I just got back from Dallas about a week ago. I had planned to attend the IF conference, and my 7 husband decided it was a perfect opportunity to escape the grind of our normal routines, and take winter break in the middle of nowhere — also known as Point, TX. It was gloriously still. Beautifully quiet. Except for the coyotes… they were loud. But the point is that going into this conference my heart was rested, stilled, and ready to listen.

Whenever I listen to speakers I consider a couple of things:

1. People are not God. Not everything they say is perfect and holy. We can only count on one book to be that. So discernment is good. If you disagree with something a human says, that should not be shocking. We’ve been equipped to handle that.

2. God uses people to speak all the time. And pointing to him is a worthy effort, because we are a forgetful people.

All of that said, I was wildly encouraged by the people who spoke. The large majority of what was said resonated with my heart and encouraged me. I came home feeling poured into, stronger, more equipped to do the assignment God has given me to do. They feel like pointers. They point to God with their words and then get out of the way.  Since you can access the content on Right Now Media (which is amazing), and your time is short, here are my top 3. Know this: my sisters in law were with me, and chose other people. That’s one reason the diverse representation, both in style and ethnicity is represented, and might fit your life season better.

My Top 3 (ish):

Sadie Robertson Huff: If you’re thinking, “Isn’t she from Duck Dynasty?!” Yes. And she did a magnificent job of pointing. She tackled the topic of “My truth vs. The truth,” which is an inarguable culturally relevant topic — and somehow she said bold things without seeming preachy or diminishing truth. She lovingly invites into a healthy, and life-giving perspective. And does it while somehow making you feel like friends.

Jada Edwards: The vast majority of my lingering quotable comments came from Jada. She invited us to more frequently ask God to “search me.” And then respond to the invited investigation. Listen for her take on what maturity looks like, and why we would ask God to search us. Also… you’ll laugh. She has a way with humor.

Jennie Allen spoke about community. Friends. Finding your people. It was spectacularly done. Because truth was told, research supported it, and you could act on what was said. You should not miss this. You probably won’t, because she’s the founder and visionary of IF… So maybe I’m cheating, but I’m highlighting my 3rd pick as…

Jackie Hill Perry: She has surfaced for me only recently. And while her story is compelling, her research on holiness, which was a beautiful reflection of her latest book, made me want to worship.

My unexpected highlight was worship. It was amazing, and since I was with people I loved, it felt like an honor. IF also partnered with Illuminations, and raised enough dollars in the short time we were there to translate 3 Bibles into unreached languages. What could be better than that?! I honestly don’t know what will come next with IF. They’re humans, but when you leave wanting to worship, to love your people, and pour out your life… yes to that.