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Embers to a Flame Conference

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I'm writing from 30,000 ft somewhere over Tennessee on my way back home from a terrific weekend.  Steve VW, Adam V, and I attended Harry Reeder's "Embers to Flame Conference" on Friday and Saturday. We were then invited to observe the Biblical principles of church health "at work" at Briarwood PCA in Birmingham, Alabama.

Here are three "take-aways" for me from this weekend.

1.  Prayer as a Functioning Method of Ministry

One of the great emphases of the conference was the absolute necessity of prayer as a functioning way of doing ministry.  The New Testament church treated prayer as an indispensable method of shepherding Christ's sheep and moving forward with gospel mission.  A quick review of the Book of Acts shows the church praying as an essential, functional practice of gospel ministry. The leadership led the way in this. We can do the same.  It was a great joy last night at our Session meeting to conclude with an extended time of prayer.  I am confident that this intentional reliance upon God's power and wisdom is the only way to move forward with truly God-honoring, life-transforming, gospel ministry. Please join me and the elders in praying for this!

2.  Celebrate God's Present Grace and Power

Healthy churches celebrate both God's past goodness and present evidences of his saving grace and power.  Think of Miriam and the Israelites celebrating at the shore of the Red Sea - with the evidence of his saving power lying dead at their feet.  Think of the church in Acts 2 'praising God' (vs 47), celebrating the recent victory of Christ and the evident outpouring of the Holy Spirit.  (See also Acts 8:4-8.)  The church did not carry out its ministry in secret!  The power of God was evident and they celebrated it.  We can grow in this!

We have SO MUCH to celebrate! The conference emphasized that a Biblically healthy church will worship joyfully, evangelize intentionally, love sacrificially, and learn purposefully (Acts 2:42ff). These are the evidence and fruits of Christ's presence and power in a local congregation! What a cause to 'rejoice with trembling'! Jesus is doing his saving work right in our midst! We have definite areas where we need to grow (like intentional evangelism), but there are so many evidences of nothing less than Jesus at work! He is building His Spirit-anointed, God-exalting, gates-of-hell-assaulting,  sheep-nourishing, church right here in our midst.  It's amazing, but it's true. We have seen the salvation of our God and it has happened and is happening to us! We honor the Lord well when we "tell of all his wondrous acts," including his saving, transforming acts today.

3.  Pursue Intentional Gospel Ministry

We learned that healthy churches have a crystal clear understanding of what they are about. They clearly see Christ's calling and intentionally follow it!  Once again, the early church of Acts is a great example of this.  When the Holy Spirit was poured out, the leaders immediately began their Christ-commanded ministry of bearing witness to him. Those gathered by that gospel message immediately began their Christ-commanded ministry of growing in his grace (Acts 2:42ff)  and praying for power to "speak the word with all boldness" (Acts 4:29).

We can grow in health as we prayerfully pursue increasing clarity concerning Christ's vision for his church and commit ourselves to intentionally following it.  One of the impressive things we saw at Briarwood was a VERY intentional ministry.  They know what they are doing and exactly why they are doing it.  

I'm looking forward to growing in these things and experiencing the gospel joy and fruitfulness that accompanies it!  



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Guest Saturday, 24 February 2018

This Sunday

9:30 AM - Morning Service

11:15 AM - Sunday School

5:30 PM - Evening Service

Notable Events


Women Helping Women Conf. @ 1st Byron CRC


Anchored Spring Fundraiser Banquet


Paul Tripp Marriage Livestream Conference


2018 Anchored Mission Trip


2018 OPC Family Camp
@ Lincoln Lake Camp