As South Beach bustled with its typical weekend club scene, thousands of people from different churches, cultures, and even countries came together at the Fillmore Theater to worship Jesus. VOUS Conference 2017 was epic in every way, and as we gathered together, soaking in the teachings of some of the most incredible preachers of our generation, we were connected through one common denominator – Jesus.
Each and every part of conference was thoughtful and impactful, from the stunning visuals, beautiful crafted creative pieces, and breakout sessions that gave us the chance to hear from leaders in all spheres of life.
We also had the honor of hearing the word from Pastors Judah Smith, Carl Lentz, and John Gray, as well as our own Pastors Rich and DawnChere Wilkerson.
Hearts were touched, lives were changed, and we all left knowing God had spoken. As we leaned in to absorb this year’s theme, In God We Trust, each Pastor brought the word in their own unique and powerful way!
JUDAH SMITH – “RIGHT NOW”
You know that feeling in the pit of your stomach when your phone shows that little red “1” that indicates a new update is available? That feeling that you know you don’t need to update your phone, because you probably just did yesterday, but you want to anyway because the update might have some new features? We’ve all been there, because we live in a culture of “new.” In a society that’s obsessed with the new, it can sometimes be difficult to reconcile our minds with a God who never changes. In this dynamic message, Pastor Judah Smith reminded us not to forget what we already have in Jesus, even when situations get tough. God isn’t just an accessory or a hot commodity we can update or upgrade; he stays the same through all seasons, even when we don’t feel Him close. When the going gets tough, we need to resist the temptation to grow tired of waiting on God, and trust that Jesus is enough right now, just as He is, forever and always.
DAWNCHERE WILKERSON – “IN GOD”
That security of knowing you’re “IN”. You know it – you got picked for the team, accepted to college, offered the job, invited to the party, he put a ring on it! Whatever your “IN” is, there a certain feeling of acceptance and confidence in your new position. That’s exactly how we can expect to feel when we’re in Christ. In fact, being in Christ is even better than those worldly accomplishments because he is unchanging, will never fail us, and nothing we do can separate us from his love! Pastor DawnChere Wilkerson shared that in Christ, we are in position and can live with confidence that we no longer have to depend on our own strength, power, or wisdom. In Christ, we have perspective through life’s ups and downs, knowing they are strengthening us from the inside out. God makes all things good! And lastly, when we’re in Christ, we’re IN purpose. Meaning, we’re living out our purpose, every moment of every day, even in life’s ordinary moments. Your life is bigger than yourself and you’ll never walk alone!
RICH WILKERSON JR. – “LIFE IN THE WHEELBARROW”
Watching someone tightrope across Niagara Falls while pushing a wheelbarrow is cool and it looks amazing, but being pushed across the tight rope while sitting in that wheelbarrow is a totally different story. Suddenly it seems a little less cool and a lot more terrifying. That’s exactly the illustration that Pastor Rich Wilkerson Jr. used to demonstrate the idea of trusting God. It doesn’t always feel sturdy and safe, we might even wonder what we got ourselves into, but we can be confident that the one pushing the wheelbarrow will get us to the other side. When we place our trust in Jesus, he gives us a vision, direction, and constant companionship. These things allow us to go on the journey with a sense of confidence and peace, knowing that while we aren’t exactly sure how, we’re going to safely cross to the other side.
Listen to “Life In the Wheelbarrow” On the Podcast
CARL LENTZ – “IT’S TIME TO TURN THE PAGE”
At the end of your life when you look back on the days you’ve lived, do you want to see an abundant and full life, or do you want to see that nothing really changed about you? It’s easy to get stuck on a page of your life and turn it into an entire chapter, when it was only meant to be a paragraph. No matter what lies you’ve been told, you are not stuck! Pastor Carl Lentz challenged us from the text of 1 Corinthians 13:8-13 to become consumed with having Jesus change your life. You can’t always have exactly what you want, but Jesus calls us to grow anyway! If we spend our lives devoted to Jesus, fighting the right battles and fighting against bitterness, we will continue growing and changing through Jesus. Don’t allow something that was only meant to be a season ruin your entire story. Turn the page!
JOHN GRAY – “IT’S JUST JESUS”
If you grew up in church, you knew that there were certain rules that needed to be followed on Sundays. No gum chewing, for example, or no talking loudly in the sanctuary. While we don’t believe you have to ditch the double-bubble or whisper to be welcome in the House of God today, but there is something to be said about the reverence of older church traditions. In his explosive message, “It’s Just Jesus,” Pastor John Gray gave a beautiful reminder of just who Jesus is, and why He deserves to be worshiped fully and completely. We don’t get to mold and adapt Jesus to fit our ideas or our agendas; we mold and adapt ourselves around the God who gave his life for ours. As we remember that he’s not “just Jesus”, he’s our Savior, we are empowered to see the world changed according to the heart of God.
We hope you were inspired and encouraged by the amazing messages and breakout sessions of VOUS Conference 2017! Let’s make this event far outlast this weekend and remember to empower one another and join together to continue furthering our purposes together in Christ. Be sure to get registered for VOUS Conference 2018!
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