Janet and I drove to Little Rock, Arkansas to meet with about 40 other ministers who feed our souls. We spent two nights, feasting together over shared meals and exploration of God’s revelation.
Preachers like to preach, so this was set up like TED talks, each speaker given 10 minutes to make their points before the next speaker was invited to speak. We sat and listened; intrigued, challenged, and touched by the passionate retelling of God’s work among his people.
While I opted to listen without taking part in the rotation, I was blessed to hear those who have challenged me through their writings and our conversations over the years.
Meals together, conversations shared with some we see only every few years, and embracing those who we are only just meeting face to face, these were the joys that we experienced.
Yes, I am pretty much the old dog in the room, about all of the speakers were considerably younger than me. I was encouraged to hear the integrity with which they approach the Scriptures, their willingness to explore new insights, and their passion to live out a life focused on Jesus in their communities.
In Acts 15 the church met together with disciples from across their world. They talked about things that were creating problems in churches, trusting Paul and Barnabas with a message of acceptance and support for new believers among the Gentiles.
Not long after the two of them had successfully traveled through the area affected, Barnabas and Paul had a fight over who was allowed to return on a second journey with them. The disagreement was such that they refused to travel together, each taking a team and traveling their own way.
Christians will not always agree. They never have always agreed over procedure. It doesn’t mean that faith doesn’t move forward, they just don’t do things exactly the same.
The common ground is their passion for God and his people, a desire to lift up the name of Jesus, and living lives consumed in that purpose.
May we all, throughout our Christian walk, be filled with the same passions.