Thoughts from Verge Conference 2013

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March 6, 2013 by cbbeard

ACLAs I walked up the stairs of the Moody Theater in Austin, Texas the “Austin City Limits” grabbed my attention.  I had flashbacks of sitting in my living room as my dad tuned into PBS to see his favorite country-western musicians picking and grinning.

I managed to be near the front of the line, so as they opened the gate I made my way to the front row, close enough to touch the stage.  I admit it, I got chills.  On that very stage an eclectic group of musicians had played; everyone from Rosanne Cash to Coldplay, Mumford and Sons to Cheap Trick.  They built this stage to be the second-generation of a show that was made famous by legendary musicians like Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard.  I couldn’t help but smile when I thought of what it would be like to be in the audience for these amazing performances; to be in the presence of amazing performers.

Verge StageMinutes later, a band I had never heard of before took the stage and with the aid of a video screen I sang a song I had never sung before.  In that room, hundreds of people were standing in spots that were built to accommodate admirers of some of the greatest human artists the world has to offer.  In those spots, people were singing their lungs out and shouting their praises, but we were not excited because we were in the presence of great musicians; we were singing and shouting because we were in the presence of the living God.

So for two days in Austin, Texas, a stage built for enjoying and honoring men and women was used for a much better purpose: enjoying and honoring our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ.

This was the crux of Verge Conference 2013 to me: taking the things that humanity has used to celebrate and glorify ourselves and converting them to their rightful and intended usage of bringing glory to God.

It’s all about discipleship.  The fullness of the gospel is not simply a “get out of hell free” card, not even close.  The fullness of the gospel is found in imitating Jesus in our own lives and contexts, and showing others how to be like him using our words and actions.

Here are some of my favorite quotes from Verge Conference 2013:

Jesus is worthy of more than nominal adherence and casual association. – David Platt

I want the world to look at the church in this country and be shocked to the point of fear. – Francis Chan

I want to be an influence (for Christ) beyond driving distance from my church and beyond my eulogy. – Neil Cole

Kingdom movements are obsessed with discipleship and disciple making. –Alan Hirsh

We must stop preaching a gospel of sin-management. – Alan Hirsh

The mission of God’s people is not extending God’s reign…HE REIGNS! – Michael Frost

Jesus didn’t say “follow that curriculum” or “follow that leader” he said “follow me.” – Dave Gibbons

Jesus had three associations; he was associated with the Father, he was associated with the disciples, and he was associated with “the least and the lost.” Are we guilty by association? – Hugh Halter

Jesus’ ministry was “come” and “go,” an invitation and a challenge. – Mike Breen

I left Verge Conference 2013 refreshed and determined.  I was reminded of the privilege of being a disciple and a disciple maker as well as the absolute travesty that exists when we make Jesus an accessory to our lives rather than making him our life.   I was reminded that our call is to “make disciples” and that requires real relationship and opportunities to meet people where they are rather than ask them to come into our world (the church building) to hear the good news of God.

I was reminded that our lives are a stage that we have often used to glorify ourselves, but God has a much better purpose in mind: using our lives to enjoy and honor our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ.

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