Made for More
The windy city did more than house over one hundred of us for a weekend. It did more than provide exceptional coffee, special dinners, and a tour of Burberry. More than an organization of words on a page would be needed to try and define all that was worked out at Vertical Conference, 2016, but a partial highlight reel could be in order.
Breaking the dividing wall of hostility was a topic that I have not often head discussed in churches, yet Bryan Lorrits did a phenomenal job about putting this divide into context.
More than racial and ethnic divides, there is a spiritual divide prevalent among us today that has not been portrayed by the author of life.
Jesus did not hold broken people at arm’s length, as we are so easy to do. He did not pass judgment when He was the only one with the right to condemn. Some of the people He mostly disliked were the people we most often look like, the religious and those who are focused entirely one themselves. But like Lorrits so aptly stated, our Gospel is big enough to cross all boundaries.
Levi Lusko (Fresh Life Church) hit a very valid point when he explained how our “expectation determines experience.” Sometimes the easiest thing in the world is to rise up in faith and hate it at the beginning. But however uncomfortable the first stages are, like most growing situations, beauty is seen after the hard work of growing roots. However, Levi pointed out another fact that often goes unnoticed. If we do not take the time to grow roots we will topple under the weight of our own fruitfulness. Do not hate what will ultimately prove sustaining.
These speakers, and many more (Jefferson Bethke, Amanda Jenkins, Charlie Dates, Luke MacDonald), portrayed very vidid, personal examples of breaking down the wall of hostility. However inadvertently they did (and more than likely did not) mean to portray this, seeing so many different speakers from such a variety of backgrounds reinforced the truism that the church is all inclusive for those who are children of God.
This is what is so easy to miss in day to day interactions. As children of God we are all adopted. We all come with different backgrounds, standards, dreams.
We have all been hurt in different ways. We have all hurt others.
We have all…been forgiven. This is what unites us. Jesus Christ is who breaks down the wall that divides us. Be it geographically, socially, racially…Jesus smashed all these walls down.
This was not fair. Not as it upgraded us from slaves to sin to children God. Not as it connected usintrinsically to sinless perfection — God. But this is why we worship Him. Because fairness was snapped when the dividing wall of hostility was broken.
Fairness is what hindered us from relationship with God. Grace unites us to Him.
It was more than an event. More than a weekend. It was not dropping off the grid for a few days or living with 100 like minded individuals..for in reality, we did not drop off the grid. We put ourselves back on the grid.
We are equipped, if we were not before Vertical Con, we have no excuse now. We have heard and we have seen the truth and more than a new year lies before us. The rest of our lives is up for our taking. And to all of us who were part of this weekend, and even those who were not, know that our growth in faith is not just a process but often formed through crisis.
Let’s continue to put ourselves on the grid day after day so the world will see the spirit of Jesus Christ in us, breaking down our own walls of hostility and allowing us to share the hope of our future glory.