Thursday, July 20, 2017

7 Reasons to Join us for In Christ Alone Conference

We are gearing up for another great bible conference this year in Perry County, AR! Click this link to get more details about the conference, but here's the quick scoop: 8/26/17, 10am - 4pm at First Baptist Church of Perryville, AR.

Why should you give up a whole Saturday to join us? Glad you asked! Here are 7 reasons:

1. The Topic -

In Christ Alone! Jesus Christ, the 2nd person of the Trinity. The One who took on flesh having two natures in one person being 100% God and 100% Man. He lived a perfect life of obedience and died a propitiatory, substitutionary death for us. Salvation is found in Him alone. We often talk about being saved by faith which is certainly true! But it is more precise to say we are saved by Christ through faith.

In much preaching today the message is "Christ and..." instead of "Christ alone." You need Christ and a good job or a great family or a wonderful life-purpose to be whole. You need Christ and good works to be saved. No friends, the message of Christianity is that salvation is found in Christ alone. He is the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father but by Him.

We need this topic to be reminded of our standing with God in Christ. We need this topic to remind us of the message we are to share with a lost and dying world. We need this topic to remind us of the type of sermons we should aspire to preach and to listen to. This conference is for everybody. So bring a friend. Bring a pastor. Bring a church member. Bring a lost person. Let them come hear the glorious truth of Christ alone as our only suitable and all sufficient Savior! (Although unrelated to the conference, here is a recent message I preached at Perryville Second Baptist on this subject).

2. The Speakers -

As always, I am humbled at the men who are willing to come and participate in this event. Not only do we have great plenary speakers, but also great breakout speakers. These men are pastors, professors, itinerate preachers, authors, scholars, missionaries, and the list of titles goes on and on! What a wonderful group of men coming to central Arkansas to share the truth of Scripture. Furthermore, this conference is FREE! Many people pay money to go hear the type of quality speakers we have coming, but it is our vision to keep this conference free to you. We have a wonderful opportunity to hang out an entire Saturday with a solid group of men who have a heart for Christ and for teaching His truth.

3. The Breakouts -

Last year, we had a Q&A session which I thought went really well (listen here). But this year we are trying something new: Breakout sessions. I think this opportunity will give you some practical takeaway from a conference like this. You could bring a group of people and then divide up for the breakouts and come back and compare notes. Read more about the breakout sessions here. This is a great way to benefit from this conference!

4. The Fellowship and Worship -

One of the things I've come to love about this conference (my fourth year in a row to be in charge) is the networking that takes place. I love meeting brothers and sisters from all around the state of Arkansas and beyond. I love to eat together and share in Christ together through gospel rich conversations and seeing how the Lord is at work all around the State. This year Fellowship will be more conducive as lunch will be on site (this will cost you $10/plate). You are free to drive off campus to eat, but having a meal available at the church will give us more opportunity to visit and get to know one another.

Each year we've had this conference I've been overwhelmed by the worship. It's not the 'leader' that makes the difference as much as the singers. When you gather with a group of Believers that you normally don't get to worship with and hear them lift their voices to our Triune God, it is amazing!

5. Free stuff! -

We always love giving away free stuff at these conferences. And we plan to do so again this year.

6. Torah Scrolls - 

We will feautre six Hebrew Scrolls and other artifacts at this year's conference!. I've seen some of these personally and I can tell you it is awesome to see God's preservation of His Word at work! It is my hope that we can make this work.

7. The Exhibitors -

We will have a great book store from Grace & Truth books. We will also have 3 exhibitors that you might not know anything about but in actuality are wonderful opportunities that you could be involved in. These include International Church Planters, Capitol Commission, and the Grace Bible Institute. Come meet these brothers and see more of how God is working right here in Arkansas!

Just typing all of that out makes me excited about 8/26. If you have any questions please feel free to contact me. Registration is not required but it sure helps us if you will take the time to pre-register. You can do so here. Anyone pre-registered on or before August 1 will automatically be entered in a drawing for a book giveaway. We will draw 5 winners! So, if you plan on joining us you might as well sign up!

Looking forward to August 26! #InChristAlone

Monday, July 17, 2017

How to Leave Your Family a Treasure

I was given the Bible of a 92 year old woman today. She passed away peacefully in a nursing home recently and I had the honor of preaching her funeral. 

I wasn't 'given' the Bible for keeps mind you! It was just so I could learn a little more about this saint since I did not have the privilege of knowing her very well in this life. 

I can't say how old this bible was but I was scared to flip through it. The pages were barely hanging on, clinging to the binding with all their might after having been turned and turned again through the decades. There were notes and markings on several pages and I'm sure if I could have examined closer I would have found a few tear stains in places. 

I'm actually using the notes she wrote to preach the funeral. This is a precious treasure that her family will have for generations to come. I wonder if we might not strive harder to leave such a treasure for our own families?

You know, financial experts say one of the best ways to keep wealth in your family is to have good life insurance. I honestly don't know about that. But I do know a way you can leave your family a treasure that has the potential to bear eternal fruit. 

Leave them a bible that's falling apart. 

A bible that is falling apart speaks volumes about a person's life. It tells that the owner didn't merely say the Bible was important, but that they actually read it. They spilt their coffee on it. They flipped the pages quickly in search of an answer. They turned the pages slowly meditating on Truth. Some pages are worn more than others as the reader turned to that portion of Scripture over and over. They pressed the pages down as they knelt in prayer with both hands clutching Scripture. A tear drop of joy, or pain, or longing has fallen here or there. Not just a day or two here or there, but throughout a lifetime. Day in and day out they turned the Bible's sacred pages as they caught a glimpse of the glory of God and reveled in what He has accomplished for us in Christ. 

Furthermore, underlining, markings, sermon notes, study thoughts, meditations, and exhortations that are in a bible will live on long after a person is gone. Though dead, you will still speak. Imagine your great great grandson reading some thoughts you had one day about Proverbs 3:5 and the Lord using that to convert him! Imagine being able to speak into the lives of generations to come by the way you handle the Bible tomorrow morning! Imagine leaving your posterity such a treasure. 

I hope I've piqued your interest. The question now is, How? How can you leave your family something so valuable?

First of all, no matter your age, resolve to do this now. I don't care if you're already 80 years old. I don't care if you're 13. Start this today. 

Secondly, find a good bible and stick with it. For this purpose you will need a NON-Study bible. Just something with the text will be sufficient. And binding is important. A nice leather one would be a good investment. Something with wider margins would be helpful. You could always start with a hard back and maybe have it rebound later in life (my current plan). Translation is important too. I prefer a more formal equivalent translation like the ESV. 

Thirdly, get some good pens. Try these.
Good pens are important so they won't bleed through. If you want to leave more than just a worn out bible, pens are a necessity! 

Fourthly, read your bible daily for YOU! Don't think about your posterity so much as thinking about what your soul needs from Holy Writ. Read it. Study it. Meditate on it. Memorize it. Why? To feast on the glory of God in Christ! To mature in the faith. To be convicted, corrected, rebuked, encouraged, challenged, and comforted. Find a reading plan. Read through the Bible in a year or read through a book or two over and over. Or some sort of mixture of both. But, find a plan and do it. Mix it up over the years. But make bible reading a daily habit. 

Fifthly, WRITE in your Bible. You might write a note of prayer. You might write some meditative thoughts. You might jot a note or two of praise, exhortation, challenge, or comfort. You might write a study note or two about historical context or word usage. You may even put a few notes down from the sermon you just heard. Write cross references. Over the years your bible will begin to fill up. Again, it's ok to think about generations to come, but write notes primarily for you. This will be most beneficial for those who come after you. 

Sixthly, circle, box, underline, star, etc. Circle repeated words in a passage. Underline important truths. Draw arrows to make connections. Star key ideas. There's no magic formula here. The important thing is that you engage the text. Mark the text as a way for you to soak it in better. 

Seventhly, repeat steps 1-6 if necessary! What I mean is, if you fill up a Bible, praise the Lord. Set it aside and buy another one and start over. The Word of God is rich. You will not regret spending a lifetime mining its depths. 

Can you imagine at your funeral, a preacher holding your worn out bible, and preaching the gospel to your family in your own words? Can you imagine your family rebinding the Bible and having it in the home for years to come? Can you imagine the legacy you could leave in the lives of your great grandchildren just by loving the Bible today? This gets me excited! With just a little effort you could leave your family an invaluable treasure. 

What are you waiting for? Make it happen today. It's worth the investment, I promise.