I am also ever so thankful for FIRE* and their national conference, which by God's grace has made this experience possible. The messages preached by this group of men have been so good, and the encouragement in ministry and love so profound, and the books so abundant and compellingly travel-friendly, that I have decided to conference blog today and tomorrow.
|The happiest, most dangerous picture of them all.|
But not as good as the other sort of food awaiting. This morning was one of those bright Canadian mornings where the sky is really blue and the grass is really green and everything else has a kind of cheery yellow hue, and this effect was enhanced by the wall-to-wall windows in the session room which streamed in buckets of good, hale light. We were obviously in a great position to sing and worship the God which had brought us all together from around the world.
And sing we did! I love it when true believers sing. There is in it something divine.
|People slowly filtered in as the band rose up to play.|
|Ministry booths set out for browsing|
|Corbit and Kelli White, who are going to church plant in Berlin|
|Lunch. The conference food actually looked pretty good.|
The messages of the conference are going through the acronym of FIRE (Fellowship of Independent Reformed Evangelicals) in reverse order, so today we heard a message on "Evangelical", taken from Hebrews 10, and another on "Reformed", taken from Ephesians 2.
|Scheming? Encouraging? Chit-chat? All of the above.|
|Pastor Crotts preaching on "Reformed"|
As if that were not enough joy and food for application for one day, there was another message preached by Glenn Dunn on "Unity, Liberty, and Charity" because FIRE's motto is "In essentials Unity, in nonessentials Liberty, and in all things Charity." Taken from Ephesians 4 and John 17 mainly, the thrust of this message was that our unity is centered on truth. When we throw truth away, we throw away the possibility of Christian communion. We see Jesus praying in the garden for us to be united in truth (His word is truth), and He prayed this right before He went to the cross, so obviously this was very important to Him. That ought to sober us up straightaway. These were "last words" requests, and His work has made His request a sure reality. Pastor Dunn outlined four areas to grow in for unity: 1) Love ~ we love because He first loved us, 2) Mind ~ we have the mind of Christ being formed in us, and His mind is definitely not divided, 3) Evangelism ~ fellowship among believers is an amazing witness to the lost, for they will know us because our love one for another, and 4) Purpose ~ we are united in our goal and aim, God's glory. That is our chief end, and if we are all working to the same goal, of course we must be and behave in unity. May God be glorified in His people!
|Not exactly the point of the conference, but, hey, it's important.|
*Without getting into too much detail, FIRE (Fellowship of Independent Reformed Evangelicals) is a group of churches and pastors who rally around the sufficiency of Scripture and the sovereignty of God, and their conferences are basically these pastors sitting around and talking about it. Oh, and coffee and food and note-taking on tiny digital apparatuses, mainly iPads. And wonderful fellowship. And books!!!