On February 15 and 16, my wife and I will be hosting a conference at our church called “Make It Plain: Anticipating Jesus’ Return.” We are both very excited for this conference and what it means for our church, community and state. We are believing that God will use this conference to do a number of amazing things in people’s lives – giving them focus and purpose, imparting and activating spiritual gifts, increasing hunger and passion for Jesus, refreshing and reviving the weary and a whole host of other things. The more I prepare for this conference, the more excited I get.
Needless to say, there has been a lot of preparation on our end of things – preparing teachings, organizing, administrating and planning. To be honest, it has all been a little overwhelming. This is the first conference that I’ve ever hosted, shucks, its the highest profile event I’ve ever done and I don’t even know enough to know if I’m forgetting something. As the days crunch down to “go time” I find my anticipation growing (“its going to be awesome!”) as well as some fears (“what if no one comes or I totally bomb out?”).
I totally believe that fear and doubt are from the enemy and are unhelpful emotions when something is going to happen anyway. So I find myself reminding myself of why we are doing this and what motivated it in the first place. So here is a behind-the-scenes look into what God has been speaking to me about this conference.
I choose to live as though Jesus is going to return in my life time and I look for evidence of His return. Why? Because it keeps me focused and steady on the things that really matter. Jesus said “I am coming soon!” over 2,000 years ago, why don’t I think it will be another 2,000? Well, to snatch a phrase from the Apostle Paul, “because the day of our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed.” It is super easy to get caught up in things that aren’t eternally important or even temporally important in the long run. I can blow away time with the best of them, but having a Purpose tends to keep me on track. Knowing I’ll have to give an account of my days helps me recalibrate my life and make better decisions.
But more than that, I really do believe Jesus is coming back soon, and it has me tremendously excited! For the first time in history the Great Commission is going to be fulfilled! It will happen within the next 10 years according to YWAM and other missions organizations. Never before have we been able to make that claim. We’ve had wars and famines and earthquakes around the globe for years, but “this Gospel will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, then the end will come” (Matt. 24:14) takes on startling sobriety when you realize that the fulfillment of that verse may well be before you retire.
Sure it will get bad on the earth before Jesus returns, but Jesus likens it to “birth pangs”, terrible in the moment and soon forgotten as soon as the baby is born. The Church is simultaneously mother and midwife – birthing people into the family of God and also helping to deliver a 12 pounder called “The Kingdom of God”.
The purpose of this conference isn’t to sow fear or talk about how bad it is going to be. The purpose of this conference is to help people fall in love with Jesus as they see new and deeper facets of His character. The book of Revelation is “the Revelation of Jesus Christ.” Most people think of it as the book about the end, but the true purpose of the book is to reveal the man, Jesus, the emotions, motives and desires of His heart. The Gospels give us a true picture of Jesus’ character, but not a complete one. There is more to this man than we know and Dani and I hope to explore and impart some of that with those who come.
So, if you have a free night and day, please join us at Vineyard Community Church in Waverly, IA for the “Make It Plain” conference. The details are below.
What: Make It Plain Conference
Where: 319 W. Bremer Ave. Waverly, IA
How Much: $10 ($5 if you are a student)
What’s Included: booklet with notes for the 4 teaching sessions, copy of my commentary on the book of Revelation, entrance to the conference and all the coffee you care to drink.
Schedule: Friday, 7-10 (Registration from 6-7p)
Saturday, 9-noon and 1-4 (lunch is on your own)
If you have any other questions or want to invite others, you can find this event on our Facebook page. We hope to see you soon!