My Thoughts on Catalyst, part 2

John Maxwell had a short message on intentionally adding value to people each day. It was a good message on really caring about others. It seems that throughout the conference we were challenged to love what God loves.

Craig Groeshel really shook me up. In a good way. His book Confessions of a Pastor really connected with me. He shared the realization that he was a full time pastor and a part time follower of Christ. He shared a quote from Bill Hybels that had impacted him, “The way I was doing the work of God was destroying the work of God in me” Ministry is not easy, and what he shared was from the heart. He shared that he was a practical atheist, someone who believes God exists but lives like God doesn’t. Do we really believe God, not just believe in Him? Why do we fail to trust God? What are the signs of Practical Atheism?

  1. We start to believe our effort is begtter than God’s power
  2. We believe our private life doesn’t affect our public ministry
  3. We believe we must please people more than we please God

He shared a prayer from Sir Francis Drake that was very powerful. Disturb Me God when I don’t love the things you love. Read it an see if it impacts you as much as it does me.

Disturb us, Lord, when We are too well pleased with ourselves,
When our dreams have come true because we have dreamed too little,
When we arrived safely because we sailed too close to the shore.

Disturb us, Lord, when with the abundance of things we possess we have lost our thirst for the waters of life;
Having fallen in love with life, we have ceased to dream of eternity
And in our efforts to build a new earth, we have allowed our vision of the new Heaven to dim.

Disturb us, Lord, to dare more boldly, to venture on wider seas where storms will show your mastery;
Where losing sight of land, we shall find the stars.
We ask You to push back the horizons of our hopes;
And to push into the future in strength, courage, hope, and love.

Dave Ramsey is a wild man. He couldn’t stand still for a minute. He was all over the stage sharing his financial strategies. He was also one of the main sponsors for Catalyst, so his stuff was everywhere. I’m still mad I didn’t win any of the Mac products they were giving away. I’m teaching through his Financial Peace University course with a group of home-schooled high schoolers. It’s really a great financial course. He broke down managing God’s money by doing the following

  • Have a written plan
  • Get out of debt
  • Act your wage
  • Save and invest
  • Give!!!

Think about what the people of God could do to advance the Kingdom of God if we weren’t saddled in debt. He also shared that we shouldn’t preach on tithing, but that we should preach on managing money and getting out of debt so people can tithe. His definition of prosperity is having the money to do God’s will in your life. His message was definitely counter-cultural for the church today. But we can’t follow God if debt holds us back.

Erwin McManus is awesome. I have loved listening to his messages and I love reading his books. But, he is deep, and hard to follow sometimes. But at Catalyst, he had an inspiring message. I have always had a hard time connecting his vision to my context. I love what Mosaic is doing in Los Angeles, but it’s hard to transfer a lot of his passion to a rural community like I live in. He shared about how we must create the future, we must create culture. Authenticity is so important in the church. People are tired of inauthentic churches, and we now have the opportunity to do church in an authentic way.

Andy Stanley closed out Catalyst with a talk on systems. For me, this was invaluable. I have been spending a huge amount of my time creating systems. Teaching does not create desired behaviors. THINK ABOUT THAT. Our preaching will not change people if we don’t have the systems in place to make it happen in real life! Systems create behavior. That is an import concept that we can’t gloss over. He also made a statement that has me thinking. The account of the early church in Acts is descriptive, not prescriptive. We are not bound to look and be modeled like the early church. We have freedom in methodology and models of church to accomplish what Christ commands. That means not all churches will look the same and that’s fine. When it comes to the systems in our churches, we must think about what we are rewarding. Are we rewarding the wrong behaviors? Are we not rewarding what’s really important? All together this was an excellent session.

I even got to talk to Andy for a minute between sessions. He asked where I was from and I gave him the standard answer. Virginia. He then asked where in Virginia. I answered the western part. So he then asked what city, and I told him Galax, and I received the standard comment. I’ve never heard of that. If you aren’t into Bluegrass then most people haven’t heard of Galax. But I appreciated the time he took to encourage a young guy like me.

I can’t wait to go back next year. I picked up quite a few books that I hopefully will be sharing. I got to put a lot of faces with names. I got to spend an awesome few days with my wife. And I was challenged in every aspect of my life. Hopefully next year, I will take more people with me.


I am a former design engineer who now pastors Cornerstone Community Church in Galax, Virginia. I'm passionate about following Jesus and I love technology. I've been married to Jennifer for 28 years, and we have three adult children.

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1 Response

  1. Lon says:

    Great notes, thanks so much!

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