The Life of JaWS

A blog by Jason Sansbury

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Catalyst Day One, Session One

Catalyst Conference, Day One starts:

Okay, in the interest of full disclosure, I was working on about 4 hours of sleep the morning of the start of the Catalyst Conference. I drove all night and had bad directions to the hotel and the night clerk wasn’t exactly Mr. Mapquest. So I arrived late, dove into the bed and it felt like 10 minutes later woke-up and grabbed a shower.

A Panera Bread run, a short drive over and we arrived at the Gwinnet Convention Center, which is an amazing facility. A few steps from the car, we jumped into a limo. Yes, a limo. Kevin and Shannon (from Lighthouse) and I shared a limo with some folks and got out to a red carpet welcome. Pictures were taken, including me doing an amazing high-five with like a 6’ 5” guy with long arms. Pride entered as we walked away and one of the Catalyst staff people said “Dang, the big fella really got up!”

Session #1: Andy Stanley.

I will say that for me personally this session was the most meaningful and directly related to me. The basis of the session was on leadership being a gift from God and Andy taught from Daniel 4. The key quote, which now hangs over my desk in the basement office is “The Most High is sovereign over the kingdoms of men, and he gives them to whoever he wishes.” From there he talked over the ideas that leadership is a stewardship given from God and he can take it away whenever he chooses. Real leadership is marked by diligent, fearless and humble.

What I Took Away: No doubt God spoke directly to me through this talk. As I have written about and shared with most folks who read this, I was asked to leave a church and youth ministry that I loved at the beginning of May. The pain of that situation still haunts me and I am dealing with it and learning to deal with it.

And in mid-July, God began to nudge me and a church in Tennessee to partner together. So, God led me to Bethlehem United Methodist and I am truly blessed to be here.

What happened was that there was a disconnect in my heart and mind between the leaving of Cornerstone and the arrival at Bethlehem. In my head and heart, God sent me to Bethlehem to fix a situation that was made by folks who were out to get me. So on the Thursday morning of Catalyst, I felt like God was saying “Moron, I moved you. Yeah, it was a bad situation with some less than understanding people and it was painful. But I am sovereign and I moved you. And I then moved you to the place where you are serving now.” And I felt like taking my ball and going home because I knew that would be the most freeing thing I would hear all week.

So what is the take home? In all honesty, I made the decision to pray that God would send Cornerstone a new shepherd. And everyday that has been my prayer. That he would give those people and those opportunities to whoever he wishes. Secondly, I began to really engage in the lives of the people at Bethlehem. Timing was probably critical and there was no doubt a ton of administrative stuff for me to do the first couple months at Bethlehem. But I made the decision that the bridge God burned behind me wasn’t worth trying to escape back over. He is God and he has sent me here to do his work. And that is incredibly freeing.

From the Message (Daniel 4:17)
The angels announce this decree,
the holy watchmen bring this sentence,
So that everyone living will know
that the High God rules human kingdoms.
He arranges kingdom affairs however he wishes,
and makes leaders out of losers.


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