Catalyst Session: Erwin McManus

God has called us to create the future. We cannot change history. We cannot make history. But we can and should create the future.

God seems to work most powerfully through those who live most passionately.

Solomon paints a very depressing picture in Ecclesiastes. He seems to be almost suicidal and says that there is nothing new under the sun, and that everything is meaningless.

But Solomon was wrong. God is always doing a new thing. With God nothing is hopeless. God is a creative God. He is actively at work in human history. He is inviting us to be a part of the new thing He is doing in your world right now.

We need to rethink our relationship to history. If we make history, it simply means that we are doing something profound and powerful in the moment we are in right now.

So how do we establish and reconnect ourselves to what it means to being truly human? God created all of us with the capacity to choose. Our futures are not pre-determined. We can choose what happens in our world. Adam and Eve had a choice for what their future would look like. We are now recreated in Christ for good works that were prepared in advance for us to choose to do.

People always ask me, ‘who do you preach to on the weekends…believers or seekers?‘ My answer is simple, ‘I preach to humans…which seems to cover just about 98% of everyone.’ I think if we preach to people in these categories we miss some of the deepest longings that are simply a part of being a human being.

God didn’t create you to live passively, he created you to be creative. He also created you with many needs even beyond your spiritual life. He created you because He enjoys meeting those needs. He formed you to want and to have longings. When we speak to people, we should connect into those longings and bring God into the longings of the heart.

There is a universal longing in every human for the authentic and the real. Our soul is sick and we are longing for authentic connections with God and others.

Isn’t it great that we have come to a moment in the church world where it is ok to tell the truth. We don’t have to make our life sound better than it is. We can be honest and transparent about our struggles, questions and doubts. We can be honest about what we don’t like about the condition of the Church. What happens when we are authentic is that Jesus becomes more beautiful in the atmosphere of the truth.

Jesus becomes attractive to our world when they seen Him through the authentic pictures of the brokenness of our own lives.

In fact, perhaps all of human history is a contrast between tragedy and beauty. God creates beauty. Then we come along and we by our attitudes or decisions turn that beauty into tragedy. But then Jesus arrives and he makes beautiful the tragic things of our broken lives.

Is it possible that we have trained ourselves to live in this inhuman world that we have lost the ability to see and celebrate that which is truly beautiful. Consider the early verses of Isaiah 53, what God saw as ultimately beautiful (the cross) was seen at first as horrid to us. Consider the revelation of the ‘word’ in John chapter 1. The Word became flesh and dwelt among us, but we did not even recognize Him.

Our world needs someone to help them see the beauty of God’s expression in the most painful experiences of their lives.

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