White Unto Harvest Update

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

Smile!

Some people look great in braces. Just accept it.

Yep, she’s from Texas

I couldn’t resist this last one…we just looked so…so serious.  🙂

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7 Responses to White Unto Harvest Update

  1. Joseph Nielsen says:

    Looks like it was a great conference! Everyone that I know who went to the conference has told me that it was the best NCFIC conference yet. BTW, I especially like that last picture… it really defines who y’all are… well, maybe not… 🙂

    • Jonathan says:

      Ha ha! Yes, it’s a definite snapshot of my cheerful personality! (not really :)) But yes, the conference was such a blessing and it addressed so many needful issues on evangelism. I was amazed at the sheer number of speaking sessions that were occurring simultaneously. Anyway, thanks for commenting. Are you enjoying not having to study for BB?

  2. Oh, the fall scenery is gorgeous! It sounds like the conference was fantastic. I agree about the issue of self-denial. In some ways our family has been thinking along the same lines: what idols are we clinging to and what convictions are we sacrificing for the sake of personal peace and affluence?

    “The Lawyer Brothers” made me laugh! Tell your sister for me that she DOES look good in braces–much better than I did when I was her age! Mine always looked supersized (at least to me) and it seemed like my mouth was crazy-full of silver. I especially love the picture of Bethany, though. She looks just like a lovely Texas girl 😀

    Hope y’all had a great Thanksgiving!

    • Jonathan says:

      We had a great Thanksgiving, thank you! We had some very dear and close friends stay Thanksgiving weekend at our home and since both of our families love to sing, we sang lots of hymns and listened to lots of piano and violin playing. (Not to mention played lots of volleyball 🙂 ) They have some incredible musicians in their family! It was so much fun! The self-denial issue has been repeatedly returning to my mind and I really have been asking the Lord how I can practically apply that message to my own life and not place personal comfort and affluence before Christ and His kingdom. In some ways, it’s so hard to do and I find myself saying “Oh no, anything but that Lord, anything but that.” And yet the net effect after I yield and obey gives me such a freed feeling to serve the Lord and really be prepared for His service.

      I thought the picture of Bethany was nice too! She IS such a lovely Texas girl! 🙂

      Hope y’all had a great Thanksgiving as well.

      P.S. Did the menfolk like your snickerdoodle blondies? 😉

  3. Youch! What have I missed? I don’t think I’ve checked on your blog since the Baby Bar. : |

    Every one of those photos is great! And I have to agree with you, Joseph. Those “Lawyer Brothers” were captured perfectly. Y’all need that picture on your website when you start the Covey & Covey law firm.

    The talk by Joel Beeke sounds very intriguing. Since our family is still trying to juggle home churches, family worship is definitely something we should be focusing on. And while neither you or I are orchestrating the worship in our families, it’s still needful for us to prepare for the day when we will.

    Keep up the writing, and I’ll be sure to check more often! I look forward to reading more of your logic and anti-atheism posts.

    • Jonathan says:

      Very true Jacob. We SHOULD be preparing for leading family worship because the responsibility will fall squarely on our shoulders. We should strive for spiritual maturity and a deepening of our walks with the Lord as young men because our duty will be to lead (Lord willing) a wife and children by example and by teaching. It’s a tremendous responsibility and no one will be perfectly prepared: we’ll make mistakes and try to learn from them, but we absolutely should make a proactive effort to be prepared for when we are married (and I don’t anticipate that being too terribly far away for any of us ;))

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