THE CONFERENCE WAS GREAT!
The first annual CARM Convention was a big success. There were more than 200 people in attendance. The speakers all did great jobs and they were very gracious in their appreciation of being allowed to speak. Actually, it is I who should be thankful to them. Without all the speakers, the CARM Convention would not have been such a success. They were all great. Also, the church was fantastic. It is a beautiful church and the people who helped there were nothing short of excellent. They were attentive, caring, polite, considerate, and very helpful.
I opened with a presentation on "What is apologetics and why do we need it?" It was well received. The audience was attentive and even laughed at my jokes interspersed throughout the message. We then went into "breakout" sessions where each speaker focused on his/her topic. The feedback was very positive. At the end of the day we all gathered for a panel session where we fielded questions from the audience. That also went quite well and went a lot longer than we expected--which was good.
We had security present (due to some threats I had received). Two police officers patrolled the grounds and kept an eye on things. It helped to know that if anything happened, they were there.
It was also great to be able to finally meet Kevin Harris who was an incredible asset in getting the convention going. Eric Landstrom, who manages the CARM boards, was there and it was fun meeting him. Several people from the discussion boards showed up (Plygkid, Chad, and others I have forgotten, sorry) as well as several who just love CARM. In all, it was a lot of fun.
We taped several sessions and hope to have a video of it ready in a few weeks which I will announce in another newsletter and on the CARM website.
Are we going to do it again? You bet! The pastor of the church (before the event was over) was talking about the plans for next year's conference. In fact, I've received some inquiries about getting this going in other states such as California, Indiana, South Carolina, Utah, Minnesota, and Arizona. We hope this happens and we will begin the process of getting them developed.
In all, it was a great time and lots of fun. I can hardly wait to do it again.
SHORT BIBLE LESSON - ARE YOU BEING PERFECTED?
Lately, there has been a passage of scripture that has been echoing in my mind. I can't think of any reason at all for this except to say that perhaps God is wanting me to focus on it. The passage of scripture is Phil. 1:1-6 which says, "Paul and Timotheus, the servants of Jesus Christ, to all the saints in Christ Jesus which are at Philippi, with the bishops and deacons: 2Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ. 3I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, 4Always in every prayer of mine for you all making request with joy, 5For your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now; 6Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ, (KJV). I am drawn to the final verse and as I think about it, I am encouraged. (By the way, it was the verse of the week in the last newsletter which I did not realize until I reviewed it.)
We need the confidence of knowing that the Lord is working in us, that He has not left us alone, and that He is very concerned about us. Sometimes we experience the stale and dry that season where we seem to have reached a stone wall in our spiritual development. Of course, this could be true for many due to sin or rebellion of some sort. But, for those who simply seek God and desire to experience Him more and more and yet find themselves wondering and waiting, this verse is for you. It has three main parts.
First, the work that was begun in you was regeneration. When you trusted in Christ and were born again, you were changed. This is the beginning of the work of God in your hearts. God saves us as we are, but He does not leave us as we are. He changes us. Initially, when we are saved, we are justified; that is, we are declared righteous in God's eyes. That is the easy part because it is all done by the Lord. The hard part is the changing part. It is called sanctification and is the process God puts us through to conform us more and more into the image of His Son, Jesus. It is this second, part, this sanctification, that is hidden in the phrase of Phil. 1:6 where it says, "...will perform it..." In other words, the Lord is "performing" (KJV), "perfecting" (NASB), us. This perfecting will proceed until "...the day of Jesus Christ." This is a reference to the return of Christ. By design, the Bible leaves us with the impression that the return of Jesus can be accomplished at any time. This work will continue in all Christians in all places and in all times, until the return of Jesus. Once He has been revealed, we will all be with Him (1 Thess. 4:16-5:2) and we will no longer as a whole church or as individuals need to be perfected since the full manifestation of our salvation has been realized in the resurrection and/or change of our bodies to the incorruptible state.
So, Phil. 1:6 carries with it the past, present, and future work of God in us and for us because of what Jesus has done on the cross. Remember, it is because of Jesus, and only because of Jesus that the Lord will and is working in us. If you are having problems of some sort, doubting your salvation, unsure about your growth, let the Lord speak to your heart by spending time in prayer and reading His word. He uses these things to "perfect" the work that He has begun in you. Remember that the Lord will never forsake you or leave you. He cannot be unfaithful and His love for you cannot fail. To the Lord be the glory.