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Count the Stars

January 20, 2018

He took him outside and said: “Look up at the sky and count the stars, if you can. Just so,” he added, “will your descendants be.” Genesis 15:5

“Count the stars,” God said.

“What an impossibility,” Abram must have thought. There were just too many of them, and on a cloudy night, nothing could be seen.

That command has been handed down throughout the ages, each time asking us to believe what we don't see. This is faith. It asks us to believe that with God, the impossible can happen. To believe that the stars are there even when circumstances obscure any evidence of it.

I'm just back from a true mountain top experience, and I'm still pinching myself and asking, “Did that all just really happen?”

I had the honor and privilege of speaking at FOCUS SLS18, a conference for 8,000 young Catholic leaders. Hand on my heart, I have never seen anything like it.

The theme of the conference was “Count the Stars,” and young adults gathered from all over (USA and beyond) to learn how they could pass their faith on to their generation in a winsome and genuine way. Just as Abram looked in the sky to imagine how his family was to grow, our thoughts centered on the spiritual multiplication we long to see in world.

How many of us have heard the discouraging statistics about youth and religion? Those dire stats are real, but last week, I witnessed what many claim is impossible. Many would tell us that there's not much evidence of spiritual revival coming from this next generation. After my experience with these phenomenal young people, I'd compare those statistics to the inky black sky obscuring the stars. I was able to see the curtain pulled back, and thousands of young Catholics were shining there, on fire for Jesus and ready to usher in a wave of change.

I was asked to speak about how I have answered the call to ministry and motherhood. To be honest, I doubted the young adults would want to hear about the discipline required to do both. I wondered if there was a hunger to hear about the call to motherhood- the importance of putting that first- above personal passions, outside interests, and measurable accomplishments.

To any of you who have felt discouraged about the state of the family, if you have wondered who is going to tend to the hearts at home, let me assure you, these young people are willing, eager, and tender in their desire to both impact the world for Christ and welcome and raise godly children in their homes. The conversations I had with them will remain some of the most precious in my life. They renewed my faith and hope in the future of the Church. You won't hear any millennial jokes from me. These young people are utterly amazing, ready to serve sacrificially, and stepping out with a level of spiritual maturity that blows me away.

One could say that what I witnessed was a miracle, and in many senses it was. But it was also the result of a generation that went before these young adults, taking seriously the call to pass on the baton of faith. I witnessed the fruit of many parents' sacrifices, and of the faithfulness of the FOCUS missionaries who have committed to disciplining their peers on the college campuses.

God is on the move! The Holy Spirit is alive and active! The young Church is on fire! Do not lose hope. We can't count the stars and we can't imagine what God has up His sleeve right here, right now. I got a glimpse of it, and believe with all my heart that there is more to come.

If you'd like to see my keynote, check it out below.


With love and gratitude to God!

Lisa Brenninkmeyer
Founder and Chief Purpose Officer
Walking with Purpose

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