Loved the Exponential Conference 09 schedule, easing in and out with a half day, packing the full day right in the middle. We were not numb when it came time for the last, and in my opinion, best speaker of the conference, Francis Chan, Pastor of Cornerstone Church, Simi Valley, CA, and author of “Crazy Love”. Of course this epic intro would have jump-started anyone’s heart.
Animated, passionate, and real, Chan pulls no punches sharing how he feels about the state of the American church and our lack of faith in the power of the Holy Spirit. Chan says he dislikes reading the book of Acts because our modern day church doesn’t look like that. “But it’s a different time, different culture, the Holy Spirit is tired…” But Chan points out what we all know, the Holy Spirit doesn’t change. So what changed?
He reminds us that in Acts 4:13 when they saw boldness of Peter and John, they were ASTONISHED. Are we bold? We have tons more education today, but lack boldness. “We’re raising terrified people,” says Chan. Let’s not forget that He who is in you is greater than the world.
Chan reminds us from James 5:17 that Elijah is a man just like us, and asks “Why do we live in the flesh, when it’s the spirit that gives life?” We need to re-engage the Holy Spirit and believe the fire of heaven came down and changed our lives.
Chan also relates the church is not great at acting like a family. He goes so far as to say, “Gangs are a better picture of families than the body of Christ.” Ouch! And true. If someone with no church experience read the book of Acts and decided to come to your church to experience the love, giving to those in need, and sharing all things in common, would they find that? “When’s the last time someone left your service and said, “Your Jesus is the real deal”?
With his disarming smile, we just have to love Chan as he convicts and really challenges us. He closed his session calling all church planters forward to be anointed with oil and prayed on. Here’s a picture from Dave Ferguson’s post on the prayer time. I have never seen such raw emotion at a conference of this size…it’s exactly what we needed. Thank you Francis.