Monday, October 19, 2009

Catalyst Speaker: Rob Bell

I've seen Rob Bell speak several times before, I've read his books, and I've seen several of his videos, and I've always been challenged and encouraged by what he has to say. Last Winter at the NPC he rocked the house with an amazing message: he started out talking about the wrongs that "church people" have done to us (as pastors), but he moved on to talk about forgiveness - giving us a concrete way to forgive.

At Catalyst, he told us he was going to go in a different direction, that the Holy Spirit was leading him to go in another direction than the one he had planned ("the importance of beginning with the beginning"). Instead, he talked about "Is Bigger Better?"

In John 6, the evangelist talks about many in the crowd turned back and no longer followed Jesus. Sometimes the crowd thins.

In Luke 21, the widow's mite was somehow more than the gifts of the rich.

From this platform, he talked about how sometimes we pastors and church leaders chase after the next great thing, sometimes at the risk of ourselves and/or our families. We ask "what if the next thing we do isn't popular?" when this isn't Jesus' question at all.

He brought up one Jewish view of the Ten Words (Commandments) that says that the first 9 are eternally visible, but the last (envy) isn't, perhaps because if one keeps the first 9, the final is given as a reward. We won't want anyone else's life; ours is just fine.

He then shifted to talk about loving neighbor as self - and if we don't care for ourselves, we aren't loving self. (Example: Are we taking a REAL Sabbath?) Until we take care of ourselves, we can't take care of others.

Then he asked about our spouses & kids: are they getting our very best or what's left over?

Rob Bell's message was a timely message for many there; it's a message we all need to hear and hear and hear again. We cannot sacrifice our families at the altar of the church, and we cannot be constantly committing adultery with Christ's Bride. We are called to have the following priorities (in this order):
  1. God
  2. Our families
  3. Our church/job
It can be easy to "accidentally" exchange #3 for #1 - thinking we're focusing on God, but really we're focusing on the church. Then our families suffer. Then we suffer. I'm not sure why Rob Bell said that what he was going to say was controversial; he seemed genuinely scared/nervous when he told us that he was going to switch streams and all. It didn't seem controversial whatsoever. Maybe he is really hard-charging and he was preaching primarily to himself. With as high-profile he is as a pastor, author, and public speaker, I can imagine this being the case. I know from a conversation I had at the NPC with an employee of his that he expects hard work and long hours from his employees, but that he expects the BEST from himself.

It's a good reminder, no matter if he was simply preaching to himself.

What do you do to ensure that God gets your best and that your family doesn't end up getting left-overs?

1 comment:

Rudy said...

He is awesome.