This past weekend I had the privilege and honour of being the keynote speaker at the Blizzard Youth Conference at Muskoka Woods.
It was EXTRAORDINARY!
I was responsible for four keynote addresses (to 400+ youth) and two smaller sessions. It was an intense 40 hours that was both exhilarating and exhausting ;)
Our big session times included games, music, message, team challenges, and all sorts of surprises. The energy was palpable and just built over the weekend! We gathered together for meals and snacks, and had great conversations. There was even time for snow tubing, cross-country skiing, volleyball, or basketball! I opted for the nap ;)
It was a powerful time for our youth as well. Thank you to our leaders, Tyler, Emma and Laura for guiding them, loving them, praying with them, entering into deep conversations with them, and just being the hands and feet of Jesus. It was a beautiful thing to witness!
In our second session together I spoke about the crazy, radical love of God. I based the talk on the parable of the prodigal son, but we focused on the older brother. Check out the story.
The older brother was angry that the father celebrated the prodigal son’s return. He was thinking, understandably, that “I have been here all this time, and that son of yours takes off and squanders all the money, drags our name in the mud and instead of punishing him, you celebrate? You throw him a party? What about me? I am the good one! You don’t throw me a party.”
Somehow I get that!
What the older brother forgot and what I forget so often is that the Father’s love has nothing to do with WHAT we’ve done and everything to do with God — our Heavenly Father wanting to be WITH us.
“‘My son,’ the father said, ‘you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’” (Luke 15:31-32)
Here’s the thing. God’s desire to have intimacy with you has nothing to do with WHAT you have done or WHAT you will do. Nothing.God just wants to be with you no matter what and that is a crazy, radical kind of love!