Whenever I attend a conference I take one sheet of blank paper to summarize what I sense God is saying to me. Sometimes it is so clear. Sometimes it takes time to fully process. During the final session, God gave me a great deal of clarity on what specific lessons I needed to learn during my time at the Cove. I knew that I wasn't there to give my workshop. The meager attendance of about 15 people was a clear enough message! God had designs for my heart, not my mouth.
I wrote through my joyful tears, rejoicing that God had graciously revealed some things to me through his Word:
1. Pray to preach with fire (Jeremiah 23:29) – My heart burned within me with new zeal for preaching the Word like Martin Lloyd-Jones used to describe: "Theology on fire!" I was reminded of the need to pray for the powerful anointing (unction) of the Holy Spirit each time I open the Word.
2. Live in the supremacy of Jesus (Col 1:15-20) – I was compelled to think not only about the centrality of Jesus, but to live in his supremacy: to take being "God's kind of person" to another level, to realize that Jesus is reconciling all things to himself even now, to see my daily life through the lens of "Our Lamb has conquered, Let us follow Him!"
3. Live like an athlete (Heb 12:1) – An athlete is different than a casual competitor. His discipline, regimen, activity, and focus are radically different than most because he is in training. I need to think this way and then live this way.
4. Stop for refreshment (Heb 12:12) – Along the race of ministry are God-given refreshment stands. Too often I'm too busy running in the race, and I think if I just push it a bit harder I'll finish faster. But without refreshment, we hit a wall. Refreshment is a critical part of the race strategy; it isn't optional; God created me with a need for rest and refreshment. Only the foolish or inexperienced try to make it without it.