Archives For conference

342491561_640It’s been said that we are either entering a conflict, in a conflict, or just coming out of a conflict. Often, it’s some combination of the three. And, when it comes to church leadership teams, the same can be true.

Church leadership teams experience conflict for many reasons. Those teams are made up of imperfect, sinful men. The pressures are great. Misunderstandings abound. Wisdom is lacking. And the work of the ministry is just difficult.

For these reasons and more, Grace Immanuel Bible Church in Jupiter, Florida held the first “Ekklesia Pre-Conference” this past week. The event dealt head-on with the complexities of church leadership conflict in the local church.

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342491561_640One of the greater areas of confusion at large today among God’s people is an understanding of the church. Ecclesiological error abounds, perhaps more than any other issue in contemporary Christianity. What is the church, exactly? Why does it exist? What should the church do? Who are, and are not, God’s kind of church leaders? What are they for? How should congregations relate to their leaders? Anyone in church ministry can tell you that they interact with error surrounding these, and related issues, on almost a daily basis. And the consequences are not insignificant.

For this reason, and more, the leadership team at Grace Immanuel Bible Church in Jupiter, Florida created the Ekklesia Conference seven years ago. Ekklesia has as its mission, “to instruct Christians in the inseparable truths of Christ’s church and His gospel. Our desire is that believers would passionately serve and commit to the advancement of those realities with lifelong conviction.” Each year, a theme is chosen which relates to the local church (check out past messages). This year’s conference, entitled, “Sheep and Shepherds,” will bring much-needed clarity to the issue of recognizing spiritual influence. Over the weekend of September 16-18, speakers will answer questions such as, “What is God’s kind of spiritual influence?” “How do I recognize what kind of influence I should be seeking?” “How do we navigate the onslaught of supposed influence out there today?”

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342491561_640Christ promised to build and bless one, and only one, institution in the universe: the church (Matt. 16:18). The true church exists, then, not consequent of man’s power and method, but God’s. However, this is not always articulated and practiced by professing Christians. Ours is a day which has witnessed that. This past weekend, I attended for the first time a conference which addressed the issue head on.

The annual Ekklesia Conference is hosted by Grace Immanuel Bible Church in Jupiter, Florida, pastored by Jerry Wragg. Ekklesia has as its mission, “to instruct Christians in the inseparable truths of Christ’s church and His gospel. Our desire is that believers would passionately serve and commit to the advancement of those realities with lifelong conviction.” As the previous 5 years of the conference, a theme is chosen which relates to the local church. This year’s was the mission of the church. Today’s post is a brief review of this worthwhile event.

So that readers may get a better feel for the flavor of the conference, here is a brief rundown of the speakers and their respective sermons:

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Wallpaper_CalvinWe are only a few days away from what is shaping up to be a historic Shepherd’s Conference. The reason being is that this year’s focus is on one most important issue: biblical inerrancy.

And with the conference on the horizon, there have been some good conversations surrounding the nature of Scripture. One in particular I was in recently involved the idea of having a reverence for Scripture. You may have seen one of the conference graphics which quotes John Calvin from his commentary on 2 Timothy 3:16: “We owe to the Scripture the same reverence which we owe to God, because it has proceeded from him alone.”

In response to that quote, an insightful friend asked, “If we owe Scripture reverence because it proceeded from God, would this imply that we owe the same reverence to creation, as it also proceeded from God”? (By reverence, we assume that Calvin means something like, “To revere or show deferential honor due to the nature of the thing.”) It’s a great question that needs answering, especially in our day.

Both the Bible and creation did proceed from a perfect and holy God. So, which do we hold higher, if any, and why?

Here are a few thoughts on why we owe Scripture reverence, but not creation:

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“If you’re picturing a cute, feisty redhead Annie embracing a transformed Mr Warbucks, you’re at the wrong conference.” Or so we were forewarned by one of the speakers at the Together for Adoption Conference last week.Annie and Warbucks

No Free Samples

As I left for the flight to attend the “Together for Adoption” conference, one of my pre-school kids casually chirped, “Dad, you can bring home one if you like, just make sure it’s a boy.” I had to explain that this wasn’t going to be an auction or a convention with booths offering free samples; it was a conference of teaching on the topic. When I arrived at the (ironically opulent) venue— a plush church building—I thought for a moment that I had spoken too soon. Booths and exhibits were being set up, manned by representatives from various local orphan homes and foster care organizations. And the number of children seemed to outnumber the adults present. But it turned out that the kids were all accounted for, and the booths were distributing literature.

I wasn’t sure who would be sitting next to me in the pews, but I found a patchwork of theologians, pastors, the curious, the passionate, the prospective adoptive parents, and largely the veteran adoptive parents. These arrived like a U.N. peace-keeping force in a convoy of mini-vans, representing various nations that have been brought together for—and by— adoption.

Cheaper by the Half-Dozen

It was inspiring to see so may families who had “tested” the waters of adoption, then after tasting God’s grace for the challenge, and having reaped the blessings of the experience, they then dived in boots and all, adopting half a dozen orphans at a time. These couples joked about having to resist the temptation to say things like, “Oh, you’ve adopted one? How cute.” Or, “Yours are healthy and emotionally balanced? What an interesting a choice.” Continue Reading…

Bold [bohld]

adjective, bold·er, bold·est.

1.    not hesitating or fearful in the face of actual or possible danger or rebuff; courageous and daring: a bold hero.

2.    not hesitating to break the rules of propriety; forward; impudent: He apologized for being so bold as to speak to the emperor.

3.    necessitating courage and daring; challenging: a bold adventure.

4.    beyond the usual limits of conventional thought or action; imaginative: Einstein was a bold mathematician. a difficult problem needing a bold answer.

5.    striking or conspicuous to the eye; flashy; a bold pattern.

6.    The name of one of the most important conferences you can attend this year

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