So I recently took a trip to Texas. I went to San Antonio first to visit friends and then drove with them to The Fellowship Conference held in Denton Texas, April 17-20th. The whole trip was so great, refreshing, encouraging, convicting…. I thought I would share about what it was like and give a summary of the messages. It was put on by a group/network of churches the Pastor's of which include those speaking below. You can find more information through this website: http://illbehonest.com
There were about 900 people there. It was challenging at first as I didn’t know hardly anyone, but I was staying in a cabin with several other girls and it was a blessing to get to know them. I also connected with a lady that I had known several years ago that was there which was really sweet. We had meetings in the morning and evening and the afternoons were just for fellowship. Also in the morning after breakfast we had a prayer time where we gathered, someone shared some thoughts/Scripture for a couple minutes then we prayed for about 30+ minutes. The songs and hymns we sang at the meetings were different, many I had never heard before but the lyrics were rich! It was a very sweet time.
Thursday night meeting: Mack Tomlinson (from Denton, Texas) preached on what the role of the Holy Spirit was in the life of Christ. As Christ was fully dependant on the Spirit in all He said and did, so should we. We need the Spirit’s help and we need to be seeking Him.
Friday morning prayer was led by Mack and he talked briefly about Phil 4:4-7. The Lord is near, so don’t worry, pray! And pray with thanksgiving.
Friday morning meeting: Kevin Williams (from England) preached on Genesis 4:1-7a – Cain and Abel’s sacrifices. One was accepted, the other was not. Why? Because one had faith in a blood sacrifice and the other was merely performing an outward sign of religion. It is only through Christ that we are accepted.
In the afternoon I went and listed to Mack go through all the books that were on the book table and talk about what they were about. Then went and played Ultimate Frisbee with some other young adults.
Friday evening we first had a missionary who serves in the Middle East share. He talked about how persecution and suffering are interwoven in the Christian faith and it is the means by which God grows us. He challenged us to remember our days are a gift and to use them wisely. Afterwards, Ryan Fullerton (Louisville, Kentucky) preached from Galatians 3:1-6. This was probably my favorite message. In this passage Paul was rebuking the Galatians for trying to live the Christian life apart from the power of the Spirit. We receive the Spirit when we are saved, and we need Him more and more as we grow in Christ. And we receive more of the Spirit by looking to Christ. It’s full dependence upon Him that we need!
(Towards the beginning of the message all the lights in the room went out [just sunlight from the windows]… he didn’t miss a beat!)
Saturday morning prayer was led by a man who’s a missionary to underground churches in China. He shared some various passages on the importance of prayer and I most remember this quote: “The battle for missions is won or lost in rooms like this.” Are we striving in prayer as we are called to in Scripture?
This missionary also preached at the morning meeting - since he’s an underground missionary, his message was not recorded, so I’ll give you a more extensive run-down on what he said. He spoke on the basic missions principles that we find in Acts: 1. The Context of Missions (it springs from the local church, this is where missionaries should be sent from), 2. The Messengers (the first missionaries, Paul and Barnabas, were men grounded in the truth and mature in the faith – we need to be training men and women for ministry!), 3. The Message (We need a Biblical Gospel! It’s Christ and Him crucified for the forgiveness of sins; and mainly: Repent and believe!), 4. The Ministry of Missions (we bear a cross and follow Him. It’s by much tribulation that we enter the kingdom of God. Missionaries are called to plant churches and train leaders to take over leadership of them), 5. The Power of Missions (it’s all done by the power of the Holy Spirit and through prayer. All the knowledge and teaching in the world is worthless otherwise).
(Note: What this man is doing for Christ is amazing and it springs from his very serious relationship with the Lord. I had a chance to talk to him briefly afterwards…!)
Saturday evening we heard a short update from a missionary in Mexico, then Charles Leiter (Kirksville, Missouri) preached a message from 1 Corinthians 1:17-31 and the “weakness and foolishness of God”. So often God appears to be the weak and foolish one, but really He’s the strong one! He has a purpose and plan and it’s all to gain more glory for Himself and conform us more to the image of Christ. He gets ALL the glory, we are nothing!
(I was overwhelmed by gratitude for the Lord saving me after listening to this message! Praise the Lord for His marvelous grace!!!!)
Sunday morning prayer was led by Clint Leiter who shared 3 words that we should be continually praying: Revive, Restore, Refresh. We daily need God to give us “life again”, “abundance again” and to help us to “flourish again”.
Sunday morning sermon was by Tim Conway (San Antonio, Texas). When he got up he said he had notes from several sermons and really didn’t know what exactly he was preaching. But this, out of all the sermons was the most convicting! In sum: Jesus taught us to pray “Your kingdom come” – but do we really mean it? Do we really pray and seek for people to be saved? We have a responsibility to be reaching the lost, to be sharing the Gospel. Pray with passion, and let it overflow to your life! (Really convicting!)
I am so grateful for this opportunity to have gone. The messages were all great – I’m sure by listening to them you’ll be encouraged, inspired and convicted too! If you ever have an opportunity to go to this conference in Texas (or to hear any of these men speak) DO IT! (For a heads-up, there will be a conference in Portland ME August 7-9, 2014 – more information forthcoming! If interested, contact me and I can let you know when I hear more.)