After a few hand-clapping songs, Michelle Anthony opened the conference asking the audience to take a moment and to seek God and ask, “What are you envisioning for me during this time?” She reminds us that this is more than a conference. It’s a time to be filled up so that we can return to our home churches and continue to pour into others in the ministry.
I have to tell you.. that’s exactly what I’m looking forward to. The Gathering has been such a source of encouragement and refreshment to me these last few years and I’m excited about what is in store for #DCCTG14!
Our first session is entitled, “God Restores” and is presented by Craig Jutila.
Be sure to check out some of the amazing videos from 2013 as well!
Craig opens his talk with a story about parenting blunder he experienced a few years ago during the Vancouver Olympics. Somehow he managed to get his rental car stuck in the middle of an intersection with a massive crowd swarming around him. While waiting for the light to turn green, an angry pedestrian actually kicked the bumper of the rental car. Craig got out and had “a few words” with the man only to turn around and see his teenagers staring in shock. After doing a little calm down drive, Craig stopped and apologized to his family for letting his temper get the best of him. He asked for forgiveness and the family readily complied.
What does restoration even mean?
To fix or put back what is broken.
God often restores things life.
How does He do this?
Joel 2:25 says, “”I will repay you for the years the locusts have eaten…” (Do you ever feel like you’ve lost years?)
Galatians 6:1 says, “Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently…”
Are we part of the restoration process?
Taking a look at the account of Lazarus’ resurrection, we see a number of factors in play (June 11). Jesus told the people to take away the stone and then Christ shouted for Lazarus to come out. Why?
Then, Jesus asked the people to remove the grave clothes. Did the people need to be a part of this restoration process?
What about in our own life?
What happens when things start falling apart in your own life? As the Casting Crown song says, it’s a slow fade. One small decision at a time. And then suddenly, that beautiful picture you’ve painted for people get shattered. Now what? What happens when one decision pushes the line too far and now you’re left with a broken family and shattered pieces of life?
Craig shares a time when he accidentally found his wife’s journal and opened it to read, “I hate my husband.”
With anger in his heart, he read the words of a woman who felt trapped. Who wanted to get away from her husband because he was arrogant and inattentive. Things has spiraled out of control and were clearly hopelessly broken.
So to counseling they went.
For 15 months.
That’s a long time.
And you know what? Sometimes things start to look a lot worse before they start to look better.
How do you put something back together that is so broken?
That’s where the miraculous healing of Christ comes in.
Craig continues the story, sharing a time when one particular session didn’t go according to plan. As they exited out the front door that day, he runs smack dab into someone from his church. He instantly puts on the church face and makes up a cover story.
“We just stopped in to use the restroom.”
Craig and his wife then walked towards their separate cars. Before they climb into their respective driver’s seats however, they get into a doozy of a verbal spat in the parking lot.
The next week when Craig and his wife return for yet another counseling, Craig greeting his congregation member who was once again waiting in the waiting room. She stood up and hugged him, explaining, “Thank you! I’m so glad you’re here. You know, I’ve been coming here for weeks and my family refuses to come with me. Instead, they wait in the parking lot till I’m done. Well, last week, they saw you and Mary in the parking lot and they said that if you could come to counseling, they would come too.”
Out of our brokenness, we can make a difference in the lives of others.
Let’s get back to Lazarus. Do you know what the name Lazarus means?
God will help.
Jesus called for Lazarus and then He had the others around Lazarus help complete the restoration. Mary and Martha made the need known and God restored.
Make your needs known. Ask for restoration. God can not restore if you do not make the need known. If you keep a wall around your heart and life, no spiritual growth or healing can occur.
You don’t have to tell everyone everything, but you need to tell some things to someone.
Begin the process.
Don’t let the enemy keep you hiding in the shadows.
Allow God to begin the restoration.
* This post is part of a live blogging series from The Gathering in Costa Mesa, CA. Stay tuned for more updates!
CRAIG JUTILA is an author, leadership coach, and communicator inspiring audiences throughout the country on the topics of marriage, family, leadership and living healthy, balanced lives. In their recent book, From Hectic to Healthy, Craig and his wife Mary share how they were finally able to find the right seasonal pace for their life and family. They have appeared on radio and TV shows highlighting their story. Craig also serves as president of Empowered Living, which provides leadership and resources for parents, families, children and leaders.
WWW.WHOWILLYOUEMPOWER.COM | @CRAIGJUTILA