In a large crowd of people, do you ever stop, look, and listen to the sights and sounds around you? Like during a concert, a church service, a ball game, at the airport, at the park, in a meeting, or on the chairlift at the slopes? This is a practice that I intentionally started pursuing. My world, like most of ours, moves at a fast pace and is so noisy! I found myself struggling to slow down and be present in the moment. So, I decided to apply the “Stop, Look and Listen” practice that I learned as a little girl before crossing the street, to my everyday life as an adult. Sometimes this practice helps me to gain perspective or appreciation, provide focus and attention, or bring awareness to my brokenness because I find myself full of judgments and criticism. Nevertheless, it has forced me to slow down and be present in moments of my daily life.
A couple weeks ago I “Stopped, Looked and Listened” and experienced a little piece of heaven on earth.
I had the honor of participating in the IF:Gathering conference at FCC West Campus. It was a weekend of amazing worship, solid biblical teaching, connection, and community. Our hearts and minds were challenged. We laughed, we cried, and God moved. During the worship of the last session, I took a moment to stop singing, look around and listen. I heard 400 women lifting their voices to Jesus, worshipping, crying out, and proclaiming the truth.
In that moment, I got goosebumps because an overwhelming sense of joy and gratitude filled my soul. You see, in that moment, we had all things in common. I was reminded of the verse of the weekend:
“And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. And all who believed were together and had all things in common. They were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. Day by day they attended the temple together and broke bread in their homes, receiving their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.” Acts 2:42-47
As I stopped, looked and listened, I felt the vision that the leadership for the IF:Gathering had established, had been accomplished in our community. The entire weekend the teaching we watched looked at the early church as a simple and pure model to follow. In the midst of this noisy and busy world, doesn’t a simple and pure model seem to be just what we need right now?
What if we sought to be disciples and experience the power of God as He does big things through our simple acts of faith? What if we actually lived unified, surrendered to God, not just in our minds, but in our daily lives?
Over the course of the weekend, we practiced Acts 2:42-47. We devoted ourselves to biblical teaching and connected through transparent and vulnerable discussion. We broke bread together and prayed. We used our finances to bless other organizations who are making a local and global impact. We praised God and we expressed our thankfulness. We spent time thinking about the people who introduced Jesus to us and we were challenged to go and be a disciple, to bring Jesus to others.
Jennie Allen, the founder of the IF:Gathering, was asked this question? “What do you want people to say about you after you die?”
And her response to that question has stuck with me. She said, “I want people to say that Jennie loved Jesus so much that it made me want to love him more too.”
So let's ask ourselves, are we following the simple and pure model of the early church? Do we rely on the Bible as the authority for our lives? Do we live in community with others?
Do we love Jesus so much that others want to love him more too?
Try today to Stop, Look and Listen and see how God shows up in your day. In other words. “Be still, and know that I am God.” Psalm 46:10
- If you were able to attend the Flatirons IF: Gathering we'd love to hear how this time impacted you! (Make a comment below or send an email to Becky_Waters@flatironschurch.com. Thanks!)
Lara is the Women’s Ministry Director at Flatirons Community Church. Lara and her husband Eric have been married for 17 years and they are parents to three teenagers. As you can imagine life is busy at the Veve household, but they embrace the beautiful chaos of life during this season.