Friday, August 15, 2014

Willow Creek Global Leadership Summit -- Louie Giglio

(Here at the Willow Creek Global Leadership Summit in an effort to improve my leadership as a volunteer with Operation Christmas Child.  Learn more about OCC at )  Closing session with Louie Giglio

I am a pastor of a new church plant in Atlanta GA and one of the things we say a lot is the doorposts in the Kingdom of God are humility and honor.  Honor is giving thanks to the people who have made it possible for us to be where we are.  (called Bill Hybels up on stage)  As a leader there were times I wanted to quit and, to me, Bill Hybels has always been bullet proof.  He's the smartest, most innovative guy I've ever seen.  On behalf of all those impacted by the GLS in its 20 year history I want to thank you for not giving up and for paying the price and being a great leader.

When I think about the GLS I think they've done a good job of branding with the logo of the mountain.  I want us to think about the mountain today.  I've only climbed one mountain--the Matterhorn.  I wouldn't suggest this as a first mountain to climb.  What I want us to do today is think about what God has called us to do and I want us to leave with the confidence that no matter what God has called us to do we are going to succeed in Jesus' name.

What is your mountain?  What are the heights to which you wish to ascend?  We want to send you out with the confidence that not only YOU can make it to the summit but that you can take others with you.

Sometimes we don't even know what we're doing.  A lot of times as a leader I feel like that but I don't want that to stop me from letting God do something great.

Can we be honest?  Sometimes you just don't know what to do.  I'd like to put a few ideas into play to lead us out into action.  You don't need to know everything about how to get up the mountain in front of you to take the next step.

Life is short

--a leader has to breathe this in every moment.  We have all these preconceived notions about how long we will live but we constantly need to feel an urgency about the great things of life.  We have to carry that sense of urgency with us.  The stakes are too high for us to die with a small vision.

We have to continually cultivate this idea that life is short.  When you stand at the Matterhorn you look up at the mountain and think "I don't see a stairway and I don't know how this is going to work."   You train for a week and get checked out by a guide and then hike to a small camp.  Then at 4 am you wake up and set out on a sprint to the top.  It's 3X the Empire State Building in four hours.  If you aren't on the summit by a certain time you don't succeed.  

Edward Wimper who was the first to conquer it set out to do what couldn't be done.  We need to say "no" to the status quo and do what we think can't be done.

God is Big

All of life is to bring glory to God.  Finishing well is a big idea.  But the biggest idea is believing that Jesus is the greatest thing in time and eternity and everything is about Him and His glory.  When we couple the fact that life is short with the fact that it's all about Jesus, it propels me to....

Take the Next Step

You get up the Matterhorn one step at a time.  That's the only way to the top.  I want to encourage you that you can do it and also
--YOU can't do it.   Unless God does it, it isn't going to happen.

We don't have to worry about how to get to the summit we just need to believe His power is sufficient to take the next step and move toward the goal He has given us

Let me tell you about three of my hardest steps--

For 7 of the 10 years we were at Baylor in Texas my father was disabled and my mother had to care for him.

After 9 years we thought we would go to Atlanta and on the last day of the ministry --  5/1/95 -- we buried my dad.

We thought, "What just happened?" but we went to Atlanta anyway and after 3 months God called us to start a ministry to campuses across the nation and Passion was born.  Born out of frustration and confusion.

Fast forward to January, 2014.  I was asked to do the invocation at a bowl game that and stood on the logo of the sponsor  --  Chick-fil-A.  Back in 1964 my Dad created that logo.  After that bowl game a team of people came in and in less than 24 hours transformed that arena into a gathering called Passion 2013.  I got to proclaim Jesus to 64,000 college age young people and the whole time I was preaching my dad's logo was under my feet.  I knew that God knew that in the valley of the shadow of death something was going to bloom that was going to blow up a lot of stuff for the glory of God.  When everything looks like it's off the rails, embrace the darkness because God is preparing to use you for His glory.

When we take a step sometimes we're stepping through the darkness but we remember we serve a big God and there will be a day when we thank God for bringing us through that valley.

In 2008 one night at 2 am I was having convulsions and my face and arm went numb.  I had a blood pressure of 180/160.  Some antidepressants and five months of being out of commission later.,,  After some anxiety attacks God pulled me up out of the pit from the weakest place I've ever been in and gave me a song in the night until I could join the daylight.

I learned as a new pastor who only had a flock of 20 people that if I didn't know it was God and not me I wasn't going to make it.  God wanted me to know-- you CAN but you CAN'T.   There are no saviors attending this summit.  It is God within who empowers us.  

We are heading into shutting down our church for two Sundays for a sabbath rest to affirm that what we do depends on God and no one else.

Five days after speaking at the dome for the bowl game I was on TV because I was called a hater of people.  I built my whole life on serving people and all of a sudden I was called a hater of people.  I had agreed to pray for the president's inauguration.  I knew some people wouldn't like me but all of a sudden my life was filled with reporters.  I wanted to quit that day.  I wanted to disappear.   My wife and I hid in our bedroom.  I'd never been through something like that before.

What we learned is it's a luxury to do some things but it's a necessity to make Jesus and His glory famous.  So we just backed out of the fray and ended up having that galvanize our calling.  We went on to take the next step to make Jesus known.

When you take a step you're tested and refined.  The next thing that happens is you learn God is able.  Then you learn humility and that God is enough.

"When I am weak, I am strong" -- when you go through the valley you learn that God is enough.  His grace is sufficient.

I don't know what your step is today but God's grace is enough for you.

It might be an ordinary step.  It might be a bold step.  But God will give you the grace to take the step He is calling you take.

This makes us hungry for the very LAST step when we fall into the arms of Jesus.  Falling into the arms of Jesus is our goal.

In Wimper's party they all made it to the summit but four died on the way down.  Our goal is to take the next step and the next until we get to that last step and fall into the arms of Jesus.  THEN we will have what we loved the most.
That's the extraction point for us.

A leader can't have a plan B.  A leader has to make it to the finish line.  You have to be committed to going all the way into the arms of Jesus.   Jesus said come and extract me from the tomb.  No plan B.  One extraction point.  In that moment Jesus became alive and gave life to everyone who trusts in Him.

The plan for us is not to cash out because we have fear or might fail.  We are not going to cash out because of hardship.  We are going to keep taking steps in the grace of Jesus Christ and nothing else matters.

It's not hype.  It's called resurrection.  Jesus said, "Do you want to join me?  It's not going to be easy and you CAN'T do it....oh but you CAN do it."  When you fall into His arms no price will be too high and no sacrifice too much and you will say, "I'm so glad I didn't quit.  I'm so glad I kept going up my mountain."

Don't quit.  Don't stop walking in the confidence that Christ is enough to fulfill everything He has called you to do.

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