Where to begin? Let’s just say, I am full. I don’t mean physically, although I had a good lunch. But I am talking spiritually here. Last week was a great break from normal life. I think God gives us those moments, not so we idolize the mountaintop, but to refresh us so we keep going strong where He has us.
It all started with a trip to North Carolina with Matt. We stayed at the Lifeway Conference Center in Ridgecrest, NC. We enjoyed great hiking, beautiful panoramic views, good food, and touring the grounds. What was especially good for both of us was Matt taking me to see Ridgecrest Camp for Boys where he spent a summer as a staffer after his freshman year. It was so fun to watch him relieve those good memories while I got a peak into his life then. We got to see a lot of his favorite spots from that summer during this trip, including a great little breakfast cafe, a mountaintop where he would go pray/think about me, and crazy, downtown Asheville. 🙂
After that we came back home to KY for Easter. It was such a joyful service and day spent with some of our Church family. We watched 6 little girls in their pretty pink dresses and one little boy dressed for church hunt eggs in the backyard. We were so thankful to be among “family” even when far away from our family.
Then we geared up for the Together for the Gospel conference held at the YUM Center here in Louisville. What a conference it was. I think it’s one of those things that is hard to do justice in a blog post. I will say that I wasn’t really sure what to expect, what to get out of it, or what I was getting myself into. However, I came away with truths and encounters that I know God had orchestrated specifically for me at that time.
Matt was busy working all week at the Conference driving the speakers (Ask him about it sometime!) Therefore I didn’t get to see much of him. I am thankful for good friends who let me hang with them the whole time. There were some sweet conversations that were had between friends, new and old, as well as me and Matt talking late into the nights as we spilled out of our hearts what was rising to the surface during those three days. We were exhausted physically, mentally, spiritually, and emotionally after it was all over. I felt like I had my mouth to a fire hydrant the whole time and I am still processing the things I came away with. It was a conference like I have never been to before and I pray that it spills out of our hearts and onto the streets as we go.
I know i can’t share everything I learned but I would like to share a few things that the Lord taught me. And, if you are interested you can go online and listen to each sermon for yourself at t4g.org. Just FYI, the real purpose of T4G is to encourage and equip pastors or those going into ministry. Don’t let that deter you from listening if that’s not you. I’m not a pastor and God powerfully taught and challenged me those three days in ways I will never forget.
I will point out a few cool things about the conference: for worship all we had was a guy and a piano and 8,000 voices lifted up to the Lord in praise. Simple but profound. Also, daily they had testimonies of people who shared how God saved them. They ended their testimony with a plea to never underestimate the power of the gospel in the life of: an illegal immigrant, a drunk, druggie, church kid, good kid, powerful business guy etc. Every story is miraculous no matter the circumstances!
“We aren’t called to be innovative but proclaimers- those who tamper with the message underestimate it.”
“Paradox of ministry: always dying but never lifeless”
“Behind a genuinely fruitful Church is a dying pastor”
“If we loose the language of “lostness” we loose the necessity of repentance, wrath, Hell, missions, evangelism, substitution etc.”
“If the gospel does the work, we need only to release it- slowly and clearly”
“Be careful with new converts. Paul’s conversion isn’t normal. Most often its gradual. Are we choosing methods and confidence in them over thinking the gospel is actually working?”
“The fear is that we will come dangerously close to preaching the gospel but not get it”
“We are to be promiscuous and indiscriminately sowing the seed of the gospel”
“Whatever we do when we don’t use words is not preaching the gospel”
“We are also to PERSUADE”
“His people are the means to bring Him glory and are the plan from Genesis to Revelation”
“The problem isn’t the occasional hypocrite but a whole system that creates whole congregations of false converts”
“If you love Puritan authors but can’t get up an hour early to give a 90 year old man a ride to Church-are you saved?”
“Some of us have stalled out in sanctification for lack of effort”
“Gospel drives us to godliness from a sense of gratitude. Gratitude clears out the ugly within”
“Holiness doesn’t happen apart from trusting. Trusting doesn’t put and end to trying”
“Our sanctification doesn’t cease to be supernatural with our own effort.”
“Who sactifies? Me or God? Yep.”
“Nomaphobia- afraid of the Law- problem today in our circles- Law comes after gospel.”
“Pastors have a privilege to lead the way in global missions in every local Church”
“God is in control but man is responsible”
“God involves us in His mission not because He needs us but because He loves us”
“The atonement of Christ is graciously, globally, and gloriously particular”
“Why do we go? Guilt because we have the gospel? No! it’s glory for our King among all the nations!”
“The Sovereign God has yielded us to wealth for the sake of the nations”
“God ruthlessly crushes our idolatry because of His own compassion and grace”
“God weans our affections away from everything else and leaves us with nothing but Himself”
“The Lord doesn’t treat His servants as cheap. Don’t loose heart!”
“How many in ministry say with the Israelites: “You drug me into this and left me”. Yet He brought us to a place and the Spirit doesn’t lead where He doesn’t empower”
“We need to get our mind here: The New Heaven- but we can’t use it as a type of escapism. But be faithful today with the hope of eternity to get you through to the next day. That’s our HOPE!”
“If any of my life were dependent upon me, I would have ceased to be a Christian. It would not have come because it wasn’t there”
“Do we know the degree of power it took to make us awake and be continually kept alive?”
*These were my top favorites. They ALL were fabulous and used by God in different ways but these spoke loudly to my soul. I will add that Piper tweeted that Platt’s message was one of (if not THE) the best sermons on missions he had ever heard. I think that’s saying something. Also, It’s hard to give quotes out of context but I just had to share some of my favorites. Enjoy!
Oh and there will be pics to come…just as soon as I have time to boot up my old, dying computer from before college and upload them. 🙂