64/366 - tree planting: japanese maples
There were several other speakers at the Conference that had important things to say, but a week later, I'm still feeling exhausted over all this information so I think I'll finish my notes with Francis Chan.
Chan showed his gifts as a pastor as he wrapped things up with a powerful message of courage and perseverance. It was just the blessing I needed to take all these pieces and go home and make a life out of them.
Chan is known for radical financial giving. He talked about how he has had tremendous opposition from the church, people trying to tell him he's "too serious" or he's not wise with his finances. His encouragement to us?
Don't let people push you back. Don't listen. They will come with their reasons and their scriptures and they will tell you not to dream, not to take things so seriously, "that's not what Jesus really meant." Don't listen to them.
He looked at three scriptures people use to tell him he doesn't understand economics in the Bible:
Prov 6:6 (go to the ant you sluggard) - people say this means we are supposed to be wise and save
Prov 13:22 (good man's wealth goes to children's children) - people say this means if you are a good man you will save enough for your children and their children (by implication then, there are no "good" men in poverty.)
Matt 26:11 (the poor you will always have with you) - people say this means we can't solve the problem of poverty and were never intended to.
Spent the next 15 minutes reading nothing but scriptures about giving to the poor...it was really astounding.
~ Chan doesn't understand why older people save and save for retirement just to have a little bit of fun at the very end of their lives. We are going to die. Every day we are speeding towards the throne room of God and each year goes faster. We should be spending as fast as we can for the Kingdom, The older we are the more we should be letting go of goods and giving, giving, giving.
Talked about not being confused and confounded by people but just boldly doing what the gospel calls you to.
Said he prayed that God would move on the hearts of rich people to give more to the poor. Then he prayed that God would make some different people rich. *hee* And then he said, "You could make me rich if you want."
And the next year he made a million dollars.
Gave it away.
The next year he made two million dollars.
Now he gets together with friends and they plan ways to give away money. They just planned a banquet (like in the gospels, invite the poor, the lame, the outcast) and brought in chefs, took the invited guests shopping for new clothes, threw a huge party for them. He was giddy with the planning of it, so excited to see their faces. Then he realized that is how God feels about us, preparing a banquet table for us.
We are RICH because we have GOD! why would we want money on earth? Give, give, give, give.
~ During this session I took very few notes, listing some scriptures on poverty and this one phrase that I've kept saying to myself all week to not lose focus...not in a morbid way, but as a reminder that time is short and now is the best day to serve wholeheartedly: