The award for the least “sexy” subject matter of any main stage message delivered at Hillsong Conference in Sydney this year, would surely go to Bill Hybels! Bill spoke on schedules. Yup, our calendars. And it was life changing! It was full of hope and incredible possibility, and very tangible outcomes. I’m pretty sure there was a spike in chair sales in Sydney, and an increased usage of “Outlook”. I could try and explain some of that, but then, I don’t want to rob you of any of the amazing opportunity to discover it from Bill! So check out this excerpt below, and watch the recording from conference, hope it blesses you like it did me!
CONNECTING WITH GOD
No doubt you’ve seen a picture of Michelangelo’s most famous painting on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, “The Creation of Adam,” in which he portrays God and Adam with their hands outstretched toward one another. God is leaning and straining toward Adam, and his fingertip almost touches Adam’s hand, which is more relaxed, not nearly as intent on its mission.
The very hand of heaven reaching for the hand of man.
Now, imagine Adam’s hand reaching out another six inches, grabbing firmly ahold of God’s hand, and hanging on to it tightly. That image captures the single biggest bucket-filler in my life: being firmly hand-in-hand with God.
When I feel God’s love, when the Holy Spirit is bubbling within my spirit, when I’m in conversations with him throughout my day, hearing his whispers, trying to be present and responsive to him—when I’m really in a dialed-in relationship with God—it’s the single most replenishing dynamic in my life.
Sometimes just a sentence or two from him spoken into the depths of my heart can change my entire day. You’re doing good. I’m proud of you. That means so much to me! Sometimes an encouraging phrase from God in the middle of a tough day can take my bucket from 25 percent full to 75 percent full.
When I’m really connected with God, I’m far less concerned about other people’s opinions of me or their plans and expectations for my life. I’m quicker to stay on God’s agenda.
Being right with God and tuned in to him and walking close with him simplifies my life. It filters out all the noise of everyone else who wants my attention.
If you’ve always sensed somewhere deep in the core of your being that there is more to life, I challenge you to reach out your hand to him. He loves you, and he will grasp any humbled hand that comes his way. Maybe you have long withheld your hand from his, and today is the day you need to apologize for your waywardness and stick out your hand and say, “God, I need you in my life.” He will become that replenishing force for you. The powerful touch of God on a human life is a game changer. It has been for me. It can be for you.
If you’re not in the daily habit of reaching for God’s hand and listening for his agenda, let me offer you a challenge: Find a spot in your home—for me, it’s a wooden rocking chair by the fireplace—and sit there for fifteen minutes a day, connecting with God. Read his Word, open up your life to him, and listen for his whispers. When you’re in that chair and you’re in a right relationship with God, it secures your identity. It simplifies your agenda. You won’t be so tempted to run out and do all the other stuff that doesn’t matter a hill of beans to God.
So, chair time. Start there.