Reflections on Advance09 (Part Three)

The men of Grace Bible Church – I couldn’t have asked God for a better group of guys to go with to this conference. So encouraging…so genuine…so loving…so brotherly and fatherly…My time was deepened by being there with these men.

Sitting next to men like Mike, who has survived brain surgery and a rough recovery from it and is currently struggling to find work and continues to faithfully and joyfully follow hard after God, and then getting to discuss with him what has been said after every session adds a depth to events like this that is irreplaceable. Getting to ride there and back with men like Jack, who planted Grace Bible Church and is still an elder faithfully serving and shepherding to this day, offers a perspective on the local church that few can offer and he makes a good co-pilot too. Rooming with a young man like Jacob, who is living as a new believer and a young married man with his first child on the way and still has a passion for the lost in the city of Richmond and is a faithful member in a local church, is more encouragement than all the speakers put together can offer (This guy could’ve written “Why we are NOT emergent” himself). Listening to the wisdom of a newly ordained church leader like Rick, who is 6 years younger than me and sets such a solid example of being quick to listen and slow to speak, is humbling and so refreshing. Sitting in the rocking chairs on the front porch at Cracker Barrel with men like Mike (a different Mike) and hearing his heart for his family just brings such clarity and conviction. These are the things that God uses to grow men and sanctify them through His Spirit and then empower them to advance His church.

For this reason, my heart goes out to guys like my brother, who went to Advance09 without others from his church. God can still empower him and others like him to advance His church. I pray that these men came away making commitments and will be faithful to those commitments. It is so difficult being one of those men, but it is the same Lord who empowers us all to advance His church. I pray that the plurality of the men that went from our church will spark a movement, by God’s grace, with the commitments they make coming away from this event. I look forward to seeing what God is going to do in us and through us for His glory’s sake, His gospel’s sake, and His church’s sake…

In Part Four I’ll go over a conviction that God has given me over the past year but then clarified in my heart during Advance09.

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