I turned my radio off, put my phone on silent and pointed my Honda down the road that would lead to my house some 45 minutes later. I hoped to process a bit of what the Lord did throughout the Leader Retreat weekend, even though I knew my brain had already stopped thinking clearly and was anticipating sleep rather than sorting out the weekend. I pushed forward anyway. By the time I reached my house, there was only one conclusion I had come to: my heart is deceitful but God is faithful. He is faithful to complete the work He began in me. But it’s not even about the work He’s doing in me, or the iGo staff, or the M’s, or any of the students who participated in the retreat. The good fruit we see is a by-product of what it’s really all about: His faithfulness to bring about His Glory to the nations. This is what stood out to me throughout the weekend from start to finish, weaved throughout every person God used to teach, correct, encourage and lead.
I was reminded of this truth when our staff met on Friday morning with the M’s & partners to spur one another on in the task set before us. I was kicked in the gut as AC shared on Friday night with the Team Leaders from 2 Chronicles, “even though we resolve to set our hearts to seek the Lord, God gives the victory, the salvation is His and He gets the glory for it.” Saturday morning, I was reminded how God displays his glory through a once cocky, punk kid turned Team Leader how the Lord worked through his Team Leader years before to show him humility. Jami Lee brought the whole idea home when she shared, “You will multiply yourself when you acknowledge God can do it better than you can.” Brad pushed it further with Philippians 2:5-11, commenting, “The reason Jesus took on our nasty skin was so that God would be glorified.” All of this happened in just the Team Leader portion of the weekend!
Then, the JSI’s arrived Saturday afternoon. (Sidebar: There is a distinct difference between the way excitement is expressed from the Team Leaders and the JSIs upon arrival. Neither one is wrong or right, just different. Team Leaders walk in calm, say their hellos, give high fives and get down to business. JSIs arrive FULL ON, talking 800 miles an hour, doing cheers, jumping up and down about their new t-shirts and never wanting the weekend to end. I love it all.) God used a JSI drawing out the core value on Ancient Work from creation to Christ’s return to show that God has been working since the beginning to bring about His Glory. I had the privilege of challenging the JSIs with the how to’s of the JSI role and saw God’s handiwork again when I realized that 75% of them were stepping up to the leadership ladder because God had used their JSI in the previous years to encourage them. Ky preached from Matthew and Mark that, “greatness is found in the mundane and ordinary,” charging us to “excel in our serving others rather than trying to increase our own positions.”
Sunday morning, God used Shu to speak God’s Sovereignty seen in Habbakuk saying, “God is reigning and ruling. He’s in control. Is that enough for you to press on even if everything is falling apart?” Rowdy brought the idea full circle for me from 2 Timothy 3: “You don’t have to rely on some manual iGo puts out that has steps A-Z in it. We have scripture and it’s sufficient.”
These are just a few highlights that stood out to me. We heard from the M’s and former JSI’s about being and making disciples; we worshipped through song with great leaders; we held small group discussions; we had lots of laughs getting to know one another better; we gave many hugs and high fives; and I believe we brought much Glory to God. He is it. The story we’re sharing is about Him, His plan, His sacrifice, His kingdom. He is the only one worthy of being made famous. What were your thoughts from the weekend?