Yes, I recognize that “it’s about time” that I actually made this post on White Unto Harvest. Go ahead. Say it. I’ve been tardy (breathes sigh of relief at confession). I don’t know why this one has been so hard in coming together…but I digress.
Let me try to re-start on a more positive note: North Carolina is beautiful this time of year! Many native Carolinians told us that fall is the most beautiful time of the year in the Tar Heel State (Note: nickname stems from North Carolina’s long history as a producer of naval supplies such as tar, pitch, rosin, and turpentine).
As we drove through the mountain roads toward our destination of Asheville, we were constantly amazed the fall colors that we barely get to see in Texas. The cameras were going almost non-stop. Believe me when I say it was breathtaking.
Our trusty DSLRs were working overtime as we approached Asheville and I’m glad that there is such a thing as a 16 gigabyte sd card because I’m pretty sure that anything less would have left us memory-less in a matter of hours.
Just one more…
But enough about North Carolina, this is really a conference update.
As many of you know already, the conference took place at the Ridgecrest campus, which is just outside of Asheville. The campus itself is very nice with lodging facilities, meetings rooms and auditoriums.
This conference was probably different from any I’ve ever been to before inasmuch as it dealt with SO MANY great topics instead of focusing on just a few. It was also unique for me personally as I started out tired (coming directly off of 27 consecutive all-day study sessions) and ended the week energized, excited, and with a greater desire to spread the gospel.
This was an evangelism conference which dealt with many, many facets of the Great Commission. There were so many good speakers and topics!
Scott Brown, the Director of the NCFIC, moderated the conference as well as brought several of the keynote addresses. I love how practical his messages often seem to my life.
Paul Washer was also very good in all three of his keynote messages. The first message, entitled “The Power of God” was a particularly timely reminder of the saving power of Christ’s blood, and the duty that each Christian has to further the advance of the gospel of Christ.
Joel Beeke was excellent on Family Worship. Basically he had four points on this topic:
1. We must be convicted to do family worship. Our own efforts and our own willful attempts to do family worship without the absolute conviction that it is a necessary part of growth in Christ will fail.
2. Aim for brevity.
3. Plan each aspect of family worship. Don’t just think that a plan will fall together. Things don’t fall together, they fall apart.
4. Begin and end with prayer
Doug Phillips was also very good and exhibited his trademark energy and enthusiasm on a wide variety of Great Commission topics. However, the message that most convicted me actually happened to be one that I wouldn’t necessarily have expected. On the second day of the conference I randomly went to a session by Jeff Pollard called “All things to All Men”, taken from I Corinthians 9:22. He was talking about self-denial and how we manifest love for other believers in Christ (or as he called them, “God’s people”) by denying ourselves the things that we might otherwise have a right to do or possess.
He asked two questions which I jotted down as I was listening:
1. Are you denying your God-given rights so that others may come to a saving knowledge of Christ?
2. Is your idea of God-given flexibility making the people you minister to become transformed into the image of Christ?
I’m still asking myself these questions nearly three weeks after the conference is over because I don’t want to continue to live in “situation normal” when my duty as a Christian is to expand more and more of my life into the reaching the lost.
At the risk of sounding simplistic, I believe that Christians in America are leading lives of apathy that almost totally precludes any self-denial for Christ’s sake. This is, in fact, exactly where Satan wants us. Mr. Pollard’s message was a refreshing and convicting step back to the basics for me because it helped me realize areas in my own life that I could potentially fall into this trap. I pray that it spoke to the rest of the people listening as strongly as it did to me.
All in all, the conference was a great blessing. We were also greatly encouraged by seeing many, many of our friends at Ridgecrest and fellowshipping over meals and in between speaking sessions. It was encouraging to know that there are so many great families seeking the same things we are seeking and following the same path we are taking.
Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win. I Cor. 9:24
I couldn’t resist this last one…we just looked so…so serious. 🙂