This time of conference is a busy time for us. On Tuesday we had a lunch for pastors and their wives as a thank you for having me preach for them. We had over 50 people over. Fortunately we have all 3 of our daughters here for the week along with 3 of their friends and they all helped out. Tonight we have an open house for the younger people with just drinks and snacks. It is usually a wild time. In between all of this we take in the preaching as I help with the parking (got two days off this year) and my wife helps with nursery and tapes.
After, Pastor Mitchell started things off Monday night, Tuesday morning we had 3 sermons by Dave Marks, Bob Mammen and Scott Lamb. Pastor Marks preached from Habakkuk 1:1-4, 2:1-4 and 3:1-2. The theme was the good watchman.
“Need to be able to look around us and see what’s coming down the road”.
“The question to God is: When are you going to judge this “self right” spirit?”
“Some kids find a puppy and decide that whoever can tell the biggest lie will get the puppy. A pastor over hears this and rebukes them saying that when he was a kid he never lied like that. They gave him the puppy.”
“Self righteousness blinds you to your weaknesses and needs. Being a faith man – standing in the natural reaching into the supernatural. Habakkuk means to wrestle. The answer to all of his questions is: The just shall live by faith.”
If you want blind faith just go to the evolution camp.
Revival isn’t out there it is in here (our hearts).
The spirit of Babylon is alive and well but God is going to give us an end days revival.
Give me revival in the midst of my years.
Pastor Mammen preached from Nehemiah focusing on the half way point of the building project. He talked of the sand castle contests on the coast where the sand castles are built at low tide with everyone knowing that as the tide goes in everything they build will be destroyed.
“Young pastor you are going to face opposition. Furious mockery from religious enemies. Intimidation aimed at our faith. We reach a crisis of confidence when we feel like what we are doing doesn’t matter. The feeling of failure that manifests in gult, shame and condemnation. This feeling becomes acute at conference time when we compare notes with everyone else.”
He balances this with Pastor Mitchell’s sermon that brings dignity to those who “are laboring in obscurity” recognizing that we are only carrying an illusion of failure.
Actually from Is 49 we are “hidden in the hand of God”. We realize that very few people will live lives of notoriety. “…but He is making you a polished shaft.” What God is doing in you is very important. Pioneering is foundational. Lots of hard work in laying the foundation. The problem for the pioneer is being isolated and feeling that God is far away. We must make it through these times of trial.
“You are in the womb of destiny”.
“You are being formed in a secret place”.
He talked of the NW cherry farmers. Bad year, good year and one year the entire crop destroyed. I am tired of being a cherryless cherry farmer. If you cut down the cherry trees you are guaranteed barrenness. “Pastor put away the chainsaw”. “Life is seasons”.
“We need a vision for building”.
When you are half way through a building project the place is a mess. You cannot escape going through this process, but in the midst of the building you must have a vision for the finished project. You are not building a sandcastle but something that will last for eternity.
Gal 6:9 Do not grow weary…do not lose heart.
The key is persistence.
The mystery of God working in the harvest field.
Every pastor needs the bag of seed and the scythe. Change our theology of failure
A nice finishing touch with a story of Teddy Roosevelt’s dealing with doubt after losing the election deciding to take a trip to South America to explore the River of Doubt that became the Roosevelt River.
Pastor Scott Lamb lined up with the conference theme: Rekindling the Flame. The implication of this is that the flame is going out. The 3 elements of fire are zeal, a living sacrifice and the Holy Spirit (oxygen). Preaching from Luke 5. No man who tastes comfortable religion will be satisfied with the new.
The problem is that we enjoy the religious comfort zone. We don’t want sermons that trouble us. We don’t want to give more than what is comfortable. We don’t want to feel responsible for the spreading of the gospel. We want the comfort zone.
A tough sermon that touched on the Laodicean church. They felt clothed but they were naked. They had money but they were really poor. The 3rd point brought redemption. God will not break the bruised ree.