitant ‘Yes’ made perfect sense.

Well, as it turned out, such a response would not only align my focus in the moment, but also prep my heart for one of the most memorable1 summits in Messenger's tenure.

But before I continue…for those who couldn’t attend…while I’m still in a posture of processing, what I can say is God not only unified hearts through encounter, but also strengthened them through a stronger, more intimate understanding of what “remaining in God’s love” looks like.

Thus, if I had to use a word picture, I’d say Messenger 2016 was like a ‘renewal firehose’. Yes, things got messy; yes, things got intense, but by the end, you could sense a more reformed awareness of priority and strategy being activated…along with a sweeter sharpening of timely truth.

So if you were lookin’ for One Voice 2016 in a nutshell…there ya go.

Yet, as I ponder further, I can’t help but return to that still, small voice at the airport calling me to yield through surrendered voice.

You’re time will come,’ he said. For now, soak in what I’m about to do.

Okay, God,’ I replied. ‘You’ve given me every reason to trust you. I will follow.’

And with that…a three-day stretch of ‘Yes’s’ to God…and ‘No’s’ to intimidation began…with each session an opportunity to obey (rest in fresh perspective) and withstand (resisting the urge to withdraw)…
…obey and withstand…
…obey and withstand.

But here’s where this blog gets real.

‘Cause once upon a time, I used to struggle standing strong during Messenger events. I’d show up out of a desire to gain insight…out of obligation, but would often shrink back into inferiority and self-doubt.

Thoughts of…

’I’m too small, I’m too weak, I’m too uneducated. I’m overlooked, I’m an underachiever’

…would overwhelm me like a flood you could see coming but couldn’t avoid.

So I’d put on a mask, flash a smirk or two, and small talk my hurt away…until all that was left were the seconds on my wristwatch ticking away to freedom.

After all, I only needed to get through three days. Piece of cake, right?

However, this year …I just couldn’t get myself to wash, rinse, and repeat. Simply put…God wouldn’t let me. And by his grace, he would not only help me change my approach on the front end, but also help me live it out fearlessly through the back end.

Flash-forward to the closing ceremony…and I’m at a crossroads. I had passed my tests up to that point, but couldn’t elude the waves of affirmation passing over me2. Tempted by jealousy, I questioned if those around me could be so shallow as to limit their encouragement to only those who’d been given a podium invitation.

Thankfully, I knew what I needed to do to conquer the hurdle. I just had to suck up my pride and do it.

“Before you leave, Cameron, encourage the encouraged.”

Again, not exactly what the flesh had in mind3, but I had come too far this time to turn around.

So I obeyed…one more time. One more ‘Yes’.

And then, it started to rain, not so much precipitation as much as clear, inner revelations to certain ‘who, what, when, how’ questions4 I’ve long asked within.

The answers, you say?

Trust me: I’m tempted to divulge…but for now, let’s just say God revealed the ‘who’ and ‘what’…which may or may not have provoked the biggest internal happy dance in ‘Sunshine State’ history.





So while I can’t disclose specifics yet (considering it’s important I continue to pray into the discovery and seek counsel from mentors first), what I can tell you is: had I not consecrated my attitude and covered my heart before and during the summit, I would’ve risked missing out on such divine epiphany.

Yet, thanks to God’s ‘Emmanuel’5 presence and encouragement, I did it…and the reward is an unshakable confidence knowing the trifold audience God has for me and Lyssah moving forward in our ministry.

All that to say…stay tuned next time when I’ll unveil the download in greater depth.

‘Til then, the Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you…and give you peace.6

Footnotes

1. Not to mention balanced in a Spirit/Truth sense
2. Case and point: a stranger passed me in the bathroom during the final night, his only words to me (for the entire event): ‘You’re so blessed to know so-and-so. Isn’t so-and-so so great?’
3. Considering I'd just be repeating the same ol' beat
4. An extreme paraphrase, but you get the picture
5. God with us
6. Numbers 6:24-26 (NIV)

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