Day 2 of the Southside Christian High School Spiritual Life Conference was held on Wednesday, April 28, 2021. If you would like to read my summary of the evening’s activities, please read on. . . .
High School Spiritual Life Conference
Southside Christian School
Simpsonville, South Carolina
Wednesday, April 28, 2021
Staff present: Bob Jones, Diana Baker, Colin Urbanick, and Jadan Anderson
25 students in attendance
Outside games in beautiful S.C. weather
Meal of assorted deli sandwiches, chips, and water
Exhortation by Pastor Colin Urbanick, SCS Director of Discipleship / Campus Pastor
Singing led by 2 City Lights Church lead worshippers
A remarkable rap performance of the Gospel to encourage the students
Oliver Wong, Lead Pastor City Lights Church
The Resurrection has power.
Father, it is powerful to hear the Gospel in lyrics and story. I pray You would speak to us. You are our unshakeable God. Steady us, Lord. Amen.
I shared some of my story last night. [See my immediately previous blog post.]
At 16, I discovered bravery and gave my life to the Lord. I did not have Christian role models. My parents actually tried to persuade me not to make that decision.
A youth pastor I knew opened the car door for his wife. I wanted to be like that dude. He pastored in a mega-church of 10,000. He later has an affair and took his life.
Following Jesus is always good and not always easy.
I was a big fish in a small high school pond. I was a small fish in a huge college ocean. I was diagnosed with a disease, and the doctors said I would be on dialysis. I heard about the affair and eventual suicide death of my youth pastor, and my faith was shaken.
But power lives in our weakness, Paul said. We play roles that are easier than being ourselves. We need to stop believing what others think and say about us. You need to stop bullying others. Life is not about appearances. God is speaking to us on our pain.
Jacob is at the end of his life in this account from Genesis 32.
God shook Jacob.
Jacob had previously pretended he was his brother.
Jacob came back to his brother with fear of his brother. He sent his strength out ahead of him with a caravan of “stuff.”
Jacob was alone on the dark. Nothing to lose. Nothing to prove. No control.
We do not have control. The Spirit alone gives us self-control.
God wrestled Jacob down and game him his new name and identity.
God wrenched Jacob’s hip.
We, too, are wrestling with God. Nothing to gain. Nothing to lose. The LORD alone will give the blessing.
Jacob finally “got it.” God has time on His side. He will wait 20, 40, 60 years for you.
God asked, “What is your name?”
God said his new name would be Israel. He is the one “God would fight for.”
Jacob had been his own worst enemy. God had to chase him.
Until Jacob became weak, he would always take credit for his blessings.
God calls a loser a winner.
Israel was a champion.
Jesus was humble and weak. He suffered. He died. And he was a champion.
We chase after things which mean nothing.
We need to chase after God.
We too often live in a name which is not ours. We need to live in the name which is ours.
I had been a peacekeeper all of my life. When I came to know Jesus, I became a peacemaker.
Marriage is a “good struggle.” God is teaching me through marriage.
It’s good to have your rhythm thrown off. God chases us. He wrestles with us. He makes us claim His blessing and His name for us.
I have had to do a lot of wrestling with others and self, but I am finally able to be Oliver.
Surrender. Have no agenda. Be ready. Let the Word keep you steady. Be you. Wait for God to show up. He will speak to you in the Word when you spend time with Him and, consistently for at least a month, journal about what he is saying to you. Be ready to preach to yourself and to others.