John Perkins at the Mendenhall Ministries' Visitor Center
John Perkins at the Mendenhall Ministries' Visitor Center

Yeah, I’ve slacked on updating the blog. I’ll catch up soon!

Last month I went on another retreat week with my CCDA Cohort. We had the pleasure of “sitting at the feet” of Dr. John Perkins. He is (if you’ve never heard of him) a little old preacher in Mississippi. But he is so much more than that – servant of Christ, civil rights champion, author, community developer, one of the founders of CCDA, husband, father, grandfather, great grandfather, and has been called a modern day prophet.  But I’ve read the books about CCDA’s history, and I’ve read books written by it’s founders. I’ve read books written by CCDA board members. Often at a conference I just know when Dr. Perkins is going to tell a story I’ve heard before or read in a book. So what was to be learned by spending a few days with Dr. Perkins and other board members?

Well, turns out this was pretty eye opening.  This wasn’t just teaching by Dr. Perkins, this was hanging out with him. This was dinner with the board members, not some prepared sermons, but instead it was hearing about their lives, their walks with God, the struggles and hopes that are in their lives right now. It was good to see some of the people who are often held up at our conferences as our role-models and leaders as much more than that. Seeing their deeper stories, their actual, real time walking with God was… well… convicting.

Maybe I was supposed to say it was amazing, or life changing or eye opening. But I’m going with “convicting.” One of our cohort members (Val) actually said in our reflection time at the end that Dr. Perkins so clearly has intimacy with God that when he walks into a room he oozes Holy Spirit out of his very pores. When he opens his mouth people listen – simply because God has so obviously filled this life to overflowing that wisdom from the Word must overflow, and maybe if we sit close enough it would overflow onto us too.

So yes, convicting. It’s no wonder I don’t have anywhere near the impact that some of these elders have. Of course I don’t, and it has nothing to do with age. It has everything to do with my walk with God. I don’t ooze Holy Spirit because I don’t spend time with Him. There are other things I learned and observed and gained from that week. I was challenged by many things, but mainly I came back to this one thing.  My confession to you is that I’ve been complacent in my relationship with God. I don’t just want a relationship with God. After seeing these ones who have walked before us, it is clear to me that relationship is not enough. I will not be satisfied until I overflow. My neighborhood isn’t changing, and it isn’t up to Dr. Perkins to come here and change it. No, friends, it will not change until we are overflowing Holy Spirit onto our neighbors. And I’m not responsible for you, but I’m going to get about the work of oozing.

A confession.
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