So after writing that post about my greatest fear, I actually got to spend Valentine’s Day being reminded of the truths I so often forget. It’s kind of amazing when you stop to think about it. God orchestrated everything so He could speak directly to my heart and remind me that He loves me as I am in this moment.
I have spent countless nights falling asleep to the music of Shane & Shane. Their music is beautiful and their lyrics speak to my heart. (Plus I’m pretty sure I owe my ability to harmonize to them.)
John Piper has been one of the conduits through which God has poured grace and joy into my life. Every opportunity to hear John speak is an opportunity for a truth refill of sorts.
Most importantly, though, I knew I needed a refresher on the concept of lingering with God.
So that was enough to get me to register and then budget and save to make sure I could get there.
And it was so worth it.
The conference consisted of two days (plus an extra day for creative people which was also awesome!) of teaching and worship centered around the idea of lingering (thus the name Linger Conference). Each session started with one or two worship songs followed by the speaker. When the speaker finished, there was an extended time of worship that flowed out what had just been shared. It may not seem like a big thing, but it was so incredible to hear truth and then worship our God for making it so. I was reminded of those spots in his letters where Paul breaks out in worship because of the truth he’s just shared. He can’t help but celebrate and linger in that truth. And neither could we.
Here are just a few highlights from what was shared over those two days:
Tullian Tchividjian reminded us why we’re exhausted:
- Because we think further, better, more aggressive living will give us life. We’re trying to save ourselves.
- We depend on things that are infinitely smaller than Jesus to give us our worth. When we lose or fail at these things, we experience an identity crisis.
- What’s the cure for our exhaustion? Jesus came to set the captives free: free from the slavery of self-salvation; free from the need to measure up; free from the pressure to fix others, to be right, to be regarded, to be the best; free from judgment.
- Your identity is firmly and fully in Christ. You are not what you do. You are what Christ did for you.
(BTW you should get Tullian’s book One Way Love: Inexhaustible Grace for an Exhausted World.)
Matt Chandler reminded us of the need for a right understanding of God:
- Because a fundamental misunderstanding of God will keep us from lingering.
- Our relationship with God starts with justification through Jesus’ life, death, & resurrection. But it doesn’t stop there. We’ve also been adopted into God’s family. This means He loves and delights in you as you are right now.
- A just judge is necessary, but we linger with a loving father. We avoid people who know we’re guilty. When we fall, we need the Father who will stop the bleeding on our skinned knees.
Todd Wagner reminded us that to linger is to abide and it is important:
- Intimacy with God is the most valuable thing. That’s why it’s so often counterfeited. Don’t love the experience. Love the God you’re worshiping.
- When we linger, we’re allowing ourselves to be transformed by the Holy Spirit.
- If we focused on God’s goodness, we couldn’t help but linger.
Jonathan Pokluda reminded us what Sabbath is all about:
- There’s such a thing as doing too much. When we don’t rest, we overwork and keep ourselves from fully doing what God has called us to.
- To fully grasp the Gospel is to let God run, to rest in the finished work of Christ.
- Sabbath is about following God’s example, trusting in God’s provision, remembering what God has done, and hoping in God’s promises.
- When you believe the world will fall apart without you, you are making yourself god in your life.
- You need to rest; not for His approval, but for your sake.
Ben Stuart reminded us that lingering is a weapon in the war we’re fighting:
- Satan knows our wiring: mind, affections, will. He sends thoughts to the mind to stir the affections until we choose to sin. We fight by stirring our affections for God which will displace everything else.
- Fuel can exist without fire, but fire can’t exist without fuel. Fuel the fire by lingering with God and in His word.
John Piper reminded us that lingering is part of worship:
- Worship is a continual expression of the lips. It happens every day, not just on the Sabbath. It should be reflected in every word you speak. It’s a part of the bad days as well as the good ones.
- Worship is also practical evidence that your treasure is heaven, not on earth. It is doing good and sharing with those in need. It is acts that show the worth of God.
- Our lingering, whether private or corporate, should be about coming hungry for God and finding a feast where we can be satisfied by Him.
This summary doesn’t do it justice. But hopefully you get a taste of what I experienced.
And if that taste leaves you wanting more, Linger 2015 is less than a year away! (Register for only $79 before midnight Friday, February 28th.) I’m already making plans to go back.
In the meantime, I’ve got plans to be more intentional about lingering with my beautiful God. I’m not a morning person, so that means evenings focused on Bible study and prayer. It means listening to music that points me to Him. It means going to church and community group to spend time lingering with Him and with others.
What might it look like for you? What stirs your affections for God? Do more of that. 🙂