First of all, I am SO looking forward to coming back for NGLC next month. NGLC had an incredible impact on me last summer that continued to reverberate in my heart as the months went on. I am eagerly awaiting all that the Lord has in store for us during our time in Nashville and feel so blessed to be able to go!
In response to your questions, my two take-ways from NGLC were 1) Take some sort of training course like Perspectives, and 2) Practice the discipline of Sabbath.
In August I had the opportunity to take the Perspectives Course at my church. Little did I know what Jesus had in store for me during those 16 weeks. I’m hoping to be able to share in more detail during NGLC, but I do want to say that my perspective and understanding of God, his Word, the nations, ministry, prayer, etc. etc. has completely changed after taking this course. As well as my understanding of my strategic role in the Kingdom. I went into the course thinking I knew so much. Ha! Not true at all. I learned more in those 16 weeks than I did being a part of YWAM, taking missions classes/Bible classes at LU, etc. As the course progressed, I began to process and pray about where the Lord has me right now: engaging with international students here in Lynchburg. As you may know, one of the “roles” that the Perspective now presents is the role of being a “Welcomer” to people coming from countries all over the world. This is truly my heart and I am so excited about the platform that God has given me at LU. So many stories I could share, just from this semester! Hopefully I can tell you more in person come June.
As for practicing Sabbath, I’m realizing that this is an on-going learning process. The legalist in me wants to make it about rules and regulations, instead of about rest and time in Jesus’ presence. Little by little, I’m learning to create margin in my life. To say no, even to good things. Jesus has met me in the busyness and in the quiet and I’m ever-thankful for his relentless pursuit of my heart! I’m also so thankful to be in community with people that desire to live out “life abundant” together. Sabbath, rest, and stillness would just seem like nice ideas if I wasn’t encouraged and held accountable by those around me. I’m learning that transformation takes place in community and I’m so thankful for all the rich relationships God has blessed me with in this season.
I close with a story. During my last year as a student at Liberty, I met Steve and Beth Coffey and instantly loved both of them. They have kept up with me these last couple of years and I always come away from our visits refreshed and encouraged. When I saw them in October, something that Steve said suddenly reminded me of the spirit of ELC and I casually asked if he knew who you were. I had NO idea that they knew you all, let alone that they had been involved with ELC in the past! But it instantly made so much sense to me. (And I had had a similar experience last year, hearing so many themes/truths at ELC that reminded me of things Matt Rawlins had been sharing with me for years!) I shared with the Coffeys that there seems to be a family resemblance among the people that the O’Neills surround themselves with. To be sure, there is a rich diversity of backgrounds, giftings, callings, etc. but there is a familiarity there too; a unity of heart, mind, and love for Jesus, and for people. I’m so excited about being with all of you in June. Thank you for all the prayer, planning , and preparation that you’re all investing for our time together. I’m praying for you all and I can’t wait to see how things fall into place.
Love in Christ,