I won't give you a lengthy description of the conference, but let me say that the volunteers were phenomenal - as always. You can't attend NewSpring's Anderson campus without feeling that they are really glad you came. Also, Lee and the worship team always move my heart closer toward God. They are incredible musicians, but their music abilities pale compared to the presence of God that fills the room as He inhabits the praise. I have never made it through a worship time at NewSpring without tears.
Today, I felt that the welcoming volunteers and the worship team were matched by the profound teaching that I received. There were four sessions: two general sessions and two breakouts. Perry Noble taught (preached) in the general sessions. I attended his Q&A session for senior pastors and the breakout session taught by Jake Beaty, Pastor of Care and Outreach.
Now, I've read a few blog posts, watched some YouTube videos, and read Tweets that criticized Perry and NewSpring for their methods and for the "false gospel" that is preached there. I have never been to NewSpring when the gospel was not presented, and it was clearer than ever today. Every session pointed to Jesus and the transforming power of the Gospel. Perry and Jake reminded us that our first calling was not to ministry but to be a child of God - ministry just flows from that relationship.
In a non-specific acknowledgement of recent blog posts concerning another pastor, early in the day Perry made his position clear by saying, "Hell really does exist, and people are going to go there unless we tell them about Jesus."
My greatest take-away was one point Perry made in the last session. Here's my paraphrase: He was challenging us to believe Jesus' words recorded in John 14:12 when he said that those of us following a God-given vision for ministry will look crazy to people who can't see the whole picture. Those people may have a tendency to slow us down or stop us from fulfilling our ministry calling. Perry pointed out that no great move of God recorded in Scripture happened because a person or group of people sat down and made a plan for the move of God. More often than not, it happened when people stepped out in faith. For instance, in the story of Jonathan and his armorbearer in 1 Samuel 14, we read, Jonathan said to his young armor-bearer, "Come, let’s go over to the outpost of those uncircumcised men. Perhaps the LORD will act in our behalf. Nothing can hinder the LORD from saving, whether by many or by few." "Do all that you have in mind,' his armor-bearer said. 'Go ahead; I am with you heart and soul.”
Did you read that? Perhaps! Yet so often we ask for writing in the sky, or some other sign, to assure us that we're on the right track. However, let me make this personal. If I am truly called to pastor a church in downtown Greenville - and I am - then I can walk in faith saying, "Let's do something. Perhaps the Lord will act in our behalf." God always backs up His calling.
So, after today, I'm actively waiting to see what God will do as I partner with other Transformers and walk out in faith the call we have received. I believe that Greenville will experience a great move of God. Believers all over the city are living out their faith, those who are missing from our churches are crying out for help, and God is poised, ready to act on our behalf. Perhaps today is the day.