Monday, June 20, 2005

Thoughts from the SBC Convention - Day 2

On the second day of the Pastors Conference I was able to enjoy several good preachers. I heard great men of the faith like Jerry Vines, Junior Hill, Adrian Rogers, and Johnny Hunt. They were all very inspiring and encouraging, but the speaker that had the most impact on me was Mac Brunson from First Baptist Dallas.

Mac gave a message from 2 Timothy 1:15-18. I will be very honest, this message drove me to tears. It convicted me greatly that I need to be about encouraging and building up others so we can be on mission to reach people from Jesus. He brought together the story of Paul’s mission to Asia Minor (modern day Turkey) and how the people turned away from him. Paul visited this area, during all three of his mission trips and spent much of his time ministering to the people in this area. He saw much progress, but when he is writing Timothy at this point in his ministry, probably in jail or newly released, he is speaking about all the Christians in this area that deserted him. When he speaks about “all” of them deserting him, he is not exaggerating about all of them, he means all of them, even the ones that were thought to be faithful. So we see a picture of Paul, broken and in chains deserted by those thought to be strong.

This reminds me of many of our church today, they are not places of support, but rather places where we put on a fake persona of who we want people to think we are. We are more interested in gossiping about others, rather than helping others. While this revelation left me convicted, the message was not near over, Mac when on to complete the story. We see Paul, a broken man deserted by everyone he thought cared about him, except for Onesiphorus. We know from Philemon that Onesiphorus was a slave, but he was also a Christian and he loved Paul very much. So much in fact that he searched for him in Rome until he found him and instead of turning away from Paul, being ashamed of him, he stood by him. Not only did he stand with him, but Paul tells us that he refreshed him. A poor slave, with no education, no formal training, new only one thing, the love of Jesus was one of the most important people to Paul.

This spoke volumes to me, I immediately thought about church that I know. Are we places of encouragement, where a weary Christian beat up from the trials of life and the trials of sharing Jesus, can come a receive refreshment. Are we ashamed of Christian brothers and sisters that are facing trials? We should be like Onesiphorus and work hard at encouraging one another, we need to stand together united, working toward one common goal; telling people about Jesus.

Thank you, Mac for this message, I needed to hear it and I believe that all our church need to hear it. Please listen to this message when they become available at the SBC Conference Website.

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