As I blog this morning, I have just returned last evening from a conference at Word of Life entitled “Common Men, Uncommon Work”. As part of the conference I also attended 12 hours of Logos Bible software training on Monday and Tuesday. 12 hours of Bible software training for a non-techie was quite overwhelming. I’ve owed the Logos software for 4 ½ years but this training was very eye-opening. I hope this software can be a tool to help me preach in a more edifying manner. I am absolutely amazed at all the things I haven’t been doing in my sermon preparation.
This was actually my first trip to WOL for training or a conference. I was very impressed with my room at the Inn and the swimming pool just down the hall. The food was excellent, way too much. In fact I gained 3 pounds during the week. I still struggle in the flesh when I stand before a buffet and to have 3 of them a day, well it’s just too much. I was especially glad to see our WOL missionary, Dave Huizing there and we were able to spend some meaningful time worshipping our Lord and praying together. That was a special gift to me as I was feeling rather lonely during the Logos training and on the way to the 1st session on Tuesday evening I was walking down the hall and Dave came out of his room right in front of me. Thank you Jesus for this special blessing of Christian fellowship and friendship.
The theme of the conference “Common Men, Uncommon Work” spoke volumes to me even before any speaker spoke a word. You see I have been feeling rather overwhelmed by all the pressures of ministry in recent days. I know there is nothing in me apart from the work of Jesus and the Holy Spirit that would allow me to accomplish anything for the good of the Kingdom. With the dramatic cultural shifts that are taking place and the challenge of a multi-ethnic and multi-cultural church family, I needed to hear the challenge to fix my eyes on the Lord Jesus Christ. Danny Akin, president of the Southeastern Seminary in Wake Forest NC spoke from the 12th chapter in the book of Hebrews. We read beginning in verse 1, “Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance, and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfector of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you may not grow weary and lose heart” (v.1-3, NASB). Dr. Akin reminded us to be encouraged as we run in this marathon knowing that we are not running alone. He told us to focus on the essentials and to lay aside the besetting sin (v.1). He took the position that the besetting sin that so easily entangles us is the sin of unbelief. I agree with his position and in fact believe it is unbelief that keeps us from moving “from fear to faith”. Finally he exhorted us to follow the example of Jesus. We need to keep Jesus before our eyes if we are to be transformed into His likeness. I am very grateful to NDC for allowing me to attend this conference and I think it’s going to be meaningful in my heart and life in the days ahead as I continue to strive to fix my eyes on Jesus and as I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
All for Christ,
Pastor Rich Sivo